FAM: Up Close and Personal

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Unplanned Sabbatical, Coming to an End

By FAM :: 27 May 2008

It's been some time, the phrase that one dreads as a middle-aged human being, because if there was one thing about turning fifty (as I did last year in the context of a great gathering of friends, not for a party but a benefit concert, which was a total blast, needless to say, and garnered a fair amount of cash for educational projects) that is more than a bit scary, it is the knowledge that more than half of your innings are over. But it has been, in terms of writing, some time, which is reflected in the dormancy not only of this site, but also in the relatively (OK, make that horribly) low output of work.

Part of this is because life in 2007 was very busy from a musical point of view. Having started with the Ed-Aid Concert and all the interest that produced it's perhaps no great surprise that there was just not enough time to go out for opportunities of readings, despite the year having started with what to date was the reading with the biggest audience at the ETAS AGM in Solothurn, an extremely pleasant as well as scary experience that went gratifyingly well.

In hindsight, it was a period of some difficulty, mainly because the environment in which I work has been undergoing changes that are truly momentous, if not to say traumatic. Within the period of a year, all of my friends as well as colleagues have either retired or decided that to move on to the proverbial pastures new seemed a preferable option. It was a period that was also characterised by changes in my friend and wife Caroline's life, which led to a fair number of sleepless nights. Now, whatever they say about happiness writing white, I found in these past months that for me absence of happiness simply didn't write.

As a result, everything has remained dormant, a kind of unplanned sabbatical, during which we both tried to regain the equilibrium and, cheesy as it may sound, harmony that we felt was needed to do what we wanted to do with ourselves. Now it seems, with summer finally on us, we are both increasingly convinced that the light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlamps of an on-coming train. We both have had to leave our comfort zones and confront the fact that things change, and that they only change for the worse if you're not prepared to work with rather than against the changes.

Still, I'd like to thank those friends of mine who were so material in providing a work environment that didn't feel like work most of the time and left enough time for the kind of gazing into the distance or at your navel, which is needed for writing creatively,
Fritz Gysin, emeritus professor of American Literature
Dewi Williams, writing instructor, singer and great-guy
Werner Senn, emeritus professor of Modern English Literature
Matt Kimmich, colleague, composer, critic (in the very best sense of the word)
Simon Hicks, co-teacher, friend, mentor and director of plays and pantos
Daničle Klapproth, academic and political conscience, embodiment of integrity and bullshit detector extraordinaire
Miriam Locher, future professor of linguistics in Basel and it couldn’t happen to a better person, and
Dick Watts, musical guru, endlessly patient supervisor of all my theses, forger of so much of my happiness.
It's hard not to get sentimental at this stage but I hope that your future may contain as much good stuff as your past has given me. We're still on the same planet and that’s great to know.


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