I am not at the book fair. No, I can't meet you for a drink. Well yes, I was invited to that party but obviously I'm not going. No, we can't sit down and talk German books. I haven't gone because I was away in New York for ten days recently and I need to get work done. And then having decided that, I said my dad was very welcome to come and visit, so I can't possibly go now. Which is, incidentally, the answer to that suggestion that I just "pop down for the day" (not that an eight-hour round trip to Frankfurt doesn't sound enticing).
And I thought I'd be rather sad about it. I thought I'd be upset by all the Facebook postings of booths being built and torrid tweets from the Frankfurter Hof. I expected envy, my constant companion, to blow itself up to the size of the marshmallow monster at the end of Ghostbusters. But so far, I'm feeling quite calm about the whole thing. Envy is normal marshmallow size.
I do love book fairs, you see. I do love the very first day of striding around and smiling at vague acquaintances, or frowning at leery guys who think they're God's gift to publishing. I love picking up display copies and stroking the covers, noting things down in my special book fair notebook. I love talking to three people at once and then getting tapped on the shoulder by a fourth person I haven't seen since last year and getting all tangled up in between languages. I even love the slightly naff parties – although I hate the horrible Hof, and have vowed never to go there again because it puts me in an instant evil mood.
I think I may be becoming a calmer person. I actually forgot about the German Book Prize all day on Monday. In previous years I'd have been glued to the livestream, no kidding. This year I was cooking for my family at 7 o'clock and then we listened to music and watched some old Muppets episodes and then I checked Twitter before I went to bed and, oh boy, they went and awarded the prize while I wasn't looking!
You might have noticed I've calmed down with the blogging. It's partly because Twitter is simply a better venue for posting short things, news items and what have you. Another reason is that I've written about many things before, so the eighth repeat of "why I am excited about xyz" doesn't even interest me that much, let alone anyone else, presumably. Plus there are now lots of book bloggers focusing on German books, so I feel they've probably got things covered and I can relax. But to be honest, the main reason is that I just don't feel such a sense of urgency any more. Probably, people aren't drumming their fingers on the table, waiting for me to post about the winner of the German Book Prize before they can possibly go to sleep.
I was just thinking of writing that I haven't got any new hobbies or anything. That's not strictly true, though, because I am doing more moderating, which means I have to read certain books that don't necessarily fit here. But if I were to write a dating profile for myself it would still say "books, books, books".
Anyway, bear with me during this calm period. I might get all excitable and start posting every day again, or I might not. I'm fine. Just not at the book fair.