With a couple of days to go in my residency, I decided to let the book rest and get out of my cell. Geneva has a vibrant gallery scene.

I Am Number 13 is breathing just shy of 60,000 words. My brain has been squeezed and smacked and wrung out. With a couple of days to go in my residency, I decided to let the book rest and get out of my cell. Geneva has a vibrant gallery scene. In the picture above, I’m window shopping for art and maps in the old city.

I loved this Rodin-esque sculpture in the St Pierre Cathedral plaza in Geneva, Switzerland.

I loved this Rodin-esque sculpture in the St Pierre Cathedral plaza.

Detail of the St Pierre Cathedral spire in Geneva, Switzerland.

Detail of the St Pierre Cathedral spire.

Little passageways like this one are abundant in Geneva's old city.

Little passageways like this one are abundant in Geneva’s old city. I think I explored most of them, because I couldn’t resist where they might lead.

John Calvin lived in the house on the left, but I was taken with the fountains spangled with flowers around the old city.

John Calvin lived in the house on the left, but I was taken with the fountains spangled with flowers around the old city.

I wasn't sure I'd get to Yvoire, so I ate this fera at Au Pied De Cochon in Geneva's old city.

During my residency, I’ve befriended Nina’s art assistant Jonathan.

He is a recent graduate of art school in Geneva. He gave me several insider recommendations for getting the most from my Swiss adventure.

  1. Eat fera, a lake fish unique to Lake Geneva. Actually, Jonathan told me to take the ferry from Nyon to Yvoire in France and buy fera from fishermen there. It’s half the price in France, even with the ferry ride. I wasn’t sure I’d get to Yvoire, so I ate this fera at Au Pied De Cochon in Geneva’s old city.
  2. When buying Swiss cheese, it’s best to follow the flies. The more flies, the better the cheese, especially if greeted by an old woman with a mustache. I haven’t tried this recommendation. Yet.

I couldn't resist standing in the middle of trafficless Rue de Mont Blanc and snapping my photo.

On my way out, I couldn’t resist standing in the middle of trafficless Rue de Mont Blanc and snapping my photo. I’m a sweaty mess, but I had a lovely day wandering Geneva with my purged brain.

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P.S. Wondering what I’m doing in Switzerland? I’m at The Trelex Residency in Maison Binet!

The book I’m working on now is a sequel to the others in the Nowhere Series so if you haven’t read the first two – go get them now!

A church has occupied the site of Geneva’s St. Pierre Cathedral since the 6th century, and one can visit every layer of its history for a mere 18 francs. The cathedral is home to Geneva’s Protestant Reformed Church. John Calvin worshipped here during the Reformation. In many European cities, churches like these are Catholic. I was surprised to find a Protestant church of this age and scale and had to take a closer look.

I was surprised to find a Protestant church of this age and scale and had to take a closer look at St. Pierre in Switzerland.

The front of St Pierre is a melange of architectural styles reflecting its long history. The current building dates from the 16th-17th century.

Many surprises were found underneath the sanctuary of Geneva's St Pierre in Switzerland.

The church interior is stark and minimal. It was renovated in the late 20th century. Many surprises were found underneath the sanctuary.

Architectural details of Geneva's St. Pierre Cathedral in Switzerland.

I always love to find these creatures lurking here and there.

St Pierre hosts an active congregation. These colorful reminders were scattered throughout the building.

St Pierre hosts an active congregation. These colorful reminders were scattered throughout the building.

From the north tower of St Pierre Cathedral, one has a panoramic view of Geneva, the Rhône, the lake, and both the French Alps and Jura Mountains.

From the north tower, one has a panoramic view of Geneva, the Rhône, the lake, and both the French Alps and Jura Mountains. It’s worth climbing over 200 stairs. I know how many there were because a little boy was counting behind me. I told him how impressed I was with his counting abilities, and he didn’t even break his concentration to say thanks. Which was perfect.

Underneath Geneva's St Pierre Cathedral lies an extensive archeological museum.

Underneath the church lies an extensive archeological museum.

I spent over an hour wandering from 6th century to 13th century ruins, baptisteries, catacombs complete with exposed bones, wells, monks’ quarters, and architectural remnants. This mosaic floor decorated the bishop’s reception room during the Middle Ages.

St Pierre Cathedral is a Geneva must see.

St Pierre Cathedral is a Geneva must see. I found an outdoor table near this spot and enjoyed dinner, not realizing I’d get a bell tower concert. The cathedral bells played the theme from James Bond, the theme from Superman, Summer Nights from Grease, and Smile (my divorce anthem from ages ago.) Many other foot-tapping songs were in their repertoire. Afterwards, I popped into the Reformed Church Museum for a demonstration of a Gutenberg press in action.

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P.S. Wondering what I’m doing in Switzerland? I’m at The Trelex Residency in Maison Binet!

The book I’m working on now is a sequel to the others in the Nowhere Series so if you haven’t read the first two – go get them now!

Artist Nina Rodin started The Trelex Residency in her home, Maison Binet.

Artist Nina Rodin started The Trelex Residency in her home, Maison Binet. Her father entered this eclectic architectural addition to Trelex’s skyline 80 years ago.

Artist Nina Rodin started The Trelex Residency in her home, Maison Binet. Her father entered this eclectic architectural addition to Trelex's skyline 80 years ago.

Multiple architectural styles are on display, almost like he couldn’t decide what sort of home he wanted. Plus, the house expanded over time. As an artist of some renown, Nina wanted to make space for other creatives to retreat, recharge, and make art. She makes studio and living space available free of charge to artists.

The Trelex Residency in Nina Rodin's home, Maison Binet.

This year, she started the Writing Desk Residency program. A writer can apply for spots in Trelex at Maison Binet, and poets can apply for residencies in Paris. A third Trelex Residency is available in Peru, with more on the way. For more information, go to thetrelexresidency.com.

Nina’s work is in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection, among many others. Learn more about her and her work at  ninarodin.com.

The artwork outside my door at Maison Binet

If you look closely, you’ll see faded words within each piece. Because that’s history, right? Things happened however they did, but we only know what people chose to tell us.

In some cases, they lied to glorify themselves and be remembered as grander than they were. In others, they tried to smear enemies to keep their accomplishments from being remembered at all. So much history is faded words and phrases we barely grasp.

Much like Merry’s journal in To Live Forever, we don’t really know what happened for much of Time. Yet we try to interpret it. We read various accounts, both pro and con, sympathetic and not. But in the end of our searching, history is a few nuggets of truth layered with a century or more of opinions.

In “I Am Number 13,” I’m grappling with a historic event that was never recorded, but I’m certain it happened. On a dark night lost to history, men met. They agreed. And they implemented an audacious plan. Theo was there. Maybe Merry was, too, though unwitting. Their failure doesn’t stop people from making bold and doomed plans.

We don’t study history, because the living want to believe they’re more powerful than the dead. We’re the ones who breathe and dream and eat and orgasm and explore. But we could learn a lot from my characters’ failure. Emmaline is finally flowing, and she’s ready to see what she’s supposed to see. I’m not sure I’m ready, nor do I know what price I’ll pay for delving into something best forgotten. But my butt is in my chair. My fingers are nimble. And my soul trumpets words.

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See what my room and view is like in this post about my writing residency, and tour the town of Trelex in this post.