Brussels appears right in the beginning of my novel Annabel (2010, Janet 45). The plot does not take place here but in Amsterdam. Nevertheless I am choosing to start my blogging year with the following extract:
“This story starts in my attic studio apartment in Brussels. My first apartment after a series of rooms of all sorts and sizes, all of them in the attic (that part doesn’t seem to change). Only my very first room, the one I had before all the others, was situated in the basement and had barred windows facing a wall, which made it impossible to open them wide. Only as much as to get some air in. This room had stairs leading up to another room – a nice, spacious one, with quite a lot of light coming in and windows opening up to a street that was large, loud and very long. My favorite street in Brussels. It looked like a boulevard in one of its ends, and in the other end, where I lived, it narrowed down to become cozier. And when the sun set above it (that was a time when Brussels would see the sun quite often), the dying light would make such a miracle out of the buildings, that I would think: “See, there is the whole world locked up in a street”.
It was “…there is the whole world locked up in a junction“, and it wasn’t “locked up”, it was “packed into”. That’s what I was thinking and it was actually about Place St Gery that I would think it, with its four corner cafes, smoky and packed in the winter, all out in the summer, all busy and distinct, always the same and ever different, with the music invariably matching my mood. We’d meet there for years, always the same, ever different, and I can’t believe we never tired of it, but then again, how could we – it was the world, packed in between four corners, four directions, St Gery.”
Translation by Bistra Andreeva