Why I wrote “Sebastian”
As a gay man I was always fascinated and frightened by the ideals of ‘real’ men and strength and masculinity as their main attributes and a requirement to finding love. I was not the strongest and sportiest of children and that probably leaked into Sebastian’s character. Expectations of what a man is supposed to be like feeds into his own journey of finding self-worth and confidence, something most of my characters in Sebastian have to struggle with, not just Sebastian
“Sebastian” is based on an idea I had of my grandfather who lived with his new family on the other side of the Berlin Wall. I never met them until the late Eighties, by which time my grandfather sadly had already passed on. Like Sebastian in my book my grandfather had lost his leg due to an accident. How can men like them find love? Unfortunately I was able to learn only a little about my grandfather and his life from my aunt. Much of the details she gave me about his life and his rather philosophical and wonderful outlook on life have found their way into the actual grandfather figure in my book, Oscar, who becomes Sebastian’s best friend in my story and who helps him to find the right attitude.
The other important theme in “Sebastian” is the National Idea and how meaningless such concepts can become in the face of human suffering. I was raised in Bavaria but thanks to my father I spoke in a different accent. I was singled out for it and queried about my origins almost on a daily basis because I did not fit in linguistically. I moved to the North where they spoke ‘proper’ German, but to them I was clearly from the South. Now I am a German living in the UK and yet another type of ‘alien’. I hope to show in Sebastian how destructive false boundaries can be.
Have you ever ran into a false boundary? And how did you handle getting past it?
Should you want to connect with Christoph, he can be found online at his site.