Scene: The quietest corner of a messy room. Late afternoon, summer.
A thoroughly disheveled child sits on the floor, frowning at the dim laptop screen. Scrolling through a half-finished list of questions, she realizes how unprepared she is, congratulates herself, and picks up the phone anyway.
She’s preparing to interview Weez Phillips—extremely cool pen pal and friend, proud subpar artist, and blogger behind the wonderful chaos known as Caught Daydreaming. In addition to these things, Weez is about to release her debut novel, a future cult classic known as The Lightest Heaviest Things. Devouring this story in a single night brought the aforementioned interviewer to tears, which is supposed to be impossible, and left her with an even deeper admiration for Weez’s ability to masterfully balance the light and humorous with the heavy and profound.
Head bent to one side in order to awkwardly balance the phone while still having both hands to type, she smiles at the sound of Weez’s voice coming through the small phone speaker. Quickly abandoning any hope of professionalism, she types with zero regard for the mistakes she’s making, rambles far too much, and asks the long-suffering author repeat herself every three seconds.
So. With that disaster of a mental image in mind, let us proceed.
“The trees are tall, and the giants are not actually taller than the trees. You told me that the giants aren’t real. I don’t know if they’re real. They look real, to me, but they also don’t seem real. You don’t see them, either.”
Peri, alone in her house, has spent a lot of time observing the silent, strangely sad giants that move just on the edge of her vision. They never speak. They never laugh. They are always alone. Drowning in her own loneliness, Peri doesn’t think much about where the giants came from, or what they might need from her.
When Peri’s best friend Wink starts seeing the giants too, though, they decide that they need to find out why the giants are so sad and alone. This sets them off on a quest that neither of them is quite prepared for, through the woods and up the mountain.
Magic, melancholy, and myth collide in their lives, showing them a world both worse and better than they ever knew.
(clara in bold, weez in normal font) (written, to my knowledge, exactly as it was originally spoken, with the exception of phone issues and my frequent enthusiastic interruptions)
Wanna start by introducing yourself?
“Hello, my name is Weez. Um, you may know me as that one blogger who can eat a spoonful of mayonnaise straight. That’s all I‘m known for… I actually have no idea what I’m known for.”
*in a strange voice* “’She’s the one with the mayonnaise, right?’ That’s me.”
Could you introduce your book?
“Its name is The Lightest Heaviest Things. Some might call that a title, but it’s a name. It has trolls, can’t go wrong there… and I think there’s some snacks in there.”
Can we talk about your very creatively named characters?
“Ah, yes. You mean Peri, Wink, and Ull. Yes, they do have very creative names, don’t they, given the fact that their names all come from the word periwinkle, making the whole book a long drawn-out pun, which almost no one has noticed so far, to my knowledge. My best friend actually figured it out at the beginning, when I said, “I’ll name the characters Peri and Wink.” She said, “Like periwinkle?” and I said, “Yes, like periwinkle.”
What was the hardest thing about writing this book?
“The hardest thing…. the hardest thing is when you wake up in the middle of the night and you think, ‘But is my premise good? Does it have meaning? Does it speak truth?’ And then you realize that you don’t know what you’re talking about, and then you wonder how much of that comes through in the book.”
What would be the most likely way for each of your characters to die?
“Uh…. uh, Wink would probably be rather advanced in years, and then she has a heart racing spell or something, which eventually ends her. Peri, then, uh, lives a little longer than Wink, falls into a deep depression, finally comes out of it, but on that very same day, she’s in a plane crash or something… but she dies instantly, there’s no pain. Ull? Well, he wouldn’t want to die in a boring way, but he probably does. He probably dies in his sleep, but when he gets to heaven… or…. troll heaven… do they have a troll heaven? I need to look into that.”
“…when he gets to heaven, he tells a story. He’s like, ‘I was fighting demons in my sleep when one of them slayed me!’ And they’re like…. no, that’s not how this works.”
If you could write the whole book again, would you do anything differently?
“Hmmmm. Well, let’s see. I think I thought this through the other day. My only thought was that if I were slightly older and more experienced, I might include a villain. That would require a complete plot restructure, though, and that would be exhausting. But it would also be cool. If I thought I could, I certainly would, but I don’t think I can, so I will not.”
What is your hope for this book’s future?
“Well, I am hoping to publish it by September on Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Oh, oh! I want to be a cult classic like Douglas Adam and Steven Page or the original films of George Lucas…why are they all male?”
Would you rather be Peri, Wink, or Ull?
“I was gonna say Ull, because I like Ull, but then I realized… wait, that’s a spoiler. I just realized that I did something to him that I would not want done to myself. I choose Wink, she’s probably the most stable.”
What would your characters’ favorite bands be?
“Ooooh. Well, Ull, of course, has never heard human music, but, um, I can definitely say I am confident that he likes The Barenaked Ladies and Blues Traveler. Ull is technically my son… my trollish son that I wrote about. Wink probably likes Imagine Dragons. Peri falls in between, like, Old Man Luedecke, like Canadian banjo music, and she might be a Lumineers fan… but I’d have to ask her.”
What would be your dream interaction with a fan?
“Ooh. I have a recurring daydream of mine, and I have it kind of in detail—but I want to be, like, wandering around somewhere, maybe in a gas station, getting pop tarts—because pop tarts from a gas station taste better than pop tarts from a grocery store. But I want to be, like, grabbing my pop tarts, and hear someone say my name. And I turn around and look very confused and oblivious, like I have been startled out of pop tart euphoria. Then I want Fan A, who has no name or age or gender, to just say, ‘Wow, I love your book. It’s really weird, man, what were you thinking?’ And I just want to smile at them and say, ‘Can I take a selfie with you to prove that I have one fan?’ I might share my pop tart with them, if I like them. You know, as long as they aren’t anti-pop tart… in which case I might delete the selfie and never talk to them again.”
What unexpected things have come from you writing this book?
“Um. Allow me to think. Well, this phone call is one of the things. Um. I had several people inform me that they would read anything I wrote, which made me feel a little bit like Napoleon standing on top of a castle…. I don’t know where I was going with that. I felt like Napoleon for a few seconds, but not, like, Napoleon at Waterloo, Napoleon at the peak of his reign of terror.”
What’s your favorite thing about your book?
“Um. Let me think. Favorite part? Uhhh…. okay. I really like this one part that I also kinda wish I hadn’t left in there. Well, I might not have left it in there, but at some point there’s a line that goes, ‘my soul doesn’t feel naked, but it feels like it’s in a swimsuit.’ Whenever I think of it, I’m like…. oh no.”
Any final remarks?
“Please tell me you wrote that down.”
“WAIT! I should add a polite crowd dive.”
*polite crowd dive*
It’s here that you would see the interviewer, weak from a combination of laughter and attempting to type at impossible speeds, hang up the phone and breathe a sigh of contented relief.
Weez Phillips, ladies and gentlemen. She’s good like that.
The Redbubble merch collection, by the way, is really cool. I speak from personal experience:
Behold, my second-most prized possession. I could have actually attached this to something instead of holding it awkwardly in my hand, but here we are. This little button/pin/can’trememberthename has been on my bag, wrapped up in my earbuds, stuck to my bulletin board, pinned to my camera strap… the possibilities are endless. 10/10 recommend, review not sponsored, I spent my own money on this because I have zero self control and we could all use a reminder to be brave.
Well. Anything else…. We’re Going Home by Vance Joy gives me the same feeling that TLHT gave me, plus it’s just a good thing to listen to if you’d like to smile against your will. Thanks, Weez, for writing a beautiful story and giving me a chance to help share it with the world. :)
Everything feels lighter, somehow, and braver, and more beautiful.
– The Lightest Heaviest Things