Who are you?
Yes, if only I could answer that. Well, OK, as a writer I’m often so absorbed with what my characters are up to that I’m sometimes not entirely sure what I’ve experienced for myself or what my protagonists have done. On top of that, I have three small children who claim every free minute I can spare. With a life like that, you don’t have much time to ask yourself who you are or whether you are. And that’s a very good place to be. My wife Micha, who peeked over my shoulder says: You’re on the planet to have children.
When and how did you consciously make someone happy for the first time?
I remember when I was about five years old; I had about 50 Swiss cents and wanted to organize a party for my siblings. For the money, I got three tiny rabbit candies. I darkened the nursery, set the table very nicely, made a garland and some syrup and wrote an invitation: “party today”. My brothers and sisters came, stuffed the rabbits into their mouths, washed them down with the syrup and then disappeared. I’m afraid nobody was very happy.
What makes you happy? When are you yourself at your happiest? Or when did you start being happy?
I have wonderful people around me, young and old. I have room to write and I can see that my work means something to other people. We live in the mountains: there’s lots of space, and it’s very peaceful, but at the same time our children can romp around to their heart’s content. It couldn’t be more beautiful.
«I work on the assumption that happiness isn’t something we need to create.» Tim Krohn
What does “happiness” and “being happy” mean for you?
I work on the assumption that happiness isn’t something we need to create. We carry it around in ourselves: it’s the fire that keeps us alive, the seed that keeps us unique and magical. But if we don’t always feel happy, it has nothing to do with being short of something so much as having too much stuff sticking to us that weighs us down and makes us unhappy. We carry a shell around with us of vanities, expectations, fears and things we believe make us secure. But if we just look around us, we see that the wealth surrounding us is simply overwhelming. When I’m able to slip out of my shell, I’m happy.
And how, precisely, do you intend to crack that shell and help us out of our own?
It’s easier to do in some places than in others. In the city, when you’re constantly surrounded by culture and consumerism, it’s hard to find your inner peace. In the mountains, it happens by itself. Every peak is older than humankind, every weather-beaten pine tree gives us our inner peace. Individual old houses have the same power. Micha and I have turned this magnificent old house that had stood empty for decades into somewhere you can live and grow. We were driven by the desire to give it to other people, at least for a limited time. To give them the peace that makes our valley so unique and which the house reinforces.
How did your project come about, and have you always seen yourselves as “happiness heroes”?
People have been coming to our house, Chesa Parli, for almost a year now, and I can’t think of anyone who didn’t leave happier than when they arrived. We only actually realized that we were giving people happiness after we read your announcement. For us, it isn’t so much a realization as a natural experience that emptiness needn’t mean loneliness but that it can have a soul and be more fulfilling than anything else.
«Like happy little fleas. Or a sense of hushed wonderment.» Tim Krohn
Can you tell us a little more about your project?
The project is modest. We give creative individuals space as well as peace and quiet. Preferably - but not exclusively - we invite people who face up to life and want to help do something good with it. Something to remind us that each and every one of us already bears the happiness we need within ourselves. The space works to create the fire. Like happy little fleas. Or a sense of hushed wonderment. And we see to it that these hushed little works travel around the world, like fare dodgers, so to speak, in the FREITAG universe. Only to be found, like flotsam and jetsam or some stray balloon, in the most unusual of places. To interrupt people’s everyday lives and create the space for an unexpected grain of happiness.
Many thanks and the best of luck!