Life, the universe and ... oh, whatever ...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Getting on with it

So I’m about to go to bed now because I have to get up at half past 5 in the morning and some hours later get on a plane to England. My 10 days in Norway are up and it’s back to “school”. It’s been very good being at home but at the same time I also look forward to getting back to England and getting on with my studies – I so truly enjoy them. Sometimes it’s almost a bit scary, because I’m so happy about how my life is right now, what I’m doing – I keep thinking this can’t last, something is bound to come along and destroy it. And I don’t really believe in fate so I don’t know why I keep thinking this, but I just do. It was the strangest thing; I was sitting on the bus, in Chichester a couple of days before leaving for Norway and thinking about Christmas presents. Honestly, they do bring out the Christmas stuff and decorations way to early in England, don’t they, I mean, mid-September??? But the good thing about that is that it makes me think about Christmas presents a lot earlier than I normally would. So, I was sitting on the bus planning Christmas presents for friends and family and I started thinking about what I myself wanted for Christmas this year. As I still have at least a few family members; parents, grandparents, aunts&uncles, cousins…. that give me presents for Christmas I usually write a list of things that I wish for and distribute it. Having a list to choose from makes life a whole lot easier for everyone, but I do like the surprises not on my list as well!! So, yeah, I started thinking about my own wishes for Christmas, and for a couple of moments I couldn’t think of any! It is the strangest thing, for a moment I was just sitting on this bus, smiling, feeling so blessed because I get a chance to really truly follow my life long dream, and just the thought of that made me so happy that I could not think of a single thing in the whole wide world that I could possible wish for more than that. Is that scary or what??? Yepp, something really bad is going to happen, and that soon too!

Now of course I have started thinking about things I might wish for. A new mobile phone. Lots of books, DVDs and CDs, some clothes, shoes… other girl stuff….. But still, getting to live this life, doing this thing – WOW, what can I say but WOW. I’m a writer, I should if not easily but still be able to find the words to describe this, but I truly can’t, just happy!

So, even though my stay at home has been a good one, and I’m really looking forward to coming back home for Christmas as well – going back to Chichester tomorrow will be good, great actually, I’ll get on with working on my dream!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Falling victim to old bad habits….

I’m back home again, have been since Thursday evening. The strangest thing is happening: before I left for England on September 1st, I found that the last months in Norway I could hardly get any writing done at all – for some reason I was in this state of apathy. Now that I’m back in Norway on a 10 days “leave” from my studies in Chichester I find that I’m right back where I was before I left Norway; it seems like I can’t really get anything sensible done. Since I got back on Thursday I’ve not written a single word, well, creative word that is. I have written at couple of letters that needed writing, a couple of emails, and now this posting to my blog of course, but not a word on any of my short stories or my novel, and I don’t know why. The weeks I’ve spent in Chichester I’ve been writing at least something every day, or been reading something that I need to read for the course. I thought this summer that the reason why I could not write here was that I was just too pre-occupied with the move to England. But now – I have moved now, this is just a short stop at home and it shouldn’t really break my habit of writing, but it does. Am I just too comfortable here, at home that I just can’t find the inspiration to write? Do I need to be in an environment where I’m constantly challenged in all kinds of ways, and not here where things are safe and quiet and normal and really well-known to me? I don’t know, but will let you know if I find out.

I will have to try to get my act together at least a little bit this week though; I really need to do some back-ground or research reading for the short story I’m working on for my Wednesday workshops. But oh, there’s still plenty of time for doing that – isn’t it?

And even though I can’t seem to get much writing done while I’m here, I still love being home for awhile though. I met up with a couple of friends on Saturday, had some beers, and that was just excellent!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Going home!

I’m off to Norway tomorrow. Even though I haven’t really been any home-sick since I came here, I do get a bit impatient now that it’s drawing close. It will be good to get back home to see my family and some of my friends as well. And it will be excellent being at a place for 10 days where I have access to internet 24 hours a day, I might even be able to post stuff on my blog a bit more often than I have been able to do so far.

The last couple of days I’ve been spending working on the things that other members of my group have written for this evening’s workshop. And I’m in a bit of trouble. I really want to do my part and participate, but as most of them have written poems, this is very hard. I don’t read that much poetry, and I certainly don’t know much about poetry, not enough to say what’s good and what’s bad – I only know what I like and don’t like when it comes to the whole poem and not the different elements in it. The last days I’ve been trying to dissect the poems, but I don’t feel I’m any good at it – and that does make me feel as if I’m not participating as much as I should be. I have a theory as well that poems are harder for those who are non-native speakers of a language, because in poetry you’re allowed larger freedoms with the language, a poem isn’t necessarily about what is said in the poem but in what is to be read between the lines – and that can be a bit hard on a foreigner. I am becoming very good at speaking the English language, but mastering it like a native, oh, well, that’ll take years and years and then some….. So when I do work on the poems I often feel as if there are things I don’t understand that I should be understanding – or there are things that I think I understand but then have this gnawing suspicion that I’ve got it completely wrong. It’s hard! But, I never did expect this to be easy, and it certainly does teach me something new – and that is always I good thing I think – to have your horizons broadened!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Guilty pleasures

I have been challenged by my friend Arne to name my guilty pleasures when in music; that is music that when I hear it on the radio actually turn up the volume because I like it – but perhaps wouldn’t so happily admit to it around other people.

Well, the thing is, I’m never embarrassad or feel guilty about the kind of music I like, even though I’m pretty sure that some of my friends would think that I should be thoroughly ashamed and go hide somewhere because of some of the music I choose to listen to. So, this list won’t be of music I feel guilty in admitting to enjoy, it will be music that I kind of suspect that people who know me think I should feel ashamed of:

  • Ole Ivars – Kjærringa mi kan itte spelle trækkspell. I think the lyrics to this song is really really amusing.
  • Baccara – Sorry I’m a lady. A song that’s been with me as long as I can remember, and that still sort of brings on the party mood.
  • Bill Medley/Jennifer Warnes – I’ve had the time of my life. Soundtrack from “Dirty Dancing”, ohhhh, just looooove that movie.
  • Serteb Enyer – Every way that I can. The winner of the 2003 Eurovision song contest – loved it then, still do and really want to dance when I hear it.
  • Carola – I evighet. This year’s song from Sweden in the Eurovision song contest – I can’t help it, I think this is a lovely song.
  • Sarek – Gennom eld och vatten. One of the participants in the Swedish national Eurovision contest in 2003. Great song!
  • Barbados – Världen utanför. Swedis national Eurovision contest in 2002.
  • Dido – White flag. This song reminds me of all the times I’ve had my heart broken, and still I can’t help but loving it.
  • Lollies – Wahnsinn (Hölle, hölle, hölle). From one of my bierfest CD’s, great party song.
  • Ruslana – Wild Dances. The winner of the Eurovision song contest in 2004, or 2005. This really is a great song to dance to.

And I’m sure I could continue writing this list forever, but this will have to do for now because I'm logging off, stopping by the flat with the laptop and then heading to Tesco to do my weekend shopping.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

About my writing

I know I don’t very often actually say anything on here about my writing but I thought I’d do so today. As I have mentioned earlier, doing this MA means that I’m doing 2 modules each semester, and by the end of each module we have to do a 4500 – 5000 words written piece, an assessment.

I have known all along that for one of the modules this semester I wanted to work on my novel “Dreamland”. And that one is coming along, well, quite nicely. Though, I must admit that I have spent a little too much time redrafting the start of it, and not as much time as I probably should on getting the whole of the story down for the first time, the first draft. So now I’m trying to be sort of happy with my 4th or is it 5th redraft of the opening and focus on the rest of the story.

For a while I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do for the other module. I could of course have been working on my novel for that one as well, as we are allowed to work on our main piece of work for all the modules all year through. I’m just thinking though that it might be a good thing to broaden my horizon this year as well, and try to do something different. So I’ve been wanting to do something else than my novel. A couple of weeks ago, this idea that really caught my attention fell into my head, an alternative history for Norway: on 9th of April 1940 Norway was attacked and occupied by Germany. They claimed at the time that they did this to protect us from being invaded by Great Britain, and of course then most people did not believe them, but later it has turned out that they knew what they were talking about when it came to this; Britain did have plans to invade Norway, and Germany might have beaten them with as little as 48 hours in doing so. So I started thinking, how would things have been if Britain had come first, if they had occupied Norway instead of Germany, then what? And then all sorts of things from this alternative history have been coming to me, and I don’t want to reveal all the things I’m thinking about that here, but the idea, just love it. The problem has been however that I haven’t known who’s story this is; I haven’t been able to find a character or a story in there. This alternative story for Norway is of course just a setting; it is part of the story, but sort of more in the background. I have really been struggling these last couple of weeks to find out whose story this is, who it really is about.

Yesterday at the lecture we were talking about the workshops that begin next week, and by then I’ll have to have 2500 words ready, or rather, by Monday I’ll have to have 2500 words ready to send to the other students in my group – and I still had no real story no character. Last night I just could not sleep. I was thinking that I might perhaps have to abandon this idea all together and go back to some other stories that I have been working on as well, but that I don’t really feel like doing right now. When I went to bed I found myself tossing and turning in the bed, not being able to let go of the story, almost cursing because who ever it was pushing me to tell this story just wouldn’t come forward and claim it as their own.

Finally, at 2 this night I had a break-through, and there the character was, speaking to me so loud and clearly it’s a miracle I have not spotted the character and the real story before. It was such a relief. I turned on the light, wrote down all the main details of the story and finally I could sleep. And today I’m tired but so happy because finally I can write this story; it’s all fixed in my head now. There will of course be lots of frustrations and probably more cursing while I try to fix it on paper, but now at least I do know in my head what I’m aiming for, whose story I’m trying to tell and what it is about – and that really makes it a whole lot easier, doesn’t it????

Monday, October 09, 2006


The one thing I find that I really miss by doing this course MA creative writing is getting to talk about Norwegian authors that I like and admire, I miss having them as part of the education, having them as examples to inspire me. In our “classes” lots of literature is used as examples and inspiration by the lecturers, and very often this literature is referred to as if it was obvious that everybody in the room would know of it – and quite often I find that I don’t. I guess my fellow students have learnt about this literature in school, or just simply have learned about it from growing up in a country where it is part of their national heritage.

There is certainly a lot of Norwegian authors as well that I don’t know and have never read simply because I tend to read literature I already know that I’ll enjoy; fantasy and sci-fi, and there’s limited market for these kind of writers in Norwegian. Even so, there are plenty of Norwegian authors that I think are excellent and some of them are even translated into English: Lars Saabye Christensen – The Half Brother, Erik Fosnes Hansen – Psalm at journey’s end, Erlend Loe – Naïve Super, Jostein Gaarder – Sofie’s world.

Then there are some of my favourite poets, I don’t read that much poetry, but from time to time I’ll find poets who amuse me and I tend to stick to those: Odd Börretzen, Jan Erik Vold and a local writer from Solör; Björnar Sömoen – and they’re such excellent poets and I’d really like to be in a group like the one I’m in now and be able to discuss and talk about their work, but as far as I’ve found they haven’t been translated into English so I can’t.

Some of you might argue that I could translate them myself, well, maybe, if I spent really a lot of time working on it I might be able to, but I haven’t got the time. Translating a poem from one language to another I think must be even harder than translating a short story or a novel, because to keep the rhythm, the intention, the feel, the emotion, the images, everything that a poem brings to you – to do it justice in the translation process you’ll have to adopt it like your own poem and work at it, editing and editing till you find just the right words to convey the “thing” that the writer had in this poem when writing it in his language.

Today I’ve been listening to Odd Börretzen song-reading his own poems and he is such an excellent poet, and so amusing, and so deep in meaning – I would have loved to share this experience with my fellow students, but I can’t and that’s frustrating.

And of course it is frustrating when I work on my novel or on short stories and I can’t find the right words. I can find words that have got the same meaning as that I’m thinking about, but I still know it’s just not the right word – and that’s the problem of not being a native speaker of English, my vocabulary is too small, yet….. I know this will get better and I have bought a thesaurus to help me, but still I sometimes get so frustrated I just want to scream, in Norwegian!!!

Still, I love doing this course though, and as I have my frustrations mainly because I’m not a native English speaker, I’m sure my fellow students have other things about doing this course that frustrates them. I guess if it had been just very simple and easy all the time, if it hadn’t been such a challenge to do this – then it also would not have been as fun and inspiring as I find that it really is.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Chichester Cathedral

Today I went on the free Tesco bus to do some shopping, when I got back to Chichester I had to wait for almost 30 minutes for my bus to Summersdale (it is very possible to walk to where I live in Summersdale, it is only about 25 - 30 minutes on foot but I had a lot to carry so...) and while I did that I took some photos of Chichester Cathedral that I thought I'd share with you.

The way old friends do (ABBA)

You and I can share the silence
Finding comfort together
The way old friends do
And after fights and words of violence
We make up with each other
The way old friends do

Times of joy and times of sorrow
We will always see it through
I dont care what comes tomorrow
We can face it together
The way old friends do