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

Sunday, February 25, 2007

It’s unbelievable…

This reading week and my “holiday” in Norway is coming to an end. My flight back to England leaves mid-day tomorrow.

I can quite proudly say that I have actually been quite efficient this reading week (at least compared to the one I had in October last year!), I have done a lot of research for the new love story I’m writing that’s set in the Viking Age. I have not done a lot of writing, but what I have managed to do is finish editing my novel “365 days”! Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. I have finished editing the novel, have printed it out and it’s being sent back to the publisher tomorrow!

For those of you who haven’t read this blog from the very beginning a quick update:
About three years ago I finished a novel called “365 days” which I then sent to different publishers after each other. The first four weren’t very interested in it, but the fifth said that they liked the story and the characters but that the novel was to long in its current form and that the language needed to be considerably tightened. They also said that if I could be bothered with shortening it they would like to read it again. This was by end of September 2005. For a very long time I just wasn’t able to do this job, then finally in January this year I sat down and just did it, most of the editing. The remaining 5% of editing needed some more distance and thought before I made up my mind and that’s what I’ve done this weekend.

So, now I guess it remains to be seen if the publisher still likes my story.

Monday, February 19, 2007

More differences

I got back to Norway on Thursday afternoon and talk about differences!

It’s so strange, how my family and friends have been talking about lots of snow and -20 degrees, and I certainly know about that kind of weather having experienced it myself almost every winter my whole life – but for some reason being in the mild spring-like summer of England it still must have completely missed my mind what half a metre of snow really looks like. There was this typical frosty white fog when we were landing on Gardermoen so I didn’t really get to see Norway before the wheels were actually on the ground and then I saw all the snow – and it just hit me – it’s still winter in Norway. The logical part of brain already knew this of course, but being in such a warm country as England this winter it’s been impossible to understand what a true Norwegian winter really is.

I also got the confirmation about how exotic Norway can really be ten minutes after the bus left the airport. We were driving on quite sparsely populated roads between Gardermoen and Jessheim, and suddenly the bus driver had to change lanes to avoid hitting an elk!!! Yes, this is definitely Norway for you.

Standing at Kongsvinger and waiting for the next bus to Flisa I was also reminded that I did not have proper footwear on my feet, ten minutes on snow and my toes were freezing. That is also when I made the decision that even though I know I ought to, I wouldn’t actually go to any of the rally competitions that have been going on in my home area for the whole weekend. It’s been really huge – and I’ve watched everything there was to see – on TV!!

Today I’ve driven a car on icy roads for the first time this winter which suddenly also was a bit of a daunting challenge since I hardly ever drive any more because I haven’t got a car in England, and then also having to face the winter roads as well. But I managed to get myself to the dentist and the library without any accidents so I guess I’ve still got whatever it takes to be a driver on Norwegian roads during winter.

I borrowed six books about the Viking age at the library today, and this week I’ll be spending most of my time doing research and redrafting my love story set in the Viking age.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


I woke up to the news of chaos in parts of England, because of cold weather and snow. When going to BBC website I read the following:

Schools in parts of England and south Wales are shut and drivers are being urged to travel only if necessary.

I’m thinking “Oh my God how much snow have they got?”
I read on:

The deepest snow recorded so far is Sennybridge in the Brecon Beacons where 7cm (3in) is lying and overnight temperatures plummeted to -4C (25F).
Elsewhere, 5cm (2in) has fallen in Benson in Oxfordshire and 4cm (1.5in) in west Wales, south-west London and Wiltshire.

7 centimetres, really… oh yes,that's a lot... And Oh My God, down to -4 degrees is it – that’s awful…
When I got to the next part I just could not help but laugh out loud:

All schools in Birmingham, Solihull and Dudley have been closed, as well as some in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and East Anglia.

More than 300 schools are also closed in Wales.

I remember when I was a child and still in school, when it was colder than -20 degrees we were allowed to stay inside the school buildings for the ten minutes between lessons, and when it got colder than -40 my mother would allow me to stay home from school – but I can’t remember that the school actually closed, don’t think it did.

The BBC article on the weather finishes with the following sentence:

People who must travel are advised to take warm clothes, food, water, a torch and a spade.

So this is when I ask my friends and family back in Norway, who I guess have at least 30 centimetres with snow now, I know they have experienced temperatures down to -20 in the last couple of weeks and the forecast still predicts -10 in the next days: have you remembered to bring food, water, a torch and a spade when you drive to work, to the stores or anywhere else you might think of going in your cars?

Monday, February 05, 2007


That number describes how many words I’ve written on my new story “The Battle” today. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? I guess it is amazing for one day’s work. The problem is that if you were to check just how much I’ve written during the whole of last week, well, the total would still only be six thousand six hundred and forty-two. To my defence I must say that I have been doing a lot of research though before I started writing this story.

It is something I’m doing for one of the modules this semester “Sources and Transformations”. We should be writing either a biography, an autobiography, a story based on historical persons, an historical event, myths, a special time in history… And I’ve decided that I want to do a story set in the Viking Age, 800 – 1050 AD. So far I think this will be a love story that has got not much to do with neither fantasy nor sci-fi which are my “normal” genres.

The first draft is finished and it is… very much a first draft. I am not by far certain that this story will be told through the eyes of the character I’ve told it so far, or that it will be the third person point of view which has been my first choice. I am very relieved however that I was finally able to sit down and write a draft. The sentences are far from perfect, many or the words are not near being what they are supposed to be, but I have began a new story – and the feeling that gives me… Even though I am a writer I just can’t find the words to describe it, it’s such a rush, such a high, so much joy, uplifting, like a burden has been lifted from my shoulders! Now I will just have to keep at it and try to make it into what it is supposed to be, but getting the first draft down on paper is always the most dreaded thing and one of the most difficult of the whole writing process, and for this story, I’m past that!

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Those readers of this blog who knows me quite well also knows that I am terrified of these flying things – and that there’s no way I would normally be able to take a photo as extreme close up as this. The trick is, it’s dead. No, I did not kill it. Even though I’m scared into hysteria by them if they get close I still don’t like to kill them. This one has for some reason just landed on my porch and died there, it’s been in the same spot for days – and as it really is in excellent condition I thought it was a good object to photograph as well.

You want to know the really crazy thing? Even though I knew it was dead, my phobia of these flying creatures still sent chills down my back when I had to be this close to it to get the photo taken!

My friend the Blackbird

When I sat in the garden today there was a blackbird hanging around, being very brave walking quite close to me – so I took some photos of him – he didn’t seem to mind.

Beautiful day

I’ve spent 1 ½ hours sitting outside in the sun today. There are lots of things growing in the garden around my house, and I thought I’d share a couple of the flowers with you.

It’s been a rather excellent day actually, after the initial disappointment of not being able to see biathlon online after all (turned out my broadband is just too slow, both the image and the sound was continuously interrupted) - the sun came and brightened my day considerably.

I have since I signed the contract on this house tried to persuade family and friends in Norway to come visit me, soon, not with much luck so far I’m afraid.

Why they’d rather spend their time in cold, snowy, icy Norway – when they can come and spend days in the sunshine here in Southern England beats me, but I guess there are good reasons for everything that happens, or as it is, doesn’t happen…

The really silly thing is that even though I think it's been a very good day, I know I would've been able to enjoy it even more if I'd had some family or friends around to share it with... It's always like that isn't it, we always want to share the good things in life with those with care for.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Jackie Wills’ blogg

For our next Wednesday's lecture we will be visited by the poet Jackie Wills. As I don’t know her or her work I googled her and found out that she’s got her own blog. “Wow, how cool” I thought – and then it occurred to me, why is it so cool? Hopefully, if everything goes as planned, I will also be a published writer some day and I will most certainly keep on writing my blog after that’s happened, I mean why would I go change my life simply because I’ve had a book published?

I guess cool is not the right word, but certainly interesting as it does give you some insight into published writers’ lives.