Archive for Writing

Don’t mind the grammar

Re-reading some of my writings on this blog I find that my grammar is more lacking when I write on the fly than when I take my time. I guess that’s common for a lot of people whose first language is not English. I know that it all comes down to how much I practise my writing skills and keep minding my grammar, so I really should get on with my writing again.

Meanwhile I don’t care all that much for correcting my writings—it’s the stories that are important. Grammar will have to wait, but if you are in the neighbourhood, please correct me if you want. I really need to be reminded so that I learn. Grammar, after all, is very important for all of us, whether you know it or not, or like or not.

 

100 människor och 1 ord är egentligen 100 människor och 100 ord

Grammatiken, som verkar statisk, är föränderlig och semantiken, som är subjektiv i praktiken, borde vara mer statisk. En mening som inte följer grammatiska regler kan man ändå förstå, men semantiskt sett är det nästan omöjligt att vara till 100 % överens om vad meningen egentligen betyder.

100 människor och 1 ord är egentligen 100 människor och 100 ord (vilket ofta får osämja som följd). Fascinerande fält att studera. Även om en cigarr ibland bara är en cigarr.

The Thing-Finder

This piece is about a young woman who tells a story from her childhood. I am not sure about the grammar or the use of some of the words, and I have not bothered to revise it, but since I like it, I am posting it anyway. For now, only the story is important.

“I used to find things for my father. You know, like a treasure hunter, but without a mission. He called me The Thing-Finder. I found many things for him over my childhood years and he was proud of me and always let me know how thankful he was for it. Often it was things that he’d lost somewhere, or that he’d forgotten about. Other times it was new things; things that roused his curiosity. Those times we would sit and wonder what it was for, or used to be and how we could use it for something.

Once, when we were out walking and chatting our way through the city streets on an early Sunday morning – having sneaked out before the others had awakened – he said that it would have been nice if we had some money for a cup of tea somewhere. In the middle of his sentence I had spotted something on the pavement a few feet away from us. I dived off in the direction of it, grabbed it, and came back to him, holding my hand up to him showing a £5 note. He laughed with joy, but told me that I could do anything I wanted with it; it did not have to be used for tea. We had tea. And it was a particularly excellent Sunday morning.”

Ghost town misadventures

It was back in ’75 or ’76. The whole neighbourhood seemed like one of those ghost towns from the western films on TV and our normally creative minds had run as dry as the air around us. Breathing that day was exhausting business to anyone. Only the birds were lucky enough to breathe air that didn’t feel like sawdust on fire. The four of us wandered around in the void, aimlessly kicking stones and empty soda cans in front of us until we came to the road by the school. We sat down in the ditch and spied on the few cars that passed by. One of us, I forget who, started rolling marbles in front of the approaching cars, when suddenly one marble bounced up and crashed into the window shield of one of the cars. The air filled with cracking glass, screeching terror, and four deer-like children vanishing through the bushes.

Before I was out of the bushes, the twins and Toby were gone. Heart pounding. Adrenalin, but no air and no legs. A growling ogre in the bushes behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks in front of a small house with a garden by the road. No longer a deer, but a fox, I shed my T-shirt behind the low stone wall, sat down pretending to be as bored as before. Out of the bushes, the ogre charged towards me, stopped and asked if I had seen some boys running this way. I looked him straight in the eyes and told him that I hadn’t. He continued his hunt. Life and all the air returned like the first day of spring. I collected my T-shirt, rolled it up like a ball, put it in my pocket, and slowly walked towards home. I felt like a Sherlock Holmes version of quick-drawing Kid Curry from Alias Smith & Jones.

That helium feeling

I started to write on a new short story tonight. I was just about to go to bed after having seen a lovely film, when I realised that the film was telling me about my own life (or certain parts of it) and I just had to write down a few words that came into my mind. I do that a lot just in case I can use it in my writing later on. This time I wrote almost 4000 words in less than 45 minutes. My fingers actually hurt and my eyes won’t let me keep going, but it’s a good feeling, and, as a friend of mine wrote today, “[that] helium feeling that appears when [it] is written” is fantastic!

Losing it and getting lost

Unfortunately I’m not all that well at the moment. I sleep badly, I eat poorly, my sugar levels are almost through the roof, and I’m not going to the gym as often as I want and need to. Of course, I know that it is all connected and that all I have to do is to straighten up, but… There’s always this “but”. It’s really annoying. I am changing all that starting today. I need to be well.

I was going to start a new job today, but all the red tape is not done with yet, I’m afraid, so I stayed in bed later than usual. My memory seems to get worse as well (a side effect of high sugar levels, no doubt), because I cannot remember if I had any breakfast. Since I am not particularly hungry, I must deduce that I did have breakfast.

Paris in the 1920-30's - Photo from Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Paris by night in the 20's and 30's - Photo from Bruce Silverstein Gallery

I’ll be on my way soon, to pick up my new passport. I’m going to Paris next week and I get quite childishly joyful at the thought of it. I love Paris. I’m going to stay with my dear friend Bojan, who has invited me over for Christmas. It’s going to be great to see my friends again. Also, I’ll bring my camera and my notebook and try to get some photography and writing done while I’m there. I do not know how people celebrate Christmas in France, but it will be fantastic however they do it. Besides, it’s practically a done deal with all that marvellous Bordeaux and good food.

I’m looking forward to get lost on the streets of Paris and not know where I am at all. Something I hope will happen almost every day. To be completely lost is always the best way to get to know a city and its people. I love that.

There’s something about her

Woman Eating Apple - photo by Ambro

Woman Eating Apple - photo by Ambro

I’ve been thinking about my female characters. Or any male author’s female characters, for that matter. Commonly I, and perhaps everybody else, as well, see what we want to see. Some ten or fifteen years ago, on a sunny spring day, I walked through a small town. Having walked through the whole town, I thought that there seemed to be a disproportionate number of females in that town. Unusually attractive as well, I thought. Strange. That didn’t seem statistically correct. So I walked the same way back, but this time with my eyes a bit more objective. It wasn’t true, of course, there were an equal number of women and men, and there were, of course, all kinds of beautiful and ugly, just like everywhere else.

How do we portray people we never see? How does a man portray a female character and vice versa? Supposedly men are from Mars and women are from Venus and we don’t even speak the same language. When it comes to me, I don’t really understand any human being fully. But then again, I’m from Earth. The point is: who are these people? What do they not tell me and what do I not see?

So, how do I portray other men and women convincingly? Do I really have to understand all the motions? Or can I just simply describe what everything looks like to me and hope that it is close enough to get away with?

I’m a man. I do not have a vagina and I cannot give birth. I’m raised as a male, and all what comes along with that. As a boy all my friends were boys. However, I had a mother and I have a sister, and have had a few girlfriends and a wife. I have three daughters and most of my friends are female. Still, I know less about the female mind and of women’s true feelings, than I know of the male psyche. Or so I believe, anyway.

In an attempt to rectify this, I read a lot of female authors these days and preferably literature where the main character is female. I need to know the character I am writing about. I cannot write about someone I know nothing about. Well, I know some things, but not nearly enough. So I study.

Meanwhile, I’m still writing her. I will get her right sooner or later. It may, or may not, be a fairly accurate account of a woman, but she will be there.

An expanding universe

It’s the 11th of May and there’s a tree in full bloom outside my window. The sun makes it stand out against the building behind it and I just want to climb up into the tree and be there. Nothing else but just to be there, sitting on one of its branches, watching the people pass by and catch a few rays of sun between the flowers and the leaves.

I used to do that a lot as a child. Sometimes when I got fed up by being with my friends, I would climb up a tree with a book or something else to read and sit there for an hour or two. I’d watch the people walk by; I would listen in on their conversations and really love the fact that nobody knew I was there. Like a fly on the wall.

That feeling never went away as I grew older. It still comes back now and again, but it has been a long time since I climbed a tree. Instead I go to a cafe, which is much like sitting in a tree, except they all see me sitting there.

Perhaps some would say that it is bad listening in on other people’s conversations, but I look at it as a class room, a place for research. Without life and other people, I would have nothing to write about. Of course, I could write about myself and what happens to me, but that universe is not in itself big enough. This universe of mine (we each have our own) is a product of many things, including the people around me and I am the main explorer of it. However, even though almost endless, it’s not big enough.

The explorer in me wants to travel to every part of that universe which holds all our individual universes. My life is not going to be long enough, of course, but I aim to explore much more yet. For every place I go to, my own universe expands.