Apologies

I am sorry, oh so very sorry. It has been ages since I last published something; anything. Life, studies, work, crises; happiness and sadness and chilly autumn days following an incredibly warm summer (both in Europe and the Americas!) The thing is, sometimes so much is happening and so much needs to be said, it is impossible to make any sense of it all.

“The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force”, declares Matthew 11:12. I must confess I have never quite grasped the whole meaning of this Scripture. However, it comes to mind often, these days. Now more than ever I feel it, and by feeling I mean truly feeling it; in my guts, on my skin, in the passive desperation that so easily and so often overcomes some of us living in this globalized, yet dehumanized – and dare I say spiritless – world. Whenever this happens and I feel I can’t take it any longer, it is then I am most compelled to endlessly listen to music, to hear my words spoken by others, to find solace in their findings, their observations; in the silent agreement between listener and the one listened to.

Soothing repetition? predictable phrases? (for I have listened to them thousands of times) encouraging beats lending me some of the singer’s courage to face life just one more day? Whatever it is that’s contained in music, it reminds me that we all are capable of seeing, saying and acting out truth, regardless of our religious, social or endless other inclinations. That we choose to or not to do it is another matter. It is, upon being reminded of such thing, that my hope is rekindled. I probably still disagree with many ideas, positions and ways of life out there; I still believe, in my heart of hearts – especially as I witness my generation, different eye color, skin tone, clothes or language around throughout the world, yet still my generation – God is the final hope for humanity, and still I am able to see that we’ve all “got it” within us: the basic ability to perceive, receive and utter truth which, in turn may foster love, create trust and enable faith that may lead us to get our act together.

All that to say, yes, I have been busy and yes, many things concern me – some of them not even remotely related to Sweden – yet that’s no excuse for being absent for so long. (side note: I’ve seriously considered whether I should drop blogging, due my lack of commitment) so in an attempt to redeem myself a bit, I offer you “the ultimate list of songs echoing my thoughts or lifting my spirits lately”. Perhaps you’ll find more meaning and better messages in them than throughout this rant.

Enjoy!

p.s. There are a couple ones in Swedish… you know, so as to keep the blog’s overall theme somewhat alive. ;)

– in Swedish –

Vera Nord – Visan om mig

Laleh – En stund på jorden

Laleh – Mamma

Thomas Stenström – Slå mig hårt i ansiktet

Laleh – Vårens första dag

Laleh – Goliat

– in Sámi (joiking included) –

Sofia Jannok – Viviann (Bievá biette Viviann)

Sofia Jannok – Irene

– in Spanish (close to my heart, thinking of Mexico, these days) –

Eugenia Leon – Latinoamérica

Ismael Serrano – Rebelion en Hamelin

Jorge Drexler – Noctiluca

Natalia Lafourcade et. al Derecho de nacimiento

Santiago Benavides – Gracias a Dios Por La Vida

– in English –

Laleh – Boom

Laleh – Samuel

JJ Heller – Love Can Make You New

Kings Of Convenience – Homesick

Caleb – We Will Wait

Josh Garrels – The Children’s Song

– in Danish –

Rasmus Seebach – Øde Ø

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A Lame Post

I was here, at the library, about to sit and produce the greatest post humanity has ever seen… at least the fraction of humanity who follows my blog and at least the greatest ever since I last posted. And then – my obvious humbleness aside – I had to pee… and so it happened, unable to resist my urge to read almost everything I see, I succumbed to the almost cosmic-style-radioactive attraction of the letters on the toilet stall’s door; yes, even when I knew unpleasant surprises awaited my unaware eyes. Except they didn’t. Much to my surprise and delight, and contrary to what popular culture and memories of high school would have us readers expect, instead of “so and so loves sa and sa** or bleeeeeeeep (expletive of your choice) word · word· bleeeeeep (expletive of your choice)” I found a bunch of funny, quirky, often-plagiarized-from-tv-shows phrases, assertions, reflections and even pieces of advice like, “your life is a gift from God, worth to be lived. Don’t think so negatively, ” an arrow pointing to the now erased original message a potential depressed teenager might have left; reads like pretty good advice, if a bit oversimplified, if you ask me. All clean, concrete, positive, innocuous words. Whether I condone people writing on bathroom stalls’ doors or not is a different matter, but let’s befog not our happiness  with such minutiae while we can bask in all its temporary, unexpected glory.

My point with this post? Let the foregoing be an excuse for why that cool, important, transcendent post I was determined to write while here, sitting at the library, didn’t hasn’t come to be and thus why you, most gentle readers, will have to wait a little longer to get your neurons delightfully excited (You can tell I’ve been reading a lot of scientificish texts lately). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll sit here a little longer, not-quite-thinking, not-quite-needing-an-explanation-for-the-phenomenon, and take in the pleasant surprise I found in one of the least expected places.  You, in the meantime, keep your eyes moist, nurtured (I’ve read 1/2 cup of spinach works wonders for the macula) and well rested.

Until later, fellow obsessive readers…

Photo: Barry Yanowitz

Befog : Confuse // fog, obscureMacula : an anatomical structure having the form of a spot differentiated from surrounding tissues; especially :  macula lutea //a small yellowish area lying slightly lateral to the center of the retina that constitutes the region of maximum visual acuity —called also yellow spot

**Bear with me, it’d be weird for so and so to love himself ;) ;  OK, it is, but I doubt anyone would admit that on a toilet’s door, despite the much more crude, way stronger ‘telegrams’ one might find

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On Ecclesiastes 3 and The Creative Process

As a student I would spend long periods of time creating or, better said, attempting to create. I was supposed to generate innovative, fresh, ‘crazy’ while at the same time well thought ideas… on a deadline. It all worked well a few times, but most it didn’t. What I mean is there were loads of hard work behind every finished project, no smiling muse, or spark of light behind my small successes.

One particular morning my whole class – of 9 – seemed particularly blocked and frustrated, as became  my professor from our lack of _______(what have you) . Her being not the cool, bearded,  hippieish “the process is as important as the result” type who’d wait for the muse to grace us with its presence (She could have well been Twyla Tharp’s lost sister), decided it might do us well to change location and go tooooooo… the library (insert meh expression here). She had us all sit down and browse through book after book, catalog after catalog in search for inspiration and some reflection on the denotative and connotative meaning of all things visual. We did. The result? I can’t  remember but it eventually got me a diploma and a nice silver medallion, blue & gold ribbon attached.

The thing is, on that day – maybe, maybe it merely illustrates my point – I learned one can’t always be ‘on the go’, doing, performing, creating; it is sometimes also necessary to . stop . and read, look, smell, feel; and so process and think and reflect. And look again and listen and load yourself with information. Like this:

ImagePhoto Credit

(yeps, such a random that as this may prove thought provoking if not directly inspiring)

Granted, there’s always the risk of overload resulting in ‘mental tummy ache’ and/or producing copycats of other people’s ‘babies’ but then again, as time passes – I think – you get wiser and become more selective about what your senses are fed and how you let that affect your own creative process.

Of course I feel pressed; pressed by time, by the things I ought to be doing and the someone I should be…hmmm… being? It is all there and it is all legitimate, and yet, I am aiming to not err as I did that morning in the classroom, jumping into action armed with barley any reference to begin with. I am neither saying all I am listening to, watching, reading, experiencing will necessarily render a tangible result, nor advocating for this somewhat passive phase to drag on forever, devoid of all future concrete goals; I know there will soon come a time to rest from it and get back to work, especially on what pertains to blogging for, as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 accurately points out, there is time for everything and, on occasion, ‘actively waiting’ yields more fruit than ‘dully performing’. Now on the depth of Ecclesiastes itself, its impact and Danskeability* – well… that should provide fodder for a part two post. stay tuned.

Question: Have you ever felt that way? I mean, have you ever felt an almost desperate need to nurture yourself off of other people’s creative efforts? If so, what has it looked like for you?

* Danskeability = Potential to comment on, convert, merge or otherwise relate a topic – any topic! – or thing, person, place or situation with Denmark, despite its utter non-relationship to vikingland.

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Dear WordPress… seriously?

3522509847_9b3f81030c_zOk, so this post has absolutely nothing to do with Denmark, life (‘pre’ or ‘post) or the like. Apologies. I’m just quite baffled and disappointed to see some changes in the overall structure of WordPress. I know, I know… “why don’t you then contact their customer service – or similar – and stop ranting in ‘public’?” Well… because.

To start with I must say I simply can’t understand why on Earth one is no longer able to scroll through freshly pressed posts unless signed in. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I did try to find out – without success – a way to just go the WordPress home page and read freshly pressed posts before making this assertion.) Are we really getting to the point of limiting the joys and pains of blogging to a bunch of ‘us’, thus excluding ‘them’ as many groups in waaaaay too many situations and contexts already do day in and day out? Why, WordPress, oh why can’t we bloggers share our passion for writing with those with passion for reading, why?

Why must we also comply with the most recent change (that I’ve noticed, anyway) that  obliges us to scroll down the screen to look at each individual freshly pressed post (giant picture included) instead of looking at all of them – orderly arranged, decent size picture displayed – at once? Why?

Dear WordPress, please reconsider. I can’t quite find practical (or even aesthetic) reasons for these changes and, if I may add my two cents, think it does a great deal of harm to us bloggers limiting our potential readership to those already holding WordPress ‘membership’. Did you at least run a poll among bloggers to check if we liked the changes? (I did not get the memo, thank you) Is it all a subtle strategy to get us to acquire our domains so that people can access freely? It can’t be. You are not like that, you’re not…. oh my… I’d better start saving to acquire my domain… soon

Photo credit

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The fear of silence

I found a cute button (yes, the kind you stitch to clothes) the other day. I thought I’d blog about it because, well… I won’t tell you why; I still want to blog about it at some point. Then I found a lady on the subway, and then a whole story as I made my way home a few weeks ago. I reflected upon many subjects and yet time and time again, abstained from writing… because I am afraid.

I have many fears, you see. I suppose we all do, only some of us are more honest about them than others. That or I try to console myself thinking everyone fears as I do. Whatever the case, among those fears I count the one impeding me to write whenever I feel like it; it’s too daunting, too exhausting, too demanding and too revealing. It’s too personal and at times leaves me in pieces. According to Charles Bukowski I should not write, then, for it doesn’t come out like a air escaping a deflating balloon. To him I say – or would, were he alive -, I dare to disagree Mr. Bukowski, for sometimes it’s that we cherish most we tend to stay away from for fear of screwing it up.

Writing might not come roaring out of me every time – though it almost always does – and I may fear every time I start pouring words over this blog, I will have nothing to say, or that it will be garbage or that I will reveal how fearful I am. More than that, however, I fear being silent, losing my voice and never daring to confront the daunting scenario of a blank page.

I know that by the time I finish this post I will have gotten to no point, shed no pearls of wisdom or inspired children to become like me, but I will, at least this one time, have defeated the fear of silence telling me I cannot write, and I will continue to do so; at day and night, when no one reads and when no appealing titles can be found. After all, I lose nothing but some sleep when I sit here and type.

Perhaps, just perhaps, I need to take the same approach towards the many other fears in my life; perhaps I am just to take momentum and do all I fear I am not capable of and then realize I’ve defeated the fears of the unknown. As far as writing at least, it does me good. I get to hear my keyboard’s chirping type at night and conjure beautiful syllables of the words I am so enthralled by.

So here… we have arrived. To the place of no destination, to no man’s land. I have said nothing and yet I feel oh so much a writer tonight.

Photo credit

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Me = Readanosaurus [Libro comedentis: avid books devourer]

I have been looking all day – intermittently, tough – for something interesting to read. The fact is, I do not have at present a whole lot of money to spend on books… or any other non-basic necessity for this matter, and then, the books I really want to read and for which I’d be willing to shed some bucks, I can’t find; not without paying a hefty shipping fee.

In any case, since I have not yet found something interesting enough to read, I just decided to break the now long silence and try to come up with something I might, just might, even want to re-read later on.

Actually, I remember this one time: I decided I would write a book. I mean, how hard could it be? right? right? (Never mind I didn’t even have a fairly well-structured plot) Of course I was young and naive; I’m still naive, just not as young. In any case, ignorant an over enthusiastic as I was, I started writing ‘my novel’. I did manage to finish to chapters, I think, but that’s not the commendable or interesting part. What happened next was. I left ‘my novel’ rest for a while, coming back to it a few months later. As I read through the pages I had written, I was suddenly overcome by this desire to know more, to know what would happen with the characters. Of course I did know or, if I didn’t, at least it was completely in my hands to create what would happen to them next. And then… I became just too lazy/unmotivated/writer’s blocked to do anything about it. On the one hand I was truly eager to get to the end of the story; on the other, knowing I had to make the effort to write it, even at the risk of not liking the results and of course, with the inconvenience of lacking reading material – right then and there – for me to enjoy, took away any possibility for ‘my novel’ to ever see the light.
The moral of the story? Hmm… there’s no such. I was just remembering the one time when what I wrote ended being quite an enjoyable text for me to read, as if for the very first time, fostering through the process emotions such as intrigue, eagerness, hunger for more and eventually disappointment at the sudden loss of my thirst quenching literary source.

I am not so sure writers have that experience quite often. I mean, if we’re honest, most of us do write in order o be read… by others. At the very least, we write to get the thoughts, the words, off of us; to know we have poured in paper what cannot remain locked in the depths of our beings for it must be shared. Then, I can’t quite see how a writer would read his or her book again just for pure enjoyment. Maybe some do. Perhaps… perhaps some of us write the stories we would like to be told?

Whatever the case, I came here to write something I might enjoy reading again later on (just like this short piece I delight in reading to this day). It is now late, however, and I have spent a rather long time just getting to the heart of the matter and I might disappoint. And still…

A short piece, for a short dream, on a short – perhaps sleepless – night:

There he was, in his seventies and half bald… I assume, since his dark, shepherd hat covered his head. I observed him barely for an instant; almost as quick as the snapping of a camera. No, I did not have a camera and that’s fine anyway. Had I captured his picture, I would probably now talk about the pipe which wasn’t, you know, just like Magritte’s. I would not be telling you of the man, standing a few yards from my eyes, gymnastically moving his arms in both, gracious and ridiculous movements, attempting to… stay alive? 

One might conclude he was feeding pigeons, armed with as sophisticated weapons as a black well-worn umbrella and a brownish coat to fend for himself. My theory is, however, he was in reality waging a fierce battle against times long gone by, swiftly moving through the crisp winds of a warm spring back in Lisbon, proving to all those youngsters in town he had still the right to breath, to live.
Nothing happened between him and me. He kept feeding pigeons, in his seventies, with his hands, an umbrella on one side, while I was whisked away by my companion, looking for our next great ‘find’; an old, rusty ‘tasca’ where to ponder life.

We found none. That is, neither tavern nor much pondering to do. Life? we found tons of life. We lived life; and perhaps that is the reason on nights like these, I get hold of memories from my personal data bank, daring to believe, for a fraction of a second, life gave me the greatest chance of staring at that man, at that precise moment one warm  July afternoon at the Portuguese capital. It might not amount to much right now. I am not writing no novel, not even a decent plot, but I’m passing on to you this picture of this fragile gentleman. Think, dream, tell yourself the story you would like to be told. Maybe, one day, when you write a book and I read it and I recognize a story prompted by a blurry man depicted on a blog, I will finally be told a story my lazy self has so been longing to hear but prevented me to write.

Remember, he was in his seventies and he had a woolen cap. He danced with an umbrella and methodically fed birds. Brownish clothes, fragile frame. A small park bench as his stage. There, he’s all yours, the story is laid… what’s next?

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On the appropriateness of airing laundry

I’ve been juggling with the idea of posting, for the last two weeks. Many subjects could be covered, dissected and generally, as it often is the case with me, reflected upon, even from a deep, dark, almost bizarre angle no one  – not that I know of, anyway – had thought of before.

The fact is, despite possessing an ever increasing archive of information in my mind from which to draw for a million posts, I have been avoiding to question myself where the writer blogger ends and the person begins, or continues to be;  How much information I should disclose in a blog and how I should treat it. Now, in order to understand all this rambling something must be said, and I know the following may qualify as too much information:

I went back to Denmark*… and Sweden, mind you. As a result, in the past two months or so I lived some of the most incredible, positive and freeing experiences, along with some of the most excruciatingly painful and challenging ones. Out of all of them, my ‘other’ self – that being the one who judges everything from the outside, as a narrator would – managed to compile enough material for a book or two, or three if I count all the food I ate and all that could be said about it. Hence the questions above, for most of what I could blog about has to do, in one way or another, with people and situations I am having a hard time dealing with, and which result very personal, very ‘intimate’.

It is true that I normally process thoughts, events and even emotions through writing. Seen in that light, my posts might result somewhat therapeutic, easing the grieving, self analyzing process I find myself in right now. However, they could also mutate into a quick, superfluous quest for the limelight. If I were to blog about all the things I want to blog about, would I be abusing these experiences and myself ? treating them with little respect? dismissing their true impact in my life? In fact, do I really need to blog about them? What stops me from simply writing my thoughts on a notebook as I’ve countless times before have done?

I don’t know. There is a special appeal to blogging/writing, for more than oneself. So much so, I am even posting this dilemma for ‘everyone’ to see. Perhaps it’s the inner drive, the writer’s gene that tells many of us our ideas need to must be shared with the world. Perhaps it’s the thought that, by making my struggles public I am, somehow on a cosmic level, stewarding well the hand I’ve been dealt; making the world a better place or something… I feel the urge to write while at the same time question whether I am elevating myself above reality, deeming it all too important for people out there to read my ramblings, as if otherwise I’d be depriving the universe of something vital and irreplaceable. This sentiment may also permeate other areas of life, which brings me to yet another question; Has the wide and relatively easy access to blogs and blogging, turned us humans, into more egocentric, self overrated beings who gradually care less about the quality and quantity of what we share through the cyber space?

Anyway, I am now genuinely puzzled and curious as to how all those people publishing their memoirs manage to choose the information to divulge, while keeping a minimum sense of dignity and respect to themselves and others.

I am yet to learn the art of ‘self-revealing’, so aside from a few entries about very ‘neutral’ subjects, I suppose there will continue to be silence on this blog, which is a shame because, really, there is much ‘good stuff ‘ to be typed out. Nonetheless I owe memories and people – myself included – some silent reverence for the time being.

If you’re out there reading, what do you think? Where’s the fine line between personal and public matters? Have you ever used personal information, relations or events to somehow gain a spot under the limelight, and how did that make you feel? Why does anyone feel the urge to ‘vent’ her oh-so-great life on a blog? (which is what most of us bloggers do, truth be told)

– – – – – – – – – –

*Should I change my blog’s name? “My life a.b.b.d” (My life after being back in Denmark) or something? I don’t know. I guess it can stay as is. Despite Heraclitus’ wisdom, no man crosses the same river twice, I’ll assume my life will always be before and after Denmark. Yes, even if it’s twice after it.

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