Category Archives: Writing

As random as it gets

Hello!

Remember me?

I didn’t fall off the surface of the earth, but I drifted off for a while. A lot longer than I thought I would. A comment to my last post asking me if I was still in the process of making pancakes had me realizing just how long I’d be abscent from my blog. Thank you, Tina! ūüôā

1. Creative roller coaster
This spring I have been struggling with going between periods of feeling very creative to stretches of time in which I’ve not wanted to do anything but eat, watch tv and sleep. I’ve felt very scattered and I needed to rest my brain for a bit by staying more focused.

2. Sewing
I have, however, worked my way through finishing that colourful crazy 9-patch quilt I was making for a baby’s name-giving ceremony (blogged here¬†and here). I will show you the finished quilt as soon as the ceremony has taken place. I have also sewn two Jewelry Rolls (pattern from One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins) as graduation gifts for friends (posted here on July 2nd, 2011). There’s a Teardrop Bag (from Amy Butler’s Style Stitches) hanging in my craft room waiting to be gifted to a friend on her 40th birthday on Saturday. Posts on these projects will appear here.

3. Knitting
I have also been knitting a bit. You will see posts on my “process” in that area as well. I have managed to mess up a pair of socks by knitting the second one on needles that were too small. And I only realized after I had knitted the toe, the foot, the heel and the leg and was supposed to start the ribbing where the pattern told me to change to smaller needles…

I have started a ribbed sweater that just sucks the energy out of me as one of the sleeves is knitted with horizontal ribs. I knitted forever and it just didn’t grow…
I am currently knitting a Cornflower Shawl (after seeing Anna’s start of one over at garndrommar.se). I started over four times before I found the needle size that produced a shawl I was happy with. And I also changed around the main and contrast colour. Now, I’m loving it!

4. An end
My favourite yarn store is closing down in a couple of weeks. I’m really sad about it, but that’s me being selfish. I know the owner is happy with her decision and I fully understand her.¬†And admire her for¬†her guts!

 5. Photography
My distant ed photography class didn’t go well. I loved the first lesson. And I loved the second one. But it ended with¬†an assignment I couldn’t do at the time. I needed to wait for an order from Amazon.com. And I needed to wait for sunlight… The assignment was about panning moving objects to create pictures that show movement. How easy is that to do in my parts of the world in early February? I left for work int he morning in darkness and came home in darkness. The weekends were snowy and cold. And I couldn’t do it.

And the teachers constantly told us to work through every class and assignment before moving on the next one. So I got stuck.

I still have access to all the classes online and will try to go through them over summer and fall instead.

6. Photo project
I’m still working on my photo project for 2011 (blogged here, here¬†and here)¬†and I’m really enjoying it. I’m way behind on transfering the pictures from my camera to the computer and to actually make the choice of what picture to name “Today’s Picture” but I’m not stressing too much about that one. Promise you’ll see some of the pictures here on the blog.

7. Earrings
During the spring I have pierced my ears. I had them pierced when I about ten but let them overgrow a couple of years later as the started acting up. I would put in earrings and my earlobes would get all red and swollen. This time around I went to a real piercing studio and had them done more professionally than¬†I would’ve had in a beauty salon. I’ve decided to use earrings made out of titanium or sugical steel as they are better for sensitive ears. Wish me luck!

This has led to me being absolutely fascinated by earrings! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that so¬†many people around me use earrings. And good looking ones too. I love the look of dangling earrings and can’t wait to expand my jewelry wardrobe. I’m currently waiting for an order from silvermason over at Etsy. You will see¬†a post about those earrings when¬†I get them!

8. Health
This spring I decided to deal with the fact that¬†I haven’t felt comfortable in my body and clothes in a long time. I joined Weight Watchers online and have so far lost 9kg/22lbs by eating more, more regularly and healthier; and by increasing my weekly exercise by taking more and longer walks.

I have spent more time preparing and eating food this spring than I have ever done in my life. And I enjoy it! I try new recipies and new ingredients. I have given up cheese sandwiches for dinner and try to cook something instead. Or at least make myself a plate of veggies and cold cuts.

I have signed up for a membership at the gym from July 1st and I’m looking forward to start building muscles. I’m in desperate need of stronger abs and chest muscles¬†to keep my back and hips from acting up all¬†the time. And I’ve proven to myself that working out at home isn’t my thing… The sofa is far more comfortable than the floor. ūüôā

9. Writing
I haven’t written anything at home for the pure pleasure of writing in nearly 6 months now. I think about it a lot though… Strangely enough; that doesn’t produce readable text.

10. Change?
I’ve also concluded that some things never change. And I speak of myself.

I have this feeling, this urge, to start a creative business. I follow blogs on creative entrepreneurship and I dream. And I make plans. I have five options for names. And I sort of know how to brand myself. And how to keep things moving. And where does that take me? Not far. To be honest. ‘Cause I forget¬†to specify what my business should be about and I forget to produce anything…

And that’s sort of the way I am. I know how to write a letter of interest to a publisher for the novel¬†I haven’t written yet. And I know the pros and cons of different marketing strategies for the novel I haven’t written yet. And I also¬†know [fill in the gap] for the [fill in the gap] I haven’t made yet.

There are more random stuff I could share. But why do it all in one post after such a long absence? Next time, you’ll get pictures too. Promise!

Finished my Creative Writing class

I handed in the last assignment for my second Creative Writing class a couple of weeks ago and got my grades last week. I finished this one (too) with the highest marks. The feedback I got from the teachers all along fell into the category of “you know how to use the language and you do it weel” and “your texts are very well written but are a bit too matter-of-factly and would be better if you did more of show-don’t-tell” and “try not to tell the readers everything but let them draw their own conclusions”.

Nothing really surprising for me, to be honest. I know I need to work on my telling-stories-skills when it comes to narration, suspense and descriptions of characters and the environment. And I know I handle the language well. But it makes me happy that my teachers saw the same things.

I feel more secure in my writing after these two classes, but I also feel more apprehensive to actually work on my own writing projects. I doubt I have anything important or interesting to say. And even if I do, I doubt I could express it in a way that makes it good enough to be considered literature. Maybe I should stick to non-fiction? Or just bite the bullet and realize that practice makes perfect? ūüôā

I now have university credits worth half of a semester’s full-time-studies in Creative Writing.

This semester I’m doing a class in Photography and Visual Communication. I have finished the first lesson (the lessons are videos consisting of different interviews and lectures) and I’m so excited to learn more!

Projects for 2011

Today I’m starting two new projects that I intend to keep up for the year; one involves a diary and one involves a camera. I’ll keep you posted!

 

Visual Communication

I decided to go with the photography class for next semester.

As of mid-January, I’m a part-time student in Visual Communication. The class is offered as distant ed from a Swedish university, and if I understand it correctly it will focus on how to create pictures “that say something” and how to use them in communication. We’ll see if I’m right.

I got accepted to the third writing class as well but thought I needed a break from writing assignments. I don’t work much on my own writing projects and I think I’d like to focus on them a bit more than I have done this last year. And I’m toying with an idea for a project¬†combining writing with photography and learning more about pictures and how to use them can’t be bad…

I’m really looking forward to the start of this class, but I have a writing class to finish first. One more writing assignment and one more literature discussion and I’m all done.

Tre sekunder and my writing class

I have just finished reading the fifth book about Ewert Grens; Tre sekunder (or Three Seconds, as it’s called in its English translation), written by the two Swedish crime novelists Anders Roslund and B√∂rge Hellstr√∂m.

Now, what to say about it? The story is scary. But the whole novel is slooooow up until a certain point where the adrenaline just explodes and it gets intense for 100 pages or so. ¬†Just to slow down again. I’ve read the four books prior to this one and I’ve enjoyed them all. The books all have different themes (trafficking, incest, death penalty, people living underground and now drugs and police informants) and as a reader I truly believe the research the authors have done. Even though many events seem unlikely and foreign, I believe Roslund&Hellstr√∂m when they tell me they base their books on real people and real events.

But reading this fifth book of theirs wasn’t as enjoyable as reading the others. I hated the language in which they let sentences run on and on and on with commas instead of breaking them up with punctuation marks and capital letter. I found strange passages where people didn’t behave in a logical manner. One example is when a man opens an envelope and takes out five different objects. He places them in a row in front of him. He takes the first three objects and looks at them properly. Then makes a phone call. And waits for an answer. Then, and not earlier, he glances at the fourth object. He takes it up, realizes what it is and goes to check if it functions. This means leaving his office for a bit. Then, and not earlier, he looks at the fifth object and states what it is. He checks to see what information he can get from it. Now, this is not what people do. If one gets an envelope with five objects in it, one takes them out and states what they are before making phone calls and leaving your office to check one object’s functionality. Right?

And the whole book is written in third person but in two or three places the perspective changes and the characters starts to think of themselves as “I” in a way I find disturbing.

So, where the other four books like this when it comes to language and writing technicalities? I don’t know. I know I didn’t curse my way through the pages (as I partly did with Tre sekunder). But I haven’t taken them out from the bookselves to check. It could be that the other books are more properly written, but honestly I think it’s a result of me having another mindset. I read texts in another way now. I’ve always been a grammar police, but with my classes in Creative Writing, I’ve also started to pay more attention to perspective, to plots, to descriptions of people and the settings, and other foundation stones of fictional work.

Reading has become a different experience to me now. And I hope it means that I’m learning new things. Or at least that I’m bringing old knowledge back into the light.

I wonder how taking a photography class focused on visual communication will change the way I look at pictures?

Random Friday nr2

1)
I have a meeting out of town on Monday afternoon and it’s been decided that I’ll go there using public transportation. I wasn’t sure if bus or train would be the best choice as I’d have to walk the last leg of the journey (or get a cab, which I didn’t even consider until way later…). I called the company I’ll visit and asked the receptionist if she had any suggestions for me.

Within two minutes we had made arrangements for her, or the company’s janitor, to come pick me up at the train station and drive me to my meeting. I was flabbergasted. I’ve never met that kind of customer service from a Swedish company before.

2)
My boyfriend and I will go to the movies and a dinner tonight. I’m cashing ¬†in my Christmas gift from last year. We’re going to see Oceans (the longer non-US and Canadian version) and I’m really looking forward to it.

3)
I’ve applied to my third Creative Writing-class, starting in January next year. I’m not sure I’ll take it though even if I get accepted (as I should be with the university credits I already have). I’m enjoying this second class way more than the first one as I find our assignments to be more challenging and focused, but I’ve felt behind all semester. I’ve handed in one of my assignments knowing I’d have to rework it to change a fail to pass as I didn’t have the time to make it proper to begin with. I’ve added sort of lame posts in our discussion forum as I haven’t read the material enough to discuss it in depth.

That’s one reason to not start the class if I get accepted. The third class will probably mean more reading and even more challenging assignments.

But, there’s also another reason. I’ve also applied to a photography class on visual communication. It’s offered as distant ed from the University of J√∂nk√∂ping. It’d be sooo fun to be challenged to use my camera in different ways as well as get to know more about pictures and images in general.

First round of acceptance letters will be sent out in a couple of weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes!

4)
I finished reading a funny book the other day; Hundra√•ringen som klev ut genom f√∂nstret och f√∂rsvann by Jonas Jonasson. (I don’t think it’s translated into English but the title means The hundred-year-old who climbed out the window and disappeared.) I laughed several times while reading this Swedish version of a Forrest Gump-story.

I can recommend it if you want to have fun!

4 Things Meme

My knitting friend Anna over at garndrömmar.se set me up for a challenge as she wanted me to answer a meme about different things of four. Here goes:

4 TV-shows I watch
Grey’s Anatomy, The Event,¬†the Swedish quiz show¬†Vem¬†vet mest? (Who knows the most?) and the sports news.

4 things I’ve done today (Or yesterday as I’m writing this the evening before I post it)
I cheated to and from work today as I used the car instead of walking or biking.¬†I had chicken wok for¬† lunch.¬†I worked on the fourth assignment for my writing class but didn’t finish it. I made a swatch for a pair of Snowbird Mittens.

4 things I’m looking forward to or longing for
Warmer temperatures and longer days¬†(and November just began…). Having friends over for lunch this weekend. The knitting marathon that Fr√∂ken Garn houses in two weeks time. Finding the courage to battle quilting my big quilt.

4 things on my wish list
A week in a silent retreat. A dinner with Douglas Coupland so I can pick his brain for a bit. Enough vacation days and money to take me (and my boyfriend) abroad so I (we) can see family and friends. Getting tattooed by Stina at Eyescreamtattoo in Ystad.

4 things I hate/loathe/detest
Feeling inadequate. People using my ideas or my work without giving me credit. When I start crying from anger or frustration instead of being able to scream at whatever made me angry or frustrated. And of course; war and violence.

4 people I challenge with this meme
I’ll leave it open for anyone to grab…

Random Friday nr1

1)
I’m¬†supervising/mentoring/instructing(pick one as I don’t know the correct word for it) two university girls in their writing of¬†a project to get a Master’s degree. They are quite fun to meet up with and they¬†are both sooo ambitious. I’m sure their project will turn out to be a great time investment for my company.

Yesterday, the girls sent me their first 2¬Ĺ pages of the introduction chapter. And I returned it earlier this morning. With 22 comments on it. I felt awful sending it back and included a very apologetic email asking them not to be discouraged by the number of comments. Some comments were overall tips on how to make some passages more defined and more readable as they includedvery technical words, but most comments were grammar corrections or suggestions on how to replace obvious “we’ve-translated-directly-from-English-without-considering-if-it-makes-sense-in-Swedish”-mistakes.

I’m such a pain in the a$$ when it comes to proof reading and giving feedback. I hope I didn’t scare them…

2)
I had a colleague coming into my room this morning to tell me about a guy she has met and will have a date with tonight. I can’t help but laugh when she tells me about these things. It’s “I texted him when I came home” and “he wrote he liked me” and “I wrote I wanted to see him” and “he wrote he was going to London over the weekend” and “I wrote and told him we could see each other tonight” and… After a while I can’t help myself but ask her if she remembers his voice. And it makes her giggle every time.

I feel so out of the dating loop as I’ve never experienced “Text Message Flirting”. Apparently that’s how dating and getting to know each other starts nowadays.¬† Says the 30-and-some-years-old and have flashbacks to comments from an older generation about the kids of today…

3)
This weekend, my boyfriend and I are planning on a couple of hours in the forrest. Just walking around with our cameras in hand and backpacks filled with sandwiches and hot drinks on our backs. I was so excited about this when emailing my sister a couple of days ago.

And she told me about her plans for the weekend. She’s catching the bus to go to one of the coolest cities in the world to see a super famous building, order coffee and walk in the harbour.

Worlds apart…

4) I’m listening to Barenaked Ladies and enjoying the fact that it’s actually Friday!