12/28/16

Maybe this year

Maybe this will be the year when you change your life completely?
Or maybe you choose to leave it just as it is because you have found what you were looking for

Maybe this will be the year when you change your life style to a healthier one?
Or maybe you will let the food industry turn you into a less energized you.

Maybe this will be the year when you gather enough strength to leave that abusive relationship
Or maybe this will be your last year on earth because you didn´t...

Maybe this will be the year when you go for that trip you have longed for so long
Or maybe this will be the year when you will fully enjoy exactly where you are

Maybe this will be the year when you let yourself recover from some tough years
Or maybe you will carry on as if nothing has happened, wearing yourself out even more

Maybe this year will be the year when you read that book that gives you a new view on life
Or maybe you will read and look at what you already know, confirming your current beliefs

Maybe this will be the year when you will be extra kind to yourself and others
Or maybe you will protect yourself by attacking those around you


Whatever you want for next year, or for tomorrow - just take away the "maybe" and go for it!













Happy new year!


12/21/16

A visit from St. Nicholas


This year I wish you all a merry X-mas, with the help of the poet Clement Clarke Moore.
"A visit from St. Nicholas" was first published 1823, and is said to be the poem that influenced how we depict Santa Claus today. 

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 
The children were nestled all snug in their beds; 
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; 
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap, 
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, 
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. 
Away to the window I flew like a flash, 
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow, 
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below, 
When what to my wondering eyes did appear, 
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer, 
With a little old driver so lively and quick, 
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick. 
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, 
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: 
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" 
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew 
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too— 
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof 
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. 
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. 
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, 
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry! 
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, 
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow; 
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath; 
He had a broad face and a little round belly 
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly. 
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, 
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, 
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight— 
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Tomte med gröt on a postcard by the artist Jenny Nyström

12/13/16

En luciabön (a prayer at lucia)

It is the thirteenth of December when I write this.

Like most Swedes we got up early this morning to enjoy the sounds of children singing the traditional lucia songs.

The tradition is hundreds of years old and I have celebrated it ever since I was a little girl.




Since I am no longer a child, I enjoy Lucia with my lovely sons and their schoolmates since many years.

This morning the celebration took place in Kungälvs kyrka (a church), for reasons of tradition rather than religion, and the priest said a prayer.

I found the message that she conveyed applicable to life in school, life at work, life for all of us. So whether or not you believe in a God (or two, whatever works for you), I would like to share my take on that message:

May my heart be helpful to those in need 
and brave towards those who act mean

Glad Lucia!

12/7/16

Therapeutic Reading: For wishing you had a Valentine

In the last blog post I wrote about "falling out of touch with siblings" and the possibility to read novels to get help with this.

This time I write about novels "For wishing you had a Valentine".

The bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkind prescribe:

Giovanni's room by James Baldwin. This is seen as a classic in Gay literature,



I prescribe my own Jenny, Jenny, where the story is about young love and the desire to have a Valentine, something that can be difficult also when you are looking for someone of the opposite sex. Especially if you, like Agneta, is in love with your best friend's boyfriend.


Extract from Jenny, Jenny: 

Jenny nickade och försökte komma underfund med hur full 
Agneta var. Det kanske inte var så illa i alla fall. Agneta tittade ner 
i backen en stund medan de gick. Efter någon minut tittade hon 
upp på Jenny och frågade: ”Tror du att jag någonsin kommer att 
få en pojkvän?”
Jenny tittade på Agneta och såg att hennes kompis såg väldigt 
ledsen ut. 
”Agneta, jag är övertygad om att du någon gång kommer att 
hitta en pojkvän som du gillar och som gillar dig.”
”Men jag jämför alla med Keyvan ... och då gillar jag dem 
inte alls.”
”Hur kan du jämföra dem med Keyvan, Agneta? Du känner 
inte Keyvan tillräckligt för att göra det.” Jenny hejdade sig när 
hon såg hur sårad Agneta blev.
”Jag menar, du känner bara till vissa delar av Keyvan. Resten 
av honom är bara en bild du har, en drömbild.”
”Säg något om Keyvan som inte är bra då”, sa Agneta trotsigt.
”Han har ju fel och brister som alla andra Agneta, du förstår 
väl att han inte är felfri.”
”Ja men säg något då, något som inte är bra?”
”Tja ... han snarkar.”
”Det tycker jag är manligt.”
”Hans andedräkt på morgonen innan han har borstat tän-
derna är inget vidare.”
”Det är inte min heller.”
”Han vågar aldrig gräla.” 
”Det är väl bra!”
Jenny suckade.
”Agneta, du är för förälskad för att man ens ska kunna prata 
med dig. Kom nu, vi är framme.” Jenny öppnade dörren och gick 
in på krogen. Hon nickade för att hälsa på den så kallade artist-
ansvarige på stället där de skulle spela. Han nickade tillbaka och 
tittade ett ögonblick på Agneta.
”En kompis”, sa Jenny.
”Okej.”
Agneta och Jenny gick bakom scenen där de hittade de andra 
i bandet. Keyvan såg frågande på Jenny som nickade för att visa 
att allt var okej.

Om du är intresserad av att läsa mer kan du köpa en signerad version av Jenny, Jenny här.


11/30/16

Therapeutic Reading:For falling out of touch with siblings

There are many types of therapy. I have recently read about a kind I had not heard of before:

Bibliotherapy: Prescribing novels "to cure life´s ailments"

That sounds like my kind of therapy. Reading novels :-).


"For falling out of touch with siblings" the bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkind prescribe:

The color purple by Alice Walker



For the same ailment I would like to prescribe my own Ursus-dit rättvisan inte når


That book includes two troubled sibling relationships: Susanna and her sister Melissa and Otto and his brother Jack.

Extract from: Ursus-dit rättvisan inte når

Lite senare på kvällen satt de ute på sin balkong, det enda stället i lägenheten som Susanna riktigt gillade. De drack varsitt glas vin och Kanga låg vid Susannas fötter.

”Det finns ännu ett sätt, men det är inte säkert att det går vägen.”

”Vadå?”

Otto tittade fundersamt på sina händer.

”Jag äger en stuga. Den ligger nära Vänern och vi har fått förfrågan om att sälja den tidigare.”

”Vi?”

”Jag äger den tillsammans med min bror.”

”Bror? Vi har känt varandra i flera år och du har aldrig ens nämnt att du har en bror!”

Otto ryckte på axlarna.

”Han är inte min bror egentligen. Han är en bastard.”

”En vadå? Vad menar du?”

”Han är min halvbror, vi har inte samma pappa.”

”Men, herregud! ’Bastard’ vad är det för ett uttryck? Vilket århundrade lever du i egentligen? Kallar du mig bastard också?”

Otto ryckte till.

”Självfallet inte. Din mor var ju gift med din far när hon fick dig. Att de är skilda nu gör ju inte dig till en bastard.”

”Och din halvbror, fick din mamma honom innan hon gifte sig med din pappa?” Susanna blev upprymd, hon hade aldrig i sin vildaste fantasi kunnat gissa att det fanns så mycket hon inte visste om Otto. Det var riktigt spännande.

”Nej, nej, han är min lillebror. Sju år yngre.”

Precis som mellan mig och Melissa tänkte Susanna. Hennes mamma brukade säga att Susanna var sju år äldre och sju resor värre än Melissa.
”Men hur går det ihop? Hur kan du ha en yngre bror som är född utanför äktenskapet? Jag fattar inte.”

Otto suckade djupt.

”Mamma blev våldtagen när hon och hennes syster var på Irland en sommar.”

Susanna slog handen för munnen. Det var inte alls spännande. Det var tragiskt.

”Far hatade Jack från början. Han ville att mor skulle avsluta graviditeten.”

Susanna bleknade. Ett vitt rum, en frätande doft… När hon satte ner vinglaset på det lilla bordet skakade hennes hand.

”Mor ville inte. Hon och pappa hade försökt att få ett syskon till mig i flera år, men det gick inte. Inget barn kom. Därför tog det ett tag innan hon förstod att hon var gravid och hon ville inte ta abort så sent. Mor hatar inte Jack men hon har alltid behandlat honom annorlunda. Han har alltid varit en udda fågel i familjen, aldrig passat in.”

Susannas händer hade slutat skaka. Hon kände en plötslig samhörighet med den här Jack, en person hon aldrig hade träffat. Ännu en som ingen ville ha, ännu en som inte hörde hemma någonstans.
...

Om du är intresserad av att läsa mer kan du köpa en signerad version av Ursus-dit rättvisan inte når här.



11/23/16

Life: A bittersweet dessert

The lullabies sung by your loving mother,
the bedtime stories told by your caring father.

The joy of playing with your first best friend
the sadness when the friend moves to another town, far away.

The sheer happiness of playing with your first dog
and the soothing feeling when you caress the black cat in your lap.
The sorrow of losing your first pet, the one you thought would live forever.

The thrill of the first love, then the second, the third and finally the forever one.
The miracle of creating life, yes life! and realizing it is your task to nurture it, to ensure it lives on, as happy and well as it possibly can.

The tough periods that life inevitably brings
the loss of your youth, of your parents´ health and of grandparents that once were your safe haven, the oasis on school holidays.

Your children´s disappointments and your own realization that you cannot protect them from all bad things in the world, no matter how hard you try.

The joy of family, friends and fantastic experiences.
The gratitude for everything life has given you, after all.

The grief when loved ones leave this earth too soon. The realization that they will not be the only ones going before you do.

The understanding that you are part of the circle of life. A life that is like a bittersweet dessert, with the lemon making us enjoy the sweetness. The sweetness of life.






11/16/16

11/9/16

#MyStorytellerBrand: The logo


 So I learned that I was not going to brand myself, but my Storyteller persona. I defined my Storyteller role models and key characteristics 

Now it was time to turn my chosen words: Creative, Caring, Closer into a logo. 

They all start with the same letter (I like the alliteration) and at the same time each word has a specific meaning. It made sense to me to use three different fonts.   After some searching I found three fonts by creative people who offer them for free. 

Debby  created by Typeface




Grand hotel Designed by Brian J. Bonislawsky and Jim Lyles for Astigmatic



 and Simplifica by Kaiwa . 


After choosing fonts, it was time to decide about colors.  I wanted something colorful I decided to go for Orange (warm, caring, passion) and Blue (my favorite color and a complementing color to orange). 

Last but not least, I wanted to combine the words in a way that made them not just words but also a symbol. I tried out a number variations and in the end I did what any sensible person would do, especially a closer; delegate the  task to someone who can do the job well. My husband.  

He took my input, turned my first attempts into something that looked really professional but not yet like me. 

"It looks good, professional, but it is too closed, to sharp. It is not me. I want it to be more  airy, more round, less edges..." 

After a few iterations it was there. My logo. 

On my book release November 16 in Kungälv, you will see the new look. Later on you will see it on the blog, in the newsletters and of course in the coming web shop.  

Branding my Storyteller Persona has been educational and fun. And I have a feeling this is somehow just the beginning...  

11/2/16

#MyStorytellerBrand: Key characteristics

"You have this unusual combination of creativity and self-discipline", 

said Staffan, a friend and colleague, after I had published my first book Jenny, Jenny. I had never thought about it that way, but when he said it, it felt right. 

It takes creativity to tell stories. Just like it takes creativity to be a good engineer, since the essence of what we do is solving problems together.

When it comes to self-discipline, I have plenty of that. Always had. 

When I watched the movie "The American president" (a forerunner to the amazing TV series the West Wing) a person described Miss Wade (Anette Bening) as a "Closer":



I liked that description a lot and found that it fitted me. At that moment I only thought about it from a work perspective; as a leader I make sure we get things done. I am a closer.

Over the years, I understood that being a closer is applicable for my writing as well. I have met many who say they want to be a writer, yet they do not manage to complete a story. They have a number of reasons (excuses?) and in the end they end up with a number of half-finished texts or ideas. 

When I write a story I conclude it. If I do not, the story will not let me go. It seems I am a Closer also when it comes to Storytelling.

It took a little while before I decided to add a third characteristic.

To me, we are like snow. We are all snow, all needed to light up the world, yet each one of us is unique, like a beautiful snow flake. I enjoy our differences and I care about all living creatures.  So the third part of my brand starts with another C: Caring.

Snow art by Simon Beck


Creative Caring Closer. My Brand, My Words.

 I was ready to get started with a logo.

10/28/16

Qui sine peccato est - the cover

I always find it exciting to see what a graphic designer can do with my input and ideas.
Since this is the first time I work with Recito förlag I did not know what to expect. Could they create a professional and great looking cover for my third novel?

I am happy to say that the graphical designer created a cover that really captures the feeling of the book. I hope you like it too!




The next step is the actual printing. The books will be available in time for the book release Nov 16 at Bokens Dag in Kungälv. I hope you will come there to see the book In Real Life!


10/26/16

#MyStorytellerBrand: Role models

Ok, so Jesper got me thinking when he said I was not going to sell myself, but a personaWhat is my Storyteller persona like? How do I want to be perceived as a Storyteller?

I started by looking at some of my role models within Storytelling. Not surprising, my role models are independent women who wrote/write stories their own way. Let´s take them in chronological order:

Selma was asked to join “Svenska Akademin”, a very prestigious institution. She declined with a cocky statement: “I want to win the Nobel Prize first”. She knew should could never win that if she was part of the group that selected the winners and obviously she was convinced she could win the Nobel Prize. 
She did win the literary Nobel Prize, the first Swede and the first woman to do so.  With the money she won, she bought back the house where she grew up, a home her parents had lost when they could no longer afford it. Later on she had another chance to join Svenska Akademin and she did, the first woman to do that too. Her stories are the kind that stays with you and they are relevant also today, long after Selma herself has gone.



There are few, if any, Swedish children who have not read and become absorbed by Astrid´s fantastic stories about Pippi, Emil, Ronja, the brothers Lionhearts and many, many more. Not only did she write stories that impacted generations of Swedes she also seemed to do it the way she wanted to. Her stories, her way.  She was also a woman who cared much about children and animals and she voiced her opinion in ways that impacted our society. No wonder I admire her.  



“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” This quote alone is a great reason to see Joanne Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter books under the pseudonym J.K. Rowling, as a role model. Her story was refused by  many until one publisher saw its potential. She wrote about Harry because she wanted to write that story,  not because she wanted to become known. Joanne Rowling stays away from media rather than seeks it and she donates some of her wealth to different charities. She is my third role model when it comes to Storyteller persona. 



Types of stories 
So, do I want to write like these three women? No. I see them as role models when it comes to how they behave as storytellers and how they brand themselves (even though I doubt they ever used that word) but my stories are not like theirs.   

When it comes to storytelling style I have other role models; authors who write the type of stories I write. Stories with lots of love, adventure and important questions for the characters and readers to consider.  They are:


With these role models in mind, I had an idea of my persona as a Storyteller. In my next blog post I will describe how I chose to brand that persona.