Well here we are… (beware frustration)

And what have I done? To be honest it feels like nothing. On average I’m writing 300 words a week if even that. Updating my blog isn’t even on the radar. Even though I want to, I really want to. It’s May. Last time I updated my blog was January.

I looked at my goals for the year yesterday. Almost all of them are writing-related. And what am I doing? I’m either dealing with the stupid health issues or working. There isn’t much energy for else. And most of the time I don’t even feel guilty. I’m doing the best with what I’ve been given. And you know what? I have less than twenty working days until the summer. And during the summer I will collect myself, get my body to work again properly and have so much time to write. Before then all I can do is bide my time.

So I’ll probably not write anything here until the middle of June, but luckily it’s not far away. In the meantime I can start thinking about what I actually want to blog about.

Before I graduated, the idea of my blog was short stories. And it kind of works (except the mess that is “Never break a leg before christmas”, I know I haven’t finished it and honestly I will) except during school weeks when lesson plans take up a lot of my creativity and energy. Whatevers left I want to give to novels or novellas. So what can I blog about? What do people blog about? I don’t have that much writing experience, I mean, I do but not if you compare to other bloggers. Especially not this dreadful year. I have very little experience with self-publishing. What can I write about then? Teaching. I have experienced with violent kids, kids with dyslexia, kids with ADHD, unhelpful parents. I can talk about being rootless, of not living in a place more than four years all my life. I guess I can talk about boats. And nature. I can talk about stress and guilt. Of putting on music and dancing around to it. What else is there to me?

IMG_20170501_184516My mum gave me this light. It runs on cooking oil, how cool is that?

Artichoke, Lettuce and Mayo

 

“I can’t do this anymore.” I let my carving knife fall to the floor. “Do you know how exhausting this is?”

“What is?” Your eyes, beautiful. Like two deep bowls of gravy.

“Pretending that I’m not in love with you.”

 

I don’t even know how we arrived at this point, you and I. I have always needed so much. Attention. Care. Smiles. Answers. Answers more than anything. And food.

 

I found carrots. I found steak and worcester sauce and mushrooms. I found different types of pasta. I learned that potatoes never float and that different oils have different boiling points and that, for the love of god, don’t be scared of salt. I found double heavy cream and real butter. I found non-stick pans and the best recipe for pizza dough. I learned how to crack an egg with one hand and which season produced the nicest onions. I found food.

 

And I found you. When I bought my own restaurant you came with it. That first year, beloved, I hated you. You seemed to bring me the best produce at the worst of times. I couldn’t cook everything. There was never enough time. And people? People are cruel. It doesn’t matter if I did my best. People would never like my carrot and strawberry stew. People would never enjoy my pizza with artichokes, mayo and lettuce. Of course I knew this. You didn’t have to tell me.

 

I wanted to invent something new, I wanted to find that revolutionary spark and run with it. But maybe I shouldn’t have done trial and error with several thousand dollars in the balance. I didn’t care. I wanted to figure it out. Taste, smell, sight, touch. Stomachs.

 

You, a simple food runner, decided to teach me, the chef. I hated it. Your most resistant student. More Darth Vader than dutiful padawan.

 

You taught me to roast garlic. To grill the perfect medium rare burger. When I wanted to serve fries with risotto, you wouldn’t let me. You wouldn’t even let me eat it myself. You didn’t care that I thought that herring completes any lasagne or that liquorice smoothie should be on every menu. You didn’t care that every fermented snail I wanted to boil was organic.

 

And I’m the weird one.

 

At times I likened you to leprosy. You bound my arms, my mind. You made me blind in the kitchen.

 

And then you made me blind in other places. It was probably instinct. We’re human after all. We need food and air. We developed a nose to breathe and to smell. Taste buds to taste. Sweet, sour, bitter, umami. But humans have other needs to. I had known about that, in theory. But I had been too obsessed with finding the perfect sweet potato I hadn’t cared for anything else.

 

But then you kissed me. Beautiful idiot you called me. Crazy, crazy woman. And “What have you done to me?”

 

To you, I wondered. I didn’t know I had done anything to you. It had never even occurred to me that two women could share a kiss like that one. I thought you were the one who had changed everything. You had kissed me. Not the other way around. I was innocent as a summer potato. Small. Fresh. You were more like a devilled egg, maybe innocent on the outside, but strangely spicy and aromatic inside. A stable on any buffet table. You had taught me that.

 

The first time you took me to bed, I felt like I had gone out of the frying pan and into the fire. My skin bubbled and cracked, like pork belly in the oven, every time you touched me. But instead of cooking, it felt like every time you nipped at my skin, the more raw I got. Not just my skin but on the inside. My lungs and my brain and my heart. I had thought my organs ran on glucose and fat. I was wrong. My fuel consisted on one stubborn and patient food runner.

 

That led us to this day. I had been wrong, I realised that now. Carrots works best in carrot cake, not chocolate cake and you can’t make meringue out of whipped barracuda. You were right, I was wrong. I’m ready to admit that now.

 

I shed off my apron and my big white puffy hat that I had once thought I was entitled to. I had nothing left. If you wanted me to sell my restaurant, I would. Everything I am… is and was yours.

 

“I don’t want to talk anymore.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. It doesn’t matter. Not anymore. All words are said. I don’t have any left. “I don’t want to be alone anymore either.” I let my carving knife fall to the floor. There is nothing left of me. “Do you know how exhausting this is?”

“What is?” Your eyes are empty, like the sky.

“Pretending that I’m not in love with you.”


Author note: Don’t ask. 😛

My pen drive

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m in the middle of move. We get the keys in eight days from now and we honestly can’t wait. I hope for some stability now and stop moving around like a restless soul.

When packing and organising, I found my most valuable possession. My pen drive. I don’t know what I would do if I lost my stories. What do people do to protect their work? I have occasional months of being terribly lazy and forgetting to back up but I want to be better.

To me this pen drive encompasses my whole life. It contains everything. It contains all I have written since 2011 which might not seem like many years but to me it’s been years of rapid development. Not just writing-wise.

In it, I have my fanfictions. The good, the bad, the downright terrible. In it, I carry the first disastrous drafts of State of Emergency.  It has all my short stories, posted and unposted. It has the words I produced during the skiing vacation in 2013. One-shot femslashes I wrote during lectures in teaching school. Secretly. In the back. And I was still paying attention to the lecturer, I promise. It contains the full drafts of Out of Hand and Stargazing. The plans for State of Emergency part II. An an unfinished draft of On Board the Monster.

It contains stories I wrote while I lived in Sundsvall. Stories I wrote while I lived in Lysekil. Stories I wrote while I lived in Uddevalla. I wonder what stories I will write while I live in my new town.
I’ll probably run out of pen drive space before soon, though.

Dear past self…

It gets better.

Today I ran my fastest kilometer ever and it felt absolutely amazing. As I was feeling the world rush by, I couldn’t help but think back to just four years ago.

I can imagine the girl that I was, 22, run into the ground. When I was 22 I was… sad. I don’t want to say depressed because I never received any diagnosis nor did I seek help for it, but I was numb and completely empty inside. I cried every night. My body continued without me as I got up every day, as I cooked and cleaned, as I took care of my unwell girlfriend, as I listened to my mother cry every single day on the phone, as I worked part time and studied full time, as I counted every penny and knew that even if I cut myself in two and sold half we couldn’t afford food. Hardly rent. So I worked more. More money. Less time. But at least I didn’t have to stare at the tomatoes and cucumber and know that I had to choose. I couldn’t afford both.

And friends? I wasn’t too liked at my uni. We lived in the north and I was from the south. I didn’t speak like them. I didn’t know the area like them. I was isolated on the island we had created, far away from any friends and family. My girlfriend and I. Not really Swedish. We had only been in this country, my country, for two years. And I hated it. I missed Britain. I wished I hadn’t left the country I had lived my whole adult life in.

But at 22 I went back to writing. I had written earlier of course, but between the ages of 19 and 22 I wrote nothing. I didn’t have any words. But suddenly they came back with a vengeance. I wrote to feel something. To find myself again. To find the spark that had been killed as I had lost myself years before.

So I went looking. I went looking for the 17-year-old who had left home, fresh-faced and naive. I didn’t know the girl I had used to be anymore, all I knew was that she had died in Britain. She had died so that I could be born and at 22 I didn’t know who I was yet. I have tried telling people this. But they always say “you’re always so happy” and I guess I was always happy. I had the world on my shoulders and a smile on my lips. I was good at pretending.

I used to feel sorry for myself. Not the 22-year-old me, but the Kathy who was a teenager. The 18-year-old who lived alone in a cold flat in a little British town. No hot water. I boiled water on the stove to wash my clothes in the bathtub. The building I lived in was situated between three pubs and I would lay awake in my bed listening to the roars and shouts of the drunk people downstairs. In the winter my flat was so cold I would go to bed at 6 PM just to get warm again. Double trousers, jumper, cover and blanket. And I learned. I learned to cook, and after the skin fell of my hands I learned not to wash my clothes without plastic gloves.

But at the same time I lost myself.

I wanted to hug little me, and tell her that it’ll be okay and that I’m so sorry she had to die.

But everyone has to grow up sometime.

At 22 I changed. I found writing again, and a friend was nice enough to send me Jae’s Backwards to Oregon. Then several of Gil McKnight’s books. Which introduced me to lesbian fiction.

And I found myself again. My girlfriend stopped sleeping so much. We moved back south and I started studying here instead. I started believing in myself. I started running. I’m asthmatic and sometimes I thought I would die. But I ran. And I wrote. And I read. And I lived.

I don’t live by my past anymore. I don’t need every difficult thing to be a part of my identity and I have restored the connection with the girl I was. And now?

Now I’m married. We have two dogs. I have graduated and I have a wonderful job waiting for me that I’m starting on Monday. And this week I published my first novel.

And today I ran my fastest kilometer ever.

 

… and they called it puppy love

“Rae?”

The soft voice by her door made Rae lift her head. She had ignored the earlier yells from somewhere in the house, but her homework wasn’t interesting enough to ignore Leone looking at her shyly.

“Can I come in?”

Why are you here? Leone had never visited her room like this before.

 Rae nodded and moved her chair back so there was enough room for Leone to come inside the tiny bedroom. “Of course it is.”

Continue reading

Exciting News

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I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve decided to self-publish my first novel, State of Emergency. I’ll have more information in the days and weeks to come, but the goal is for it to be out on August 10.

Here is the blurb:
Sweden, Present Day: Idun Tyr receives a warning from her sister, and army lieutenant, telling her to hide and not come out no matter what she hears. By the time she re-emerges, the world has changed. Her phone has no signal, the internet and televisions aren’t working, and her town is empty of people. Everyone is gone. She sets out to find her missing girlfriend, Mercedes and embarks on a long journey, learning to survive in this new reality. A dystopian lesbian novel about a country torn apart by a vicious disease, following three women on different sides: military, vigilante and prisoner.

On being a writer and wasting time

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I don’t usually review books on this blog (even though this isn’t a proper review), unless I’m making my lists but this is too valuable not to mention. I’m talking of course about Time Management for Writers by Sandra Gerth.

I bought this on a whim. I have quite a tight budget at the moment and I try to save the money I can spend on frivolous things for lesfic novels because from time to time I really do need to read something new that has lesbians (latest novel I read was Good Enough to Eat by Jae and Allison Grey, no wait that’s not true, I also read Bitter Fruit by Lois Cloarec Hart).

Anyway, Time Management for Writers is absolutely awesome! I thought I managed my time well, but oh no, I really don’t. This also explains how Ms Gerth (writing as her alter ego Jae) manages to write two novels in the time I write one. The book gives a lot of concise advice and small exercises to perform after each chapter, everything to make us the best and most effective writers that we can be. To me some of the advice seemed rather extreme at first, e.g. not cooking every day but rather making more food from time to time and then rely on leftovers. But afterwards I started thinking. I write a lot, sure I do, but not nearly enough and not more than an hour or two per day. Which is ridiculous concidering how much time I spend on other things, including cooking (I spend a lot of time in the kitchen 😛 ), watching television, reading or even writing this blog post. This book has taught me to do better and I’m already seeing a change. I want writing to be my job and there is only one way forward.

And that’s why I wanted to tell you all about it. Writers, please read it, it’s for both newbies and people who have been writing for several years. It’s wholeheartedly recommended by yours truly.

…and now I’m going to take the lesson to heart and go and write. Oh wait, dog walk first. And then I need to make dinner. Wait, what did the book say again?

 

Analysis Paralysis

Writer’s block has hit me hard and in a way it never has before. I’ve spent the past two weeks feeling absolutely frustrated with myself and the world. Why can’t I write? Why can’t I even think of something to write? I thought I had an idea but I feel dissuaded. By myself mostly. There is so much I don’t know, so much I can’t do, so many reasons why my idea is a bad idea. What stories do I have to tell? What stories do I have to tell that haven’t been told a million times before?

So I tried to revise, write short stories, finish short stories, do anything that has to do with writing but not my new novel and I just can’t. I can’t focus. I can’t even start focusing. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why I think that writing was ever a good idea, then people will expect you to write. To deliver. When I wish I could just stop.

And then there is the absolute compulsion to write, weighing me down. The character screaming in my head needing to come out, out, out, but I don’t have a story for her. Not even a world. I don’t know where to put her.

What to do…