Sunday, June 01, 2008

Not home-sick

I've been in Berlin for - I don't know actually, less than a year, more than six months - now. People sometimes ask me when I'll be coming home. And I really don't know what they mean. I live here now, in this flat, in this city. Surely this is home? But then again, when travel to Lund, I say that I'm going home. And the same is true for Gothenburg.

I'm not home-sick, I'm home-confused.

When there's a post announced abroad that looks half decent, people ask me if I'm going to apply, as if it's clear that I will do just that. Apparently I've become the kind of person who at least some don't expect to really settle down in one specific place. I'm not really sure how that happened. I used to be the girl who played it safe, the girl who was going to marry a safe and secure unadventurous guy, have 2,5 or whatever children, and not really make much of a fuss. That didn't happen. I have no idea what happened, really. I guess I'll have to paraphrase a friend who said: "I just can't go on living like that. I want to laugh. I want to have fun!". I'm having fun now. I'm playing a whole other game, but , boy, am I having fun!

And that all happened at the same that that my feelings of home started to become weird.

For a long time, I pined for Australia. I still do in a way. There's a small emptiness in my chest, which can only be filled by the thought of warm air and gum-trees. But at the same time, there's another emptiness in there, one which can only be filled by Swedish west coast granite cliffs, salt water and midnight skinny-dipping. I also have a small emptiness that longs for narrow stone alleys that smell of roses in a small old university town in southern Sweden. And I'm sure that, eventually, there will be an emptiness there for flowering chestnuts in a large metropolis.

Maybe some day I will even feel an emptiness for this rootlessness.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We'd packed away our sorrows

The summer before I turned 19, I experienced a short and intense infatuation with K. K and I went to the same high school. We had no classes together, but he had for a time been together with one of my best friends, so we kinda knew each other. I'd be lying if I said we spent a lot of time together, but he was my prom date, and we were very attracted to each other. To cut to the chase, we eventually ended up in his bed, and there we listened to Tom Waits. We did other things there too, of course, but those are not what I want to talk about here. What is the issue is the music. Or more specifically, his song Martha. Because right then and there, in K's bed, I fell in love. With Tom Waits. The story of Martha made me cry then, and it makes me smile today.

Of course, things happened. K left town to do his military service only a couple of days later, and I was broken hearted for a bit, but within a couple of weeks I met the man I was to live with for the next near-six years. As I said, short and intense. I started studying at the university, years went by, I split up from the man I was living with, I began my postgraduate studies and got my first really own home. A part of those postgraduate studies turned out to be to go to Australia for some time. Exactly one week before leaving, my phone rang.

"Is this the Drakona who went to Highschool X? Do you hear who this is?" someone asked.

Of course I knew who it was. Of course I was she. This was seven years later.

Now, another six years later, K is one of my dearest friends. Not one of my most frequent friends, but one of the very, very dear ones. Almost as dear as Tom Waits. Just the other day I listened to Martha again for the first time in a very long time.

It always makes me think of K, for oh so many reasons.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Perty books!

I'm on a bit of a reading spree at the moment, and what I'm reading is perty books - among other things, I've just had a new batch of books from the Canongate Myths Series. There's a lot to be said about that line, both good and bad of course, but for the msot part, I'm overwhelmed. And the books looks so lovely.

But what's with the nice looking literature? Beautiful books, books that are like soft dark chocolates covered in red and gold wrapping. It is, I find, a joy to open a book that is printed on thick, cream coloured paper, where the margins are substantial, so as to make the lines just so long as is comfortable for the eye. Not the entire page is used up, as is often the case with grey-colour-paper pocket books, where the lines are too tight, the font too bold and the margins too narrow. No, I like well-bound books with beautiful cover-art, books that reach out for me and make me want to pick them up.

But of course, it matters little that the book looks lovely, if the content is bland or uninteresting.

I've recently read not only one, but two books that fill both the form and the content criteria, namely The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson and Girl meets boy by Ali smith. They both deal with issues like queer, norms and expectations, feminist and humanist questions as well as environmental problems and what we are doing to our world and to ourselves. Both JW and AS have a lovely, light and direct prose, they are approachable as writers, accessible as texts, and they both are very, very worth while.

And the books are very, very perty.