Smultronställen

DSC_0982The word “smultronställe” in Swedish means a little hidden away place where you can find wild strawberries growing. It’s also used as an expression for something good, maybe like a corner of a dvd store with movies that are good but possible underrated, or a specific destination that you’ve found for yourself and enjoy going to. I think of it like a place in the sun, like a place of unexpected sweetness that is a bit separated from the rest of your life.

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There are so many smultronställen in life. I found a literal one next to the road while I was out walking today. And they remind me of C S Lewis saying:

“Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.”

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But that is not less of an incentive to enjoy it. It’s like saying you shouldn’t enjoy your vacation just because you’ll only be there temporarily. Isn’t it rather the opposite? We have to learn to enjoy our fleeting moments and the frailty of things we love. Not because that’s what makes it beautiful – even though that might be true – but because that is what we have.

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My Etsy Shop!!

So I have started an Etsy shop to sell my art. I’ve wanted to do this for the longest time, I even had a shop one many years ago, when me and a friend learnt to make jewelry. It’s a nerve wracking kind of thing, where you don’t know how things will turn out or if you’ll get any sales. But frankly I don’t even have space for the things I paint anymore and life is better when you try to do the things you want to do. Check it out here!!

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The Surprise of Creativity

(Excerpt from a notebook) On the topic of writing, Bukowski says: If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do itThere’s no other way, and there never was. I think what he means is that your writing has to be a surprise, even to yourself. Too many people see writing as a form of thinking, when in reality it’s the complete opposite, a mirrored version or maybe a distant relative to it. When you write, when you really write, you do not need to fear the blank page, because it’s not you who are going to fill it, but your words. Sometimes I’m all up in my head, and I only write such things I’ve already thought about. But what then is the point of writing at all? Is it only documentation? I believe, and believe strongly, that the power lies in not knowing how your sentence will end. I believe, and believe strongly, that we have labyrinths in us just waiting to be discovered, but if you always know and see everything, you just walk along a winding path. You miss all the ways you could have gone. True writing is about something like that.

The Tokyo Project

In a relatively new corner of the world wide web there’s a website called kofi. You could say that it belongs to a group of new websites, some of them not even that new, about crowdfunding and being – through the internet – supported by the very same people who enjoy your work.

Kofi works in the way that you buy someone a coffee, or, technically, you just click a button and 3 bucks are transferred to that person, they can use it however.

I want to use kofi to give away free coffee to people in Shibuya, Tokyo.

In the midst of, or rather right next to, the busiest intersection in the world, there’s a starbucks with a second floor seating area where tourists and locals can enjoy their coffee while looking at the endless stream of people passing by below. I went to Japan last year, and took some time to interview people there, because it’s one of my favourite places I’ve ever been. But this time I wanted to do something different.

I want to connect this virtual reality where everything is buttons and icons, and we sometimes forget that there’s even a person on the other side of the profiles, with the very tangible, physical reality. Don’t get me wrong, there’s beauty in the virtual just as there is in the physical, but it is – above all else – interesting when they meet.

I want someone to be able to sit in front of their computer in America and click a button, and for it to cause me to buy and actual cup of coffee that I’ll give to an actual person out on the street. There’s nothing abstract about that, real cardboard cups and caffeine and money.

This project is a study in two areas I find endlessly fascinating. First of all, different realities versus each other. In this case, the collision and connection of physical and virtual reality. The transformation of something virtual into something “real”. And also the connection and collision between the physical and spiritual. I think acts of generosity change the atmosphere of an area and around a person. And the second area: The great exhange. The way in which we all link up and the constant exhange that is happening, always, whether it comes to money and business or services or compliments. If you’re stingy, no one seems to have enough, but the more generous you are and the more you step into the great exhange, the more you’ll notice it. We’re starting something.

So for now this is just an idea, but when it happens, or well, when I do it, I’ll invite you to virtually give a random person in the Shibuya crossing a fresh cup of coffee.

Sister and sister

Me with my actual sister

(in the city, eating ice cream and waiting for the bus home in the 9 pm sunset. I had given her lion face paint at a carneval).

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Me with my “I have known your name since before I remember being a person” sister

(in her uncle’s cabin that she has the key to, where we went to spend a day painting but actually spent a day talking).

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To the writer who won’t start writing (so, me)

Stop looking for the perfect story and choose a real one. (Your heroine doesn’t need freckles or a specific hair colour and your love interest doesn’t need his eyes described in detail. It would be more interesting hearing your story from the point of a view of a baby. It would be more interesting if everyone wasn’t so morally good. It would be more interesting if you didn’t care so much that you ruined it.)