As I’m writing this it’s exactly one month since my birthday and although it ended up a little different from what I had planned it was a pretty good day. I originally wanted to spend the day in London going to the British Museum and my favourite bookshops but when I woke up that morning the now infamous Beast from the East was still hitting all over England and they were sending out warnings telling people to avoid using trains.
I woke up this morning to a flurry of snowflakes falling from the sky, so I thought it was the right day to publish a short piece of writing I wrote earlier this month on how I feel about winter. I was inspired to write it after I got prints back from the photo lab with photographs from my first ever roll of Foma Retropan black and white film. I took them in January when I went home to see my family and most of the roll I shot around our cabin in Sweden and on a walk in the surrounding landscape down by Järnavik, a beautiful stretch of Swedish archipelago that I’m very fond of.
I’ve just come back to England after a short, spontaneous holiday in Denmark. I had a few days off and there was a January sale on flights, so I grabbed the chance to go home and cuddle with the cat for a little bit.
For a few years now I have been walking around with an idea for a photo project that I planned to someday do at home. I would photograph the places I used to inhabit, the street where I grew up, the tunnel systems I used to travel through, my old school and the lake where I used to meet my friends. The project would be about photographing all the places that have now become memories, places that I only visit rather than live in. It was also the plan that these photos would sit next to photos of the streets and neighbourhoods I used to inhabit when I lived in London. A juxtaposition of those two cities that made me as a person.
I have been thinking a lot about Nordic literature lately. Maybe it’s because of the season but at this time of year all I want to do is hibernate, get the knitted socks out, drink hot chocolate and cosy up with an old favourite classic or a suitably melancholic Scandi book. Maybe it’s simply because the cold and the darkness here in winter reminds me of home, so I want to read books that can take me there while I’m here in England. Either way I think that stories from the Nordic countries are just the perfect thing to read at this time of year.
We know that most things in life will come and go. That things change and nothing remains the same. The leaves fall off the trees in autumn, people split up, we move to different houses or a different city, we grow up and we grow apart. It’s one of the things I struggle with most in life but it’s also one of the things that fascinates me more than anything else; the impermanence of everything and how we try to hold on to what we have and what we know.
You know when something exciting is happening and all you want to do is tell everyone about it? But you can’t because what you want to tell isn’t really settled yet and you need to keep it a secret before it is? That’s what my life has been like the last few weeks and now I have some pretty exciting news that I’m finally able to share.
Sometimes all you need is a day out, a day off. To wake up and only then decide where to go, to get in a car, heading off for somewhere. What you need is a day of mid-May sunshine and heat, walking up the steps of an old, ruined castle to find the coolness waiting inside, the stonewalls crumbling under the weight of so many years.
Today is a special day. It’s a day that will always mark a before and after for me. Because 4 years ago on this day, I woke up one morning in the bedroom of my childhood home and left it with just a suitcase and a cabin trolley. I drove to the airport together with my parents and then I got on a plane, alone. A plane that would take me to England and to a whole new life here.
It’s been a while since I last posted anything. I have been trying to take things more slowly, to plan less, to cram less things into my days and to take time to just sit and read in my favourite chair, occassionally putting my books down to watch a bit of Line of Duty, Mad Men and Downton Abbey. I got so many books for Christmas and all of the presents I got for my birthday in March were books except for two. I have also been treating myself to some books from my wish list and my parents have been spoiling me with “just because” book gifts to make me happy. So I have had plenty of books to choose from lately and have read some amazing stories in the past few months. Hence, having been a bit too busy reading to write anything new for the blog.
It’s already a few weeks past Christmas by now but with being in Denmark, celebrating New Years with Daniel’s family and most of my days spent by my desk working on the novel, I haven’t taken the time to write this before now. Sometimes it’s more important to live, than worry about being timely relevant.