Why blog?

During the course Smart Learning at NTNU, I was asked to write about why I blog. As infrequently as I update this site, “blog” seems too active a word, but I’ll give it a go!

I want a place that’s mine. I want somewhere to put stray ideas that don’t fit anywhere else, somewhere I can practice writing different texts. It’s not a diary – there are places like 750 words for that. It’s part workshop, part exhibition stand. If people come by, it might be a tea room.

Because my main object is practice, I’m not actively searching for a lot of readers. When they drop by (hello, there!), I’m thrilled, but I’m not crying myself to sleep over my (lack of) stats. When I’m ready for it, I’ll publish more posts and be more active on other blogs/twitter. Everyone works at their own speed, and, at least for the moment, mine is glacial.

For those who want tips, I’ve found a lot of advice about both blogging and writing here:

Anne R. Allen

Jami Gold

Blogging 2 Learn

The Healer trilogy by Maria V. Snyder

I just finished the Healer books by Maria V. Snyder, and I wanted to give them a little love!

In the first book, Touch of Power, we get to know Avry, the main character, and the people who will be important to her throughout the series. At the very beginning of the book, Avry is alone and living on the run. Ever since a plague killed large parts of the population, healers have had a price on their heads. This might seem contradictory, but the healers were unable to heal the plague, and rumors had it that they even started it in the first place by experimenting with things they should have left alone. Grief and anger are taken out on the healers by those looking for someone to blame.

Avry is not fully trained, but she was well into her education when healing became outlawed. She’s been on the run for three years, and always breaks her cover when she can’t take a child’s pain anymore and decides to use her powers. So far, she has been able to get away, but this time, she is caught and sentenced to be executed in the morning. She is rescued/kidnapped in the nick of time by a group of men who need her to heal a prince – of the plague.

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Nails from the past


2014-05-27 23.34.34-1Past experiments in nail art (and I use the word “art” loosely)!

Base coat on all pictures: L’Oreal Diamond Force.

Top coat on all pictures: essie (no chips ahead).

To the left is IsaDora Dragonfly 777, which looks greenish on the bottle, but comes out a little more gold. The image is warmly toned, so it looks more golden than it is. Read more

This is not a makeup blog

I’m still figuring out what I want this place to be. In my head, it’s a combination of storage, entertainment, and advice. That is, I want it to be of use to people, but I also want a place where I can organize my thoughts, put pictures/ideas in order, or experiment without setting the bar too high.

Which brings me over to: makeup. From not wearing anything at all, I’ve developed…let’s call it an interest…over the summer. I’ve bought tons of the stuff and watched who-knows-how-many tutorials on YouTube. I’m not going to post any myself. I think. What I am going to do is to post pictures of my nails, more as a catalog for myself than anything else. If you happen to drop by these posts, notice all the mistakes I make and do better 😉

The Boscombe Tardis

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I came across this on my vacation in Bournemouth last week. We were walking through nearby Boscombe looking for a place to eat, and, suddenly, there it was.

It is one of only two operational boxes in Britain, according to the Dorset police: Doctor Who Tardis-style police box unveiled in Boscombe

They do not comment upon its possible time/space travelling abilities, however.

Elizabeth Is Missing*

Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey is part mystery, part historical, part grim (and funny!) realism.

Maud, 82, is worried because her friend Elizabeth seems to be missing. Maud has not seen or heard from her for weeks. When she learns from one of the neighbors that Elizabeth’s son, who Maud has always thought cold and greedy, has been selling off his mother’s things, Maud suspects that something is up, and she decides to find out what has happened to her friend. It’s just that no one else wants to help her.

The novel moves back and forth between the now, where Maud is trying to discover where Elizabeth has gone, and Maud’s childhood, telling the story of when her sister Sukey disappeared, never to be seen again. The two disappearances are linked in Maud’s mind, and sometimes she is not able to separate the two. Because she forgets. And forgets again. And the memories that are clearest are those from many years ago.

Maud does not really take her forgetting into account – after all, she can remember lots of things! After her follows a trail of cooling teacups, holes dug in other people’s gardens and dropped notes reminding her what is important to remember. It is a terrible joke to say that she has forgotten that she forgets things, but partly, that is what she has. Or not forgotten, exactly; it is more as if she is continuously rationalising, convincing herself that she cannot be that bad. Her daughter tells her not to leave the house, but she does over and over – often resulting in humiliation or injury.

Because we feel Maud’s irritation at being managed all the time, we desperately want to believe her – maybe her family and her doctor really are overbearing; maybe they do exaggerate her illness. We want Maud to win, to prove herself, to show that she is still in control. The tragedy of it all is that there is no getting better with dementia.

Instead of writing Maud from the outside, or seen through the eyes of the people around her, Healey makes Maud the narrator, giving us Maud’s thoughts as they appear – and disappear. Maud is not wallowing in her lost memories or despairing that she forgets even her own family – she is frustrated at being told what to do at every turn, at not being believed about Elizabeth, at not having her worry being taken seriously. She is on a mission, and the forgetting is simply something that makes it more difficult.

As time goes on, Maud becomes progressively worse, but she does not stop to register it – at least not most of the time. When she gets to the point where she starts to lose words for common things, such as pencils or chairs, she does not panic about it or think about the consequences; she simply moves around it by describing the things’ function or looks instead (thing for sitting on, wooden thing with lead in it, and so on). We see that she is deteriorating, but except for in sudden moments of clarity, she does not.

It would have been easy to make this story sentimental, but Healey avoids that. Instead we get what feels like a truthful version of what dementia can look like on the inside. I do not know anyone with the disease, so I am not qualified to tell, but to me, Maud seems real. And what I think is the most important part of the novel is that she is real to herself as well. She does not stop being herself because she is ill. She wants to continue living her life, doing the things she is used to. She behaves throughout as if she were in full control over herself, her memories and her life. She is not only some old woman or a patient or a mother/grandmother who must be looked after; she is Maud. She has her own history, her own personality. When she does things that look odd on the outside, other people assume she is acting irrationally, but she is not. She acts out of the information available to her in the here and now. I remember thinking this when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, too, that all the main character’s actions made perfect sense when I knew what lay behind them, and that the novel taught me to recognize a new point of view.

The stereotype of the batty old woman makes it easy for others to dismiss Maud’s worries. When the people around her attribute everything she says and does to her disease, Maud’s real needs are not being met. She is not seen as capable of deciding what these are any more. Her opinions are not valid; her impulses are faulty. At least she gets this chance to show her side of the story.

*Nobody has asked me to write this review, and I have not received any payment or gift for it.


Wooly Socks

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When we were on vacation in Orkney last summer, I bought local yarn to knit socks for both me and my husband. As you can see here, I’ve finally finished mine. This yarn is very thick and coarse, so the socks are very warm!

This is a general pattern I use when making thick socks for myself (size 37 (US 6 1/2, UK 4 1/2)): Read more

10 Tips to Get You Writing

I devise new plots luring me away from my work-in-progress (WIP) every day. Three months ago I read vegetarian cookbooks at the speed of lightning. Two weeks ago I switched to photography. On Friday I began a blog. All very time-consuming, of course, and as I never do anything by halves, I immerse myself in each hobby until gasping for air, and then I find another instead. At least with a blog, I’ll have to write while I avoid my novel. Setting aside why I’m displaying this pattern when I actually love writing, there are some things that have proven helpful (when I remember to use them). If you are stuck or contorting yourself to avoid writing, you might want to try some of these (in no particular order):

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Early Works

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I found this when cleaning out my old room. I must have been about 7-8 years old when I wrote it. It’s in Norwegian. Loosely translated:

“They went. The windows slammed and the doors creaked even more than before.

‘How ghastly,” Ingrid said.

Suddenly Iversen charged forward. ‘Bloody kids! Get lost or I’ll kill you!’

‘Help!’ they all screamed, and then they ran away and never returned.”