I've said this before but life taught me years ago to always take the time to show appreciation where it's deserved, because - often enough - we don't. And today, I want to show that appreciation to Hans Hirschi, (no this is not the review for Jonathan's Promise, not yet, I'm still recuperating from that one), and I hope I don't embarrass you too much.
I haven't known Hans for a very long time, we met for the first time around Christmas last year. In a very shot time Hans has become this great person in my life. Even if I am very appreciative of all the things he has done for me in the short time we've known each other, from helping me with my writing, pushing me to believe in myself, reading my work, to introducing me to great people like Debbie McGowan, who'd I probably never had the pleasure to meet if it hadn’t been for Hans introducing us; we had the best lunch I'd had in a long time.
Besides all that he has also convinced me to be a part of all these amazing experiences with him, like going to West Pride (here in Gothenburg in June), and Euro Pride Con in Berlin, also in June. Things that I know will be experiences that will last me a lifetime, and things I'd never done on my own. All because I've met this passionate, considerate, accepting - and let's not forget - half crazy man with a taste for sarcastic humor (which I love).
At home, I speak so much about Hans, to my partner Daniel, that I'm pretty sure if it hadn’t been for the fact that Hans was married, or should I say married to a man, he might have gotten jealous. *winks*. No, seriously, in his own way Daniel is very happy for me, happy that I have found someone to share my passion with, and a friend to "hang out with". Did I mention already that I am a loner, that I have a hard time meeting new people... Well I do. However, I don't think Hans has noticed that particular personal trait of mine because I usually babble his ears off.
I've met some great people over the past year, even if I've never met any of you in real life, and you are all very dear to me, and I appreciate each and every one of you.
But even though all of these things are perfectly grand, it is still not the one thing that makes me appreciate Hans the most. For the first time in years, and this hit me after getting off the phone with him today, which was a very spontaneous and in the moment phone call. I realized that I have a friend, a real friend who (I think) enjoys my company as much as I enjoy his. Someone with whom I share these crazy interests, and who is as passionate about writing and reading as I am, if not more so. Someone to whom I can pick up the phone, and just call and say "hey you! How are you doing? Wanna do lunch?" I'm grateful!
So, thank you Hans for the great gift of friendship.
No Kisses, All Hugs.
Ps. Hans, Do I need to flee the country?
We all have a purpose when writing no matter if it is fact or fiction, but whatever it is we write or for whom, it is all about making people feel and to stir up emotions of some kind. I can honestly say that I take it as a huge compliment if someone tells me they hate Luca's father, from Finding Home or Anthony or the Colonel from Haven's Revenge, because no matter if we are trying to stir a lot or a little, make people feel anger or happiness, love or hate, thought or simple the pleasure of letting the reader read something that makes them sigh contently and feel blissful. It is all about causing and getting a reaction.
I don’t know about you, but when I start a project I always have this image in my head, or several as it may, about what the finished product will look like. There’s always some higher purpose than to simply entertain, it doesn’t have to be extraordinary in any way, it can be as simple as taking anything Shakespeare and use it as a base for writing a short novelette for an anthology to celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, to making a grand very in your face political statement like I'm trying to do in Silent Terrorism.
We have Swedes, especially teenagers and young adults, that are forced to live in two worlds, Swedes who at home are forced to live under their parent’s rules which are of course from their own upbringing, most likely in from another culture with different social views on what is right and wrong, expectations and so on and so forth. Obviously being from another country doesn't have to entail that but it is a stated and proven fact that this is the case for many young Swedes today.
Their parents expect one thing from them, all based on religious and social beliefs from being brought up in another country where men are men, women are women, LGBT is non-existent and abnormal, women cover their hair and faces, men don’t cry, children are beaten into submission, and you marry the man/woman your parents tell you to marry. In 2016, there are children and teenagers of Sweden that are forced to live through the fear of honor killings (which still happens in this country way too often), we have boys who had family members thrown acid in their face for dishonoring them, we had girls who have been sexually mutilated at home in their own bathtubs because in the country their parents are from girl's genitals are dirty, both boy but mostly girls are forced to marry someone they don’t want to marry, and this all still happens because we as a nation refuse to touch upon the subjects for real and bring them up to the surface because lord beholds you might be accused of being a racist. (And for those who want to shove statistics in my face about how many millions of Swedish kronor our government spend on anti violence each year, save it money isn’t worth two shits if we don’t verbally agree that a problem exist and is real, and actively DO something about it.)
Luca represents the struggle that a lot of Swedish teens have to go through today, to live a double life, one demanded by their parents and then one demanded by the rest of society, but none of their own. They have to go out into the everyday world where everyone else live to go to work and go to school and fake another identity, because how do you explain to your fifteen-year-old girlfriends that you spent Easter, back in whatever country your parents come from, with a man twenty years your senior, getting married or lay in bed in agony because in the culture your parents come from the girl parts of your body is dirty and should be sown together. You don’t, instead you stay quiet because no one ever said or did anything all those other times when there was a girl or a boy on the news who gone through the same thing. Society (politicians) always stick their head in the sand and pretend to not to see to afraid to be accused of being a racist than dealing with the real issue and taking a stand.
American’s are generally speaking one of the most good-hearted, helpful and including people I’ve ever met. I’ve lived some of my best years in the US and that including living through 9/11, and working at an American airport during that horrific event. In my entire life, I have never experienced anything quite as surrealistic and terrifying before or after, but I’ve also never been part of anything that after the fact been as inspiring and left me with the feeling of "we will get through this". In crisis American’s come together, if you are there and living there you are American and you belong, there’s no "go home where you come from", there’s no excluding because you are not a citizen.
Kai stands for what to me is America the Beautiful, pride in one’s heritage, pride in one’s family, one’s self, that you stand up and fight for what you believe in, that you help out thy neighbor even if he might be a tad odd, you thrive to see your children grow up and become the best them they can become even if it is the opposite of what you would do or want. The good about the US is the epiphany of Kai.
There’s a lot of good things about Sweden, and Swedes, I love my country, just as much as there are things that are rotten about the US and which drives me absolutely batshit crazy. But my point for doing what I do, and in this particular case is to show and to prove that no culture is perfect and we can’t let ourselves be so blinded by what is good that what is till there to be dealt with disappears from our sight. Nor can we let ourselves become so colored by what is bad about a place or a people that we can’t appreciate what is good and that the knowledge they have to share is still something we can take part of and learn from. We can still learn from those who have a long way to go because seldom to never is something black or white and no matter what we never stop learning and why not learn from other people’s mistakes so we don't have to make them too?
Finding Home, a contemporary romance in all its glory, set out to entertain and maybe even make you sniffle a bit, but that also carry a darker hidden message if you like. Nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it first appears, and know that it takes a wise man to learn from the mistakes of others and it takes an even wiser man to know that when pointing a finger you always have three fingers pointing back at you.
And don't worry if you think this is it, just you wait til I let you in on the symbolism and hidden messages that are in Haven’s Revenge and the Caddo Norse Novels. As for Silent Terrorism, it won’t need an explanation, because that entire series is a rock solid political statement no one can ignore.
I'm reading this book, and without knowing where the author is from its pretty safe to say she's British. It is mostly because of the words she use like dressing gown, I actually had to look that word up because I was like why the f*ck is he wearing a gown, because in my world it's robe or bathrobe. Dressing gown it is something old lady wears to bed, but then when I start thinking no that is night gown, hence looking it up.
In Sweden, when taught English in school, we are taught British English, don't ask me why it is just the way it is and has always been. But sometime around the time I was in sixth grader or something they also started to incorporate American English in our school books because there were words that meant one thing in British English and something different in American English, also British people spell words like colour with an ou and Americans without the u and so on and so forth.
So here we are learning British English in school but every darn program on TV is 90% American shows, movies, talk shows, you name it. So you think I speak funny, well try speak so everyone understands with 10 years of British school English with 5 years American English and see what you get. *winks*
Well, reading this book got me thinking about an incident when I was 15, I had graduated high school and was going to the US for a year as an exchange student. This was the high life for me! I had been planning for this for years. I had been nagging my parents to let me do this, which I eventually got to do.
To say to travel to the US alone at the age of 15 that it was scary is an understatement and the fact that I got lost at New York LaGuardia airport wasn't exactly what I had in either when I started my journey. But I lived and I remember a very nice and very good looking man I might add and I still remember this, 20 odd years later, helped me find my way, so I lived to see another day.
Finally settled and less jet lagged I started my Junior year in an American High School, and loved it, it was way different than what I ever thought it would be but I loved it still. Now to the tricky point. Here I was 15 years old, a Swede, with stigma of the Swedish Bikini Team to live up to and let's put it this way I was a nerd I didn't live up to it then and I sure as hell don't now. But there you have it. I wanted to fit in, I was 15 standing out was the devil, I was I think a month into my stay and had by some miracle managed to not fall on my face once. Yay, Go me! There I was having art drawing a tree I think and sit in a circle of people and kindly ask some guy sitting way across from me to please pass me the rubber.
Fairly harmless, I thought so to until everyone started to giggle and I had no freaking idea why. I only understood, nicely showing from the color of my face, that I said something very wrong. The teacher tried to get them to settle and stop acting silly. I felt awkward both because I had no idea why asking for a rubber caused such frantic giggles. Then the same guy who I asked for this damn square thing, whatever you call it, said something of the sort: "I'm sorry but I don't have any rubbers on me but I'll lend you my erasure."
Then someone kindly whispered that a rubber was a condom and if I had been blushing before then I probably flamed up at that point, and I remember thinking that I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me whole.
Again I survived that horror, but I never got live that one down, which is OK, now in retrospect it is rather funny.
Dreamer, Writer, Reader and Metal Head.