Saturday, 10 February 2018

Party Across the Pond (or "River" as the people of the Gamma forests would call it)

Full house at the Doctor Who party! The Swedes were honored with the VIP seats in the front row.

 At the beginning of this millennia, or to be more exact the 1 of July in the year of 2000, a bridge that connect Sweden and Denmark was opened, bravely crossing the sea of Öresund. It solved the pesky problem that, if the sound is frozen solid, it's still legal in Denmark to clobber a Swede to death if we ever cross the ice by foot. Now we just take the train instead.

Yesterday four valiant Swedes braved the mishandled public transport system to attend the yearly Doctor Who party our Danish brothers and sisters were throwing. Armed with only our wits, a couple of the 4th Doctor's scarves and a bowtie (because bowties are cool), we arrived at the cinema where it was to be held some of us not really knowing what to expect. Linnea and Fia had attended once before and Fia assured us the Danes are crazy just like us. 

And boy was she right, in the best way possible! We were met with open arms by wonderful people in brilliant cosplays and different kinds of Doctor Who-themed attire, and of course fishfingers with custard. Our "person on the inside", the Danish fan and co-organizer of the event Sanna Bo Claumarch, was running around getting everything ready and organized but paused long enough to give us all a brilliant smile and a strong hug before running off again. The spirits were high and contagious. 

The Scarf Squad.

The cinema we were in was charming, the walls covered with old film posters, film rolls and mysterious bric-a-brac. The lights were coloured, the furniture mismatched and the atmosphere cosy. Everyone were talking lively, munching their fishfinger-custard concoctions and sipping their still-not-ginger-fizz welcome drinks. 

The biggest part of the agenda for the night was the viewing of some episodes from the show of course. This time the plan was to watch the very first and the very last episodes of the classic Who as well as a Christmas special from new Who. 

We saw in order:
An Unearthly Child episode 1
Survival eps 1
Survival eps 2 
Survival eps 3
Planet of the Dead 

Before each new Doctor we got a short Whovian history lesson by co-organizer Steen Schapiro about those episodes and the people and circumstances behind it, which added a very enjoyable dimension to the viewing. We all know how we Whovians love our relative dimensions in time and space. Perhaps not quite as much as the Lovecraftians though.

Co-organizer Steen Schapiro talking Whovian history between episodes. Good thing he's not an archaeologist, or he would have been pointed and laughed at. Notice his excellent vest!

The whole thing was wonderfully arranged and I can't imagine it going down any better. We were all in agreement that we had a great time! 15/14 will go again next year.

Co-organizer Sanna Bo Claumarch happily squeeing with her arms full of gifted books from Fia. Thank you ever so much for inviting us!
(Credit to Sanna Bo Claumarch and Fia Karlsson for the lovely pictures.)

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Sorting is freedom

Imagine you have a brilliant idea for a story you want to write. You grab a notebook and fill it up with all of these things you want in your story. Your notebook is soon full, so you grab a second notebook, and then a third.

Eventually the project becomes huge and you decide that you're going to start over on a computer, because that's more efficient and then you can also scroll through your notes easier. So you start writing it down a second time. In the process you realise you want to go in a different direction so you start rewriting your story.

You know your notes will eventually come in handy, because even if you go in a different direction, you have some good world building in there, and family trees and stuff, so you keep your notebooks in a box and plan to one day transfer all the notes to the computer.

You do some research, which you write down in a fourth notebook and stow away with the three others in that box. Then you go on a vacation and come back with another notebook of new ideas, a new-new direction of your story. You store that with the four others, thinking you'll eventually collect all your notes on the computer.

Through the years you accumulate more and more notes of your new direction, your new-new direction, and your new-new-new direction, while simultaneously working on the computer, never really glancing back. Soon, you have no idea what the original notes were about anymore, you just know you saved them for a good reason. One day you'll go through it all. Maybe you'll find the perfect ending to your story hidden away in that dusty old box of notebooks?

But, eventually, your huge amount of notes in your box of notebooks overwhelms you so much that you feel reluctant to finish the story, because that would mean going through the box to merge the notes and the story. Instead, you quit writing.

Several years later, after staring at the box of mysterious notes, you finally take the bull by the horn and return to the story. You look at your word documents, and you start looking at your old notes, and  then you discover the horrible truth; the notes contain no perfect ending to your story, there is no hidden answers to your current story problem, the notes lost their usefulness a long time ago as the story changed.

As you start ripping out page after page of text, you feel lighter, and lighter, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

Like you're finally free.

When the notes are gone, you're finally free to move on with your story. There's nothing holding you back, there's nothing you've forgotten to think about. You're finally able to focus on what's really important.

For me, that's what sorting does. It gives me focus. It gives me an overview. I know what I have. I know that there isn't any old stuff I've forgotten to think about. I know what has a place in my story, what has a place in my home.

Sorting is freedom.

So, in the immortal words of Kylo Ren:
"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. That's the only way to become what you're meant to be."

More on this subject later.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

When Vikings Came to Dublin

In the year 841, the Vikings sailed up River Liffey and settled in Dublin, which they ruled for three centuries. They were eventually driven out, but 1176 years later, they came back.




In October 2017, I stormed went to Dublin as a Swedish delegate from the Nordic Fan Fund (NoFF), to attend Octocon, the national Irish convention. With my banners flying high I charged the city, and thing were never the same again...

When the 2017 NoFF-race started, there was no announced convention in the Nordic countries except for Worldcon 75, and since the NoFF-administrators Johan Anglemark and Bellis felt that a Worldcon was too big to make it a fun and interesting Nordic-to-Nordic exchange, they looked outside the Nordic countries and came up with a solution - Dublin was founded by the Vikings, so Ireland could be construed as a Nordic country - let's have the Vikings in Dublin again!

I was elected NoFF-delegate at the annual Swecon, and my mission was to be the bridge between the Nordic and the Irish fans. A cultural exchange of sorts. Me and my partner in crime Frida went merrily to Ireland, to teach them the ways of the Dillchips.

To tell you the truth, I was super excited. I've always been fascinated by Ireland. I don't know how it started, but when I was around 7 or 8, I had an imaginary Irish friend that I called Fenton O'Brien, inspired by O'Brien in Star Trek The Next Generation.

Fenton and his wife Iris helped me make tons of new friends at my school. Eventually they decided to retire and move back to Ireland with their three kids, as imaginary friends do.

As I grew up I found inspiration to write by listening to the dramatic and wild music of "Bill Whelan' Riverdance - Music from the show" which spoke to me. And as an adult, one of my all time favourite bands is Flogging Molly. Needless to say, I have longed to see Ireland!



Enter Gareth.

I met Gareth Kavanagh, and a bunch of other Irish fans while working for Worldcon 75, the Finnish Worldcon. Gareth have become a good friend, and - being the kind and hospitable man he is - he offered to show me and Frida a bit of Ireland before the convention started.

All I've seen of Ireland I've seen through the rosy lense of sentimental movies like "P.S. I Love You", or movies abouts knights and round tables, so naturally, in my head, Ireland is super idyllic. But could it really be that way in real life? Surely the movies might have embellished the truth?

They had not.




Gareth took us up to the Wicklow mountains outside of Dublin. As we drove further and further up into the Mountains on the winding roads, our ears popped and the wind shook the car. Out the window, you could see the mountains go on and on. The view was breathtaking. The Wicklow Mountains was everything I've ever pictured Ireland to look like. Heather everywhere, rolling hills, deep valleys and white dots that were sheep. It was an overwhelmingly beautiful scene.


Turns out, the Wicklow mountains is the actual spots where they filmed such films as "PS. I Love You","Excalibur", "King Arthur" and "Braveheart". We also saw the area where they've shot the show "Vikings".




We went as far as Glendalough on our first day, which is actually not that far from Dublin. We saw the 6th century monastic settlement, the Round Tower and the graveyard with ancient stones with celtic knots. It was such a beatiful and serene day, and we went back to Dublin full of joy for having that experience.

On our second day in Dublin, before the convention started, Gareth took us around in the city. We saw Saint Patricks Cathedral where Jonathan Swift (author of Gulliver's Travels) once served as the Dean. We saw Dublin Castle, Saint Stephens Gardens, the Viking Museum Dublinia, the Christ Church Cathedral, beautiful malls and the Iveagh Garden. Dublin has a lot to offer!






Aside from the historic sites, Dublin is cramped with bakeries. One of their best is Queen of Tarts - a bakery/lunch place that had absolutely delicious food and the friendliest waitress I've ever met. I can highly recommend the place for all Dublin goers!

One thing I've consistently noticed is that Irish people are genuinly so warm and friendly. Walking up to Dublin Castle, we saw someone standing on the side of a very busy street, having a friendly conversation with his friend on the opposite side of the street. They were shouting hello to each other over traffic. Because why not!


Then, it was time for Octocon, which took place in Camden Court Hotel, a lovely four star venue with comfy seats in the foyer, a nice bar and a gourmé restaurant. The first thing I noticed is that Irish conventions use ribbons! I love ribbons! I wished I'd made some more Dillchips-ribbons, they were so popular during Worldcon 75 that I actually ran out. Who'd thought?

Sitting in the foyer, having Irish cider, I was enjoying the meet and greet part of the con before the Opening Ceremony. Peadar Ó Guilín, whom I'd med at Worldcon 75, looked at me and said: "Are you the lady with the dill crisps?" The whole group burst out in laughter, as it was only too true. Later on, I bought his book "The Call" and had him sign it for me - I got a absolute lovely dedication.



No convention is complete without running into Dave Lally, and since this was an Irish convention, there was no avoiding him. We met at the Opening Ceremony, which was a short and funny opening. The mood of the con was high spirits and laughter, I could see that the people at this con knew each other well and were all very good friends.


Later on I met Brian Nisbet and Vanessa May whom I worked closely with during Worldcon 75. I was introduced to James Bacon, the chair of Dublin 2019, the Irish Worldcon. James quickly mentioned that he'd heard lots of good things about me. Naturally, I was worried.

It was really nice catching up with the Worldcon 75 crew and talking shop. I'm a con runner at heart and will jump at the opportunity to work at a convention, so Vanessa put me at work preparing for the Octocon disco while she tried to recruit me to work for Dublin. I'd been thinking of joining the Dublin crew (still am, but due to surgery and health problems, I've put that on hold for a while).

James was gracious enough to explain how TAFF really works, and offered up a lot of interesting info about what they're working on creating for their Dublin Worldcon. He mentioned a lot of financial aid-ideas that they'll try to implement, which I thought was brilliant. We had something similar for Worldcon 75 and I think it's great how much conventions do to try and help everyone attend. If you're in need of financial aid to attend the Dublin Worldcon I suggest you contact them to hear more about their FANtastic Fund.

But what about the panels? The first - and best panel - of Octocon was "Irish mythology told and retold", with Ruth Frances Long, Oisín McGann, Nigel Quinlan and Deirdre Thornton, moderated by Sakura Perez. It opened the whole con awesomely by establishing what sets Irish fantasy apart from other fantasy stories, while also showering us with great tips on fantasy works that incorporate the real Irish mythology. They also talked a lot about how their culture and mythologies has been misshandled. Nigel described the absolute abuse of Leprechauns in movies, and Oisín explained a lot about how the Irish themselves view the Irish mythology.

If you ever get a chance to listen to Irish people talk about their cultural heritage, you should do it. One person I especially appreciated was Ruth Frances Long, not only for her helpful suggestions on which books to read, but because she was a really good panelist in general. I'd love to listen to her talk about anything, basically.

Other memorable panels I attended was "Civilizations in Decline", "Michael Carroll's Secret Panel" and "Our House is Your House" which dealt with fan funds.

Someone found my picture of the Civilizations in Decline-panel on Twitter and said it felt like they were being interviewed for the final Flashdance dance scene, which felt oddly right.


"Civilizations in Decline" or Flash Dance interview? Peadar Ó Guilín, Oisín McGann, Allen Stroud and S.C Flynn, moderated by Virginia Preston
Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll's Secret Panel was a blast. I had never heard of Michael Carroll before but the idea of just giving a man an hour to talk about what he wants is actually hilarious, and also slightly familiar as we have a Swedish equivalent called "Johan Jönsson talks about things" a very important panel that breaches important subjects and educates us about things like the population of freerange locomotives in Sibiria.

Amusing program items are as important as serious ones, and Mike did amuse, as well as inspire us to follow our dreams. Like the Dalek.

I participated as a panelist in one panel, the Fan Fund-panel "Our House is Your House", with Tobes Valois, James Shield, James Bacon and Fiona. As a former Trans Atlantic Fan Fund-delegate, both James and Tobes had a lot to say about the subject. They explained how to sign up for TAFF, and why you should sign up for TAFF. James Shield talked about GUFF, the Get up-and-over Fan Fund. I explained how the Nordic Fan Fund (NOFF) works.

I learnt how to extract information from a delegate if they can't seem to finish their con report. (It has sadly not been very helpful for this report, since I haven't got access to a group of friends with computers who're not afraid to torture me to get the information out.)

The best part of the programme item, though, was Douglas Spencer reading a poem about Tobes as TAFF. I wish someone would write a poem like that about me, one day.

I've met most of my new Irish friends in the bar at Camden Court Hotel. As you might have guessed, Irish fans seem to enjoy sitting down for a beer or a cider. We have that in common. I'd been looking forward to good Irish Ciders, since I discovered the Irish Cider Magners, which is now my go to-beverage of choice. I fully expected to find many tasty ciders when I got there, but as it turns out, they don't have Magners! They have Bulmers, which is the same cider. It would seem like they can only use the Magners-name outside of Ireland.

An even more shocking discovery was made when we went out for dinner one night and I asked around for their best cider and was recommended... Kopparbergs. As a Swede, I associate Kopparbergs cider with my wild teenage years were I wasn't used to drinking real beer and had to start with something sweet. Since the young age of 18, I haven't been able to stomach it, it's such a sweet sticky cider, and it's generally not very appreciated at all in Sweden. Imagine my surprise when I found out the Irish actually like it. Such weird. Many what.

The Irish fans have many sides, though. They have a large LARP community, and many gamers as well as reenactors. Kristen Humphrey-Taylor, who've worked as an extra on Vikings, came up to me, Fiona, Frida and Russell one night in the bar and showed his Centurion helmet, which we got to try out.

Who wore it better? I think Russell.


Fiona

Me

Frida

Russell

Another new experience for me was the Irish Disco on Saturday, the Monsters' Ball. We were asked to send in our music requests before hand, so I sent a lot of Swedish music like ABBA, but also a lot of classic Disco. I never knew the Irish could dance like that. I danced more than I've ever danced at a disco.
Andrew Meaney, Mikaela Lind and Frida

Marquerite Smith, Vanessa May and James Bacon



Niall O Bhrion

When the Ball was over, we helped removing the decor, and of course established that the Monsters were indeed alive and did not want to be separated, so me and Frida adopted Alfred, Albert and Sandy the Sandworm and took them home to Sweden.



There's much to be said about Irish fans and Irish conventions, all exceedingly positive things. They even make good crisps.


Phil Dyson, contributing to the cultural exchange by giving me Irish crisps, Taytos. They were yummie.

I have made a lot of new friends and am super excited for Dublin 2019. If you get the chance, you should definitely attend an Irish convention!


The loot.


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi [Spoilers]

I have so many things to say about Star Wars: The Last Jedi, that I almost don't know where to begin. That's why I have decided to devote this blogpost to what I see as the message of the movie, that of social justice.

One thing I loved about Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the way it stays true to The Force Awaken theme of challenging the idea of the patriarchy, as well as the thought that "where you come from matters". It talks about the problems with machoism and misguided heroes, and uses it's untraditional storytelling to surprise us at every turn. It is magnificent.

For example, in the very first scenes we see Poe taking the hero role, directly disobeying orders and risking his own life and that of others to take out the cannons of the Dreadnought. Leia demotes him for his arrogance and for challenging the command of his leaders, but he learns nothing, echoing the sad reality that many women feel in their heart, that men just don't trust women to know better.

Further into the movie, he tries to be the hero again and commits mutiny against Admiral Holdo, another woman, to do it. It ends in another epic failure.

Leia blasts him into a wall for it, and then carries out Holdo's plan, which ends with Holdo being the real hero. In the end, it finally humbles Poe enough to realize that he was being an ass and that having a cocky confidence doesn't always make you a hero.

We see more of this theme of cocky confidence and misguided heroism with Finn when he plans to lead Rey away from the Rebellion with the beacon. He is about to do it, and consequently take the choice of helping the Rebellion away from Rey, when Rose appears near the escape pod, realizes what he's doing and stops him from leaving, causinf them to work together to come up with a better plan. Rose actually stops Finn several times from doing the wrong thing or trying to be a hero, and we just never see it coming because we're so used to men getting away with things. It's so great!

Another subtle but honest point is made when Finn takes charge of the situation by stepping in front of Rose when she tries to explain their plan to Poe. Rose won't have it and quickly steps up and interupts him, a small but important move for women.

Kylo Ren is another thing all together. He suffers from the chosen one-delusion, prancing around like a dark prince with an overwhelming sense of self importance because of his family's connection to the Force.

What I especially love about this film is that the importance of his or anyone else's heritage gradually diminishes. It happens when Rey admits that she's the daughter of some nobody, and when a mere stable boy use the Force to pick up his broom.

Staying true to his inflated ego, Kylo agrees that she's a nobody, but says 'not to him', thinking that she will hang on to his approval. He's so entitled and full of himself that when Rey doesn't see his side of things, it completely knocks him off centre. She realizes he's not going to turn, turns him down and leaves and he responds by deciding to destroy her. Because how dare she refuse him?

She takes her loss with a stride and goes on to save her friends, and shuts him out, showing that she doesn't need him.

It sets the pieces up nicely for next movie to have an epic show down between toxic masculinity and feminism.

Challenging multiple tropes like "the chosen one" and "the hero's sacrifice", also challenges the idea that men must save the day or die trying. That it's always up to the men. That only men can decide what's best for everyone. That men get away with shit because they are men.

The Last Jedi shows that it doesn't matter where you come from, whether you're a princess, a prince, an ex-storm trooper, a scrap collector or the Rebellions greatest pilot, it's what you *do* that matters.

It shows that you don't have to be macho to stand up, lead the resistance, defy expectation, and save lives, especially your friends' lives, when they're trying to be stupid heroes for no good reason.

I think this is also the reason that a lot of young men have trouble buying the message of the movie, which makes it all the more important.

Friday, 18 August 2017

The Road to Worldcon 75

For most of you, Worldcon 75 lasted 5 days. For me, it has been my favourite project for over 2 years.

It started in the fan village of Loncon 3, 2014, with the Helsinki party. I helped by serving tar soda and buckthorn & rhubarb drinks, and also hung out with a lot of lovely Finns for the whole convention-week, I knew by then I needed to be a part of Worldcon 75. And so, when they won in 2015 I volunteered.


To my own astonishment, this tweet gained a lot of traction, being retweeted by over 100 people during the course of a few days. It was my first taste of Worldcon 75 Social Media awesomeness and resulted in me being assigned to work as a Social Media (SoMe) staffer. 

I've since then been working Worldcon 75-Social Media almost all of my waking hours for 2 years, save for a few breaks, work, and other cons. I did expect to work a lot, but in the end I worked a lot more than initially expected, just because it was such a wonderful experience, and unexpectedly rewarding. I love interacting with people online, and working customer service. Another benefit of working Social Media is that it gave me an overview of the all the different corners of the convention and included working closely with all the other divisions, meeting with and chatting with lovely staffers from all over the world. It's the best position I could ever have hoped for.

But I must admit, I feel slightly bad for what I put my Worldcon-bosses through, they had a hard time getting me to log off during my days off. (Sorry Outi, Paul, Colette, Karo and Jukka!) 


Me and Sini

Worldcon 75 at Eurocon

Karo,  Hanna and Tero

Of course, we've had our share of rough patches, but what Worldcon doesn't? For me, the fun greatly outweighs any difficulties there have been.

In the winter of 2016, my lovely Area Head Dave Hogg, and my lovely co-worker Nina Niskanen sadly decided to step down, and I was appointed Area Head of Social Media. Me and my right hand woman Lucy Huntzinger have since then mostly been managing things by ourself. It worked really well! In May 2017, we recruited two more staffers: Kat Grimsley and Minna "Loviathar" Hiltula, to help prior to and during the convention. I had a lot of fun working with and getting to know these people, and together we managed to respond to things online all day, 24 hours. There was some really amazing SoMe teamwork going on there and I am super proud of us.


Lovi, Fia and Kat

Fia and Lucy


Aside from the monitoring of SoMe, I've attended three staff weekends, May 2016, November 2016 and May 2017. I highly recommend going to staff-meet ups before the convention, as you get to know some of the people you'll be working closely with, get time to wander around the venue and get your bearings. Also, planning is way more efficient when you're all gathered in one room talking things through.

My great leader, Outi, posing with the sleeping mask.

Me and Michael

Saija and Gareth, scheeming 
The greatly amused Colette and Nicholas

Kisu, John-Henri and Hanna

The programme DH and DDH Kisu and David

If I could do it again, I would. I have made hundreds of new friends through out the years, and absolutely love Finnish fandom. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Finnish Fandom

On Sunday the 13th of August 2017, I had the great honour of being formally adopted as a member of Finnish Science fiction-fandom, together with the lovely Colette H. Fozard and Regina Kanyu Wang. Taking up the role as my fairy god-parents are Jukka Halme and Saija Kyllönen, the best god-parents a girl could wish for.

To say I was ecstatic about being included into the Finnish Fandom family would be an understatement. I can't really find the words to say how much this means to me, but I am going to try to, anyway.

As a young woman, I've often felt that I wasn't taken very seriously in the fandom community. I'm sure a lot of other young women have felt the same. But the Finns, they not only invite me in as a fan and a con-runner, they gave me more and more responsibility, showing me in many different ways how MY opinions matter, how I matter, and that they believe in me. Heck, they even thought I was suited to be a Social Media Area Head for Worldcon 75.

It all started at my very first convention, Eurocon 2011, I met the the wonderful Jukka Halme. He was doing a quiz of some sort and was being hella funny. I love quizzes, so I joined,  and I had a blast.

Jukka also did an amazing job as fan GoH. During the con, he talked about the fandom family, his own wow-moments and how much fandom meant to him, which really opened my eyes to the community behind the convention, as well as the impressive backstory it carried with it. It made me want to be a part of that.
After only a short acquaintance I decided Jukka was the coolest guy on earth, so I went up to Jukka and told him (in a very non-creepy way, I promise!) that I was his biggest fan. A fact that remains true to this day. And now he's my fairy god-father! 

Jukka has always been incredibly kind and including, he has asked me to assist him as quizmaster or join in the quiz-teams several times, and he has also let me stay at his and Sari's place during the three Staff weekends I attended, to which I am ever grateful.

Throughout the years, as I got more and more involved in Swedish fandom, I also met more and more Finnish fans. They let me help them with the party in the Fan Village at Loncon 3, they asked me to help recruit Swedish fans for Archipelacon and they asked me to help with twitter for Åcon 8. 

I've also been talking a lot about my hearing disability throughout the years, and Finnish fandom has always have been super attentive when it comes to helping me get the best and most accessible con-experience. They've even consulted me before conventions, making me feel so very welcome. 

Remembering back, one of the people I met first was Saija Kyllönen, at Eurocon 2011. Memories are fleeting from that convention, but I do remember meeting Saija again at Loncon 3, where she quickly established that she was my fandom mother. (Well, Saija, now you sort of are!) And by now, she's even met my real mother, which seems suiting. 

At Loncon 3 I also got to know Hanna Hakkarainen, Jukka Särkijärvi and Mikko Lammi, in particular. The were kind enough to explain how a worldcon works, and the whole puppy-debacle, to a noob like me. And they introduced me to people. I don't know where I would be now if I hadn't met them.

I can't really remember when I met the brilliant man Tero Ykspetäjä, but I am glad I did. He's the pun-master of Finnish fandom, who I've shared lots of laughts with throughout the years, and we've also bonded over our passion for effective organisations. He, and all the others, has really made me feel like Finnish fandom cares about me.

All of these people, and so many more, I am proud to call my friends. And with the years, they have become like family to me. And now they officially declared that they want me to be a part of theirs.

Kiitos paljon, my Finnish family.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Art of Gilmore Girling.

There is a secret art to living your life to the fullest. A secret code to feeling good about yourself, your life choices, your personality. When all else fails, you have to go all out Gilmore Girls-style.


1. Find your own Lorelai/Rory.

Find that person that loves you unconditionally. That one person that takes an interest in your life, who wants to talk to you about anything and everything, that friend that will make your favourite dinner, or just shares your love for bad movies or just knows exactly what to say when you're feeling down because they know you so well.


2. Don't take things too serious.

Find joy in everyday things. Get a perspective. Don't take yourself too serious. We're all gonna die anyway.


3. Appreciate your friends

Be happy we're not all exactly the same. Be glad if you have friends with quirks because those are the interesting people, my friend. And don't judge a book by it's cover.


4. Be true to yourself.

When Lorelai got pregnant at sixteen, she made a choice. She could stay at the Gilmore's and marry Christopher. It was the easy solution. But that wasn't what she wanted out of life, so she ran away and made a life for herself and Rory elsewhere. She remained true to herself even when she let her parents back in her life. She thrived. Don't settle, thrive!


5. Wallow.

You are allowed to have emotions. Use them. They serve a purpose. You have to wallow at times.

What do you think? Have I forgotten some rules? Sound off in the comments!

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Krigstid & Korpgudinnan

För mer än ett år sen så recenserade jag "Turid - Kungadottern" av Elisabeth Östnäs på denna blogg. Jag har även fått de uppföljande delarna i recensionsexemplar av Berghs förlag. Del två heter "Krigstid", och del tre är "Korpgudinnan".

På grund av livet, kongresser och annat som kommit emellan så har jag inte kunnat fokusera på att läsa och recensera (och jag kommer ha ännu mindre tid över för det framöver, så få inga idéer nu, förlag!). Nu i juletider så har jag haft lite ledig tid och har då äntligen kunnat sätta mig ned och läsa färdigt och skriva detta.

Eftersom Krigstid och Korpgudinnan följer händelserna i första delen om Turid så är det svårt att prata om det utan att spoila, så en varning till er, kära läsare - har ni inte läst första delen kanske ni inte vill veta vad som händer härnäst.

** S P O I L E R **


Krigstid är en intressant och komplex historia som visar på att det finns många sätt att vara stark och modig. Boken är en lång resa, både i det inre och yttre landskapet. Turid är en ung kvinna, som finner sig ensam och utsatt i den hårda vikingavärlden med endast sin träl Unna som följeslagare. Och eftersom det är männens värld gör både hon och Unna det som de känner att de måste för att rädda sig själva. Ibland innebär det stora självuppoffringar och hemskheter.




Den tredje och avslutande delen börjar med att Turid och hennes make Frode reser till Irland för att söka hjälp av Frodes släkt mot plundrarna och rövarna som härjar i Danerna rike. Allt står dock inte rätt till vid den irländska kung Torkels gård. Turid träffar Niamh, kung Torkels dotter, och lär sig om Korpgudinnan, den blodtörstiga. Intrigerna vid Torkels hov resulterar snart i blodiga offer, och Turid träffar en äldre kvinna med synska gåvor som säger att det enda sättet att stoppa ett blodbad är om Torkel överlämnar tronen till sin dotter Niamh, något Torkel vägrar. Turid och Frode inser att de måste stoppa Torkel för att förhindra ett nytt krig.


Elisabeth Östnäs är en lysande stjärna på författarhimlen. Jag har haft nöjet att träffa henne flera gånger, bland annat på min kongress i Lund, där hon var med i programmet och pratade om historisk fantasy. Jag har även hört henne prata om bokserien på Gleerups Akademibokhandel i Lund under boksläppet av Korpgudinnan

Elisabeth har nämnt Sigrid Undsets "Kristin Lavransdotter" som en av inspirationerna för denna bokserie, en bok som jag läst och älskat då det begav sig. Med facit i hand så är förstås Turid väldigt olik Kristin Lavransdotter, likheten mellan verken är snarare sättet de tar sig an historien - ingen av berättelserna förskönar de levnadsförhållanden som rådde under vikingatiden eller medeltiden.

Historien om Turid visar på ett realistiskt sätt hur utsatta kvinnor är, och hur mäns våld och dominans skadar alla, inte minst männen själv. Östnäs behandlar även temat "toxic masculinity" genom att gång på gång lyfta fram unga män, likt Frode, som avviker från normen med en klar brist på macho-attityd. Böckerna för en slags inre monolog om normer och hjältemod, och om vikten av att gå sin egen väg.

Jag älskade denna bokserie! Östnäs har förmågan att skriva på ett sätt som direkt fångar läsaren, och min läsupplevelse har varit fylld av starka känslor. Slutet på Korpgudinnan lämnar nog ingen oberörd, men jag blev rörd till tårar. Vackert skrivet, Elisabeth!