Communication and conflict

My daughter had different cultures in her dollhouse. The woman is the French-Lebanese Houda. Communication was interesting in this house.
My daughter had different cultures in her dollhouse. Communication was interesting in this house.

I’m constantly thinking about characters. I sometimes hear critics say about other authors that a certain literary figure wasn’t realistic, that real people are not like that at all, but what do they know? I have met people you wouldn’t believe existed.

Describing behaviour is tricky because reality can be more than a little bizarre. Behaviour is frequently very logical and illogical at the same time. It’s  cultural. You can have a direct or indirect style of communication. I tend to communicate a bit like a Vulcan, such as Spock in the original Star Trek. I focus on being rational and unemotional. The point is the information I want to relay, which is common in the culture I grew up in. I have noticed that some people are direct and passionate. I sometimes misunderstand these people. It’s actually positive to be passionate about something, and I have to remind myself that I shouldn’t keep it against them. I tend to see them as emotional and irrational. There are also cultures that are indirect. They may have very strong emotions, but if you don’t know what to look for, you could miss what in reality could very well have been a hostile confrontation.

Imagine cultures that are passionate without any focus on rationality. The vikings had an interesting tradition. They developed what turned into our modern parliament. You could get permission to seek revenge, so if someone from your family had been killed, you could legally kill the murderer. The ideal was patience, though. You were not encouraged to seek immediate revenge. That may seem barbaric, but it ensured justice and closure. There weren’t feuds between families that lasted for generations, and where no one knew what they kept fighting for, whis is probably what we’d have without this legal revenge.

There is no deception involved in these communication styles. People are just different, but these styles could be used deliberately. There’s a pundit I often like because of her focus on truth in media and in the public debate, especially concerning the coverage from from Northern Africa and Western Asia. I don’t agree with everything, though. She shared a video on Facebook a few days where the Israeli PM was speaking from his office. It was basically a lot of whataboutism. The Palestinians were described as terrorists that were willing to kill innocent children. The problem is that it’s impossible to decide who is right in this conflict. It’s more about who is less wrong and less perverted, but innocence never enters the picture at all. It’s the same people. They are brothers that have been at each other’s throat since Abraham (that’s how the Bible attempt to explain it), and we know how brothers can fight. That’s a very classic conflict and perhaps this is also a classic communication style?

There is a reason I have expressed a distaste for politicians in general, because many of them are like that. Democracy and human rights are just two of their many favourite concepts. The message is usually that we need to criticise, and even act against other governments because we defend democracy, the right values. In short, we speak for the Earth. We represent humanity. It’s a shame simpletons and their voters run the so-called free world. Communication in politics seems use a combination. The speaker gives the impression of rationality, while the others are very capricious. They are likely to do anything, so they can’t be trusted. We need to act against them because it is our duty, our calling from God (as W suggested). This is the language of war. It’s basically saying that “you either do what I tell you to, and in the way I tell you to, or there will be war” (trade or military conflict). Politics at the moment is communication styles on a grand scale.

I haven’t thought about this concerning my own book, because I focus on moving forward with the plot. When I start editing I might think about how different communication styles could add drama or complications. That would be realistic if you have characters from different cultures.

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The novel as an opinion piece

I used to have two blogs where I expressed a lot of opinions, as well as facts. I still write about autism, NLD, and ADHD on one of them, but I have given up the opinion blog. I focus on fiction now, but I intend to incorporate some opinions into my stories. All writers do it. They have something to say.

One of the more fascinating ideas is choices. Many writers use that in their stories, which is natural, as this is an important lesson in life. I have heard many use this or a similar quote outside books:

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Eleanor Roosevelt

This appears to be popular with people that don’t know what adversity is. It doesn’t feel quite that simple to all of us. There is still some truth in the statement, but in my opinion it places too much responsibility on victims. It implies that you are the problem, maybe even that you deserved misfortune. There is a quote by Denis Waitley I like better:

There are two primary choices in life: To accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them.

I have met a lot of mean people over the years. It’s easy to feel disappointed, angry, bitter, and resigned when you fail again and again. It’s especially damaging when you know you have been trying your best, and when that was more than adequate, maybe even better than what your critics could do. Life is frequently about winning, not about being a decent person. That’s especially evident in politics. It might be too simplistic to say that there are no honourable politicians, but they are a small minority. Most of them just tell us what they think we want to hear. They can do that because they have a shallow empathy, just enough to pick up on a certain feeling or atmosphere in a crowd, but most of them have no interest in helping their voters. They do whatever they need to do to strengthen their own position.

Authors put a lot of themselves into their books. J. K. Rowling didn’t just write an exciting story about magic. She wanted to express something about the importance of family, friendship, and loyalty. Her book The Casual Vacancy touched on the same subject. After reading her books it’s not surprising that Rowling lobbies for families to stay together (many children are placed in foster care when there is no need to remove them from their parents). She was inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien, who wrote about the same themes. The Lord of the Rings is also about death, the gift of men and immortality, the gift of elves.  The desire to avoid death has evil consequences, as it does in the real world. Accumulating power and wealth is, in some sense, about creating a legacy, about not being forgotten, about transferring power to the next generation of your family. When that overshadows everything else, you get a pretty dystopic world.

The two mentioned authors wrote about courage and making choices, even when the odds against the hero are overwhelming. It’s about making the right choice, not about thinking like a politician or a member of the financial elite. It’s easy to say that you only feel bad because you allow it to happen. You can choose how to respond, however. You don’t have to give up or focus on how unfair the world is. I have many messages I wish to communicate in my stories, and this is definitely one of them. Changing my conditions is partly why I write too. I do it mostly because I love it, because I have some great stories to tell, because I believe I have some positive messages to share, but it’s also about finding a solution to my personal struggles (employment is hard with NLD/Asberger). It’s about fighting overwhelming odds. It’s about proving the world wrong and showing that I am more. It’s also about showing my daughter that I try to be brave in my own way.

My definition of success

View from island to island
View from island to island

It seems like I’m finally learning. My teachers back in the 1980’s always told me that when I was struggling during a test or an exam, I should skip the questions I couldn’t answer, and go back to them later. It was important to use the time on writing instead of desperately trying to remember what eluded me. I don’t know why, but I have always had a thing about doing things in the right order. I don’t have a compulsive disorder, but I don’t like leaving something in disarray, and that’s how it feels like if I leave something unfinished or unpolished.

It’s not a recommended strategy at all, and although my antipathy is in no way settled, it has been hard to change it. I have been working on my first novel since forever, and I wasn’t exactly going places. My protagonist wasn’t either. I had some ideas about what the goal was, but I didn’t know how my hero was going to get there, and there was a lot of things I had to fill in. It’s been going well in recent months, and I no longer feel that I have to finish “that darn manuscript.” The joy is back, but I’m not in a hurry.

This is the second book I’m writing. The first one was non-fiction and wasn’t published. I haven’t given it up, but I recognize that I was in too much of a hurry. It has been rejected by four publishers even though it’s a book that should be published. That is to say, I think it will be when I have edited the book. I wrote about living with nonverbal learning disorder (NLD), which is so close to Asberger and ADHD that many don’t see the difference. The difference is that NLD is not in DSM or ICD, so technically it’s not officially recognized, although it is in reality. I wrote the book because a lot of the literature describes children, and it’s very negative. Besides, the only book on NLD in my language is very academic, and it focuses on children. I wanted to show another side.

I have chosen to focus on fiction now, and I hope to finish my first draft around Christmas. I have learned from my first mistake. My story has changed many times, but I think I’m getting close now. I have a tendency to rely on instincts. I never have a plan. I just follow any impulse, so as a creator I’m very capricious. I’m 50 now and I’m finally starting to see my teachers’ point. I guess I have seen it all along, but didn’t know what to do about it.

Incidentally, today’s office is on a hill. I like sitting outside in summer, as home is usually too loud. I live on one of four islands that are just a few meters from the main land. This sound also gave my country its name, Norway or the way to the north. My island is just 0,2 km² and most of it is industry, but there are also more than 600 people living here. It’s about a hundred meter to the mainland and the island has had a bridge since 1939.

I have a view over to another small island from this hill. I like that one better because it’s mostly residential. I take my daughter fishing and playing football there. I have a lot of good memories from that island, some of the best I have from my hometown. One day I might tell the story of why my hometown has produced more sad than happy memories, but I think of the good ones as much as possible.

Some authors have written to children, their own children. That’s what motivates me as well. I’m trying to keep the very personal stuff outside this blog, because I want it to be more about writing in general, but I have my reasons. NLD/Asberger-issues made work difficult. Some may even have seen me as a failure, which makes writing even more important to me. It’s therapeutic, but I also want to show that I am more than many people think. I want to show my daughter that there are options when things go wrong. I didn’t get to have the life I wanted. There were obstacles. I encountered petty and even outright mean people, but I’m glad I’m not a quitter. I look for solutions. This one was particular hard to find, but I believe I have.

All parents know how it is to have their children see them as heroes. Fathers don’t have any flaws, but that changes as the children grow older. It should change, because they should be able to recognise flaws, but I hope she’ll see more than most people. I don’t want her to see me as the world does. So success to me isn’t on a Rick Riordan or J. K. Rowling level. That would undoubtedly improve our situation, but just showing that I can would give me something no amount of money would.

TV on repeat

fact and myth street sign
It is an important skill to separate correct information from incorrect.
Photo: Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

I went to college during the last half of the 1990’s and I spent three of those five years in the general teacher training programme. We spent a few weeks each semester teaching at primary and lower secondary schools. We usually went to different schools each semester, but I had both practicums at the same school one year. We were a group of five students and we shared an apartment during those weeks.

There was a soap opera the three girls in the group liked watching in the afternoons. The main character was a man with an evil twin brother. The evil one had taken over his brother’s life and kept the good guy locked up in an abandoned factory. I understand that this scenario isn’t that uncommon in this kind of drama show. That was in the autumn, probably around October, and when we came back in the spring, around six months later, the prisoner was still in this basement. It could have been the exact same scene, so what had they been doing for five days a week since last time? I wish I had that kind ability to keep people interested.

I looked at trending searches in Google a couple of months ago, and I did it again today. Both lists were dominated by sports and people stuck on the Trump bandwagon. It could have been the exact same headlines, but they were in fact new. This is the reason I more or less stopped following the news. Most people wouldn’t continue reading a book if they quickly got the feeling that they had read it too many times before, so why do we accept it from media? Everybody knows that the stories media present have been selected, and that the interesting ones are those they leave out.

Some of my social media contacts go on about how Russia is dangerous because they interfer in other countries. It is probably true, but we accept this without any evidence. Let’s face it, we support it as long as it’s us doing it. Take a look at the countries NATO, the USA, Britain, and France have “helped” the last century. That’s where you find the most chaos today. Sometimes we don’t interfer because we don’t have any interests to defend. That’s what this is really about. So one might ask who is really the biggest threat to stability. That would be a new question, a new story. That would make journalism interesting again. I think I’ll stick to my kind of fiction.

A diagnose in dystopia

A nice view of my homwtown from a WW2 bunker. It also reminds me of a disaster everyone knew was coming, but my government didn't want to accept responsibility.
A nice view of my homwtown from a WW2 bunker. It also reminds me of a disaster everyone knew was coming, but my government didn’t want to accept responsibility.

I have always had a fascination for dystopia. Maybe it’s because I believe in negative thinking, which is a realistic alternative to the idea that positive thinking guarantees true happiness. Thinking negatively isn’t about being negative, but about being prepared.

Consider this situation. A mother drove her 14 year old daughter to the Oslo airport a few days ago. She sent the teenager alone on a flight to Croatia. The daughter was one of several passengers that had to leave the plane. I can’t remember the reason, but I assume it had been overbooked. The crew just looked at the ticket, which said that she was an adult. There was another headline about the same time, concerning a flight from Ireland to Croatia. There was a problem with the pressure and the plane had to land in Germany. Some passengers had to wait a day for a flight out of Frankfurt. Things can happen when you travel, and although SAS may have deserved the criticism they received in the paper, I wonder how wise it is to let children travel alone.

The idea that nothing could possibly happen to us is a very positive attitude, but probably not one that will help the day it does. First of all, war isn’t the only scenario, but now that I’ve mentioned it, the ultimate weapon may be EMP. It will knock out a lot of machines and big parts of, maybe the whole power grid. The enemy could then leave it up to the civilians to kill each other, and they would.

War may not be the most likely scenario, but in my opinion we have some neighbours with a past. We all know what Russia is capable of, but let’s not forget that “neutral” Sweden did business with Hitler during the whole WW II. They even transported German supplies to Narvik during a major battle with the allied forces. So we are surrounded by three countries that are outside NATO. In a situation with scarcity I can see them as a threat.

There are other more likely scenarios before that happens, though. There could be a collapse, economic or ecological. The former member of US Congress, Ron Paul, is admittedly a bit grim. He may still be right in his prediction that the US stock market is a huge bubble that will burst, because the authorities have manipulated the market. He believes It’ll be reduced to half its present value. There are many possibilities. The US trade war is hitting Africa hard, and they are even targeting poor countries like Rwanda. Making America great could leave a long trail of casualties. There’s a lot that could go wrong in nature as well. It looks pretty messed up already.

It’s interesting that some countries have started warning their population that the stability we have experienced for a long time may not last. That has inspired some to suggest a conspiracy, that a war is being planned. I’m pretty sure that the next war on European soil won’t be a planned one. I recently came across a site administered by The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection. The site gives advice for how to deal with different types of emergencies. This is a list of things they think people need to have a few days supply of:

  • drinking water
  • dry food
  • radio with batteries (the authorities use radio to broadcast messages)
  • torch (and batteries of course)
  • candles, firewood and matches
  • first aid equipment and medicine you rely on
  • cash
  • burner with natural gass or methylated spirit

This could be a problem. There is a lot of activity on the housing market. The government gives loans for new apartments at a lower interest than the private banks offer. This is supposed to help people that don’t have enough income to get a loan in a bank, but these new apartments cost too much for low income families. It looks to me that the government is a part of the problem. You can find old houses and apartments in good condition for 1.5 million NOK, but most of the new apartment the government finances cost 2.5-5 million NOK.The other issue is that these apartments don’t have chimneys. They need electricity for heating and ventilation, and this puts a lot of pressure on the grid. So much that it could damage it during cold periods in winter. So a modern low energy house may come with a high price during an emergency.

These are things to think about. Having struggled with NLD and Asberger I know a bit about what I can’t expect from people. Most people don’t consider challenges other people have. In my case it includes chronic physical challenges. There are people a lot worse off than me, and some may even feel that life is pretty dystopic already. Then one can imagine how it’ll be when everybody else needs help too. They probably expect something from me they were never willing to give me when I needed it. I would offer it because I don’t believe in only helping people I like.

I’m not working on a dystopic novel, but I might do it in the future. I have some ideas about how I could do it within the society we already have.

Germans told to stockpile food and water for civil defense

Sweden distribute “be prepared for war” leaflet to all 4.8m homes

The psychoactive words

brain made of books
Books are definitely not the worst you can have on the brain.
Pixtawan via freedigitalphotos.net

My previous post, The book addicts, made me think of an article I read a few years ago. It referred to a study showing that reading made lasting changes to the brain.

The researchers already knew that books could influence us, such as making us feel empathy, as I mentioned in my post yesterday. The study from 2013 also showed something the neuroscientists called shadow activity, which is an increased connectivity in the left temporal cortex. The participants were asked to read 30 pages each evening (Pompeii by Robert Harris) for nine days. Their brains were scanned (fMRI) every morning, including the first five mornings after they had finished the book.

I don’t know what that proves, or whether other studies have confirmed the findings, but it is intriguing. This could be about reading, but also about reflecting on what you have read. In that case I suppose we could argue that once the story is in our head, it continues to change us. I suspect that reading, which includes listening to an audio book, adds something you don’t get from watching a film. I don’t think it’s irrelevant how the story enters the brain. The obvious advantage of reading is everything the director has to leave out, such as the different viewpoints.

Reading is probably better for your sleep too. Watching TV means that you are staring into a light, and if you already have problems sleeping, that is not going to convince your brain. I believe reading is more challenging for the brain too. It has to work with decoding and thinking about whatever happens in the story. It challenges the brain to do something new, especially if it’s the first time you read that book. I usually discover new things when I re-read, so old books still challenge me.

I read new books, but I still think about the books I grew up with, such as A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, Little Women, The Bridge to Terabithia, Time Machine, On the Road, and anything by Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot or Roal Dahl. I’m glad my daughter has some good fictional heroes to grow up with too. She’s a big fan of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter, but the main character isn’t necessarily the most important one to her. I find that interesting. I think it suggests that she reflects on what she reads, that she thinks critically, and that is an important skill.

The book addicts

I have written about it before, but it is one of those topics that seem to constantly get in my face, like the bothersome pop-up windows I used to get on my computer. The latest example didn’t really bother me, but I was tempted to comment. I need a break from my deep dive into norse mythology, so I will use this as a diversion.

Goodreads posted one of their interactive questions again yesterday:

I know some people like to use the word nerd as a positive label on themselves, and I assume that a nerd girl problem is in that category, which means it isn’t really a problem. Being nerdy or geeky is clearly a wide spectrum today, but in my mind it matters what kind of knowledge a nerd wants to gather. I could technically identify myself as a Percy Jackson or Harry Potter-nerd, as I really like those worlds, but I’m not comfortable with the word nerd. Maybe I’m too old because I remember when it was anything but a compliment.

I have a feeling it’s something similar with phrases like book hangover and reading withdrawal. They can be used to express something negative, but they can also be used in a positive or humoerous way. Then it’s a way to tell the world how clever you are because you read. It’s sort of like the 20 volume encyclopedia everyone had prominently displayed in their living room in the 1970’s an 80’s. It was called a conversation encyclopedia, but the point wasn’t to talk as most people never used it. The point was to show that you had access to all that information. I guess nothing has changed because today we can get even more information from our small electronic devices, but many don’t use internet for anything useful.

I sometimes find it hard to know when people are being serious and when they are joking, but I assume that this is an example of the latter. People that have book withdrawals naturally read, but is that a problem? Is there such a thing as a reading addiction?

It implies that the reader gets isolated and perhaps even hurt him/herself and his/her family. People talk a lot less than they used to, so whether you constantly read or constantly stream music/films is the same thing. I haven’t heard anyone say that people are addicted because they can’t go to the park or use public transportation without listening to music on their phone. I think there are enough sounds, so I enjoy reading instead of more noise (I include audio books as reading, not sounds).

I often bring a book. I spend quite a lot of time waiting, such as in the doctor’s office and when I take my daughter to one of her after school activities. A book comes in handy then. I listen more to audio books at night than I watch TV, not because it’s necessarily better, but I enjoy it more at the moment.

I’m not sure how to respond to the nerd girl problem. I love the worlds J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, and J. R. R. Tolkien created. They are places I want to visit over and over again, but it’s more than that as they are a part of me too, and I even like that very emotional moment when I have just finished the series for the first time. It’s almost like grief, which may not sound like a good experience, but I’m not sure it’s a bad thing.

Books are powerful. It’s stronger magic than any author can invent. They make me angry, happy, sad, anxious, and sometimes even miserable. That’s something we all have to deal with in life. Strange as it may sound, I believe this emotional roller coaster adds something useful. I learn a lot from books.

I do miss the feeling I had the first time I read the book, but I never finish the books I love. They follow me the rest of my life. The strongest magic may be empathy. I feel a lot of that in my interaction with the Harry Potter-characters, including Professor Snape. In a way it’s not me opening a book, it’s the book opening me, and I become a part of someone else’s world. I’m in that world and that world is in me. I don’t love being sad, but that is also sustenance to me, because simply thinking happy thoughts isn’t that useful.

A nice cup of tea

Cup of coffee. I'm more a coffee person. It doesn't remove challenges in life, but when combined with reflection and talking I suppose it helps.
I’m more a coffee person. It doesn’t remove challenges in life, but when combined with reflection and talking I suppose it helps.

I’m so focused on moving forward in my story that I block out everything else. I occasionally come up for air, and that allows me to get a wider perspective. One of the things I reflect on is what I want to include.

J. K. Rowling is my favourite example with her foundation Lumos. The goal is to keep families together, and according to their website 80 percent of the world’s 8 million children that are currently in orphanages, are not orphans. In other words, putting children in institution should be the last solution, but it’s frequently the first. My point is that Lumos makes sense after the Harry Potter books. Rowling made it clear in the story that she thought families belonged together, and what the result can be for orphans. That was one of the messages in the books.

There are many topics I can see as possibilities for my book. Rowling’s cause is very important to me too, for personal reasons, but I’d like to say something about positive thinking as well. A tabloid headline would be something like “we need more negativity!” Imagine a scene from a somewhat outdated British crime show. A woman has just experienced something horrendous, but instead of talking about it, she’s offered a cup of tea and told to cheer up. “We are British. We don’t cry!”

We have probably all heard it: You must stop being so negative! I think there’s a huge difference between being negative and thinking negatively. The latter is about evaluating different options and judging the risk. In other words, it’s a question of facing a task as prepared as possible. There is a tendency to label people as negative if they have any hesitation. Positive thinking has done a lot of damage. Mindfulness is being used as a tool to achieve happiness today. It’s all about what is positive for you, but mindfulness is actually a part of ethics in Buddhism. The end result is probably increased happiness, but the point is what we can do towards others. Wise ethical choices will in a Buddhist view be good karma, and thus make us who we are meant to be. That’s happiness without egotizing.

It needs reflection, which some see as negative. Incidentally, I’ve come across the same attitude concerning unnecessary sepation of children and parents in Norway. It’s almost like parents are offered tea after the Police have taken the child away. Yes, there are things in our society that makes it a lot less than perfect. We don’t talk about it, though. I hope I can subtly address some of it.

Creative writing with Harry Potter and God

 

St. Olav Church
Avaldsnes with its church from 1250 is a fascinating place. It’s the birthplace of Norway and the base for a lot of viking activity before that

If you are a delicate creature that turns into Stephen Fry or Richard Dawkins as soon as the evil G is mentioned, you may want to skip this one.

I keep coming back to Harry Potter, and it’s not just because I aim to write children’s fantasy myself. It’s a great story, and in some ways it’s the blueprint. The only flaw in my opinion is that there is no religion. I think that should be an ingredient, either it’s a religion from real life or something the author designed for this imaginary world. That’s because I very much question the validity of atheism and its ethics.

There are many good, complicated characters in Harry Potter, and Professor Snape is my favourite. I hope I can create a character like that. Harry Potter also reminds me that we need clichés. I have been trying to avoid them because everybody wants to be original, right?. You don’t want to give the readers the feeling that they have read the story before. Many believe we should avoid clichés at all cost, and I have heard some argue that the idea that there is truth in clichés is a cliché too. Nevertheless, I don’t think you should avoid all of them. We need some, but perhaps change them a little.

Stories haven’t changed that much since the Greek tragedies. There are rules to follow, and there should be a reason why we break them. Breaking a rule without asking ourselves why may not be a good idea. Everybody knew the outcome of the Greek tragedies, and we follow the same formula today. It wouldn’t be satisfactory to most people if evil won because Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, or Frodo failed. Our mission as writers seems to be to present the old story in a new way. Literature is our new Bible. It’s basically the same story. We can make some changes, and surprise the reader along the way, but the conclusion is pretty much fixed.

When we remove a cliché we should ask ourselves whether the truth can be communicated without it. I admit that the idea of the chosen one has been done to death, but it is very much us. Most major religions have people they see as the chosen one. That’s probably because people tend to mess things up. There is a right path and a wrong path. We sometimes need to find our way back to the path we used to follow, and sometimes we need someone to build a new path. That’s what the chosen ones in real life do. They inspire us as long as they stick to the story documented in the Scriptures, so why not in our stories as well? It’s a way for us to learn something about ourselves. Something needs to stay the same to prevent solutions that are convenient at the time.

Some cliches are easy to break. Names in fantasy stories are supposed to sound like they come from a strange world. If you haven’t grown up in Scandinavia the names in The Lord of the Rings do the job. African names would be different enough to most of us too, so why not try it? J. K. Rowling made up her own funny names, but she used many familiar things in the Harry Potter books (scrying glass, prophecy, an orphan who is the chosen one, magic, all evil wizards and witches come from the same house, medieval world etc), and she’s clearly used the same sources as Tolkien, Roald Dahl and C. S. Lewis, but she still made the old story interesting.

I do miss religion in fantasy, though. I believe we are hardwired to worship a creator (atheism doesn’t exist). It’s fascinating to see the many similarities between different mythologies, and how it’s mostly when we rebel against what built this civilization that things go wrong. The many mistakes by the Church has to do with people choosing to ignore the core of the Bible in order to get power, or to hide their crimes. The Church has basically been run by Voldemort and cowards like Lucius Malfoy and Cornelius Fudge.

In other words, God’s followers today need a hero, a chosen one, as its two biggest rivals do. That will be hard, maybe impossible to accomplish in real life. There are too many not willing to lose power, and there’s been too many false prophets/chosen ones. I still don’t think it would be a bad idea to plant that literary seed. Atheists of course believe it’s possible to make moral decisions without religion. I might get back to that in a later post, but I personally don’t think it would be anything else than dystopia. I’m very much an unruly Christian. I’m not loyal to any church, but I still like the idea of religion. It makes sense to me.

That reminds me of what may be a real danger in the future. Everybody jumped on the “Trump is the reason the world is the way it is-bandwagon” as soon as he was elected. The truth is that at least the last three presidents before him left office with  a pretty bad legacy, but many people are talking like the world was right before Trump, and we need a hero, a chosen one to put things right again. They want another “a change we can believe in-president”. That makes me wonder what we are willing to believe in to make that happen. I have, admittedly, an interest in dystopia, but I believe the world is in a situation where some rather dark scenarios would be realistic.

I haven’t made room for religion in my own story yet, as I am still early in the process of building that world, but as this post indicates I’m pretty sure I couldn’t defend any ethics that didn’t include religion. Tolkien is definitely the blueprint there.

The magicians

I like to write down ideas in my notebook, which allows me to write anywhere, in any situation
I like to write down ideas in my notebook, which allows me to write anywhere, in any situation

Keidi Keating likes to ask questions on Twitter. I woke up to this tweet today:

To write is to … (fill in the missing words).

I was tempted to answer, but I wasn’t quite sure how honest I could be. It’s sort of like when people say “how are you?” They are not really expecting to hear a detailed account of your life.

There are many reasons why I write. First of all, it feels like I have to. It’s an obsession, and I feel unwell if I don’t write. I’m literally drawn to it. There are several big underlying issues involved, and one of them is a need to prove something. It’s very personal.

I try not to mention it because writing is the main focus on this blog. The garret is not a blog about challenges, but it is true that I have some. I have nonverbal learning disorder, which is so close to Asberger syndrome that many either don’t see it, or choose not to. A study from Yale a few year ago showed that 80 percent with Asberger also met the criteria for NLD. The point I wanted to make was that many have had clear ideas about what I could and couldn’t do. It was about what I couldn’t do most of the time.

I’ve had a lot of jobs in different fields where I wasn’t successful, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. I have always had a feeling that writing was my strongest side. It was difficult to prove, though. I have never been diagnosed with learning disability, but I suspect I may have some. I’m slow. Nothing I do happens at a high speed, which makes it hard to prove anything as you don’t have that much time to prove yourself in any job. That’s also why it has taken me so long time to write the book I’m working on. I suspect that many people have written me off a long time ago. My wife has been very supportive, as have an uncle who keeps encouraging me.

I want to show everyone else that I can, that they were wrong about me. I don’t want them to keep thinking of me as the man that didn’t succeed in any job. I want to show them that there is something wrong with the definition of work as well. The present definition states that if you can’t support yourself financially, it’s not work. I believe there is value in what I do, either it’ll be profitable or not.

The playwright Henrik Ibsen wrote once that “To live is to war with trolls in heart and soul. To write is to sit in judgement on oneself.” He was a man full of conflicts, as I suppose we all are. Writing is hard, but when we succeed, we understand life better. We make sense of our surroundings. It’s been my experience that I think with my pen or keyboard. I develop ideas or organize ideas through writing. They were there all the time; I just couldn’t see them. Something magical happens when you read, but the author feels that magic much stronger when he/she writes the story. I do at least.