Monday, April 27, 2009

Small treasures collected over the weekend

1. 'The Mysteries of Harris Burdick' by Chris van Allsburg. A gift from wonderful Heidi and Hildo, who are here in Norway for Kjeld's wedding on Saturday. It's quite possibly the most beautiful book I've ever seen. If you don't know it, as I didn't, it consists of 15 amazing, mysterious illustrations, which each comes with a title, and one sentence. The rest, you make up yourself.

It is, basically, a book of writing prompts, and a felt my brain jumping and seething like a tea kettle just by leafing through the large, gorgeous pages. My favourite is the same as Heidi's, and the one you see here, entitled 'The seven chairs'. The first sentence goes 'The fifth one ended up in France'.

Wait! Stop! Don't race ahead! You were telling the story, weren't you?

2. The synchronized couple. They were having a coffee with their morning newspapers at a sidewalk café. Both were cool in the Grünerløkka way, you know, young, leather jackets, scarves, flats, indie music sort of emanating from their bent necks, even if they sat there in complete silence.

While I walked by, they didn't talk, or look at each other, or even acknowledge that the other one was there in any way. But they were mirror images, moving in perfect harmony, sipping their coffee in unison, squinting at the papers just so, turning the page at exactly the same time. Like a ballet.

In front of the table, there was a tiny stroller, which I presume contained an equally tiny infant, and for all I know, he or she was also silently reading the paper and sipping coffee down there, completely in step.

3. About 20 big hugs from Balthazar, five or six love winks from Pims, some fancy kicks from Gameboy and my Pan in adequate amounts. Almost.

4. Flawless caramel cocoa from the little cocoa shop on Birkelunden. So good!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Blue in the face, fire in the forest

Last night, I dreamt I had indigo skin.

It didn't look sickly or wrong in any way, just glossy and beautiful, not unlike my stoneware teacups. I was rather disappointed, and thirsty for tea, when I woke up.

But the dream reminded me of a story I made for a live roleplaying game once, about a group of children who had just murdered their 'father' and escaped from the fog engulfed swamp islet where he kept them. Their skin was blue because of magical contamination, and they were dying.

Maybe I should try to write it sometime. But for now, it's back to the forest, where Figenschou is about to do something unspeakable.

Watch out, cat. The flames may burn you, too.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Strangers out in force

These last few days, I have seen:

1. A lady strolling about with a grey parrot on her shoulder. It skipped from side to side and sometimes stretched its wings, but she didn't seem to notice, nor worry about it flying away. Maybe she had forgotten it was there. Or maybe it was her daemon, like in His Dark Materials. Or maybe Parrot Lady's ancestors were pirates, maybe even Klaus Störtebeker, a bankrupt Hanseatic nobleman who decided to take up looting instead. He got his name because he could down a four litre keg of beer in one go, and when he was captured and beheaded in 1401, they found that the masts of his ship were made of solid gold, silver and bronze, which was used to decorate the roof of St. Cathrin's church in Hamburg.

2. The Peeing Lady shoving an Eastern European accordion player who was busking in front of a tableful of young women shouting 'Can't you see you're pestering them!' Which is so strange, since the Peeing Lady is probably the only real pest on all of Grünerløkka, at least for those with a working olfactory sense. I don't think she's at all human, she's an incarnation of the sewage that rumbles by underneath us, hidden by asphalt and parks and pretty builidings. But it's there. And now, all the meltwater is crowding her home, so she's forced up onto the sidewalk to rave about and stink. No wonder she's, well, pissed.

3. The Shouting Lady stalking by, mouth working furiously, but not a sound coming out. I noticed a round, shiny patch on her bare upper left arm. Could it actually be that she had finally found the mute button?

4. A man in a gold mask and a black velvet suit with flaired pants twirling round and round a tree in the park at Olav Ryes. My Pan and I were having pizza and tiramisu at a nice little Italian place overlooking the square, and for the duaration of our meal, the Twirling Man had his hands raised up to his shoulders in a permanent shrug and just kept twirling and twirling, round himself, round the tree, for hours on end. I'm not sure who he was, maybe he wasn't sure either, but he sure was strange.

And people wonder where I get my stories from.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My favourite story about sisters

My favourite story about sisters is a fairytale from 1949, written by Astrid Lindgren, the finest fantasy writer for children there ever was.

It's called Allrakäraste syster, Most beloved sister, and is about a little girl named Barbro.

Her father likes her mother the most and her mother likes the new baby the most, but Barbro is also someone's favourite, because she has a secret twin sister called Ylva-li, whose name for Barbro is Most Beloved Sister.

Ylva-li is the queen of the golden hall. You reach it by crawling down the hole under the rose bush, Salikon. In the hall they play with their dogs, feed their little white rabbits and ride their horses Goldenfoot and Silverfoot.

They ride through the Big Horrible Woods where The Evil Ones live, to The Good Ones who offer cookies and sweets from the big stove in the middle of the meadow. They ride on to The Most Beautiful Valley in the World, where the flowers sing and the trees play music.

The ending is quite sad, so I won't write about that today. Because today is a good day, the third day of spring, and Line's birthday.

Happy birthday, Linegull! You are my Allrakäraste syster.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Easter break

I'm going home to Kristiansund, for some time with mother, sister, and brother, in addition to oranges, piles of chocolate, seagulls and sun on the terrace. (No, I'm not going to eat the seagulls, they're there for sound bite).

My story will have to wait until next week, which is just as well, since the fabulous writing mojo seems to have petered out along with a major influx of pesky pregnancy hormones. (Glow? You mean the radioactive rash?)

A little break is just what I need.

Besides, I also need to figure out exactly how begin the frantic action of the next chapters. According to my tastes, all action must be perfect action, or else I'll bore myself to tears. So. How to mix one increasingly nasty and desperate villain, a pyre, a forgotten secret, and a Ring-esque point of view to perfection?

Maybe it'll come to me sometime between the third and fourth choco...I mean orange.

Have a nice easter, everyone.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New haunt

Well, not really. Being an inane creature of habit, I rarely veer from my usual paths. So this foray to an entirely new coffee shop a whopping two blocks away from my usual place, is probably not something I'll do all the time. Except I really liked Vespa. It was quiet there, with loads of space to park a stroller outside, and with loads of other good stuff, too, such as:
1. Friendly, blurry Swedish barista (above). It's important to me that the people who work in a coffee shop are nice, and that they notice if I've been there ten times before, and that they say goodbye when I leave.

2. Pretty tiles on the rather tiny floor, and good magazines to read, and nice window seats. I love window seats. The view at Vespa is all right, not as busy as Påfyll, where people rush by in an endless stream and the tram rattles the street every five minutes. But there's some space and good light and a couple of trees that will look nice come summer.

3. Decent (if not perfect) latte, but top marks on the other stuff, like fresh fruit with yoghurt and honey, homemade tiramisu, and little chocolate cakes with white stars on them. I was going to get the fruit, but that slutty tiramisu just insisted on joining me.

4. Best of all, a mysterious glass door leading to a private detective agency. Not really, you ask, and I suspect you might be right, that there's just some storage space or a broom closet behind there. But I haven't asked, and I don't plan to, and in my book it's a detective agency until proved otherwise.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A conversation with Balthasar the Kitten II

Balthasar (yawns): Hello, Tonelady!
Me: Hello, little one.
Balthasar: Is it raining in the big room without a roof?
Me: No, that's me writing. I'm typing on my computer.
Balthasar: Oh, that plastic hot air bed up there?
Me: Uh, yes, that's it.
Balthasar: Okay. Are you still mad?
Me: No.
Balthasar: Cause I was naughty before. I tried to kill all your houseplants.
Me: I know.
Balthasar: Hee hee. I like being naughty.
Me: ...I know you do.
Balthasar: Hey, Tonelady?
Me: Yes?
Balthasar: You know that big thing on your front? That lump? Do you think you could take it off? It's hogging the lap.
Me: No, I can't take it off, it's my belly.
Balthasar: Then how come it's so huge?
Me: Well, there's a little boy in there, waiting to come out.
Balthasar: Really? In there? Can I play with him?
Me: Not for a little while, I guess.
Balthasar: But can I hug him?
Me: Sure.
Balthasar: You just keep on raining. It makes us sleepy.
Me: Okay.
Balthasar: Okay.

(sleepy purrs)

Friday, April 3, 2009

First outfit for Gameboy

Well, he needs to be prepared. Mostly to make his father happy, I suppose.

Update: Yes, it says Tiny Democrat. And for the record, that's why it's blue, and not because Gameboy is a boy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Splendid times

Yesterday was a good day, in part because it included all of the following:

* A brief walk up the dragon hill with my brother, and with the sun actually warming our backs.

* Coffee with Lin, first in favourite coffee shop, then outside on sunny bench.

* A 150 minute nap on the sofa, with drowsy cats for company.

* And yet there magically appeared over one thousand shiny, new words in the document called workingdoc 18, which means I've finished chapter 17, which means I'm really getting somewhere.

* Lots and lots of baby kicks.

* Chocolate.

* The final three episodes of Battlestar Galactica, which were amazing, epic and with none of the easy outs I crave, but would not have chosen. I do agree, Bill Adama, Earth is an idea, to be earned. Though I think I will ignore the epilogue.