A couple of days ago american blogger Ben Hewitt linked to this blog. I´ve been following Ben for a while, I don’t read many blogs but two things captured me about his blog. 1. The language. Ben is a really good writer. 2. The similarities of our experiences.
Apparently Ben wrote an article (or book) that went kind of viral. I wrote a bit about it on my Danish blog some time ago because I feared what would now follow. The sense of loss. Loosing story, loosing integrity, becoming a part of some kind of industry, reinforcing the status qou (which I write about here)
I feared that it would happen to him because it happened to me and I did whine about it. A lot.
I crowdfunded the money to write my book (thank you, thank you) and when it was time to market it I did all that I could. Why should´t I do all that I could?
Denmark is a very small reading country and everybody knows that authors have an hourly pay of 0.021867417 kroner… if I were to support my family (which I was because jeppe was building our house and establishing our garden) I had to do everything that I could (it was clear to us that we could not live the moneyless life although we are thoroughly fascinated and support Boyles´s work fully), a little bit of money was needed… also I wanted to be part of the resistance, not running away with my tales between my legs, speak up, speak up, never surrender, resist!
(i´m not wary of the battle rhetorics, I think it is needed)
I think: we live in an evil empire/the enemy is invisible/we have internalized the oppression/we must liberate ourselves from within/we need transparency and authenticity and integrity and love… all of the things that cannot be bought and sold because it seems that everything has become capitalism.
So I did this and this and this and this and this and that and a whole lot more. Not to mention social media. University students came to write reports. Journalists came to make fancy features. Young men came because they wanted to break free, broken families, stressed and depressed people. We made ourselves a sanctuary “The world needs sanctuaries” we said but when we became a sanctuary we lost our home. Still we did it. Because we really believed in it. We believe… that all is connected and that nobody is free before everybody is free, we believe in solidarity and generosity, we BELIEVE. Until our faith was broken. And our bones. And our hearts.
And I lost my words.
So I deleted my Facebook account (jeppe is running the fb page of this blog) (also because I think fb has become just another branch of capitalism, exploiting and controlling the people).
Some of the reactions from some of my readers was harsh. Some got real angry. Some felt they had “paid” me (via gift economy) to be on social media. Some felt abandoned. One said “You might want to divorce social media but you had kids with him, us, you can´t leave”.
My thoughts about gift economy and sharing economy have fundamentally changed because of this experience. But also my thoughts about the readers have changed. Who are you? What do you want? Maybe I was more or less playfully simply writing… until I realised the deep emotional connection that some readers make with me. Us. I didn´t know.
As I said, Denmark is a small reading country. If you sell 2000 books your book is by definition a bestseller. If people debate you at the dinner parties and on social media you “made it”. Making it feels terrible though, all of the people, all of the opinions, all the shit you have to take, all the accusations, all the admiration…. it´s hard if you´re sensitive.
If your work is transparency, authenticity, integrity and love you are most likely to be massively sensitive.
I was certain Ben Hewitt would be filled with fear and doubt and would thoroughly consider all the accusations and wonder if they were true.
“Do I capitalise on my family?”
“Am I really all that special, I mean thousands of people live like this, it´s just because I blog about it, maybe I´m just a narcissist?” or my favourite hammer-to-my-head: “Does it matter at all. Have I just become a part of the industry of entertainment now, am I just a sell?”. I was certain he would go through all that.
I thought “Well, there´s one more we lose to the machine” and realising that I was thinking that… was a wake up call.
So I wrote him. And I said “Thank you”.
This is why I owe so much to Ben Hewitt and this blogpost in particularly. Not only “thanks you´s” because he directed a lot of american readers to my blog and hey guess what, my book is soon coming out in english. No. Not because of that (but welcome!).
I owe him much because watching his process made me realise how bitter and disillusioned I had become.
All of the people who cry at my speeches.
All of the emails I get.
All those that have really supported us and defended us and covered our backs. Maybe it´s not about us… although it´s about us?
Also realising that you are not alone and that someone else goes through the same things as you (which I guess it what people feel when they read my book. Maybe) is truly, utterly and non- negotiable important.
I don´t have the numbers of readers that Ben Hewitt does. As I said, these countries (Sweden and Denmark) are small in comparison but I ask of my readers that they go show Ben Hewitt some love and they support his work because I think he does tremendously important work. Especially regarding homeschooling (which is, believe it or not, illegal in Sweden) and food communication. But mostly I think, he stays true which in my eyes is the most noble virtue of them all.
You can buy Ben Hewitts book here (and I´d like to direct your eyes towards the generosity enabler in the upper right corner of his blog) and you can read one of my favourite blogposts of his here. It´s about the white trash areas. I relate to those! Ha!
As for me, this is what I will be doing now. I had a realisation and now I have to act upon it. Simple as that.
I´m writing again.
Ps. I guess this was a “fan- post”. I´m ok with that. It feels super comfortable to write fan- posts. I´m might do that more in the future.
PPS. Sorry for spamming my own blog today (not really sorry, I´m happy that the words are back)