Thaw is the worst weather. My bones ache like hell and my stomach ties up like a knot, hardens as a stone.
I´m kind of like a walking radar like that. You could say that I suffer from chronic pains (but let´s not) let´s say that my body is a… weather station.
Some days there´s a lot of weather to register, somedays it´s nice and quiet, thaw is the worst, thaw permeates everything.
Once a month we drive to town to do the laundry.
I hate it. Here we go.
And while I´m at the laundromat I usually end up writing something long and winding entry about literature.
It´s dead certain. I always do that at the laundromat. I used to have several different blogs but now I only have this one meaning that you will have to endure.
I feel like saying something about auto fiction.
My genre. I have one!
It was at one of my book receptions. Crowded and terrible. A woman comes up to me, says she´s been following me for years and that it´s very interesting that my writing is so personal and embarrassing but now that I´m popular it´s not embarrassing at all “and isn´t that strange?” she asks me.
Yes. It is.
BUT I´M STILL JENNY/JENNY FROM THE BLOCK
During my university years I was heavily engaged with and wrote a lot for the faculty student magazine. I wrote really emberassing pieces about my dreams and feelings (you´d think people would speak about these things at the faculty of psychology but no). One day some higher ranking officer told me that maybe I should get someone to read through my pieces before they were published because “you know..”
Million, trillions, gazzilion incidences like this.
If writing like I do was not a non negotiable passion of mine I would have stopped million and trillion and gazillion years ago.
I know what my core competence as a writer is.
I dare write things that you don´t. Some think it´s because I don´t give a fuck but I do. Unfortunately.
This is truth: I am not embarrassed, I am not ashamed, I dare, I dare, I care. And this: most of the time I´m scared to death.
I am able to create a strong bond between you and me. Be it hate, envy, curiosity or kind affection… many of my readers are bound to me, I know, because many of my readers respond to my work.
That´s my core competence. Relation. Energy. Transmission.
I´m an antenna.
Because of the genre. It´s all in the genre.
And something else too: I think blogging and auto fiction are intrinsically tied to each other. Same kind of deal.
You can´t deny the correlation between the arrival of the (literary) blog and this whole wave of auto fiction in the book. Both revolves around the most praised and sought out NOW and both revolves around honesty (and thus a strong connection between writer and reader).
My first book was a so called “hybrid book”, written on Facebook, edited through the normal channels.
I´ve always been interested in the possibilities of these technologies of human connection. The consequences and the possibilities, I was never anti-technology: I wanted to explore!
This is why it bothers me when publishers tell their authors to run a blog.
“You GOT to have a strong online presence” they tell the poor authors (or the poor authors tell themselves) But blogging is not at all like writing books due to this circumstance: You are not a faceless sender.
Your life matters. Your personality.
It´s the whole role and stereotype of the author… it´s changing.
Never blog if you are going to keep it polished… would be my advice. If anyone asked me but they don´t because I´m so embarrassing but holy moly, times are changing.
I blog because it comes natural to me, it is work that I enjoy so much that you can´t really call it work.
I organise the world through the tales I tell about it. So do you.
Writing a blog entry is always done because I WANT to. As opposed to writing books. Writing books is sheer will power and I only enjoy when I forget myself, oh, when I loose myself and time evaporates! AH! It´s a high! Dance! Dance! It´s sex and love and naked tribal rain!
… but most of the time it´s hard work…
… most of the time I don´t really want to do it…
So why do I do it?
“Show it. Don´t tell it”
A reader of this blog orders my book as a kind of generosity, to show her support, she likes my blog but figures that she will find nothing new in the book. The reader then writes me an email. “WTF!!” and then she writes that the book took her by surprise, I had a totally different tone of voice and the book weren´t at all like the blog.
I think this is one of the biggest compliments I ever got.
I nod. I smile.
So I´m writing emails with an author I respect a great deal. This author has concerns about his or hers blog and I ask him or her if he or she feels more of a blogger than of an author. He or she says “Well, I like blogging more”
So I realize, during this email conversation, that there´s a whole new breed of authors emerging. and maybe I´m one of them.
A whole new genre in literature. None of the old well know rules apply here. We don´t know what we´re doing, this is unknown territory, we fail, we proceed, we want to shut the whole thing down all of the time, we share links and stories and blood and life!
I´m not saying that everyone who blogs is a new kind of author but I´m saying that the author blog is real.
Which brings me to dwell more on the concept of auto fiction.
I´m a writer of Scandinavian auto fiction, I settled that a long time ago. I write about myself, my life, my surrounding, my thoughts, dreams and feelings.
But here´s the thing:
Writing auto fiction means that you INVEST yourself. All of your self. You lay down open. Source.
You give. You die. Let the lions eat me- let community carry me!
Why? Because maybe you think the world will be a better place if people weren´t so scared of their own feelings. And you of yours.
Maybe your literature is inherently political due to this underlying motive and maybe this is an aspect most overlooked by the critics of auto fiction: it is an act of civil disobedience and a declaration of war, it is sacrifice and communal storytelling.
Autofiction as a genre is in my opinion characterised by the inconvenient questions that it asks. The embarrassing tales of truth.
Is it embarrassing to want to run away and escape (yeah, but it´s also in a way cool so case not settled) Is it embarrassing to be a man going through existential crisis and wanting more out of life? (no) Is it embarrassing when women write about their mundane troubles and thoughts (more embarrassing than men in midlife crisis) So on.
Literature NEEDS to be embarrassing!
I don´t trust the author who does not dare to be embarrassing… and unfortunately our trade have been infected with a fear of exactly this. Embarrassment.
But we have only seen the beginning of the memoir and the wave of auto fiction, I believe, so brace yourself.
People our day and age seems to be overwhelmingly searching for truth and authenticity.
I kind of dig that about modern people.
(would be worse if they actually believed in the commercials)
This is why you can´t turn a blog into a sell. And this is why people are returning to the blog (yah!)
There´s a whole industry surrounding the authors ( inserted rant: you know that when you buy a book that the person who gets the LEAST part of your money is the actual writer, right? You know this? It is a stunning fact, even the the people stocking your books in warehouses earns more money than you (pension, health insurance) Talk about the ones owning the means of production exploring the workers! The book industry is rotten to it´s core!)
Regarding blogging though: there are no established structures at all, no established flow of money, you don´t even get the 01.0982 %you´re used to, as an author.
So we make courses or sell homemade knitting sticks. It´s not a real income though. So what we depend on is 1) our books, 2) donations.
I don´t have a problem with donations. I see I have something of value that means something to people, I don´t mind it if they give me whatever amount of money they feel like giving me in return for what I have given them.
I don´t consider myself a beggar (because I have an actual product, it´s just not tangible) and I don´t consider myself as someone receiving charity (because I have chosen my lifestyle myself and bear the consequences)
I´ve gotten some spectacular donations via this blog. If I sit down and analyse it I think I´ve gotten at least as much money of this blog as I have writing my books.
It´s just that we never know when and we never know how much we get from the blog.
We have no concept such as “the 1th”
Living like this, lowering our living standards and regular expenses was (also) done to be able to continue to be creative people, Jeppe plays tones, I write words- this is the ONLY way you can live off of being a “content-maker” in our day and age.
All of the freelancers writing all of the online newspaper articles or playing drums for free for friends… there is a rather large subculture of content makers who have a hard time gaining income because of the lack of structures, habits and come il faut … on the internet.
It´s a choice though, to live like this, to write. I don´t regret it at all.
The world needs us stupid artist who can´t do the cost/benefit accounting. You do!
So the money is not why I blog (although it´s nice, thank you!)
I blog because I think something interesting is happening in literature and I want to be a part of it.
Maybe someone will someday invent some structure around the blogosphere but maybe they won’t and that´s ok too. The stupid artists have been handing out their handwritten homemade manifests on the streets for centuries!
Fun fact: All the dirty laundry is clean now, gotta go, cherioo.