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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.

 

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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!

 

 

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Fun fact:

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

 

Fun fact:

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.

*

Why?
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”

 

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*

Fun fact:

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.

 

Fun fact:

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.
It exists.
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.
At once.

 

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*

 

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.
I have.
But we have only seen the beginning of the memoir and the wave of auto fiction, I believe, so brace yourself.
It´s coming.

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!)

Weird!

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!)
Never was.

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.

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35 comments on “Just a little piece about autofiction and such

  1. Ben Hewitt says:

    Funny, I never grapple with any of these issues. Nope, never.
    You should come on over to my blog, see how well I’ve got it all figured out.

    Like

  2. hehehe… I never even dared enter the comment section though. Keep on trucking rocking!

    Like

  3. Thank you for putting a name to a thing I’ve done most of my life. Mostly out of frustration and trying to figure it all out. I tried in the past to become a published author, but every last thing I ever submitted was rejected. Now I know why. I even gave up on my blog last year because I figured nobody would want to read my ramblings. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m looking at it from the wrong angle. Maybe it doesn’t matter if anyone reads it or if I have any top ten lists or some UNBELIEVABLY MINDBLOWING SHOCKING content. I see that you and Ben have both put yourself out there in very personal ways. It’s very encouraging. So thank you.

    Like

    1. Of course it could also be because I suck at writing. But, I don’t think that’s it.

      Like

  4. Tres says:

    You should go do the laundry more often. You maniac, you! That was so good, IS so good! Killing me softly with (her) words, killing me softly, telling my whole life…with (her) words. Can I just give you a hug from thousands of miles away?!

    Like

  5. Tricia says:

    Yup, you are correct in everything you just said (I guess that means “I agree”)…I like the ‘keeping it real’ blogs…who wants to read about perfection (or the mask of)? Boring. Lame. Zzzzzzzzzzz. I’m sad to hear that the book publishing is as corrupt as every other system the humans have put here on earth…can’t they get anything right? I like how you said you are providing a service, it just isn’t tangible… that’s right! Now, if we could just get people to value the valuable, and stop worshiping the non valuable…..you’ll be frickin’ rich!
    My fiance hates laundry so much that before I came around, he said he would avoid it until he was walking down the street with garbage bags full of clothes, looking like a sockless hobo….haha.

    Like

  6. I think this is an age where we continually have to reinvent ourselves. I grapple with this idea constantly whilst blogging and it takes up too much of my energy sometimes. I have gone back to writing by pen and ink and sending stories out in the post including handfuls of dirt and woven moss from the woods where I live. I didn’t think anybody would want to read what I wrote, but I was wrong and it is that exchange of trust I find fascinating and also gives me a circle of protection to be creative within. I have never heard of the word auto fiction before, but I like it; kind of sounds like a robot to me 😉

    Like

    1. I did that too, Lulu and it was really fascinating! (sending out letters written by hand… the response was colossal, I got a lot of letters back 🙂 Funny how we come up with some of the same ideas cross countries and continents! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here it is: https://andreahejlskov.com/2013/01/16/a-writers-job/
        Write me if you want to hear more about my experiences doing this. Best of luck. Your site is wonderful.

        Like

      2. that sounds dreamy – I am thinking that I am taking a big risk doing this but hoping to get a big reward 😉 I think that the natural oscillation that writers go through can provoke this moving out and drawing back in, somewhat like the tide; I think artists have always done it, part and parcel of being an artist? only nowadays, as we all seem to be so exposed on the net, the movement seems to be under such scrutiny.

        Like

    2. ncfarmchick says:

      I absolutely love the idea of handwritten stories coming in the mail. What a treasure! Sometimes, I think I am the only person in the world who still writes letters but I just do it if only out of stubbornness.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. BeeHappee says:

    Wow lady!!! Very good. So appreciate your words. Why do you think we are here and not on some cutie knitted socks blogs…or books. Nice laundry day. Glad laundry makes you let it all go. 🙂 very Scandinavian sounding post by the way. Thank you, Andrea.

    Like

  8. and by the way, thank you all for your comments, means the world to me that this space is useful FOR the people 🙂

    Like

  9. Lulu, I think thats so true… the withdrawal and the heads-first and I also think this very movement is being threatened by the internet (not the possibility of the net itself but the way we use it). It´s one of the reasons I´m not on social media anymore (and also one of the reason why I talk so much about time… to reclaim time… to not need to update the blog on a schedule (at least once a week) as we have been told/are telling ourselves is necessary if you want to even have a blog. This blog was dead for half a year only came alive recently. No problem.

    Like

    1. smcasson says:

      Let me be selfish, and say I am very much enjoying your words on the blog, and I hope it doesn’t take another long hiatus! Problem! 😀

      Like

  10. smcasson says:

    I noticed since I got a WordPress account, I am showing up as smcasson now… whatever. This is Scott.

    Nice introspective post Andrea. A comment/challenge though: you said:
    “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!”

    I suppose you were referring to your style of autofiction, your style of blogging, right? because I think your style is somewhat rare. Most blogs (this has been discussed a lot) are the snapshot people want to show of themselves. The pretty story, not the one that’s complete, much less the “embarrassing” side. That applies to facebook, instagram, wtf-ever-else there is. The self-absorbed navel-staring mentioned in ben’s comments.

    Enjoyed your fun facts! I like that your writing sounds like a conversation with you.
    A weather station is a much more pleasant thought than “the weather affects my knee”

    Like

  11. Eumaeus says:

    Here I hide in Anonymity.

    No, you’re core competence isn’t writing things I don’t. Or giving a fuck. Or not giving a fuck. Sorry to say – it’s just you.

    Your core competence as a writer is being you. Congratulations.
    Everybody else is trying to be someone other than themselves.
    You stand out like a sore thumb.

    Scared fearless. Between these we blow though.

    You need to watch Cool Hand Luke if you haven’t.

    What author do you trust then?

    Yeah people are like bloodhounds for truth.. because we are fed vacuity constantly.

    Shit, you don’t have to call it a product, do you? You accept a gift. That’s it.

    Yeah. You know. Maybe that’s why I blog too. I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I’ll tell you…
    So Van Gogh and all those guys in Paris and girls they all knew where to go to talk and they did. they went to a certain cafe. I forget the name. And when Emma Goldman got to new york she knew exactly where to go. she went to that certain cafe or bar. …

    SO it’s the same thing. If I was in Paris at that time. I’d be at that damn cafe giving Van Gogh a hard time and fucking with Gauguin. Or getting Mothered by Emma.

    I can see ALL THIS BLOGGING STUFF as being kinda like that. (I don’t know about all the “making the world a better place” – that’s just icing)

    Like

    1. BeeHappee says:

      Yeah, sure E, keep dreaming about those Paris cafes. . . Your wife will get the whip out and say get off your Parisian behind and go fix the fence. 😉

      Like

    2. BeeHappee says:

      Now that my kid decided he needs to wake up and eat at 2 am, I am up and thinking ok, terribly sorry E, I know I should comment as if the person is in front of you, and he/she is built like a quarterback, and has a crazy temper and perfect legal representation – or so said someone about comments. . So I take any previous comments back. 🙂 (not really)

      I second Cool Hand Luke, great movie, watched more than once.

      Like

  12. I totally agree with you E. There is a definitive lack of focal points in our day and time, nowhere to go but this distinct overwhelming feeling that everybody else is SOMEWHERE. But they´re not- and it´s heartbreaking when you find out.

    Woke up during the night and was angry that I used the word product too 🙂
    The terminology of capitalism… everywhere.
    I miss those cafés.

    And Scott, thank you. I still distill though, I´m even MORE embarrassing and goofy in real life! … but I DO find it so interesting and it almost gives me hope… that the people are so desperate for authenticity, truth, something REAL, it´s a good sign that we´re craving it, is it not?

    🙂

    Like

    1. smcasson says:

      Eh, don’t beat yourself up about “product”. There’s only so many words, can’t know em all… It may have connotations of capitalism but we see your meaning and the inspiration behind your “products for sale” it’s all good!

      It is a good thing people are looking for authenticity. It’s better than zombie video games! Much better… Yow.

      The goofy is good! One can’t take themselves too seriously… Gets awful stuffy. 🙂 air that shit out! Lol!

      Like

      1. BeeHappee says:

        Scott, you asked to let you know how ice cutting goes. I posted some images of our day cutting ice, it was really neat, you should store some ice in your ice house, renewable resource, just a weeks worth of intensive labor 🙂 https://beehappeenow.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/frozen-comes-to-life/

        Like

  13. Hmmm…. Blogging… Why DO people do it??
    To be heard, to be seen! And everyone for their own reasons. But the most basic desire is to be noticed.
    And no, I do not believe people in general want authenticity, want the truth… Far from! That is only for a handful. The vast majority wants to remain a sleep, unknowing, uncaring, incapable of freeing themselves from the delusional world we live in today. They prefer The Lie, because it is much more comforting, much less shocking, confronting and painful than the truth… Waking up means you have to face the truth, the consequences…
    The blue pill or the red pill….

    And maybe the blogging that that small group of woken up people does, is to reach out, connect with like-minded and maybe… just maybe… reach out to one of the sleepers and wake that one up too…

    I always liked the metaphor of the rippling water. Do nothing and the water remains still. Cast even the smallest of stones and you have no idea what the caused ripples might do or touch.

    That is my main reason for blogging; I am casting that small stone, hoping to cause a ripple. Getting some attention and interaction is nice, too.

    Like

    1. BeeHappee says:

      I like your blog, Ron, lots of good information. Thank you!

      Like

      1. Thanks Bee. Too bad that it all disappears into the black abyss of the internet. Not a living soul is going to back read it all. A serious disadvantage of digitalisation and blogs. A book is so much easier to go back in.

        Like

        1. BeeHappee says:

          Not necessarily a bad thing. You can always compile the blog posts into a book and publish any time, easy these days. Not too many people would read a book either because of overabundance of books. Blog is more accessible than a book would be. I think for us older folks like you and me 🙂 books seem to be more tangible still. My kid’s dad wrote online as well as published a couple of books, he was able to reach much wider audience via blog than books (and so much work went into the books and promoting them, crazy amount of work). Just saying.

          Like

          1. Yeah, bee, I have been thinking about this too. People don´t seem to have the time or energy to read books anymore. It´s interesting all right. I think something is happening…. blogs are definitely on the rise (also because I gather that a lot of people have quit social media lately)

            Like

    2. ncfarmchick says:

      Ron, just wanted to say I finally took a peek at your blog and I am so glad I did! I tried to leave a comment on one of your posts but I don’t think it went through (I’ll have to figure that out.) Anyway, at the risk of abusing Andrea’s space, once again, just wanted to let you know I very much enjoyed what I read and will visit again!

      Like

  14. ncfarmchick says:

    I went to college thinking I wanted to be a writer and went a science route instead. Something about being practical and all that and plain old fear that no one would be interested in what I had to say. Also, I read voraciously and I wondered how I could be certain what I was writing was really my authentic voice and not just something regurgitated or restyled from some other author I just couldn’t remember. Good writing will permeate into your soul like that (which is good) but I imagine you have to be careful not just to adopt someone else’s voice unintentionally. While it has become a bit of a joke to some (I saw one of those ridiculous “10 signs you’re a whatever” posts and this one was about being a suburban mom. Sorry, but the term “suburban” and what it connotes is not anything I aspire to in a million years. Anyway, number one on that list was – you have a blog.) I guess it has become trendy for some but those kind of blogs can be scented out a mile away. I think it goes hand-in-hand with the discussion about finding your tribe. We all have dealt with inauthentic people and those who just don’t have the same priorities in real life. Who wants to spend precious time reading more of that on the internet? Maybe, because people have trouble finding relationships beyond small talk these days, they look for a real, gritty, honest conversation online. We get it here and I am most grateful. I admire that you reveal so much about yourself and family yet seem to retain all about that which is sacred and should not be open to public judgement.
    Hope you’re enjoying those clean clothes! Good feeling.

    Like

    1. BeeHappee says:

      NC, Andrea’s Clean clothes, dirty talking. 🙂 Can’t have everything clean.
      Suburban mom blogs? Interesting, I never heard any of these surrounding soccer moms having a blog around here. How would they even have the time while schlepping kids everywhere.
      I wanted to study journalism, but listened to my parents insistence to study law, and ended up going nowhere. . But I do not envy those who write for a living or even those who have a demanding blog audience, unless they love it so much they cannot live without it. Many writers unfortunately suffer from depression or bipolar disorder, possibly that is what draws them to writing in the first place. . .

      Andrea, In any case, keep doing what you are doing, no excuses or explanations needed. Like I wrote before, in Dr Seuss’ words those who matter will not mind, those who mind will not matter. I liked your fun facts. And get some sun and air. 🙂

      Like

  15. Maria says:

    Hello Andrea! Greetings from Finland! I found your blog through Ben´s, which I found through soulemama´s, I love this community thing. I just wanted to say I more than love your honesty and opennes (is that a word?). I am an embarrassingly honest person (about myself) myself, and I too care a lot. It is sometimes quite painfull, and many times quite lonely. But it is also the most interesting way to be alive, and I too can´t, (and really don´t want to) help it. Thank you for giving so much! Now, I want to give you my love and appreciation, and because I can´t come there to give you homemade woollens or soap, or a massage , I would very much want to give you the only thing I can, which is money. Do you have a generosity enabler? I couldn´t find one. Love, respect and honesty.

    Like

    1. Hey Maria, thank you and welcome! I just wrote an entry with our numbers. I don´t have a paypal account (and I don´t want one) so I can´t have an ACTUAL generosity enabler but from time to time I share the info or people write me an email. Thank you for supporting us!
      I´ve seen soulemamas name so many times now I better go check her out. Thanks!

      Like

  16. Andy Jukes says:

    I am a newcomer to the world of blogs and I hadn’t even heard of auto fiction but, Andrea, I like what you write. I came upon your work some years ago through the Dark Mountain Project. I admired what you and your family were doing and I enjoyed the way you wrote about it. Like most people who comment here, I liked your honesty and openness. Your willingness to write about the entirety of your experience – the bad as well as the good. Your refusal to airbrush your experience into a fantasy good life. It felt, and continues to feel, real. Thank you.
    I think that good writing in the blogsphere (your writing being the prime example) fulfils an important function. It provides a sense of community. If you live at all outside the mainstream, it can be hard to find people that you can talk to. People who understand where you are coming from. People who get it. Most people put all there time and energy into carving out an existence in the mainstream world. It’s exhausting. If you choose not to do that, to live differently, it can be taken as an implicit criticism of the mainstream lifestyle. Reactions can be strong and defensive, sometimes hostile. So, as an outsider, you can easily find yourself alone adrift in a sea of hostile judgements. It is difficult in such conditions to retain your resolve. Your confidence is slowly eroded and, unless you can find support for your ideas, it becomes very tempting to just give in and return to the mainstream. To live a life of quiet desperation.
    Which is where your blogs come in. Because you write with honesty and integrity, your blogs are like hearing the friendly voice of someone who understands. Suddenly, we are no longer alone. Which is what books always did for me. I sought out authors whose ideas and values resonated with my own. But blogs are better! Because the communication is two way – I can comment on the writer’s ideas. The writer might even reply. Wow. How cool is that? But, even better, other people comment. Regularly. So, you feel like you get to know them a little bit and you feel like they understand too. So, you don’t feel so alone. And you know that you are not crazy. Well, maybe you are but at least there are other people out there who are the same crazy as you. And it gives you the strength to carry on. Few people can do it totally alone. We all need our support networks. That’s what I feel the blogoverse provides. It is important and will become more so. As the mainstream begins to fracture big time, it will retrench. People will hang on ever more desperately to their old ways. The old mainstream habits will not die quietly. There will be angry attacks on those on the outside – there always is. It will be hard to stay strong. We will need to support each other.

    Like

    1. I think you have some very valid points there, Andy!
      Thanks for saying (writing) them out loud.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. What a wonderful comment, Andy! I´ve been thinking about this ever since you wrote it…

      Like

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