Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Science fiction at its best

The Telling (Hainish Cycle #8)The Telling by Ursula K. Le Guin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A marvellously thought-provoking and well-written book. Having read my way through the Hainish cycle has placed Ursula K. Le Guin among my favourite authors. All of the Hainish books are good. Four of them are brilliant, and I would recommend everyone to read them:
- The Word for World is Forest
- The Dispossessed
- The Left Hand of Darkness
- The Telling
They are all stand-alone and do not have to be read in any particular order. This is Science Fiction at its best: using futuristic ideas of society and technology to discuss issues of great relevance to humanity today; such as bigotry, oppression, imperialism, sexism and environmental issues.

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Review: Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained (Signet Classics)Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven”

What it may lack in subtlety it makes up for in eloquence. A recap of the Bible, from Satan's point of view, in the form of an iambic sledgehammer.

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

You're so much more than good enough

Are you okay?
Can you hear me in there?
What are you doing to yourself?
Only what others have done to you
It's not okay

You're good enough
You're so much more than good enough
They were wrong
They were wrong, and you don't owe them a thing
You can break free from all this
You're holding your own chains now

What scars are you hiding in the bottom of your heart?
What wounds will never really heal?
Gods, you're beautiful
You deserve all the love in the world

Did you know that tears are something you hide behind?
And I know you can't stop it when it rises in your throat
But you can pull through it
Shame is the only demon that needs exorcising from your body

You don't have to do anything
But I can see that you want to
And you can
You can stop apologising
For everything, for existing

You will get there, I know it
You're on your way
Towards yourself

Tell everybody I'm on my way
And I'm loving every step I take

Self-love goddamnit,

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

I've got life

I have a job!!! A job relevant for my qualifications, even. I have a home, I have friends, I have love, I have a body, I have my health, I have beautiful memories, I have hope for the future, I have the spark of creation surging through my being, I have liiiiiife. And what a life it is. Is it reasonable to claim that I somehow deserve all of this? I don't know, how would you even measure such a thing? Lucky for me at the moment, life isn't fair. But it sure is beautiful.

Wouldn't it be a lovely headline?

Love and life,

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

On that journey that you dream of

...But...to sing,
to dream, to smile, to walk, to be alone, be free,
with a voice that stirs and an eye that still can see!
To cock your hat to one side, when you please
at a yes, a no, to fight, or- make poetry!
To work without a thought of fame or fortune,
on that journey, that you dream of, to the moon!
Never to write a line that's not your own...

― Edmond Rostand (Cyrano de Bergerac)

Truly, this summer has been one long indulgence in happiness. The festivals! The mountain hikes! All the adventures, great and small, long in the planning and spontaneous. Above all: the friends, new and old, which I have had the privilege of acquainting. I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to be close to such wonderful, inspiring people.

I still have a thing or two to learn when it comes to saying no to things and to chilling out. As per usual, the holidays have left me pretty wiped out. Nevertheless, I am healing. I can feel it happening. Take the starry sky for example—I've begun looking up at it feeling something of the old sense of wonder, rather than the crushing nausea and sense of failure I'd come to associate it with.

I've discovered freedom in many places. It's in the smell of spending a third of the summer nights in a tent. It's in the aching muscles of your legs after walking from one mountain to the next. It's in the taste of eating pancakes in the oddest places. It's in the relief of allowing yourself to cry. It's in the chill of swimming naked in the middle of the night. It's in the comfort of massage and shared sleeping-bags at the end of a long day's hike. It's in the euphoria of dancing close to someone for hours and hours. It's in the sensation of making out in the sunshine during a long, lazy morning. It's in the joy of having a friend whom you haven't seen for far too long over for tea. It's in the wonder of eating things that grew on your own balcony. It's in the contentment of movie nights where the company is so much more interesting than whatever it is that you're watching. It's in the sweetness of long, meandering conversations about anything and everything, in holding hands and hugs that you wish would never end, and in the hope that maybe loneliness is an illusion, after all. It's in the conviction that life will carry on and that things will probably work out, somehow.

Love and freedom,

Thursday, 13 July 2017

En längtan

En längtan följer mig vart än jag går.
Den säger: "kom till mig, för här du finner
en kraft långt bortom allt som du förstår."

Så massivt och så fast som berget står,
så flyktigt och så lätt som vattnet rinner,
en längtan följer mig vart än jag går.

Så dövande som kyrkans klockor slår,
så stillsamt och så mjukt som katten spinner,
en kraft långt bortom allt som du förstår.

Jag måste ta varenda chans jag får,
jag måste göra allt jag inte hinner,
en längtan följer mig vart än jag går.

Jag måste följa albatrossens spår,
jag måste älska så att hjärtat brinner,
en kraft långt bortom allt som du förstår.

Vad händer med en kraft på hundra år?
Finns något kvar av mig om den försvinner?
En längtan följer mig vart än jag går,
en kraft långt bortom allt som du förstår.

Kärlek, berg och längtan,

Saturday, 1 July 2017

My summer so far

Shock is morphing into joy. I'm doing things that I enjoy every day, together with people I love hanging out with. Without feeling bad about not studying or writing or whatever. Energy levels are picking back up, and I am so excited. About the rest of the summer, and then life in general. So far there's been a lot of Shakespeare, larping, pancakes, kisses, movies, folk music, and mischievous walks in the park. Soon I'm off towards mountains. Later, dears!

Love and joy,

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Summer solstice musings

I passed. Not away, but the dissertation. I have a Master's degree. I'm not a student any longer. How do I feel about it? I don't know. Triumph? Relief? Joy? Calm? I guess those are the kinds of things I ought to be feeling. But I don't know. I have no idea. All feelings related to my studies are buried beneath a deep layer of stress and anxiety. It will take more than the summer sun to melt all of that away.

I expect the sun, and weather in general, will help, though. Before me stretches my first free summer in ages, and it is full of mountains and music. Time will help. And my never-ending strife to learn to love myself. Little by little, I will come to terms with this, and dare think more seriously about the future. 

Right now my state would be best likened to that of mild shock. Maybe I really have put it all behind me already, but I doubt it. Things have a tendency to linger in my mind for far longer than they're due. Some day I suppose I'll allow myself to feel this for real. In the meantime I'll endeavour to enjoy the heck out of all this time which has suddenly opened up before me.

Happy solstice,

Friday, 12 May 2017

Quoth the tired astronomer

Imagine looking up into the sky
at night, toward the stars that faintly glow,
to curse your human mind for being slow
and yet unable to cease asking why.

Those distant lights insist on passing by,
around the Earth and through your mind they go,
suggesting that there is so much to know
if only you could teach your thoughts to fly.

But even maths and instruments can lie
no matter how methodical you grow,
and so your faith in Science sinks so low
until, at last, your soul will raise a cry:

Though planets, stars and galaxies may gleam,
what can a human do except to dream?

Oh well. I may never become a good scientist, but at least I can string a sonnet together in less than an hour. That's something to write on my gravestone, or whatever it is that you actually do with achievements.

Please forgive my bitterness. Soon this trial of a master's thesis will be at an end. I can just about make out a light at the end of the tunnel. I guess that's the oncoming train.

Love and poetry,

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Det mytologiska Prag

Åh vad jag trivs bra i Prag. Hela staden luktar pannkakor och mytologi. Det är nästan som om det fanns en legend om varenda gatsten. Här spankulerar jag runt tillsammans med mina skrivarklasskamrater. Vi har hälsat på Franz Kafka, Tycho Brahe och Antonín Dvořák, för att nämna några beundransvärda personer. Vi har ätit mängder av utsökt veganmat. Vi har skrivit på gator och torg, i trädgårdar och kyrkogårdar, på museer och caféer. Och så har vi ägnat oss åt historia och sagor, i en utsökt transcendental blandning. (Jag är egentligen inte säker på vad ordet transcendental betyder, men jag tycker om det ändå.) Här följer ett smakprov.

Bilden (ursäkta motljuset) förestället helgonet Sankt Mattias. Mattias var svensk, och historien om honom tilldrar sig på tiden då Sverige hade för vana att invadera staden Prag. Så en dag kom den svenska armén över Karlsbron för att bege sig mot Wallensteinträdgården. Där fanns nämligen mångtaliga vackra statyer, som svenskarna tänkte skulle göra sig snygga utanför Drottningholmsslottet. De begav sig alltså mot trädgården för att stjäla statyerna. Mattias var dock halt (det var därför han hade vandringskäpp), och dög inte till att lyfta statyer. Så han skickades iväg inför nästa dåd som svenskarna hade i kikaren: att ta sig uppför Petrikullen till Strahovklostret för att bränna alla deras böcker! Mattias' uppgift blev alltså att i spana i förväg så att kusten var klar, och sedan rapportera tillbaka till resten av trupperna.

När Mattias gick genom Körsbärsdalen, på vägen upp mot klostret, så fick han syn på ett barn som satt ensam under ett av de blommande körsbärsträden. Det var ett litet barn, inte mer än ett år gammalt. Döm därför om Mattias' förvåning när han hörde barnet ropa: "Mattias! Kom, Mattias!" Mattias gick fram till barnet, hukade sig ned, och frågade: "Vem är du?" Barnet svarade: "Jag är en inkarnation av den heliga Buddha." För det är nämligen så att Buddha har för vana att dyka upp lite varstans i världen närhelst ett budskap om fred kan vara på sin plats. Så Mattias satte sig ned och talade länge och väl med Buddha, som fick honom att inse saker som att pennan är mäktigare än svärdet, och att det kanske ändå inte är så värst schysst att stjäla folks statyer och bränna deras böcker bara sådär utan vidare.

Så i stället för att utföra sina order så fortsatte Mattias sedan upp mot klostret för att varna munkarna om den kommande invasionen. Detta ledde till att munkarna hann gömma undan en del av böckerna i källaren så att svenskarna inte kunde hitta dem, och på så vis förstördes inte hela deras bokskatt när invasionen kom ikapp. Mattias själv ingick i munkarnas orden, och helgonförklarades efter sin död på grund av sin goda gärning. Han avbildas i form av en staty på Karlsbron med sin vandringsstav, och Buddha i form av det lilla barnet på axeln.

Ja, så lyder legenden om Sankt Mattias. Allting är absolut sant utom det som är påhittat.

Kärlek och mytologi,