Full stop

Today is semicolon day.  Semicolons are kind of ambiguous as far as grammar goes; you either don’t know what they do at all, or; you abuse them. Guess which category I am in?
I love semicolons. When I was in elementary, and later middle school, teachers would get on my case for writing waaay too long sentences. When I learned how to use semicolons, this seemed to solve the problem. Ever since, I have happily sprinkled my writing with them wherever I feel they are necessary.

However, a semicolon is much more than just a grammatical tool. In recent years, it has become a powerful tool in the battle for mental health awareness.
Semicolon tattoos started appearing as the result of a social media movement in 2013, and is a way for people to express their struggles, progress or victory over their own demons, or to remind themselves that it’s not yet over.

For a very long time, I have had a small tidbit in my brain that I have been unable to write down, however, once I did write it, it came out nothing like what I had imagined in my mind. As usual.
In any case, I thought today would be the perfect time to share this little piece.
Please read, and don’t be shy to comment if you liked it~

Full Stop

The small, spartan apartment was unnaturally clean, and unnaturally cold. All surfaces seemed to have been meticulously cleaned of excess belongings, cleaned and dusted. A wastepaper bin was the only thing bearing witness to any kind of massive cleaning; it was overfilled with balled-up paper, one such ball having fallen out, landing a few centimeters away from the bin. It was as if the tenant had gotten rid of any kind of personal effects and purposely turned off the heat, even though it was in the middle of winter, and the sane thing to do would be to keep the heating cranked up.

To anyone unfamiliar with the tenant, it could have seemed like he was someone who didn’t possess a lot of things. Perhaps someone who was in the process of moving, who had left nothing but the essentials for the time being; or perhaps, just gone away for a period of time and turned the heat off in the meantime, to save expenses.  The faintly unpleasant odor might have been thought to come from a forgotten garbage bin in a kitchen cupboard.
To anyone, except to the man who had once been closer to him than anyone, who still loved the parts of him that he had loved, before it all went wrong and became too much for both of them to handle.
Standing in the unnaturally clean apartment, he had instantly noticed objects missing from their regular positions – before he had noticed the body.

His trembling hand was curled around a plastic cup patterned with mascot characters. He sat hunched forwards on the very edge of the bed, watching the paramedics.
The young man was cold. Not only from the freezing temperature in the apartment. The man on the bed tried to avoid looking at the marks on his throat. His gaze shifted, falling on thin, scarred arms instead. He knew those scars were only the tip of an iceberg, an ice berg which had now surfaced in its entirety.

He heard one of the paramedics commenting on the small tattoo on the inside of the young man’s wrist, his tone questioning. Maybe he thought it was only a scribble in marker or something, maybe he was looking for some kind of deeper meaning.

“It’s a semi-colon,” he heard himself, his voice hollow, echoing in the cleared-out space.

Symbolic. Victorious. Hopeful.

“A semi-colon is where the author could have chosen to end the sentence, but didn’t.”
He averted his eyes, feeling his throat tighten painfully.
The young man had written on, hesitantly, but the full stop had been unavoidable.

 

**終**

Blue Blood-ties

I came across an old draft from 2012 that was never posted a while back. It was written on November 20th, the day X Japan’s Yoshiki was born, emotionally scribbled down as I was watching live DVDs, celebrating by myself.
I don’t know why I didn’t post it, but once the day had passed I supposed there was no point to it?

Today however, marks 27 years since X Japan’s debut album was released, and I can’t not re-write that old draft. Because this band has had such a profound role in my life and perhaps more than anything, in my writing.

The first time I heard an X song, I was around 17 and although the lyrics were mainly in English, the words were broken and hard to decipher, but it didn’t matter, I still found myself overcome with emotion, and like the name of the song itself, I was overcome with tears.

When I started working on SNOW,  X were a natural part of the process – largely thanks to those heart-wrenching and emotional lyrics, which were a perfect backdrop to the scenes I was writing down, but also because of Maaya.
When Maaya first appeared before my inner eye in 2006, he had pink hair; it was cut short, but I knew that he’d used to wear it long. I think from that moment, I knew he was a hide fan.

At that point, the connection between the music and the novel was made.

I didn’t make him a fan because I myself am a fan, but because it all seemed to fall into place so easily, so obviously. But this connection has been deepened by some really striking coincidences .

Maaya’s birthday is March 15th. I picked it for no particular reason, but as with all my characters, I spent a lot of time mapping out their personalities and matching zodiacs.
March 15th 2011 was set to be the release of X Japan’s single Jade – a song played at almost every show since their 2007 reunion, but which had yet to see an official release.
Jade  means an enormous deal to me personally, but the fact that it was scheduled for Maaya’s birthday with the name that it had, and the message it carried… It was almost a little too coincidental.

Due to the tragedy of 3-11, Tohoku and the subsequent tsunami, the single was postponed, and not released until about a month later, but that didn’t change anything, least of all the way Jade was a bridge between my two novels, between Maaya and Aki’s stories.

At the time, I was mid-Jaded, and at a crossroads. For the longest time I had no idea what I was doing, or how the story would turn out. I was struggling with an element that no longer seemed to fit into the story, but which I had been holding on to for years already. I didn’t know if I should keep holding on, or if I should just let it go and let the story evolve into the new direction I had staked out. Somehow, the decision was made – albeit unconsciously.

I’m going through the old draft as I am writing this post, and being reminded again, of how deep this connection runs. It’s almost a little freaky, I think to myself as I sift through the lines and find facts long forgotten.

Apparently, the night I finished Jaded’s first draft, though nowhere near completion of anything but the overall story, was on this day, the anniversary of Blue Blood.
When the album came out, I was 9 months old. I wish I could say I grew up with this night, but at this point that’s what it feels like. I didn’t, but my writing certainly did.

On the date of the original draft, November 20th 2012, I announced the release date for Jaded. I wrote the following:  “Seems only right that events would drag out long enough for the announcement to be made on Yoshiki’s birthday.”

Today, I’m having a day off, and by chance this first day off in months falls on the anniversary of Blue Blood. At the end of the original draft, I wrote that I was watching them play Joker while smiling crookedly. Four years later I am listening to Celebration, and I hope that this strange connection my writing has with this fantastic band will never let up.

 

 

A thank you

There are some people who make lasting impressions on your life, even if they only played a minor part, even if they were NPCS in your game of life; someone you didn’t really know much about, aside from the very basics – and that they were good people.

We lost a person like that a few days ago, and I only just learned about it on Tuesday. The news came as a shock, and I can only express my deepest condolences to his friends and those close to him, as I feel the strangeness and sadness flowing in.
This was someone who was a big part of my life in my teens, when I was starting to venture into the environment that I am now fully integrated in. He was one of the employees at one of (at that point two) comic book/nerdy stores in the city, when I started frequenting it, at first as a shy and held-back young teen, and then as I gradually bloomed into the very outspoken nerd that was on the inside. This was a man who was 20+ years older than me, with interest that to say the least, were a canyon of a distance from mine, but all the while spoke to me as an equal. He was someone who always greeted me – and everyone else – with a big smile and friendly chatter.
He was someone who would laugh and tell me not to be so proud of my uncanny likeness to Miyazawa, and Poemi, and who once gloated in basically guessing the entire plot of a yaoi manga they had held for me – without seeing the blurb on the back first.
He was a big man, and his fellow staff used to joke about making him a Totoro cosplay – because he was just that kind of guy; always friendly, always giving out the best bear hugs to anyone in need, or want of them.
As I went from being a casual customer, to a regular store-hanger (there was at some point talk of installing a hammock over the register for me) and then finally to an author selling my books in their shop, he was always supportive and encouraging. Even when I was a hyperactive, loud-mouth kid, he didn’t seem to mind, although it must have been exhausting to mind the shop with so many of us being so excited all the time.
He was a guy who would immerse you in discussions and make you miss your bus, and who always had the perfect recommendations when it came to books.
He introduced me to Redwall, and actually gave me the first volume, aghast that I had never heard of it. To this day, I have yet to read the rest of the series, but I treasure that book, and the memory of the man who gave it to me.

Trondheim’s environment of RPGS and geekery has lost a massive presence and a really good man.
I didn’t know him outside of the walls of the store, but he was still a big part of an important period of my life. In many ways, he was a major influence in the shaping of an entire generation of young nerds. And we shall all miss him greatly.

Thank you for everything, KIRR.

“Sometimes friends do go from us-it will happen more and more as you grow up […] But if you really love your friends, they’re never really gone. Somewhere they’re watching over you and they’re always there inside your heart.” –  Brian Jacques, The Legend of Luke

Goodreads profile

Because I am supposed to be studying for my exam on Friday, I decided it would be a great idea to have a look at my abandoned Goodreads profile, and flesh it out a bit.
Quite happy with it now – and maybe I will actually start using it for something soon.

Also added the Goodreads app to the facebook page, and put a link in the sidebar here to the right.

Okay. Back to the Brits I go.

A story of true love

Yeah so, we all know how caffeine and authors go hand in hand, or….swim hand in hand?
I can’t do anything without caffeine, despite being slightly hyper sensitive towards it. I usually bucket down when I write in order to stay focused, stay alert and keep the writing going even though it’s like five am and I haven’t slept for a week… That kind of thing, you know?

But to be honest.. I’m not a really big fan of energy drinks. I hate coffee though, so that’s a no-go. Energy drinks are better in that case. But see, let me tell you a sob story from my youth, about losing the love of my life; the only Energy drink I’ve ever loved: Dark Dog. I first had it at 12 – this was before they put an age-restriction on energy drinks. And yeah, that was it. Over the next few years, Dark Dog was my drink of choice, mostly because it tasted nice. But then! (insert dramatic music)
In 2004, Dark Dog was brutally torn from the Norwegian shelves, due to discontinued distribution, and my world was shattered. I ended up drinking pretty much everything else, but nothing could fill the void. Most energy drinks I find are either too sweet, or too….dry? The aftertaste of Battery for instance… can’t stand it.
So then, after dreaming about Norway restocking my love for years, a friend knocked on my door, completely out of the blue, and what did she bring me? For as long as this friend worked in long-distance transport, she kept rebuffing my small stock, straight from Austria. This happened a few times for about a year or so, and then the adventure ended.
Again I was struck with grief, until about two years ago, when another friend sent me an MMS of what I had been seeing in my dreams for years: A pyramid of Dark Dog, at the Ica in Åre, Sweden, where she was currently skiing. This has lead to frequent trips to Sweden made by some very lovely people, picking up trays of energy for me to consume.

Getting reunited with this energy drink did prove my point: there is nothing like Dark Dog. It’s better than any other energy drink, and now, I can’t drink anything else, because the tastes really can’t be compared.
Where I usually drank it during movie nights or concert marathons or whatever, I now also use it for work. Through the editing of SNOW, the writing and editing of Jaded, and pretty much every project I’ve worked on for the last few years, I’ve had this drink as a support crutch and trusted companion. My brain is completely powered by Dark Dog.


(Photo shows the Aftermath of November 2010. )

And so, when Princess Airhead returned from Sweden three weeks ago with the message of doom, my life sorta shattered: Åre are no longer stocking Dark Dog. HOW WILL I LIVE.
Because this is the third time I’ve been torn apart from my source of energy, I reacted in a kind of….not very great way… And after ranting for hours, I sent a letter to Dark Dog (okay, it was an Email, but still), it was very similar to this post here – a kind of love letter, but very much a sob story.
I didn’t expect them to reply. But you see… Dark Dog are awesome like that.
Not only did they assure me that there are other places in Sweden where I can stock up – but they were also very much interested in the work I do as an author, which is amazing to hear.
So anyway, they asked if they could publish parts of my story on their sites, and I agreed because hey, I might be a tad bit crazy (it’s called dedication), but it’s all true.

So today when I got home, I found an e-mail from the company in my inbox, and when I went to facebook, I saw this:
DARK DOG
I must say, it does feel pretty awesome to be plugged by a company that means so much to me! Moreover, the Dark Dog staff are SO awesome, and really helpful and I can’t thank them enough for not only actually replying, but also for doing what they can to prevent me from dying from lack of energy, but also for advertising me and my novels like this. Guh, all my feelings.
Thanks Dark Dog! You’re awesome, and I love you!

So yeah, if any of you reading this ever want to give me a present? THIS is what I want okay? If you ever pass by a display of Original Dark Dog cans, please don’t hesitate to pick up some for me.
After all, this is the stuff that novels are made of!

(This has not been a commercial blog post, I’m honestly this crazy about this drink, and I adore the staff for being AWESOME.)

December 15th:

”I didn’t think so,” Ren smirked.
Something had changed in that moment. The fact that the other man had allowed him to look at his lyrics, played him his unfinished music… And now that question. Somehow the atmosphere was loaded, and he hoped that no customers would come in just yet.  It was still early in the day, chances were slim, but it did happen that some early bird came in right after the doors opened.
To be honest, he had been nervous. He was no writer. He had no idea what the musician had imagined when he wrote the melody and first part of the lyrics, so making such a bold suggestion felt a little rude to him… But he had been asked to help. He took a deep breath.
“Basically,” he said, “Intertextuality means that all texts are somehow related. All writers have been influenced by other texts. You could say…all writing in the world is connected.  Sometimes bluntly, sometimes more stealthy.”
The other man nodded, keenly listening to what he was saying it seemed.
“You’ve already written about someone being bitter and cold, right?” Ren pointed to the piece of paper, rolling his chair closer to the other man. Their shoulders brushed. “So I thought if we added something loaded, like a holiday-“
“Christmas.”
“Yes. …if we added that, it would give more impact emotionally. And then you could intertwine it with one of the greatest stories of all time.”
“One of your romance novels?” the other man’s rusty voice sounded amused.
“Actually no,” Ren shook his head. He scribbled a line on the paper:
“I am the ghost of Christmas past.”
The man with the dyed hair read it out loud. “This is…Dickens?”
“Precisely!” Ren’s heart leapt in surprise. Not that it was rare for people to know of A Christmas Carol, but the other man had confessed not to be big on reading, and the line was in its original English form. “I was thinking, if you look at the first verse here, where you wrote about the bitter deceit…What if the person in question was rejected during Christmas..?”
Something lit up in the other man’s dark eyes. “Which was also when they met…making him…”
“The ghost of Christmas past.” Ren smiled back.
“That’s genius!”
Warmth washed over Ren. He grinned. The guitarist looked keyed up and eager, his grin broadening by the minute.
“That’s great!” he exclaimed once more, running his fingers over the guitar strings; sound filling the empty store. “I can definitely wrap a couple of more verses around that.”
“I thought so,” Ren replied, handing the piece of paper over to him.
The man took it, still smiling, his full lips parting to show more of that dazzling grin, his handsome face framed by those multicolored tousles. Ren held his gaze.
“By the way,” he suddenly remembered something; “What’s your name?”
“Daisuke.” The musician reached out his hand.
Ren took it, squeezing gently. “Ren.”
“Thanks for helping me out all the time, Ren.” Daisuke said warmly, without letting go of his hand.

***
TBC

Returner

I apologize for my absence. I have several unfinished drafts to blog posts sitting on my desktop, but I’ve neither had the time or the energy to finish writing them, much less posting them. As usual Winter break didn’t have much of a break to it at all:people to meet, things to do, and school work to plow through, and on top of that I juggled Jaded drafts and the actual scripts. Then I took the past week off and went underground for a bit.
My beloved Grandpa passed away last Monday, and I didn’t feel right about posting as usual, so I went on a hiatus. It also felt a little too personal to be throwing around online, so I’ve held it off for a while. I needed to process my feelings first, before deciding on how much to share.
I also dreaded the funeral, but it was, although incredibly sad, very beautiful. Although the grief and some of the shock still remains, it’s time to stumble to my feet and get back on top of things, time to start writing again.

To start off, I need to catch up on my school work, as I’ve completely abandoned it. And then I’ll get back to writing.
But I’ll be back again from now on, just as sporadic as usual.
I’ll also try to get Maaya back online on fb, as the chat-sessions were getting somewhat regular. His birthday’s coming up, so watch out for all of SNOWcrew going online at once!

Well then, I’m going to work on some literature history again. Hope everyone is doing well~♥

Oh~ And happy Women’s day! I don’t have time for much other than a quick note about it, but I’d like to point out that just like with other important topics there are still those who have a long road ahead of them, and equality is just as important tomorrow, next week or next year.

Help Japan

I’ve been frozen for the past 30 or so hours. Ever since my friend in Japan contacted me and let me know about the earthquake, I’ve been watching the news.
Luckily, my friend is safe. She lives in Kyushu, and is not affected by the earthquake or the tsunami.
The threat to the nuclear plant is a different story… Right now, it looks like things are calming down. They’re talking about the explosion being steam. I hope from the bottom of my heart that this won’t get any worse. I hope they’ll keep things under control and that we won’t have a nuclear disaster.

My anger and frustration towards having nuclear power in the first place, is a different story.  It’s futile to bring that up now.
It’s also ridiculous to have petty arguments over whether it’s wrong of the media to focus on the citizens of your respective country who are in Japan, or whether you’re worrying about a celebrity or a friend. Nobody is more worth than anyone else in a situation like this: they’re all irreplaceable.
My thoughts are going out to those who still haven’t been able to contact their loved ones.

No matter how you look at it, this is a horrible, horrible disaster. We don’t know if it’s over yet. The news are reporting more tsunami warnings, as well as several aftershocks this morning.
But we don’t have to sit by and watch. The rescueworkers are already working hard to help the victims of the disaster. People are in dire need of clothes, food and water.

I myself am trying to figure out a way I can help out. I’ll be donating to some causes, and I have something else in mind that I don’t know how to go about yet as well.
Everthing and anything you can do at this point will be helpful.

For Norwegians, you can already donate to Røde Kors, through their website: here.
Americans can text-message donations of $10 to the Red Cross. Text the letters REDCROSS to 90999 to make the $10 donation, or visit the organization’s website.
More ways to help: Here!

Keep in mind that Google has engineered this site, full of useful links, phonenumbers and resources that can help with information regarding the aftermath of the quake.
You can also use this site to try to find people you’re looking for after the disaster.

My thoughts are going out to everyone, please stay safe and keep calm.

Purple~

Good afternoon!

I mean to do this post sooner, but I went from having nothing on my agenda to being insanely busy. I went shopping with my mother today, on a whim. And ended up going wild in the bookshop~ They had a sale. I was very happy! ^__^
The house is a sewing studio and in total chaos, so I need to get it cleaned up before seeing a friend who’s in town for the week… So I have no time to write here at all..

But! I hope as many of you as possible are wearing purple today!
Coincidentally, I was watching Oprah this morning, and there was a woman on the show, a musician, who had grown up in a conservative place where being gay is wrong. When she realized that she couldn’t keep pretending to be straight, but that she couldn’t come out either, she attempted to kill herself. But today she is alive, and proud of who she is.
It made me think. Of today, and of the kids we’re remembering, of the people who have been lost, and those who have been close to the line; the desperate ones that see no other way out.
What kind of world is it, where it matters so much who you fall in love with that others have the right to make you feel like you have done something so wrong, just by being yourself that you have to die for it?
Where is the logic? Where is the humanity?

So wearing purple today might seem like such a small gesture. But it means so much to so many. It gives hope to so many.
So if you have something purple: shirts, skirts, pants, hairbands…whatever. Wear it today and show your support~

With wet hair and all~
it turned out that most of the clothes I thought I had that were purple are either daaark pink, or I have given them away…But it’s a perfect opportunity to wear the Aicon shirt in any case~
Feel free to show me your purpleness of today! ^__^

And have a good Spirit-Day everyone~

Chasing dreams

I have returned!! Actually, I got back from London on Sunday, but I’ve been too tired and busy to update on here until now. So here I am, reporting from the couch with my cat sleeping on the laptop. I think he’s saying hi ^^

I feel a little silly now for being so dramatic before we left, but when you hate travelling…That’s how things get sometimes. It went really fine though, although there were a lot of delays around our flight to Heathrow. But once we landed it all went really well from there. Ah, except from the bit where we got lost… ^^’

Anyway, for a trip to London, this was kind of untraditional. In the end we didn’t get the time to do any proper sightseeing, so we skipped out on Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Hyde Park…. So what did we do?
The first day we were too tired to do anything except from find some food and stay at the hotel. The second day was spent standing in line, and then going to the concert we came for. Saturday we shopped presents and went to Camden.

So even though it was hardly a vacation or even a proper trip in many ways, it was amazing. And why was that?
I fulfilled a huge dream of mine.  From the time I learned how to write, my biggest dream was to become a writer, but with the publication of SNOW, that dream came through last year. So what was my biggest dream in life then?

Seeing my favorite artist in concert. The man who has inspired so much of my writing, and whose music has meant so much to me in so many ways.
Flying to England, spending a huge amount of my savings on it, and standing 10 hours in line was more than worth it. It was too amazing for words. Not only the concert in itself, but the unity of it all, the friends we made, and the excitement brewing as the hours dragged on.
But of course the climax of it all was seeing the band take the stage and being thrown into a dream-world.

From now on, I want to encourage everyone to chase their dreams and grasp them if you can, however scary they might feel…It’s definitely worth it.

Hm? Who did I see?

GACKT.  And again, he was amazing.

What felt even more amazing was that I spent the money I had set aside just in case I’d get the chance to see him; the money I had made on my novel, that I wrote.
And that…felt really good. And kind of insane! (笑)

I’d post more pictures, but the uploader is being weird… ^^’

When it comes to the announcement, you’ll have to wait a little longer before I open my mouth about the big news… Sorry about that.

In the meantime, Maaya and I would appreciate it if you would take the time to go to this website to help ban bullfighting in Catalonia! It’s about time that this horrific “sport” was banned, and I would be really grateful if anyone reading this would take a few seconds just to sign the petition!
Thanks.

I’ve been hit by a really strong bout of allergies today, so I have to go clean my apartment from floors to ceiling now… Bah. I’d much rather write.

Talk to you soon~

Caroline