It’s no secret that I’ve been reading The Fry Chronicles on and off for at least two years, reading it in between school literature, recommendations and the endless list of books on my “to read” list. I honestly don’t know why it’s taken so long, it’s just that it ended up in my bookshelf collecting dust for long periods of time. A few days ago I thought, I can’t possibly have 14 books(I counted), fourteen books, sitting in my bookshelf that I’ve started to read and not finished. A few of them I’ve read the first chapter of, a few to the half-way mark. And I thought, I have to finish them. I won’t be able to start any others until I finish at least a majority of them.
It became a matter of where to begin. Now I can say that I have finished a book that is not an assignment for the first time since I read The Hunger Games a little over a year ago. It was not The Fry Chronicles. It was Chris Colfer’s book, Struck by Lightning(Land of Stories is among the 14, by the way). But then to be fair I’ve been reading that all summer.
Stephen Fry’s book is not as quick a read. Still I’ve read 100 pages in just a few days. I’ve just begun the last quarter. And now we get to the point of this rambly, self-indulgent post(I also feel like I’m emulating Fry at the moment, but maybe that’s just because his voice lives inside my head right now). It struck me to go back and look at the first few pages, before the introduction. The boring ones with quotes and copyright and all that. And a dedication that I didn’t see or didn’t think much of when I started reading this book on a car ride home from Malmö(or possibly Copenhagen airport, I’m not sure) two years ago. I might have just cried a little bit. A few tears, just a few. Because the dedication is “To M’Coll”. Vague enough that not everyone will get it, but clear enough that the ones who pay attention will. Isn’t M’Colleague Stephen’s nickname for Hugh Laurie? Am I completely insane? Isn’t that what it means? I assume that it is, and if so, that is the most touching two words I’ve ever read.
Where can I get a friendship like that?
Welcome to a rare, Swedish post.
Vi pratade om könsroller idag i skolan, samt användandet av ordet hen. Jag har haft många tankar om det innan den här lektionen, men trots det så kunde jag inte formulera några ordentliga tankar just i klassrummet. När jag kom hem skrev jag dock ner mina tankar om det hela:
“Jag tror att det finns två kön, tre om man räknar med de som föddes med både manliga och kvinnliga könsorgan. Men jag tror att dessa kön begränsar oss. Jag vet att de gör det. Om och när jag får barn, tänker jag inte klä dem i blå eller rosa beroende på vilket kön de är. Om min dotter tittar i en klädaffär så vill jag att hon ska kunna välja från alla kläder där, även de från ”killavdelningen”. Jag vill att min son ska kunna leka med barbiedockor på dagis utan att bli mobbad, jag vill att han ska kunna ha klänning på sig om han känner för det. Jag vill att min dotter ska kunna ha slips eller fluga på skoldiskot om hon vill det. Varför inte? Varför ska vi låta samhällets utdaterade könsroller bestämma vad vi har på oss, vad vi leker med, hur vi rör oss, vilka intressen vi har och vilka vi är? Det förstår jag inte. Jag vill inte att mina eventuella barn ska bli hämmade och begränsade bara för att vissa tycker att flickor ska vara rosa och pojkar ska vara blå. Mina barns identiteter ska inte främlingar få bestämma.”
Och jag skulle nog kunna skriva mycket mer om detta(det är något jag tänker mycket på), men eftersom jag inte har postat något på länge så får det vara bra med det här.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I write, and I wonder, should I be writing more in Swedish? I usually think that I express myself better in English, that I’m better able to write in English, and that it will be easier for my writing to reach more people when it is in English. But obviously there are flaws to that. I’ve noticed, quite recently, that there are areas within the English language where I’m not as able as I would like to be. Describing environments and objects finds me grasping for words at times. Because while I’m perfectly able to use and understand social language, getting more and more apt in using advanced language in the context of politics, and picking up the expressions and sayings that I’ve missed in the past, there is a gap in my vocabulary when it comes to descriptions. And that’s particularly harmful when it comes to creative writing.
If I were to write in Swedish, this particular problem wouldn’t exist. However, I have gotten so used to English now that I find it difficult to write without the help of English expressions. It also happens that I mix English expressions with Swedish ones, thus creating something incredibly confusing. Swedish also feels a little false and contrived to me in these circumstances and I think it would take a lot to undo these feelings and impressions.
On to something that’s not quite as serious. What useful words exist in Swedish, but not in English?
- fika: it can be either a noun or a verb and means to have a coffee or tea and a cake or cookie of some sort, often with friends or family in a nice setting. I love to fika. It feeds my soul with cozy feelings.
- självklart: this is something I don’t think a lot of people have noticed, but the lack of this word in English bothers me a lot. It has several meanings, one of them being something that is self-evident. For example: “It is self-evident that she likes chocolates, the box I bought for her is empty!” But it can also mean of course or obvious.
- orka: to have the energy to do something, for example: “Orkar du komma på festen ikväll?”=”Do you have the energy to come to the party tonight?” or “Jag orkar inte göra mina läxor!”=”I don’t have the energy to do my homework!” And it’s an awesome word sadly missed in English.
- blunda: a verb that describes to close your eyes. It’s really weird that English doesn’t have something like that.
- jobbigt: something that is hard to do, something you don’t want to do. It’s a word that contains difficult, troublesome, tiring, and annoying all in one word, which is great for dark October afternoons.
I hope this was somewhat entertaining at least. Recently my eyes have been opened to the fact that Sweden and Swedish really isn’t as bad as I’ve always thought it was.
Swedish acting, however, among other things, is just as bad as I’ve always thought it was.
After a long day(my Fridays in school are excruciating), I’m finally home trying to get something productive done. I’m listening to the new Muse album, probably one of my favourite albums in existence.
We were talking about language in school today(actually I have a class that’s called Människans Språk which best translates to The humans’ Language, I suppose, even though that reads horribly), more specifically about what’s right and wrong in our language. Obviously we were talking mostly about the Swedish language, and what changes are being made in it by the younger generations. Some grammatical rules are being changed, slowly but surely, and for some reason that makes me a little anxious. I don’t want our grammar to become more lenient, so to speak, I want it to stay correct. But then again, if it always stayed correct it would never evolve. Is it just that I don’t like change? Am I becoming a teenage version of those grumpy old men who can’t handle – can’t understand – change, no matter if it’s linguistic or otherwise? No. Well, obviously not. I’m part of the change. I’m very much a part of the internet generation. I love new words and I love when we incorporate English words into the Swedish language(for the most part). I guess I just like it better when languages evolve slowly. In that way everybody can catch up and get used to what’s new. But language is a matter of taste, too. Authors(even aspiring ones who don’t know what they’re doing) live on that taste. It’s the same when I listen to music – and the few times that I’ve written songs – I listen for the artistry, to hear what the songwriter has done to the language to make it special. To make the words resonate with people. And for that we need words that are complicated and messy. Old and new. Words that we can all relate to.
This has been an unstructured post, to say the least, but I’ll be back soon with a new short story that I’d love to get some feedback on – it’s another experiment.