Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Writer's Thing

A few signs of being a writer is when you:

  • Gesticulate when no one else is in the room
  • have fictitious conversations with yourself
  • put on facial expressions of villains and heroes
  • frown when interrupted
  • stare into the walls, wandering eyes looking around the room, not really looking at anything at all as you are not really "there"
  • bring pen and paper when the dog reminds you it's time for a walk
  • wish you didn't have to cook dinner
  • pull out chairs to put papers on because the table is full already
  • driving to the grocery store is a brutal realization of being brought back into the true world--whatever that is
  • bring your writing stuff on vacation--you might have an extra minute here and there--and what if brilliant ideas and conversations pop up in your head
  • you feel you can relate to having multiple personalities
  • you feel good doing what you love

Today's water color is a castle. Who lived there? What happened? Love story, family drama, fairy tale beasts, or a murder?

It's all up to you if you write the story.

I love to write.
I have to write.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Which Literary Genre are You?

More than once, when I have comforted friends with problems in their life and shared some of my own, I have explained how I see my life as a book. There are happy and sad chapters, roller-coaster turns, surprising twists, and often a page-turner adventure. All the chapters belong in that book called The Life of Heidi. I cannot remove any of the chapters, nor add fake ones. It is what it is and I am grateful for it.

Today I started thinking: Which genre is my book - or somebody else's for that matter?
According to the word is French, hence the cute pronunciation, and means "kind" or "sort".
The Greek explanation is that it is the term for any category.

The genres are formed by conventions that change over time as new genres are invented and the use of old ones are discontinued. A literary genre is a category of literary composition.

Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even length. It is never an age-related category, like e.g. adult or children's. It is not a graphic or picture book.

Essentially, genres can be divided into epic, tragedy, comedy, novel, short story, and creative non-fiction. Some can be prose or poetry. But there are many more - definitions are not set in stone. Satire, allegory are a couple of other genres.

It all goes back to Plato and Aristotle. The latter had  a system with four types of classical genres; tragedy, epic, comedy, and parody. offers this list:

  • Drama - stories composed in verse or prose, usually for theatrical performance, where conflicts and emotion are expressed through dialogue and action.
  • Fable - narration demonstrating a useful truth, especially in which animals speak as humans; legendary, supernatural tale.
  • Fairy tale - story about fairies or other magical creatures, usually for children.
  • Fantasy - fiction with strange or other worldly settings or characters; fiction which invites suspension of reality.
  • Fiction narrative - literary works whose content is produced by the imagination and is not necessarily based on fact.
  • Fiction in verse - full-length novels with plot, subplot(s), theme(s), major and minor characters, in which the narrative is presented in (usually blank) verse form.
  • Folklore - the songs, stories, myths, and proverbs of a people or "folk" as handed down by word of mouth.
  • Historical fiction - story with fictional characters and events in a historical setting.
  • Horror - fiction in which events evoke a feeling of dread in both the characters and the reader.
  • Humor - fiction full of fun, fancy, and excitement, meant to entertain; but can be contained in all genres
  • Legend - story, sometimes of a national or folk hero, that has a basis in fact but also includes imaginative material.
  • Mystery - fiction dealing with the solution of a crime or the unraveling of secrets.
  • Mythology - legend or traditional narrative, often based in part on historical events, that reveals human behavior and natural phenomena by its symbolism; often pertaining to the actions of the gods.
  • Poetry - verse and rhythmic writing with imagery that creates emotional responses.
  • Realistic fiction - story that can actually happen and is true to life, but hasn't happened yet.
  • Science fiction- story based on impact of actual, imagined, or potential science, usually set in the future or on other planets.
  • Short story- fiction of such brevity that it supports no subplots.
  • Tall tale - humorous story with blatant exaggerations, swaggering heroes who do the impossible with nonchalance.

But there are new genres popping up. Now and then I have to look up the definition of some of them.
E.g. "steampunk", which is a sub-genre of science fiction. It features steam-powered machinery.
And "chick-lit", which addresses issues of modern womanhood, often with a humorous and lighthearted approach.

So, in which literary genre is the book of your life written? Where do you feel at home?
What kind of book do you pick up when you need a new read?
Me? Definitely a "Historical Fiction", with a touch of "Fairy tale".

In which literary genre is the book of your life written? (Click to tweet)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Arab Alarm Clock

When Anya was ready to start school I wondered how on earth I could get her to school on time. My experience with early morning hours and Anya did not really happen--not even in the same sentence.
So I bought her a large wind-up alarm clock--PINK--as pink was what it was all about. It was loud, very loud.

Today I tend to use the alarm function my cell phone. It's accurate, I can change sound and even melodies and it's always with me.
I changed the sound the other day. I now get to wake up to a rooster crowing. I was hoping it would make me feel good, that in the country feel, and cheer me up (as needs be in the early am).

But not this morning. I wake up to the phone ringing. I look at the time. It's a little after 5 am. What in the world? Who can be calling at this hour? Is someone sick? Does anyone in our large family have a problem?

On the line of incoming calls on my cell an ever-so-long number appears and below it the words: United Arab Emirates.

OK. My mind is still halfway in dreamland. My eyes are barely open. Do I know anyone in the United Arab Emirates? Are any of our friends there on vacation? Before I think, I answer. "Hello, hello."
On the line I hear a man's voice in English, "Hello, hello, hello . . ."

I decide, I really have no idea who that is. And if an oil sheik or someone wants to invest in my talent, he can call me at a time when I am awake.

So I hang up.

He calls again. I finally turn off the sound and drift off to sleep.

So whoever was calling--Abdul or Faruq--or whatever his name was, I wish him a good day and suggest he check the time of day for the country he calls.

Today's water color: I haven't really painted much Arab scenery. This is the closest I get.

Friday, March 15, 2013

What's in Your Pocket?

When Tiffany was little she wanted pockets on all her clothing. I sewed pants and skirts, all with pockets for her to safe-guard and carry around her collection of treasures (usually stones).

I like doing the laundry. It may sound strange, but it's actually one of the household chores I enjoy. I announced to my family that I would not empty pockets, they would have to take on that responsibility themselves. I thought I was teaching them a lesson, but in the long run I have suffered from that decision.

I have washed little children's pants after a berry-picking outing and had blueberries all over. I have had new material ruined by streaks of melted crayons. I have more than once had my washing machine stop because of various small items cluttering the filter. I have washed Kleenex tissues, bobby pins, coins, and snack wrappers, to name a few.

I still believe it's everybody else's responsibility to empty their pockets before putting it in the laundry pile. The result will be very clean pocket items.

What do you have in your pocket?
I always carry a pen and a piece of paper. I almost go into hysterics if I don't have the tools to write down ideas when I'm out walking, at the grocery store, or on a trip. I also need Kleenex, dog treats, and a reflector on a string, that I can flip out when I'm out walking the dog on dark evenings.

Arnfinn's pockets are ruined by sharp keys, Tiffany's pants always sagged with the weight of all the small rocks she carried around. Still - are pockets important?

I ran a health food store for seven years and noticed many differences between men and women across the counter.
I would ask,"Would you like the receipt?"
Female customer: "Yes, please. I like to keep track of my purchases and need it in case security checks my bags."
Male customer: "No, I don't need that."
I then asked, "Would you like a bag?"
Female customer: "Yes, please. I need it in case security checks my bags."
Male customer: "No, I'll just put it in my pocket."

This happened all the time. All the time.
Men are definitely in need of large pockets. What if they bought a beach ball?

Today's water color: Wild rosehip blossoms on a birch, a common sight around here in summertime.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Claim Your Right

Are we in a position to claim certain rights in this world?

As a person who hardly ever asks for help as I suffer from the "do self" syndrome, I embark on journeys and projects that I have never tried before and have no experience with. All with varying results, of course.
Nevertheless, I believe there are times and even grounds for claiming rewards.

This morning I blocked Arnfinn as he climbed the stairs.
"Road toll," I claimed.
He could not pass until I had received a proper toll - a kiss.
Standing up for our rights is important and good. A kiss was granted me on the stairs.

By paying taxes, we may claim many privileges and rights in the country we live in.
Working produces wages and payment and we can claim an estate by inheritance, claim credit for an idea, claim responsibility for a certain action, and claim authorship of a novel.

We can claim respect, but only if we have earned it.
We can make a claim - even a false claim, if we are not trustworthy.

A claim is simply a demand for something due.
Even in the scriptures we can read how we can rightfully claim many privileges and blessings if we do our part.

Seems to me that in order to claim, I have to do something in return.
Claiming would be wrong and selfish if I was not willing to give.

All claims must be in writing.
So there you have it!

Today's water color is called "Kvila" - a place to rest.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Poppy, the Parakeet

I haven't written much about Poppy, the parakeet, on this blog.
What can I say? Her real name is Popcorn, we call her Poppy for short. She is beautiful and very quiet for a budgy.
When Linnea and I went to buy her a few years ago, she was taken out of the large cage in the pet shop where she sat with two other parakeets.
She cried out in agony, both she and her brother sitting next to her.
I have never heard such a scream from a little bird, and have not forgotten the feeling that I had that I should have bought both of them.
Poppy has not been a very joyful bird. We have had many over the years, fun-loving, intelligent, teasing little parakeets. They have played with us, eaten with the family, hopped on the computer, the piano, books, the armies on a Risk-game etc.
Poppy has been different. She seems a little sad and is not interested in playing with us.
But she does something funny. Parakeets are wonderful at learning words, even sentences. They can repeat whistling tunes and dances with many different moves. Ours have done these things.
Poppy mimics sounds. She is so clever at it, that Arnfinn and I at times have not been able to tell the difference.

One evening I heard Arnfinn touch-dialing the phone.
"Who on earth is he calling this time of night," I said to myself. It was quite late.
In the other room was Arnfinn going, "Who is Heidi calling this late?"
Then there was Poppy in her little cage making the sound exactly like someone was making a call.
We wondered who she was calling.

But the other morning she went a step further.
Arnfinn's alarm went off and with a narrow slit opening his eyes, he turned it off. But downstairs we heard the alarm continue. Not only did Poppy get the sound exactly right, she accelerated the speed just like Arnfinn's clock does.

A parakeets brain is tiny. How are they able to be so clever?

One parakeet we had, named Eddie (Edison), could tell by the dog's barking who came to the door.
He understood the happy bark of a dog when children return from school and from the cage in the living room yelled out, "Hello, hello, hello!"

Then there was the parakeet, Stanley, who played with a small rubber band in his mouth, flipping it up and down. All of a sudden, the rubber band spun like a lasso over his head and landed around his body, tying up his wings entirely. He was on the couch at the time, playing with Tiffany. He strode towards Tiffany and with pleading eyes asked her to remove the band, which she did.

I have painted many water colors of different birds. I love birds and they make great models.

Today a photo of Poppy, a water color of an American bald eagle, a morning rooster, a young charming rooster named Medelpadius, and a painting I have called "On y va!" = "Let's go!"

Friday, March 8, 2013

What have I forsaken by choosing to stay home with my children?

First page of the newspaper Aftenposten today;
Our Minister of Children's Rights and Equality, Inga Marte Thorkildsen, says, "One can say it is just as valuable to stay at home with the children as to work - but it is not."
She also believes that Norwegian women must think about what they renounce if they choose to work part-time.

I am upset and a little sad about statements like that. In her position she has so much influence on young women and that is exactly why I wish that she would not only see it from the the woman's side. She is, after all Minister of CHILDREN's Rights and Equality.

What have I forsaken by choosing to stay home with my kids? Career? Yes. Extra money, interesting colleagues, trips and Christmas parties? Yes.
What did I get instead? Most of all, a good and close relationship with four wonderful people that I have been so lucky and blessed to be a mother for. It has often meant less income, hand-me-down furniture, fewer bikes or new clothes. But when all is said and done, it is the relationship with people in the family that really matters. It's the only thing I can take with me.

I have great sympathy for anyone who does not have a choice, but if working part-time is an option that provides enough income, it's a great way to allow extra time and energy with the family.

That a job is more valuable than children . . . I certainly do not agree.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


How much sleep do you need?
Does every person need the same amount of hours dosing and dreaming every night or is it an individual thing?

Sleep like a baby? That's an expression to take to heart. How many of us can sleep like a baby, oblivious to everything around us, and just rest.

I am blessed with good sleeping rhythm. I am so grateful for that. I need my sleep. I don't function at all without it.Who can? I admire those who manage to stay friendly and get a grip of daily activities with a constant lack of sleep.

Still, when morning comes, My eyelids slowly open a narrow slit and let the morning light say hello. After a few minutes of calculating which day it is and giving thanks for another day, I stumble out of bed--aches and pains here and there--and start the regularity of morning. I have responsibilities, work, and chores that need to be fulfilled, no matter how clumsy my hands are and no matter how many walls I bump into. Besides sometimes I am totally tired from dreaming!

So today--even though this is not really my problem--I will share with you what not to do when Mr. Sandman peeks his head around the corner, but never dares to meet you eye to eye. (from Today)

  • ·         Eat a large meal or drink lots of fluids right before bed.
  • ·         When you can’t sleep, just lie there and suffer.
  • ·         Try to sleep somewhere that is too cold, too warm, or too noisy.
  • ·         Take prolonged naps.
  • ·         Use your bedroom as a stimulating multipurpose room.
  • ·         Enjoy an alcoholic drink, cup of coffee, or cigarette just prior to bed (coming from someone who never drinks alcohol or coffee, nor smokes)
  • ·         When you get busy, just sleep less.
  • ·         Stay active until the moment you hop into bed.
  • ·         Exercise before bed.
  • ·         Vary your sleep time from one day to the next.
  • ·         Don't feed cat before you go to bed (meows until you feed him).
  • ·         Feed cat before you go to bed (barfs from highest spot in house).
  • ·         Don't close lid to piano (at 2am, he'll walk across it playing the scariest death song ever).

Doesn't sound too hard, does it? Especially since we don't even have a cat.

Today's water color is a sleeping fairy. It always reminds me of Tiffany.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Witch of the Reier Forest

I promised a while back that I would put some photos of my witch collection on this blog.
For some reason I have a husband who calls me the Witch of the Reier Forest instead of Angel or Darling.
He buys me witches when we visit different countries and they now thrive hanging from a beam by the stairs by the kitchen/dining room. Some are on the mantle right next to the stairs.

I am intrigued by witches. Even more so I am fascinated by the historical background of the witch hunt and why mass suggestion caused the persecution and accusation of innocent women--and men.

Generally, a witch is a woman claiming to possess magical powers. She is popularly believed to practice sorcery. She may be a Wiccan. She may just be a hag.

My interest in witches has brought me speaking engagements, articles, and much more. Keep reading my blog for further exciting announcements on this subject.

At the Duck and Cherry there are wooden plaques with sayings also. One says, "Witch parking only, all others will be toad." And the weather wane on top of the garage is a witch flying on her broom.

I admit it, a magic wand would be great to have. A swoosh with the wand and my house would be cleaned in a second. A broom would certainly bring me places in no time.
See earlier blog entries: A Petition for Flying Brooms and The Broom Closet.

Here are some of my witches--now the interesting thing is that my husband remembers their names:
Tallulah (Thailand), Madame Annecy (Annecy, France), Nanette (France), Klothilde Pittner (Austria), Abigail Thompson (Utah, USA), Frau Snederfler (Tsjekkia), Danuta (Poland), Birte Didriksen (Denmark), Pelagia (Greece), Lilla gumman Selma (Stockholm, Sweden), Ulla-Gretha (Stockholm, Sweden), Paulette Minou (France),
Frøken Caspara Bergh (Drøbak, Norway), 
Kiria Nefeli (Rhodos, Greece)

They all have names from their original country. Some of the names are from real people.

For instance, the Austrian witch, Klothilde Pittner, is named for a sweet elderly woman I knew when I lived in Wilhering, outside Linz. She had an abundant knowledge of herbs and their uses. I could call her up and ask her what to give my children and she always had the right answer. Besides, her name was really great.

Photos today: my weather wane, Pelagia, Tallulah,and Danuta.

Monday, March 4, 2013

She's MY mother

I have never really understood this "I hate Mondays" thing. I really, I mean really, love Mondays for some strange reason.
Same with everyday life. I like the normal days much better than vacation.

Maybe it's because it's in everyday life that we live. It's on weekdays with the everyday problems and joys and challenges that we learn and grow.

I have always  said that I enjoy anonymity.
A few days ago a dear old lady connected to our family through friendship and faith passed away, three days before her 94th birthday.
My thoughts went back my mother's funeral almost sixteen years ago.
The chapel was filled with more flowers than I had ever seen at a funeral and the pews were crowded all the way to the back with people who wanted to pay their respect.

The thought occurred to me while I was sitting there, "She's my mother."
It was a strange sensation to share her with so many people, so many who wanted a part of her, people I did not even know that well.

Then I thought how wonderful it was that she was loved and respected by so many. Her sweet influence reached much farther than our home and family, her love was big enough to embrace many. She was truly loved in return.

My mother was not famous, not in the papers, not in the media. What is it like to share your mother with the whole world, because she is a celebrity? What is it like to have people all over the world feel like they have a piece of their mother? Do they go through the same emotions I did?

I gave the talk at her funeral. It was not hard. I had sensed the peace and contentment she felt as she passed away. And when I started with the words, "How does one describe an angel?" it seemed natural and good to  speak pleasantly about her and the life she had led. There were plenty of good memories to share.

Again, I love Mondays. I like doing the laundry, cleaning my castle, and starting another week of writing and playing with my munchkins. Everyday life is good.

Photos today: My mother, Solveig, and me.