The last year we resided in Vancouver, in 2012, I was living vicariously through the sumptuous blogs of two Andalucia-based friends – writer Arpi Shively and French pastry chef and artist Lala Ema de Haro. When the heavy grey BC skies got me down, I escaped into their sinfully delightful epistles from the Spanish South, and it is thanks to these two women that I did not Shish Kebab myself with one of our many umbrellas during our last rainy months in Canada.
Last week, Arpy asked me if I would take the baton in a ‘blogging tour’. Without thinking, I said “YES, Of course. How exciting!” So here is my contribution to the tour.
How it works is that bloggers can share their reflections on what they are writing, why, and how, and then passing on the baton to other bloggers, thereby creating a virtual chain that keeps growing.
As I never can follow rules, I have moved the questions around.
Question 1 – What am I working on?
Well, that is a big question, since according to my husband, I do not know how to sit still.
Answer 1: Of course I should be working on my Spanish grammar, especially past-, future- and conditional tenses. But that was not the question, was it?
Answer 1, revised: These days I am frenetically working on restoring several pieces of bug- infested peasant style farm furniture, found, reclaimed or donated by friends and neighbours to satisfy my insatiable appetite for restoring and bringing unclaimed treasures back to life. I am also volunteering on another event, Natur@Ronda, happening next weekend and continuing my environmental work through Ronda Limpia. I probably ought to look for a paying job, but the employment prospects in Andalucía are so daunting that I feel my time is better spent helping where I can and hoping that through some Karmic intervention a real job will come my way…
As far as writing is concerned, I have never considered it work, as it is something I always have loved to do.
Question 3 – Why do I write what I do?
Living in Andalucía is an artist’s dream. Sadly I do not paint, as this landscape warrants, deserves and begs to be honored with a painter’s skilled brush. Thus, I write instead.
I write blogs because I, for now, have given up on writing novels and film scripts. In times past I started and abandoned mAny a book and movie script. The epic story of the killing of pope John Paul I, best-seller book adaptations and Indian ‘indie’ movies. Now, I have decided that I need to grasp what I can handle today and just write for the joy of writing.
Since I am not shameless enough to consider myself a writer or an artist, blogs are a nice way of writing without worrying about captive audiences, publishers and agents.
I write what peaks my interest, hoping that somebody out there will have joy out of reading it, even if it is ‘just’ my old mom back in Norway. I do not expect fame or fortune through my blogs, but it warmed my heart when at my father’s funeral reception, the mother of my brothers ex came up to me and said that she enjoyed reading my blogs and asked me to please continue writing. Similar comments have come from a wheat-free baker I used to frequent in Vancouver and well, a few other may I call them ‘followers’? So I write about the world as I see it and hope that the small snippets of reality I highlight may give enjoyment or food for thought, be it for one person or hundreds.
Question 4 – How does my writing process work?
I write ‘down the bones’, spew out my idea without breaks or concern for the content and then edit and pare down from there.
At any given moment I have dozens of blog posts half done and in progress, some in need of the perfect heading photo, others needing a finishing polish, a bit of grammar doctoring or a final point.
Though I am Norwegian, I write in English, the language I have lived with and primarily spoken since I arived to a university in Canada a lifetime ago.
My ideas and subjects come to me in the form of an image, a spoken line of a passer-by, a fly on a wall, a smell that brings back past memories or any other thought provoking impulse.
Like when I lived in Paris, Quebec City or LA, I am forever inspired to write about what I see around me here in Andalucía. Sadly I cannot say the same about Vancouver, which seemed to stifle my creative process. Southern Spain has the opposite effect. The unpredictability of life here, the picturesque characters (as picked out from an Almodovar movie…) and the stunning dramatic landscape seem to hold endless stories – yet to be told.
Question 2 – How does my work differ from others of this genre?
Heavens, how should I know… Well, here are some things I believe are unique about my blog:
* I do not write about mundane matters, day-to-day shopping lists of activities, as I do not think that is of great interest.
* I write stories from an insider/outsider p.o.v. from Andalucia, Norway or where else I may find myself.
* I try to research and bring some facts and figures to each post, though I cannot always wow for their validity.
* I attempt to end on a humorous note, or introduce a somewhat moral tale, even if it hints on the ironic.
* And, finally I never take myself or my writing too seriously!
Passing on the BLOG TOUR baton:
And now to introduce my friend who will offer the next stop on this blogging tour, this time someone from back across the pond:
Arleigh Wood is a fabulous young Vancouver artist, whom I met many years ago when I organized the art exhibit I am grateful. Arleigh has participated extensively in national and international exhibitions, has work in private and corporate collection and has been featured in various interior design magazines including Canadian House and Home. Her paintings have also been used in films and television shows like the Designer Guys.
Get to know Arleigh in this video and chck out her blog.
“My work is conceived from the notion of glimpsing into an illusory world that exists below the surface of our known physical and tangible lives.”
Enjoy the blogging tour and thank you for taking the baton, Arleigh!
Nice one Karethe! I admire the way you are taking a big bite out of this long-desired Andalucian ‘torta’ and I’m happy to think our blog had a part to play! Arleighs work casts a spell…must see more.