Some Unglamorous and Selfish Thoughts About Working On a Big Project

I feel I am an entity, not a person. I feel I am a business for art production, my morals have changed and so have my perceptions of decency.

The only thing I still care about sufficiently and urgently is hydration and exercise. All else, social commitments and family and relations and being emotionally available, must suffer. 

I have become a shell and I have realised that working a full day, even with art, even with what you cherish the most and will do anything for, is exhausting. I am vulnerable to criticism and hate being called a nagging, annoying woman by music journalists, although I want to be nagging, I want to be annoying, I want them to have to call me back, to pick up their phones, to write about me and about my art. To give me an answer, a clear answer, and that is why I keep calling, trying to keep my voice concise and professional, and I ask and then wait for them to answer, I don't fill the silence with uncertainty and apologies as I might have done before.

I am not in the business for moods this week: everything feels to urgent and yet slow, like a dead whale sinking towards you and you are right below it at the bottom of the ocean but you cannot move: you know you will get crushed not matter where you go.

I am walking beside myself these days. On the one hand there is me, and on the other hand there is the me who is working on the project, and thinking about the project, and making lists for what to do for the project, and making phone calls to journalists and news desks which always begin with, Hello, this is me and I am calling to follow up on a press release I sent about a week ago...

You are nagging and you are irritating and people have work to do, could you please stop calling me? I get about a thousand e-mails every day, what if everyone called just like you did, can you imagine how that would be? 

imm004_4A.jpg

And this is me, trying to write about working and what it's like to be an artist since people sometimes ask and I just want to give them a coherent answer. A blogger I like wrote about this summer that it was full of joy and anxiety, and I I can relate. I would like to tell you what this is like, this immense freedom and insecurity, this pushing and pushing away of realistic and pragmatic thoughts like, when will you get a proper job, what will you do after this project, how do you plan to pay for it all, will you make any money from it. I wish I could give you a good answer when you ask me how I am, because I would like to tell you that I am fine but only half, only half a person, half a life.

It is not sustainable, of course it isn't, and I would become unbearable and incredibly, terribly lonely and hateful if every week was like this one. I am not attempting to describe stress, or pressure, or explain how to manage expectations: I am simply trying to say, look, look at this and look at how I am right now. Can you not see that most of me is gone?

R1-07526-0003.jpg

Excerpt: Short story "There is a change in temperature now"

ONE (i)

There is a change in temperature now. The kettle is becoming more and more reluctant to boil my water each morning, and it's come to a point where I barely have time to let the tea cool before I drink it; my scalded tongue torments me throughout the day and is the cause of much misunderstanding. Where it comes from, I don't know, but they tell me winter is drawing up for the first time in a long time. The stores have even put out warmer clothes as a tentative measure and to see where the lay of the land is. Nobody takes their endeavor really seriously; their merchandise consists mostly of rugs and blankets haphazardly sown into shapes somewhat resembling human forms or potato bags. Yet some people do buy them, and it's become a sort of silent discord—you can hear it as a high-pitched tone of waspishness searing through the streets in the morning—between those who believe in winter and those who don't, and you can distinguish them by looking for human-couch hybrids hobbling around in the streets. 

There's also been another development in the realm of merchandise and goods for sale. Someone read in a book that children drink hot chocolate in the winter-time, and so the ingenious and scrupulous have stationed themselves outside the kindergartens and primary schools selling cocoa to the kids between and after classes, not even the Jewish school has been spared. It's nonsensical really—the children don't even have any money to pay for it!—but it's working, and there's now a whole hot chocolate black market up and running as a whole separate economy, it’s even attracted out-of-town investors. Some of the children have gotten involved, and are receiving discounts in return for running cocoa to the kids who have to sit inside during the break for causing mischief and have to write lines like: A FREE MARKET ECONOMY IS SURELY AN UNSUSTAINABLE SOLUTION, WE MUST WORK TOWARDS A DEVELOPED MIXED ECONOMY WITH STATE-OWNERSHIP IN STRATEGIC AREAS OF THE ECONOMY SUCH AS THE COCOA-SELLING BUSINESS fifty times (nicely) in sky blue ink.

Språket

Det slår meg at Språket er et lite dyr som 

gjemmer seg i skogen bak vedskjulet. 

Det kommer aldri når du roper på det, selv om skinkebitene er spist opp når du lufter hunden neste morgen. 

 

Språket skremmes av alt og alle; 

høye lyder

sterke farger

latter (skingrende, klukkende, pertentlig, tørr)

men mest av alt tanken på at du kanskje en dag drar din vei.

 

Vi merker det de dagene vi vasker skoddene. Da stikker de ut fra veggen i stram givakt som om de vinker farvel og det er helt klart noe melankolsk over dem. De dagene kan jeg snu meg med skurefilla i hånden og se Språket stå og se på oss fra bortenfor annekset, lammet av skrekk. Slike netter vil jeg ligge våken lenge og hører Språket trøstespise på mønet med små, skarpe tenner som graver seg manisk inn i et treverk som uansett måtte byttes. Morgenen etter tenker du at det er en barkebille av grotesk størrelse, men jeg vet hva som er sant. 

Det var ikke alltid slik at Språket var vår nærmeste nabo. Språket er ingen ungfol akkurat og har nok latt seg sjarmere av flere familier enn vår. Salami, brødbiter i melk, middagsrester, grøt. Ikke rart det er et lubbent lite kryp. 

Vi la først merke til det en dag vi var ute og gikk. Hver gang vi stoppet kunne vi høre tassing og andpusten grynting, av og til observere en lodden rygg bak en tust eller sten (dårlig kamuflasje). Dette gjentok seg flere ganger. Språket fulgte etter oss opp på vidda, på høyfjellet, ned i daler og ut på myrene for å plukke molter. En gang hadde vi satt oss til like under en stein og Språket hadde ikke fått det med seg og forsøkte vel å ta oss igjen, så det tumlet nesten rett ned i fanget ditt, det nærmeste vi noen gang har kommet hverandre. Språket rettet seg kjapt opp og luntet raskt av sted på en meget ærværdig og stolt måte, som om det var meningen å falle midt oppi formiddagsmaten vår. Etter dette flyttet Språket inn i skogen bak vedskjulet. Vi så ikke noe mer til Språket på turene våre.