The sun doesn’t wait

In my last post I talked about how the road will wait for you while you give yourself the rest you need. But there’s something else that doesn’t wait, and if you want to catch it, you have to agree to its terms…


The sun.

Now, I’m the first person to rebel against the idea that “The sun is out, so you have to go out too”. But if you long for the light, here’s a thought: grab it while it lasts.


Your duties may have deadlines, but so does life. Maybe it’s time to take that break and give yourself a reward.


Is the sky blue today?



Is the world an open book, glittering brightly?



Look closely.DSC_0127

The time for twinkling snow flakes will be over before you know it. The time for moving freely through the woods will be over before you know it.



If you can, steal that moment today. Because on your deathbed, you won’t regret the time you went out to see the world.


How to experience life (abridged)

This blog post and the links in it contain advertisements for my books


As an INTP, I’m wired to question received wisdom, and there’s one thing in particular that’s been preying on my mind lately – something that’s specific to one of my functions. It’s about Introverted Sensing (Si).


You often hear that you should ‘experience the moment’ instead of photographing it and experiencing it later, through your photo. That you cheat yourself of, say, a holiday if you live it through your camera.


But there’s another truth as well, one that I’ve been made aware of during this past year when I’ve truly lived life through my camera: that I live more intensely when I take photos. That I see the world differently – actually, that I see the world full stop. Things I would ignore if I didn’t take photos of them. Things I would miss if I didn’t search a scene for a subject. Wonderful places I would leave early because I would be bored with them if I didn’t try to create something of my own out of the atmosphere in them.




I’m a restless person, and I’m not much for sitting in the sun and just feeling the warmth on my face, or just looking at pretty views without doing anything. But with a camera in my hand, I’ve got a project. I document and transform, I convey an impression. I engage with my surroundings, I melt into them rather than distance myself.






I think this is because of Si. A Se user (Extroverted Sensing) can experience the world more directly. They can take in what’s around them without trouble. But at least for me, Si needs time to digest. I don’t realise that a ball is whizzing towards me until a split second too late. Likewise, I can’t fully be in the moment when something wonderful happens. There’s always a kind of delay, so that the memory of it is almost more palpable than the experience itself.






The camera changes that. It gives me the key to Nirvana, and I think it’s because I’m engaging Extraverted Intuition (Ne) as well as Si. Ne helps me ‘get at’ reality by exploring it and trying to create something new out of the familiar. It brings me out of my thinking shell and lets my hand pass through the veil and touch the Now. By making something, I exist in the moment.


I always need to create in order to live. If I can’t see the creative use of a thing, I’m not interested. I loved Shakespeare for years without caring about the particulars of his life, but then I suddenly decided to write a book about him, and then there was no end to the ‘facts’ I devoured in order to be able to pull it off. So now I know that his neighbours Hamnet and Judith Butler lost a string of children, that Shakespeare’s parents had a legal dispute over a piece of property with his aunt and her husband, and that his childhood ‘friend’ Dick Field signed a petition to stop him and his company from converting a building in Blackfriars into a theatre.


Talk about trivia. And the only reason I learned those things and not, say, the capital of Albania, is that I had an immediate use for it. The day I write a novel set in Albania, I will learn the name of the tiniest village if the story needs it.

And, um… well, true to my explorative auxiliary function, I’ve now strayed from my original statement about Si to the nebulosity of Ne, and I’m struggling to tie this text together with a catchy summary. But maybe I should just let it stand like this: unfinished, left hanging, with possibilities sticking out of it like stray hairs. It’s not wrong or sloppy or pointless. It’s just another way of being.


Forests and streams

I think best when I’m on the move. Every time my husband and I go on a trip, we both get loads of ideas. Our outdoor musical about the fossegrim was born on a river boat. The idea for Cutting Edge came into being on a long-distance bus. Release was brainstormed during a walk in the woods, and almost all my actual writing takes place on forest paths like this one, with my phone in my hand and a dictation app running.

Forest path

Right now in semi-northern Sweden, trees are budding, but at a distance, they still look grey and drab. The mountains shift in shades of dark blue and smoky green. At a glance, nature can seem dead, but deep inside twigs and roots, new life is growing, and in the sunshine, the fir trees gleam warmly, hinting at the summer foliage to come.

Fir trees and mountains

This is one of my favourite walks. I love a bit of hilly horizon, and the absence of human artifacts allows me to pretend I’ve travelled back in time.

Stream 2No bathing yet, but this is only a stone’s throw from the tiny little beach at the centre of our village, where you can take an evening swim when all the hurly-burly’s done and the sun filters through the leaves. The water that glides over the rocks and breaks into froth looks a bit like a dark blue silk sleeve with tattered old lace at the cuff.

I really do love the place where I live.