On the Hunt for Curiosities

Curiosities. One of my favourite words and one that brings up many different associations. Cabinets of curiosities were small “wonder rooms”, a bit like museums, objects that were considered extraordinary or aroused interest. It makes me think of suspicious objects in jars, strange skeletons, misshaped animals and unknown rocks. As a heads up, I will claim creative license and apply the term to anything that I find curious and interesting. Which is basically everything. Sorry.

Kelvingrove museum is a beautiful building with an intriguing mix of items and I love just walking through with no aim at all. These are some old photos I found from one afternoon spent strolling through the museum in search of the weird and inspirational.

A love affair – warning: steamy content

English/Swedish

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I have a couple of new lovers in my life: one is short but classic and one taller and slightly more dressed up. Having only one is silly. I have more than two, obviously, but these two are my current favourites and they are useful for different times of day. My short classic one is a lifesaver in the morning as I am really not a morning person and need any motivation I can find for getting out of bed. But they can be used at any point really…before sleep, after sleep, during a film, perhaps in a drink. Endless possibilities. Not to mention the fact that they are gorgeous and photograph really well.

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Jag har två nya älsklingar i mitt liv: en kort men klassisk varelse och en lite längre men mer välklädd variant. Att bara ha en funkar ju inte. Jag har fler än två om jag ska vara riktigt noga, men de här två är just nu favoriterna. Framförallt den lilla är bra på morgonen då jag behöver all motivation jag kan få för att kliva upp. Annars funkar de ju vid alla tillfällen, som före och efter sömn, med en film, i en drink. Sen blir de ju snygga på kort också, se ovan.

Happy Friday!

National Flash-Fiction Day Anthology 2016

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Big news ahead! Warning: potential self-promotion in the next few paragraphs.

National Flash-Fiction Day is coming up in the UK — the 25th of June to be precise, as it is one of the  shortest days of the year. (If not the shortest?) As in previous years the people at NFFD have organised competitions in connection with it: a few weeks ago the 10 winning entries for the Micro-Fiction competition were announced on the blog and this Tuesday they revealed the 50 entries to be included in the 2016 Anthology.

I love flash-fiction, micro-fiction, twitter-fic, and all such writing. I love the immediacy of it, and the puzzle-like aspect of putting things together in a condensed space. It’s an art form I’m still learning about and trying to figure out, so when I saw the call for submissions I took it as an opportunity to practice and perhaps find some good ideas. Today I am delighted, chuffed, ecstatic, and all other suitable adjectives, to have one of my pieces included in this year’s flash-fiction anthology. Many thanks to NFFD for giving me the opportunity to take part and I am excited to see all the contributions in print, there are a lot of good writers on this list (a little daunting to be included among them!).

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Roliga nyheter på gång!!

Flash-Fiction är väldig korta texter, i samma linje som mikro-texter, Twitterfiktion osv. Jag älskar tanken och pusslet med att skriva sådana texter, och att försöka få fram en historia eller känsla i ett väldigt, väldigt kort och strukturerat format. Som med mycket annat jag gör är jag långt ifrån fullärd men jag är i alla fall enormt, oerhört, och fantastiskt glad över att en av mina flashfictions blivit utvald till National Flash-Fiction Days antologi tillsammans med 49 andra bidrag. Boken kommer att tryckas upp i både fysisk kopia och blir tillgänglig online någon gång under sommaren. Detta projekt görs i samband med att man firar National Flash-Fiction Day  i England – i år den 25 juni, och så snart jag har boken i min hand lär jag lägga upp en bild eller två. Jantelagen be damned!

/Nina

 

 

Steampunk & The Lost Street Map

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I have ‘genre-jumped’ quite a bit over the years and it has been fun, if a bit frustrating never quite finding the right tone for a story. Even though the core is the story, and the genre arguably comes secondhand, mixing indiscriminately gets confusing. Once as an experiment I planned — and wrote a bit on — a pirate traveling adventure historical drama set in the Caribbean with a murder or two. Fun to do but something that died out quickly. (It never had a proper ending. Or logic.)

A couple of years ago I found Steampunk and as you might know, or not, it has strong ties with the 19th century = Jules Verne, air balloons, steam, industrial revolution, and the list go on.  Steampunk might be explained as a blend(-ish) of history, sci fi and fantasy. It is not a romanticised version of the Victorian era, but one in which certain technological advances have never happen and some that never really happened, happened. The genre has a wide scope and it was the wealth of possibilities within this universe that caught my attention: it was an imaginary cabinet of curiosities of a whole century, which you were allowed to climb into and tamper with. In other words, my diverse interests of fantasy, crime, trains, history, food, chemistry, curiosities, mystery, the uncanny and the adventurous – found a melting pot.

Where’s the “but”, I hear someone ask?

Well, it has a wide scope and therefore not easy to traverse. I’ve wandered around the Steampunk part of town a while now, casually widow shopping, strolled down the odd alley, and even picked up a trinket or two — and I’ve come to realise it hosts a large population and is incredibly diverse. Even now, when people ask me what Steampunk is, I struggle to explain it. If Realism, Crime, and the other top dogs, all have fancy flats with dark, twisting and mysterious basements across the river Ink (comfortable, familiar, and with a floor plan), Steampunk has smaller but quainter houses. And the cobblestoned streets winding around the riverbank are confusing. Currently I have no map, but I rather like that. I want wander and explore for bit longer. All I know is that there is a lot more inspiration to be found in there, map or not, and I don’t think I will be bored any time soon.

The Steampunk Bible by Vandermeer, Chambers
The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder
Soulless by Gail Carriger

Clock Closeup

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När det kommer till skrivande har jag provat rätt mycket olika saker och många olika genrer. Även om grunden är alltid en bra berättelse och själva genren kan tyckas oviktigt, passar vissa berättelser bättre i en deckare än i en fantasy. Och börjar man blanda hej vilt kan de ju bli rätt så förvirrande. (Om man inte gör det väldigt bra förstås.) Jag gjorde en gång en planering för en pirat-äventyr-historiskt-drama  som utspelade sig i Caribbean, med ett mord eller två. Det var roligt att göra även om den dog snabbt.

För några år sedan upptäckte jag Steampunk som har starka band till 1800-talet, framförallt det Viktorianska England. En blandning, på sätt och vis, mellan historia, sci fi, och fantasy – där fokus på teknologi är stort: vissa uppfinningar hände aldrig, och några som inte hände i vår värd, hände. Det är lite klurigt att förklara. Jag fascinerades av möjligheterna inom själva genren och det var lite som en fantasins kuriosakabinett för ett helt århundrade som man fick krypa in i och ändra om i.

Just att det finns så många möjligheter gör genren svår att definiera, men den behöver ju å andra sidan inte en egentlig definition. Huvudsaken är bra stories.

Lästips:
Själlös av Gail Carriger.