Black Magic & Black Coffee

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Today is a sunny day and I’ve escaped the light and snuck into the dark and curious rooms of Black Magic in Riga. It looks like I had hoped and expected. Apothecary counters, bricks and heavy oak, velvet chairs, dark chocolate and black coffee*.  I’m writing this while sipping coffee and watching all the other tourists taking pictures of candles and jars. I would happily sit here all day but my bank account won’t allow for that kind of chocolate indulgence. It makes me wish I’m writing a story that would benefit from more research such as this, a story that’s a bit darker and in need of strange liquids and smoky cauldrons. Perhaps another time.

The best thing about writing, whatever genre or style, is that any part of life can be a source of inspiration and no emotion need ever be wasted. I find that a comforting thought, especially when life does not go according to plan – or editing makes you frustrated enough to contemplate giving up, and it is a perfect excuse for spending an afternoon in a café and people-watch.

I have 5 more weeks to spend in Riga before new adventures begin, and of course I’ve not managed half of the things I had planned. I am proud time-optimist, and even if it means never having enough time, it’s at least more fun than being a pessimist! This post won’t go up until tonight, hopefully with some pictures and if you find yourself in Riga in the near future, do pop in here and taste the strawberry truffles.

*Okay, I meant to have black coffee as it would suit the theme, but as the pictures reveal below they gave me such a cute little milk jug it was a shame to let it go to waste. Tasty nonthelesss.

Idag sitter jag i mörkret på ett cafe i Riga – Black Magi – en lokal fylld med chokladpraliner, kaffe, stearinljus och tomma fågelburar. Här finns en hel del turister också, jag inberäknad, som tar extrema närbilder på ljusen, på pralinerna, och konstfulla, sneda bilder som är värdiga Instagram. Utan likes har det väl aldrig hänt, eller? Om mitt bankkonto hade tillåtit sådan extravagans hade jag nog suttit och här hela dagen och pimplat kaffe, men en timme eller två är nog med lyx för en söndag. Inspiration får man iallafall, även om de berättelser jag jobbar på för närvarande inte direkt behöver rykande kittlar eller gröna vätskor i flaskor och burkar. Ett kafé väl värt ett besök om ni befinner er i Riga! De har väldigt goda jordgubbspraliner, och en bar i källaren om man vill få ordentliga Jekyll & Hyde-vibbar.

My year of reading – An update

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I set myself a challenge for the new year: 100 books in 365 days. So far I have managed 2, Don Quixote and currently half-way through 1947 by Elisabeth Åsbrink*. I have managed other books as well, but as they were tied in with the university course I have decided they don’t count. My to-read-list has grown very long but, all things considered, it is a pleasant problem to have. Will I manage 98 books in the coming 6 months? No – but I’ll read and that’s all that matters. Today I am off to explore some of Riga’s museums and tonight the editing will continue.

*1947 – I am reading it in Swedish, and it has made me fall in love with the language. For realsies. It is worth learning Swedish just to read this book, but if that’s a tall order it is forthcoming in English from Scribe (UK) at some point during 2017.

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Jag gav mig själv en utmaning vid nyår att läsa 100 böcker på ett år. Hittills har jag lyckats ta mig igenom två (kurslitteratur ej inräknat), Don Quixote och 1947 av Elisabeth Åsbrink. Jag rekommenderar båda böckerna varmt, men framförallt 1947. Jag kommer inte att hinna 98 böcker innan nästa nyår, men det gör inte så mycket. Min bokhög har vuxit ordentligt och det är svårt att välja vilken som kommer härnäst, men det är ett trevligt problem att ha.

Idag ska jag utforska några av Rigas museum, dricka kaffe, bläddra i böcker innan redigering fortsätter. Inte så illa för en söndag.

Midsummer

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Summer solstice has come and gone everyone! Wherever you are, and whether or not you’ve celebrated, I hope the weekend has been good to you. I spent it eating strawberry cake and writing. A combo I highly recommend. (Coffee should be included.) My one-year master and thesis-writing-phase is finally over, and for the first time in ages I am free to write whatever I would like. The freedom overwhelmed me somewhat.

Luckily midsummer arrived with sunshine and put me, and the blog, back on track. And, as I have currently relocated to Latvia for the summer, I am hopeful that Riga will provide lots of writing-inspiration and creativity. First on the agenda is to finish the edit of Rabbit (which really should have gotten a proper name by know, but I’ve grown strangely attached to this one) and find beta-readers. After which I’m going to treat myself to some flash-fiction and short story writing – for those of you who missed it, the National flash-fiction day was yesterday the 24th so there is plenty of inspiration out there if you need a good read.

Bye for now!
x

Curious facts and Hidden wonders

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Have you got a minute? Then browse Atlas Obscura. You’ll most likely be stuck there for hours, which is why I have been avoiding it lately. I’m currently having a lot of fun editing the novel, and therefore limiting my time writing new stuff and I don’t have space for new ideas in my head! If you are stuck for ideas though, or just fancy a fun read, check out the Atlas.

Most recently I got stuck on this interesting article about “filled pauses” and if you’re linguistically-inclined you’ll enjoy it. I love how something so small can have such an impact. Metaphore for life perhaps.

Browsing the site It also makes me want to travel, but not to the resort-y kind of places, but go exploring. I’m not too good around insects though, so too be honest I don’t think I’d last very long as an explorer but hey – why else do we read, if not to travel without leaving our comfy sofas?

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Free speech at the Gothenburg Book Fair

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“A manifestation of literature, arts and culture
The Göteborg Book Fair is the largest cultural event in Scandinavia. Established in 1985, the Book Fair receives around 100,000 visitors every year.
(…) No other book fair in the world offers such a comprehensive conference program as the Göteborg Book Fair. Writers, scholars, Nobel Laureates, politicians and thinkers from around the world appear in readings, talks and high profile debates.”

I’ve been wanting to go to the Gothenburg Book Fair for the last ten years but always lived too far away. This year the stars aligned and I suddenly had time, energy, tickets and didn’t need to travel more than two hours to get there, so I dragged my friend J along to explore books. Continue reading

Coffeestop: Montgomerys

Throwback Thursday!
I was very happy that my soujurn in Glasgow included a visit to Montgomerys on Radnor St, just by Kelvingrove park. We actually went there for a light lunch but I know my choices – Vietnamese Coffee and Belgian waffles with bacon and maple syrup – was a massive and serious sugar high, so that hardly counts as lunch. A first step towards diabetes, maybe. (I’m not gonna lie – I sugar crashed and slept for an hour after.) But as Edith Piaf would say: je ne regrette rien!

Montgomery’s is rather small, cosy, and has some tasty things on their menu. If you’re in the neighbourhood you should check it out. (Sadly no pictures of the Belgian waffle as I inhaled it.)

Happy Thursday to you all 🙂

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.

Throwback Thursday: Visby

I augusti förra året åkte jag iväg till Visby för att i 4 dagarbo på hotell, äta hotellfrukost, strosa runt i solen, äta glass, slappa och diskutera mord. Anledningen var så klart Crimetime Gotland! Jag kan varmt rekommendera alla deckarfantaster att besöka festivalen till hösten. Jag gjorde inte mycket annat än att springa runt mellan de olika scenerna och lyssna till massvis med olika författare prata om sina böcker, sina karaktärer och sin inspiration. Jag hann också med att träffa nya, roliga, underbara människor och fick en hel del skriv-inspiration med mig hem — miljön i Visby går ju inte av för hackor heller.

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Den här vintern har jag spenderat i mina hemtrakter, Vilhelmina i Västerbotten, och det är första gången på 5 år som jag varit i Sverige under en hel vinter. Här uppe får vi ju ordentligt med snö dessutom så jag har hunnit med både slalom, skoteråkning och skrivarstunder. Förutom mörkret och den väldigt påtagliga D-vitaminbristen har det varit lärorikt: i brist på deadlines för uppsatser och annat skolarbete hittade jag skriv-deadlines istället och har provat skicka iväg berättelser och noveller till en mängd olika tävlingar och events. En del lyckades, andra inte, och det mesta väntar jag fortfarande på att höra ifrån, men det har helt klart varit mödan värd. (Mer om det som lyckats framöver.)

Och nu, med en sista blick tillbaka på vintern, tycker jag vi städar undan vinterjackan och väntar in sommaren.

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