In which I accidentally abandoned my blog…

It seems to be an increasingly common thing. So many blogging friends from years ago have likewise let their blogs slip away into the swirling blogosphere, some to never reconnect and others to one day salvage their old creative venue and perhaps turn it into something new. 

It happens to us for a variety of reasons. It would be too easy for me to say that I abandoned mine due to the stress of moving back to Australia after a couple of years in Sweden. That may well be a contributing factor, but I feel like I had run out of steam on the blog as well. Heck, I didn’t even do NaNoWriMo last year (the first time since I started in 2009). I just ran out of steam in so many ways and life had too many other priorities.

Now a year has passed. We’re living in a beautiful apartment literally on the waterfront, with a bay of water, mountains and boats in front of our place. The sun sets over the mountains and leaves behind sparkling light over the water each evening – the closest we can get to sunset over sea on an eastern coastline. I’m back teaching again, and after a year and a half of being married to the love of my life we have never been happier.

I’m about to tackle NaNoWriMo again this year, returning for my 7th round and hopefully 7th win. All this thought of writing again has reminded me of my blogging days (over 400 posts in total) and now I find myself wondering: will I blog again? And if so, will I blog here or start anew? Will I refocus my blog or just ramble on more than ever? And will I ever find Waldo? Oh, there he is…

Anyway. I have much to think about. But if any of you have had similar experiences I’d love to hear from you! Meanwhile here’s a nice picture I took recently of my home.

Either Side of the World

It was about a month ago now. My wife and I were walking along Prins Bertils Stig, an 18km pathway that begins at Halmstad Castle in Sweden and runs along the coastline for the most part. We had been discussing (for some months now) what our next move was in life. We had been mostly focusing on moving to the UK, because it was closer, easier and it seemed to make the most sense. We had been avoiding the idea of leaving Sweden for Australia because, well, I’d been there and done that and she doesn’t like the heat, so the idea seemed ridiculous.

Then this conversation happened.

“You know, even though it doesn’t make sense, maybe moving to Australia would be the best option right now for us.”

“…You wanna do it? You want to move to Australia? Like…now?”

“…Yeah, alright.”

That was all there was to it. A week after this conversation, we bought plane tickets to Australia. 12 days after that (I won’t fill you in on the multiple breakdowns of those 12 days as we attempted to pack up our lives in Sweden), we jumped on a plane, and then another plane, and then another plane (the joy of 27 hours of travelling, and to think this was the quickest possible itinerary – we literally got off one plane and ran onto the next) and last Friday we found ourselves back in Australia, only a few months after we were last here.

To say it is a little surreal would be an understatement. I for one never thought I would be here again for anything other than a holiday, but considering we have planned to be here for at least a full year this is no vacation. And for my wife, well, she’s a true Swede through and through who was born in a snowstorm, loathes the heat and is terrified of spiders, so living in Australia for a long period of time probably wasn’t on her agenda. Not to mention that we are going from Spring and Summer back into Spring and Summer (and a real Summer too…no offense Sweden).

Still, we’re going to enjoy it and make the most of our time here. We already have a car (a super old Audi…guess we’re clinging to our European-ness in any way we can), we’re slowly finding our way around the supermarkets to find food for my wife’s very Swedish palate (and, to be honest, my tastes in food have changed in my absence from Australia), and we’ve already squeezed in a couple of trips to the sea. Australia is a beautiful place, and if this really is going to be the last time I consider myself as living in Australia then I want to make the most of it and show my wife the wonders of the place I grew up, a country I will always consider a home.

After this very approximate year here, we’re going to swing back by Sweden for a month or so to say hello to everyone (especially all the people we never even said goodbye to – good grief folks, whatever you do don’t leave a country at such short notice like we did because it’s far too upsetting) and then we’re going to head to UK to spend some time (at least a couple of years I suspect) there.

So, for the time being we’re back down under. I miss Europe already, but if all goes to plan we’ll be back around this time next year. It had better not snow too much up there this year, otherwise I’ll just have to post lots of pictures of the beaches here to make you all jealous.

In my next post I’ll discuss some plans I’ve had brewing for the blog to keep this going while I’m down here! These plans even involve books…remember when my blog used to be mostly about books? Yeah me neither but anyway let’s see if I can return to those days.

Goodbye Sweden, for now. We'll be back soon. I took this photo at Galgberget in Halmstad just a few days before we left.

Goodbye Sweden, for now. We’ll be back soon. I took this photo at Galgberget in Halmstad just a few days before we left.

Listen to what your mood is telling you (when you write)!

Camp-Participant-2015-Square-ButtonAfter bombing out of Camp NaNoWriMo back in April (due to that whole getting married thing I did – see my last few posts to read more about that and see pretty pictures and so on), I vowed that I would surge into the July event of Camp NaNo and knock out 30 000 words as if it was nothing. Which, considering how many times I have written more than this over the course of 6 successful NaNoWriMos (of 50 000 or more words) and 2 successful Camp NaNos (of 30 000 each), it is not unreasonable that I considered this a challenge I could beat.

However, a couple of days ago, sitting on a measly 4000 words (actually that’s a lie, it was like 3900 and when you’ve written so little those hundred words make a difference), I realised I had a problem. I kept sitting in front of my laptop trying to write, but it just wasn’t working. It wasn’t writer’s block so much as writer’s disdain – I just didn’t like my story so far. At all.

Something I have written about before on this blog is how I tend to mix up the moods I am trying to write my story in (I’d link but goodness knows how far back in my archive the original post is sitting, sorry guys – I’ll explain it all again anyway). I think I naturally assume when I’m in a good mood I need to write comedy and when I’m in a more melancholy mood I need to go for something more serious and perhaps depressing. But more often this proves wrong – when I’m not as high in spirits I need to write comedy, perhaps to lift me a little out of the emotional hole I find myself in for one reason or another. And when I am upbeat, sometimes my comedy comes out totally rubbish because I struggle to find things to satirise or be cynical about and so I actually need to write a story that maybe pulls me back down to earth.

So, while I have a few things in my life that are stressing me out at the moment I am most certainly a lot happier overall than I have been for, well, a lot of my life actually. So the reason why I couldn’t write was because I had nothing to make fun of (seriously, there was one funny page where two cats fought over a cheesy puff and then it went downhill from there). Consequently, I’ve started writing something way more depressing and now it’s pouring out of me – I’ll probably overtake my old word count tomorrow which I sort of need to do if I’m going to hit my word goal in 11 days. Somebody send me coffee, pronto!

Do any of you writers out there ever experience anything similar to this issue with moods affecting your writing style, mood or genre even? How do you work with/against it?

For those of you who are attempting Camp NaNo, how is it going for you this month? How is your cabin going? (Mine is really nice actually, everybody is quite talkative and friendly and sharing interesting ideas).

My Wedding (Part Two – Magic in the Forest)

A few days ago I posted about my recent wedding to the love of my life, Linnéa, who I met through this very blog on opposite sides of the world so many moons ago. In that post I explained roughly how we created our wedding and used a few photos from our phones to help show snippets of the day.

However, before we even got married, we shot off into a beautiful Swedish forest to take some professional photos of us in our wedding gear. We were extremely lucky as we managed to get the perfect photographer – Jessica Silversaga, a blogger and photographer from Stockholm with some seriously amazing style! Linnéa had been following her for years online so this was really a dream come true for her, and, as I would soon discover, for me too.

I’m going to just show a few of my favourite photos from that session, but if you want to see more photos from this shoot head to her blog here and while you’re there check out her other posts – she really is incredible! I’m not going to say much more, because these pictures say a lot more than any words ever could. So just enjoy!







What do you think? Are we lucky or what?!

My Wedding (Part One)

Moments after we were married.

Moments after we were married. Very happy.

As I briefly explained last time in this post, I got married a couple of months ago. Although we still have many photos to grab off friends and family, we have a few photos and we also have the professional ones that have come in from our amazing photographer. So this post will focus more on our own photos (so far), while the next one will include some of the photos from our shoot in the forest (which, without blowing my own trumpet, looked a bit magical). When we get the other photos, there may be a part three to this (but that is a maybe).

Our wedding was an odd one from the start. We decided to get married just a few months before, and the wedding planning was done in one night about two weeks before the big day itself. We decided to have a small wedding of about 30 people, and a few months earlier we bought our rings and our clothes, perhaps the most expensive parts of the whole thing. To bring the cost down, and also to have greater control of our own wedding, we decided to do everything ourselves. Linnéa was in charge of the decorations, I was in charge of the food, together we worked on the music, guests and seating arrangements. We were surprisingly calm.

Her cousin looks concerned, she herself looks in control, I look more baffled than I am. Yes, I am wearing a Monty Python t-shirt.

Her cousin looks concerned, she herself looks in control, I look more baffled than I am. Yes, I am wearing a Monty Python t-shirt.

Fast forward to two days before our wedding, and I at least was in meltdown wondering how we were ever going to manage to get everything done on time. Fast forward again to the day before, and it all sort of magically came together. Well, I say magically, but it was not without a lot of help and a few minor setbacks. I had my two friends from Australia arrive, whom we pulled straight into the kitchen to help me cook and prepare the food (a mixture of different roasts, stews and other things that would taste better after soaking in the flavour overnight and reheating or cooking the next day). However, my three main dishes each lacked one ingredient. Linnéa also needed some

You can see some of the moss there - my memory tells me there was a lot more added in the end. The tables were very full on the day, at any rate.

You can see some of the moss there – my memory tells me there was a lot more added in the end. The tables were very full on the day, at any rate.

other things and shot off with her dad to fix the problem, but then ended up through no fault of her own taking three hours. Luckily, we had other family members and friends with us (nearly half the wedding was there helping the day before, phew) and so she directed the decorations over the phone until her return, and by dinner time we were done and heading off to spend the evening with friends in a jacuzzi and sauna right by the sea. The decorations she mostly made by hand, and we took moss fresh from the forest to place over the tables to add an earthy and intimate feel to the whole affair (sadly, I am lacking photos of us all sitting at the table on the big day…I will try and find some).

Our rings. We have a better professional photo for the next post - her ring is emerald and Celtic, mine is a Celtic gold and silver ring that is hard to see in the sunlight.

Our rings. We have a better professional photo for the next post – her ring is emerald and Celtic, mine is a Celtic gold and silver ring that is hard to see in the sunlight.

The big day itself went fairly according to plan. For a start, the weather came through for us – 17 degrees C (63 F) and sunny in early Spring is a rare thing indeed (and was followed by a week of rain and 5C/41F) so we were very lucky there – it’s just reaching those temperatures again now. We ignored convention (we ignored a lot of conventions, to be fair) and I was with her while her hair and make up was done (so she didn’t panic). We then went to the forest to take our professional photos before the ceremony or the reception – the ceremony was in a little courtyard right outside the reception, so it felt silly to do it in between. We were fashionably late (we lost track of time in the forest), but then we rounded everybody up outside and got on with the ceremony. After only a couple of minutes, we were married – luckily we asked Linnéa’s uncle to give a speech to help flesh out the ceremony somewhat, and he did an amazing job (and we have a great video of it too). After a mingle outside for an hour or two (and myself popping into the kitchen to see how my amazing helpers were going with my confusing instructions and half cooked food – they’re Italian so it was fine) we went inside for the dinner.

Us at the dinner, towards the end actually. As the night went on we shed our layers - she had a cape on top of a dress on top of another dress.

Us at the dinner, towards the end actually. As the night went on we shed our layers – she had a cape on top of a dress on top of another dress.

The dinner went well – my food was different and memorable like I hoped (stupid me forgot to take photos though), and Linnéa’s decorations achieved their aim and made the whole thing really cosy (and they looked fantastic). Her grandfather gave a speech in Swedish (and gave us the script for her to translate for me), her dad gave a speech in English and then I got up and gave something that amounted vaguely to a speech (apparently my Aussie friends were impressed at how short I kept the speech…I have a habit of waffling on, as I am sure long-time readers of this here blog have observed). Her best friend and cousin got up with another friend to sing one of “our” songs – “Sew My Name” by Josh Pyke (go look it up, it’s amazing). We played a couple of games to show how much we knew each other (which were surprising for many people but not for us).

Linnéa, her brother and her brother's girlfriend. We set up a photo booth of sorts and forgot to tell people about it until the end, so there's a lot of very sweaty photos of us all after we had been dancing. These guys manage to look a lot fresher than I did in most photos by that time of night.

Linnéa, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend. We set up a photo booth of sorts and forgot to tell people about it until the end, so there’s a lot of very sweaty photos of us all after we had been dancing. These guys manage to look a lot fresher than I did in most photos by that time of night.

After all of this, we got up and danced until midnight. Which was something unusual for me – in Australia, weddings often finish dinner around 9pm, there’s a bit of dancing for an hour or so and by about 10:30, 11pm the wedding ends. Here in Sweden, only having three hours of dancing and our wedding finishing at midnight makes it an “early night” – I’ve already been to one other wedding here that went until the wee hours of the morning. It’s a funny thing in itself – the Swedes are so shy and introverted, and Australians on the whole are very extroverted and renowned for their friendliness and willingness to talk to strangers (it’s no myth, I’ll tell you). So it’s odd that in Australia weddings seem so restrained, yet in Sweden they let loose – but that’s the way it goes I guess. Every culture has its little oddities.

We had my friends from Australia with us for a few more days, and within three weeks we were on a plane to Australia to meet my side of the family and attend my sister’s wedding…but that’s another post or two down the track (at least two more posts will come from those photos).

To finish off for now, one of my favourite photos taken on my Aussie friend Jimmy’s phone (he’s the crazy one on the right, and Sarah, my other friend from down under, is on the far left).

the jump part two

Two weddings and some jet lag

At the start of April, I boldly exclaimed that I would be doing two writing challenges despite that month being one of the busiest of my life. I also promised I would blog a lot. Then I promptly disappeared off the face of the earth, which was rather rude of me but to be fair I HAVE been unusually busy.

Six weeks ago, you see, I married the love of my life. Then a few weeks after that we both flew from Sweden to Australia to watch my little sis marry the love of her life last weekend. Now we’re back in Sweden, struggling to fix our very confused body clocks, and trying to return to this so-called “normal life” people tell us about.

All of these things, naturally, need their own blog posts to be thoroughly covered. While in Australia we spent a weekend in Sydney and also spent some time exploring the beachside suburbia where I spent half my life before moving to this colder climate (there is actually a beach at the end of my street here in Sweden, but it has no waves and sometimes freezes over in Winter…meanwhile we went swimming in the Australian “winter” so you know…all perspective I guess?).

Our own wedding, in particular, needs at least one post. Not just for the photos, but because it was a momentous occasion – long time readers may recall that it was in fact due to blogging that my wife and I met at all, and we spent the first two years of our relationship on opposite sides of the planet before I moved to Sweden last year. So our wedding is the culmination of a lot of patience, persistence and determination, among other things. But it was also not your typical wedding…anyway, I’ll save that for next time.

Essentially this post was just a quick “I’m actually alive and this time I have a good excuse for not blogging” sort of thing. But I will get more posts up soon detailing our latest adventures, and then I may even return to writing about books and music and all that stuff.

Hope you are all well, fellow readers, writers and awesome people.

Here’s a sneak peek of the wedding:


NaPoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo looms once more…

Oops. It appears I have not blogged in nearly six weeks, which is pretty bad even for me. BUT I do have a very good reason that I will be able to share with you all in a couple more weeks’ time. Until then, however, I shall keep my lips sealed (although some of you know already what it is and long-time followers could probably take an educated guess at what my news is).

This important event of which I cannot speak has sapped my time elsewhere too – I have barely read anything these past weeks (luckily I have some long flights coming up soonish that will give me time to knock out a few books). I have been working hard on my diet, playing with new recipes and working out as much as possible, but otherwise my mind and energy has been entirely focused elsewhere. I’ve considered blogging about all sorts of things, and the second half of that story that I said I would published “next week” I did begin the next week, but it sits half finished in my drafts folder.

napo2015button2Despite all of this, I know I still seem to work with deadlines for some reason. So, I am probably at the very last minute going to commit myself to NaPoWriMo (the poetry writing month thing where you write a poem a day) AND Camp NaNoWriMo (the smaller, flexible Camp-Participant-2015-Square-Buttonversion of National Novel Writing Month where you can write whatever you darn well please in a month and choose your own word count). The month of April is going to be a month filled with lots of different emotions, and it is such a beautiful month up here in Sweden, so writing poetry will be easy as inspiration abounds. As for Camp NaNoWriMo, I think I will return to short stories but I will keep the word goal much lower this time – no more than 20 000 I think.

I will try to blog a little during April, but my responses and things might be a little slow. But once you know of my news you will probably also understand why – I hope so at least. I can say that somewhere around late May my life will return to some sense of normality (only a better normality) and my blogging may regain an actual routine. Or it won’t. We’ll see.

Anyway, who among you, dear readers, is attempting either of these two writing events? I’d love to know so we can annoy encourage one another during this time – I’m always very active on Twitter during these crazy writing months and am always happy to add fellow writers.

If you’d like to know more about either event, visit their websites here:

Camp NaNoWriMo