For some reason I always end up staying up late, immersed in my own thoughts and creativity whenever I go back home to my parents for a visit. Could be the change of scenery or maybe just the comfort of being on home base that brings out something that’s been tucked away for a while.
Some of it probably comes from the deep conversations I have with close family and friends when I come around. They bring a lot of subjects and thoughts to the surface that I rarely touch on with other people in my everyday life. This is something that I’m extremely grateful for and definitely always look forward to when I’m going home, but it also makes for a bit of a bitter sweet experience. Late nights of writing and endless coffee refills (not that I need it. I’m pretty much immune to caffeine at this point!) has become sort of a routine.
Over the past few days I’ve had a mini-vacation back to my hometown just to have some quality time with my family and friends, and to recharge my batteries for the hectic time to come. These last couple of days can definitely be described as interesting. Not that there’s much to tell that would be of any interest to anyone else but me, but the experience in general has just been wonderful. A lot of meaningful conversations, new ideas, reconnected friendships and lots and lots of good coffee. I crave these kind of inputs in my life on a regular basis, to clear my head a bit and to see my life and thoughts from a different perspective. It’s healthy for me, and I think a lot of people could benefit from similar experiences. We all need to step back a little from time to time, to really be able to see where everything is going and to really be able to understand ones needs. We get so caught up in everyday life (nothing wrong with that! We all live it.) that we push away the important thoughts and questions, storing them for a later and “more convenient” time. But the very truth and essence of everyday life is that it is exactly that: YOUR LIFE! It’s not the time that you wait around for life to actually start happening. It’s not the time where everything that goes down is of less significance because the events aren’t huge! It’s the everydays that mounts up to the life that you choose to live.
I don’t knoe about you guys, but sometimes I need a little reminder of exactly that. And that’s what I love so much about coming home to the important people in my life that I don’t have around me as often as I’d like, in my everyday life.
So I take the late nights, the deep thinking, the laughter, the crying, the joy, the pain, the tough questions, the light hearted jokes and all the cups of coffee. I take them all with so much gratefulness. Because in my experience, the only ones who takes you on that ride and asks the tough questions (and really listen to your answers as well) are the ones who truly cares about your well-being. Those are the people that I need to recharge and rethink.
And to you (come on! Don’t pretend you don’t know who you are):
I probably don’t say that enough! Thank you!
There’s a special feeling that comes over me whenever I go back to visit my hometown. It’s where I have most of my family and so many memories. A city that (even with its changes over the years) I can still trace in my mind, eyes closed, a million miles away from it. It’s the place that will always be “home” and I can definitely see myself moving back here someday.
When I got back to my hometown this time around, I took a walk through the streets that I know so well. The paths that holds so many memories and stories. But there’s more to the town. It’s also filled with ghosts. My ghosts. I like to look at my past events as ghosts. They definitely don’t have to be the haunting, scary kind of ghosts, but more the kind that lurks around in the shaddows. And from time to time I can see their eyes looking back at me and it brings back a very special kind of feeling.
I started writing a poem about this today, but it doesn’t feel right just yet. It will be up eventually, but I still wanted to write about it and share my thoughts on the subject.
I think all hometowns, no matter where or what size, is full of past ghosts. The memories, lost dreams and events from everyones past taking some kind of form in the cracks of pavement, the trees that grow and the buildings that changes. In some ways out of sight, out of mind, until you revisit them.
As I walked around I found out that even though I love my hometown, some of my own ghosts kind of scares me. They’re a reminder of some of the most difficult times in my life and having them stare me in the face can be quite hard. Sometimes they visit in no more than a slight shiver, and other times it’s like being smacked in the face with a heavy glove. Some ghosts are the wonderful kind, that embraces you in a careful wind, kisses you and the cheek and keep on walking. Some just likes to watch from far away. There are even some that I have a hard time recognizing for what they really are.
Every hometown ghost is a part of me and the path I went on to become who I am today, and I choose to be grateful for that. But there are times when I fear that my ghosts could turn into demons. And that might be the most terrifying part of coming back. What if my hometown should suddenly morph into something that feels strange and alien to me. What if the traces of streets and memories falls into darkness and gets replaced by something completely different? Would I still feel the same?
By the caress of passing minutes
The fingers of lost dreams
Lips of promises
Let it touch you
And see what happens
By the shiver of maybes and ifs
The embrace of your past
Breath of creativity
Let it touch you
And listen closely
By the warmth of the future
The whisper of hope
Dance of life
Let it touch you
And allow yourself to touch
©Christina de Vries – Geek Heaven
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Published: April 30, 2013
Pages: 692 (hardback)
Audiobook length: 19 hrs and 41 mins
Synopsis by the publisher:
Victoria McQueen has an uncanny knack for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. When she rides her bicycle over the rickety old covered bridge in the woods near her house, she always emerges in the places she needs to be. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her unusual ability, because she knows no one will believe her. She has trouble understanding it herself.
Charles Talent Manx has a gift of his own. He likes to take children for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate NOS4A2. In the Wraith, he and his innocent guests can slip out of the everyday world and onto hidden roads that lead to an astonishing playground of amusements he calls Christmasland. Mile by mile, the journey across the highway of Charlie’s twisted imagination transforms his precious passengers, leaving them as terrifying and unstoppable as their benefactor.
And then comes the day when Vic goes looking for trouble…and finds her way, inevitably, to Charlie.
That was a lifetime ago. Now, the only kid ever to escape Charlie’s unmitigated evil is all grown up and desperate to forget.
But Charlie Manx hasn’t stopped thinking about the exceptional Victoria McQueen. On the road again, he won’t slow down until he’s taken his revenge. He’s after something very special – something Vic can never replace.
As a life-and-death battle of wills builds her magic pitted against his – Vic McQueen prepares to destroy Charlie once and for all…or die trying….
“Wonderfully creepy! Christmas music will never be the same again…”
It’s hard not to compare Joe Hill to his father, Stephen King. There are so many similarities in the way that they write their stories, but in a very good way.
Hill describes characters and scenes so well that every part of the story comes alive, and it’s creepy for sure!
The story is written in third person, from multiple perspectives. The way it was executed was pure perfection.
All the characters in this book was what made it such a treat for me. Hill makes his characters come alive and they develop so much throughout the story.
Vic: It’s easy to relate to Vic even though she’s all kinds of screwed up. I really do enjoy characters that feels real, unpolished and far from perfect. They always make for a much more interesting story. Vic is a character you can’t help but love, even though she makes you so frustrated you could eat your own hat!
Charles Manx: I’m glad I was introduced to Manx as an adult. Had I met him earlier in my life, I’m pretty sure he would have haunted my worst nightmares. He’s a truly horrific character, written perfectly. I shivered and cringed at times when Manx was up to no good.
NOS4A2 is a story that keeps you on the edge. Even though it tells a lot of backstories it’s never boring, and it surprises you again and again.
I caught myself being bewildered about not having any clue as to where this story would end up.
Full of twists, turns and dark places. And the ending was very satisfying!
This is horror done right!
Christmas is my favourite time of year, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. But even though this story is wonderfully creepy, Christmas music will never be the same again!
This story stays with you. I still think about Christmas land from time to time, and then I turn on the lights.
Highly recommend, but it’s not for the faint of heart!
I look forward to diving into more of Joe Hill’s work.
Would you like your own copy of NOS4A2? Click on the logos below to go to it’s product page:
Have you ever tried keeping eye contact with a perfect stranger? Being drunk and flirting across the dance floor doesn’t count!
As many of you know I live in Norway, and there’s a sad truth about most Norwegians. Most of them are hopelessly bad at lifting their gaze from the ground (or their phones) while their out among strangers. Our shyness and introverted personalities can make us seem cold. And when I’m writing “us” it feels kind of wrong. I’m generally pretty good at keeping my eyes off the ground and I very consciously take in the world around me. I guess you could call me a curious, but not shy introvert, if there’s ever such a thing.
There’s just too much out there to look at for me to not do so! And working in retail as well doesn’t really work without the eye contact. But even though I’m really good at looking my customers in the eye, I’m not that good at it when I’m off the clock.
They say that the eyes are the windows to our souls, so why is it so scary to take a peek? Maybe it’s the fear of someone being able to look back into ones own. A vulnerability thing. Because sometimes it’s really scary to not only have someone look at you, but actually be able to see you.
What if they find something you didn’t know was there? Something you thought was hidden far enough away. Or maybe it’s the fear of misunderstanding. I know that can be a big one for me. Not wanting people to assume that I’m flirting, when all I’m trying to do, is to see you. And maybe the worst of them all is the fear of rejection. To get that look of disgust.
I’ve been through all of the above. Sometimes it hurts really bad, but most of the time I choose to just let it go. I don’t always succeed.
I finished listening to “The Art of Asking” (review will be up soon) by Amanda Palmer a couple of days ago. She talks a lot about making eye contact. About speaking with your eyes instead of your spoken words. I was utterly fascinated by her wonderful approach to people. Of how she made connections and friends in the most amazing and random (if anything really is random?) ways.
I was inspired (still am) and so I started to look. To see people. To silently say:
‘Here I am. Can I look into your soul if you can look back into mine?’
Sometimes it’s all kinds of awkward, but most things soften by the power of a gentle smile. Some people get really uncomfortable, and I usually don’t keep them so for too long. Just long enough for both of us to step a little outside of our comfort zone. And the great thing about it all, if they really don’t want to share the moment they can just look away. As easy as that! I can’t force them to do anything. Why would I?
Some people allow me to see more than I expected. Glossy eyes and a tiny smile that says:
‘Yes, I’m sad. Thank you for noticing.’
Others offer a little smile. Nothing flirty, but just a way to say:
‘Hey! I see you too!’
It’s really quite funny how we as people, who actually craves contact and interaction so badly, are so tragically shy about it.
So I dare you dive into the moment when eyes meet. Invite them in. Share the moment, however brief, with a perfect stranger. Or to look more closely into the eyes of someone you know. See them. Love them. Dare to open up and let them see you. And I promise you that I will keep on doing it too!
And I have to mention that when Kirsti and I was talking about the exactly this topic in a bar yesterday, a perfect stranger excused himself and told us that he had to take part in the conversation, if we’d let him.
The universe works in mysterious ways!
We ended up having a wonderful conversation about many topics, and suddenly the world had one less stranger.