Friday, July 31, 2015


It's around six in the morning and I'm at the kitchen table at the cottage in Tjøme, with the door open. Outside, a glorious sunrise, the clink of masts, magpies and seagulls, a calm blue sea. There is a blue cloth on the table, and I'm brewing tea -- not the bags, which don't seem to work, but proper Indian leaves, which we have to pour into cups slowly because we don't have a strainer. My mother left yesterday. This was the first night I've spent in the house alone.

There is fear and there is love. That is all.

I spent hours last night talking to my cousin, a woman who struggles with addiction. She is an artist in her heart and yet she does not find time to do her art. It's too hard to concentrate, too hard to be consistent, she doesn't want to be like anyone else, she has self-loathing. She is beautiful and bright and can't find her way.  I wake up thinking about "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield.

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” -- Pressfield
 “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”-- Pressfield
 “Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don't do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don't do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself,. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It's a gift to the world and every being in it. Don't cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you've got.” -- Pressfield
I lie to her. I tell her I write every day. I tell her I'm miserable if I don't. This part isn't a lie. But here at six in the morning, I realize this is how each day should start, in the sunshine, listening to the birds, with tea, my fingers on the keys of my laptop.

Yesterday's epic hike took us up the hill by Mågerø, through the pines and hundreds of small blueberry bushes, on a winding path, dotted with lingonberries and fallen trees and small puddles and rocky steps, and down again to the road, by way of a fjord pony and our favorite brown and white pigs, back through the woods. There were sheep and goats, a deer, some dogs, a few cats. It was the zoological tour of the island. It was the first time, we realized, that we three cousins, friends from childhood, had walked together. We laughed like children, spoke of trolls and witches, stained our hands and mouths with blueberries, splashed our legs in muddy puddles, had conversations with children, stood in awe in the middle of the forest where the light shone through. It's important to note these things: I had a distinct feeling of warm happiness, of feeling connected. These are my people, I thought, as they complained of their tiny family and then revealed stories of my grandfather's brothers -- an Artic explorer, a professional footballer, a javelin thrower -- all these people we didn't know existed until after my grandfather died. We found a mailbox with N-o-r-d-a-h-l written on the front and we all thought the same thing -- more long lost cousins. "People have reunions, sometimes with 50, 100, 150 family members, often twice a year" said my cousin. But we were walking in the woods together, the three of us, we odd three, and feeling like children again.


Rowan said...

I love your writing! It is wasted just in a blog. It is worthy of being on a bookshop shelf for a wider community to savour the words. You paint a picture with words and you are brave enough to lay your soul bare and share exquisite pain and fear and love.

Perhaps your recent painful experience was given to you as subject fodder to let your writing machine keep running. Perhaps it's now time for the universe to give you happy material to work from!

Enjoy your European holiday!
Deborah - Melbourne, Australia

Miss Whistle said...

Thank you Rowan. I feel as if the Universe reveals itself to me by these comments. I'm sitting here in Norway listening to the boats and struggling over my blank page, and this beautiful missive flies in. Thank you. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to write such a lovely note, one that has made my day. Love to you, Miss W xoxo

Rowan said...

You're welcome! Glad if it spurs you on to more writing! Every one needs to be appreciated! You even seem to dig up wonderful poems out of nowhere. I have often felt like commenting before, but felt a little reluctant. So, thank you too!

My brother and sister-in-law have just returned from their annual visit to her family in Norway. I think as much as she loves living in Australia, it re-charges the batteries to be back home for a short while and feel again all those things that are intrinsic to you, of your mother country.

Happy days.
Cheers, Deborah
(Sorry, it is confusing. I signed up under my husband's email! I must change it to my own.)

elaine said...

I so enjoyed this walk with your and your cousins it sounded beautiful.

elle said...

Dearest Ms Whistle, your words always arrive like a gift in my inbox. Rain or shine. More please xx