My Sister’s Approach

My sister is such a rare jewel. Not just affable like most nice people but so utterly lovable that she should have a full-time job just being her. And she is so nice to me. It is not that she understands my way of thinking, she does not and she doesn‘t pretend to either, but she accepts me for who I am. She and her husband are supportive in the best sense of the word and they are very dear to me.

My sister is a social person and she thinks that my reluctance to socialize is doing me bad, but she does not try to drag me out of the house. She just tells me that I’m welcome to her home at any time and then leaves it up to me to decide what I do, without making me feel guilty about it.

She thinks, like most other people that I should ‘just write a detective story’ (assuming that writing doesn’t require any effort anyway) but when I tell her that I could just as well go for mechanics or brain surgery, she does not try to convince me.

People keep telling me that I should be writing novels. Love stories, chick lit, thriller. No, I should not. I hardly have any experience of love and the little I have is ironic, I’m not a chick and I don’t know any chicks and the world is overflooded by detective stories. I like reading them, but a world full of wonderful writers like John Grisham, Scott Turow, and Dan Brown, who actually know what they are talking about, does not need an author who has no insight into that imaginary world of riddle solving detectives and lawyers, and has no passion for writing about it either. How could I write a thriller without being thrilled about it? No I should not be writing detective stories, we have perfectly good authors who are happy doing them, what I should be writing is exactly and exclusively whatever makes me happy. And that is what I am doing but I´m not making any money.

Living your passion is my core idea of a good life. To do what you love, all day, every day, is the proper way of loving what you do. It means being high 10 hours a day without drugs. It means living in harmony without practicing yoga. It means feeling that you are doing something meaningful. It means having the ample to breathe. I wrote this book about my time in Palestine and I enjoyed every minute. Also, all the tedious work that is still left when you think you are finished, and then still left when you think that this time you are finally finished. It is a good book but my market is very limited. There are only about 200.000 people who read Icelandic, and only a few of them are interested in human rights.

All people should have a job that they experience as both meaningful and enjoyable. Meaning for me, is a revival. I’m constantly questioning everything, concluding, reconsidering, reconcluding (yes I also love making up new words but I don’t have the same sense for English as for my own language.) If I were religious, I would probably be a preacher. I want to write something that forces people to reconsider their ideas of themselves and the community in which they live. I think that sort of writing makes the world a tiny bit better. I’m inclined to write philosophical articles about human nature and community, rather than novels. Pleasure for me is using the language, playing with it, both the meaning and the sound of it. Therefore I write lyrics. And telling someone like me to write detective stories, is similar to telling a skilled brain surgeon who wants to do brain surgery but lives in a very small community and doesn´t get any paying patients, to go for physiotherapy ‘since you would get a lot of clients, and then you can just cut some brains in the weekend for those poor people who cannot pay for your service’. I’d tell him to move to a bigger place.

My sister once unintentionally taught me something extraordinary. She was young and her asshole of an x-husband had been lying to her about their financial situation, leaving her with an apparently unsolvable problem and now it was up to her to get out of his debts.
“I’ll tell them I’m not paying the interests,“ she said, and I, certainly not believing that she would get away with it, looked her in the eyes and said;
“Oh, you are just too sweet but hello this is the reality we are talking about and it’s hard to get by upon your smile.“
She looked back at me laughing, and said cheerfully;
“Yeah, but I´m not intelligent.“
Then I listened to her telephone conversation with people who had never even seen her. I listened to her chipper voice, explaining that she didn´t have so much money; “And then I´m not so good at maths and I just don´t understand all these interests so what about if I just pay you what I really owe you and we forget about maths?’’
They bought it!

I have tried to imitate her and get my way by playing silly. It doesn’t work for me and for years I thought I just looked more intelligent than I really was. I actually do, but that was not the reason. Later I learned that the reason why it worked for her, had nothing to do with the ‘sweet but stupid’ image. She got away with a great deal because she wholeheartedly believed that life was fair. She still does and she’s happy. And wise too, because provided that you are not a victim of was or tyrant authorities, suffering from sickness or born to extreme poverty, life is usually just as fair as you believe it will be.

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