Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ho ho ho

My new book is out, has been in stores here for exactly a week now. Happily it is doing really well and the first review is expected on Friday and the head‘s up I have received says it will be good. I cannot say how much of a relief that is as I am always very skeptical of my work at the time of releasing a manuscript and cannot tell if it is good or garbage. When I get positive feedback from those involved in the editing process I usually find myself thinking that they have gone bananas. But thankfully this book is not going to be the one that tanks, the one that is somewhere in my future, hopefully distant one at that.

For publicity reasons I had to do a photo shoot for the publisher which involved Iceland‘s foremost stylist and he put me through a two hour make up session involving putty and a spray gun. The photos were really great thought and the cover, as well as the back of the book, looks very good. The cover and the back text are the only two things about my books that I can comment on without very negative prejudice in the early stages of their publications.

Christmas is reminding us of its coming, most people here have started decorating their homes and the ever darkening nights and shorter days are lit up by arrays of small white or multicolored bulbs in windows and trees. My home has nothing of the sort and we feel a bit like the Grinches as a result. The problem is not a lack of wanting to take part but relates to a snag that we can’t seem to get rid of. The thing is that our house must first undergo the last of the moving-back-in process, the part that involves the boxes that are the most abhorrent, containing the stuff you don’t know where to put. They are now taking up most of our living room, making me wonder if I should attempt to use pine branches to disguise them as square-ish looking Christmas trees. A cousin of mine had a better idea, told me to wrap them up in Christmas paper with big bows on top and pretend that Santa had been extra generous. A friend topped her idea by telling me to put them on fire and go have a glass of wine and a cigarette. No one has suggested that we get to work on emptying them.

But one way or the other we need to make space for a Christmas tree and since I am going to stick to my thousands of bulb method of lighting it up it had better be sooner than later. Last year’s holidays we were cramped up in our son’s apartment. It was shared with the same boxes that are now making life difficult and dozens of additional ones now empty, so a Christmas tree was out of the question. Unless we placed it on top of a man high stack of boxed up stuff there was simply no floor space. The year before however we had a big tree with about 4000 bulbs, making us having to gently ease it from the window that faces the sea so boats would not get stranded thinking it was a lighthouse. The plan is to do the same now, if we could just get rid of the darned boxes.

But guess what. I finally found my camera, lying on the bottom of the only box that I have so far managed to attack since coming back to earth after my writing hiatus. Soon I will thus be able to put up some of my own photos on the blog. As soon as I find the charger that is. I know where to find it so it is just a matter of time. It is in one of the stupid boxes in my living room.

Speaking of photos, the pretty ones I mentioned at the beginning of this erratic post have caused me a bit of a headache. They have been used in the ads my publisher is pounding out so most everyone I know has seen them. A number of old acquaintances have phoned my friends asking if I have been under the knife and an online newspaper commentator posted one of these photos alongside the staff photo on my company’s webpage (which is really, really bad - no lie or exaggeration, see photo to the side) noting that success and money can buy you many things, looks included. When I meet people I can see the disappointment in their eyes when affronted with the real me, sans putty and spray-paint. So now I not only have to be a good engineer and a good writer, I also have to look good. Drats.

So lesson learned: Never not look lifelike in publicity photos.

Yrsa - Wednesday


  1. That's the same photo of the Christmas tree you used last year, Yrsa.
    And you failed to advise everybody, this year, that you are not fat. (She really isn't, folks, the black of what she's wearing blends into the black of the background. Yrsa is, in fact, as thin as a whippet.
    Well, maybe not a whippet.
    As to photos, she was in Amsterdam last week, and was photographed by Ed Coenen, the same guy who photographed me when I was there in September.
    Both of us were doing an interview with Gijs Korevaar, a well-known journalist.
    Here's the real Yrsa from Ed's website.
    (Check out his other photos as well, there's some really nice stuff.)

    No putty, no makeup artist, nothing. Just a good photographer

    And, while I'm at it, here's Leighton:

    And any defects you see are the fault of the model, not the photographer.

    Now, honestly, which of us would you rather have hanging on your wall?

    If you said me, you're lying.

  2. I have a simple rule regarding photographs - I never allow anyone to take one of me.

    A few years ago, I was in Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, a re-created town from just before the American Revolution. People who have paid a multi-day admission have to go about with a pass pinned to their clothing. Front and center on the pass is the photo so that no one can be admitted to any of the sites without a photo ID. The cameras and the system that is used produce photos that make the ones on driver's licenses look as it they have been done by Vogue. I got on a bus one day and the driver looked at the photo, looked at me, and told me I can't possibly be the person in the picture.

    The other problem I have about being photographed is that the older I get, the more I look like my mother. Has any daughter ever been pleased to hear she looks just like her mother? None whom I have met.

    I remember the picture of your Christmas tree. It is at least as beautiful as any that can be found in stores or town centers.

  3. Leighton's right. If you've ever seen superstar fashion models out of make-up, your company photo has them them all looking like extras for "Night of the Living Dead." And congratulations on all the good news on your new book.

  4. It's nice to see you back. Is your book out in English, or should I just go to Amazon? :) Good luck with your unpacking. Your tree, old or new, is beautiful.