My latest book is now in the printing press - the above picture is of the cover.
The feeling is much like the end of exams. The much anticipated and longed for break turns out to be hollow and empty somehow.
The biggest difference between writing and regular working – as an engineer in my case – is the accumulation of experience. At work people tend to get better with increased experience, each passing year. The brain grows heavier in the regions harbouring the intellect most relied on to do whatever one does. You remember cases, clauses, examples, methods, results and so on and build a bank to withdraw from when needed. You feel smarter, wiser.
Writing is so very different from this scenario. When you begin a new book you take little with you into that experience from the previous book. Possibly the occasional character that you did not kill off and the bit more honed writing style. Other than that you begin anew, i.e. the story, the events that propel it forward and the players that act them out must all be reinvented.
Which is why I usually end up depressed after finishing a book. Not happy. Now I know I must start the process of finding a new story. Not just any story. The story that will make me want to sit by the keyboard when everyone else is enjoying not writing a story.
My latest book featured two new characters that I am going to run with a bit before either a) killing them off or b) not killing them off. One is a policeman the other a children´s psychologist working for what we here call the Children’s House.
The Children’s House is a state run operation supplying investigation services for the courts in cases involving violence or sexual harassment of children. The idea is that the child only needs go to this one house during the whole process – the place is equipped with everything needed for the medical examinations often required as well as an interviewing room where the child can be interrogated by someone specialised in interviewing children, out of sight from the numerous parties involved in the police investigation and court proceedings that follow. The child sits in a little friendly looking room and speaks to the interrogator while the police, judge, lawyers, parents, child welfare officials etc. sit in another room and watch the scene on a screen.
In my new book the Children’s House is being used to coax information out of a little girl that was hiding under her parent’s bed while her mother was murdered. With a vacuum cleaner - in a very nasty way. It also involves a young radio amateur who begins receiving odd coded messages that relate to the murdered woman. During the course of the book two other people die – neither in a way I personally would prefer to make my exit with.
But all is not bleak and black. I do actually have an idea from which to begin to construct a new story – for a new book. The tiny, tiny seed.
Now for some breaking Iceland news:
The Icelandic Police and Coast Guard have recently been caught up in the worst PR debacle in local law enforcement history. They were caught sneaking the officers to training seminars that turned out to be gun classes. Now this came as a surprise to everyone here since the police do not carry guns. The surprise did not falter when more details emerged and the gun class was apparently aimed at getting them familiar with the use of machine guns. Turns out they had been given 350 old MP5s – please note that this number started off at a 100 and rises each time the question is repeated – from the Norwegian army which was had renewed their own arsenal.
More such gun charity has apparently taken place over the years - the Danish army for one have given our police their old guns at times.
Really I do not know where to begin.
One member of the police tried to sway the public opinion by giving an interview in which he said that Icelandic police officers were in constant danger – drunk people threatening to attack them with bottles, fists and (gasp) sometimes ever chairs. Precisely the scenario a machine gun or two would come in handy don’t you think?
Bear in mind that these same police - that are now going to brandish machine guns in their dealings with the public - were ordered to hand over an internal report regarding the protests that took place during the bank collapse in 2008. The court order stipulated that they must black out all names. The report was provided – but instead of blacked out names they had done something that anyone could easily read through in addition to providing the electronic file from which the “black-out” (probably highlight) could be removed with a single command. They are now having to call in each of the 230 people named in the report and try to apologise as each of them is considered to have grounds for suing.
So we can’t trust the police with word processing software and they are now going to have machine guns? So odd.
Oh yeah – the volcano is still going strong.
Yrsa - Wednesday