Stress down, bake a pie, make a book-club

Ever since I was 13 years old, I have been known for being «The pie-maker» in my family. Not because I enjoyed eating them. In fact, I would make pies just to serve other people, and it was enough for me to watch them eat and become happy.

Since this is a literature-blog, I really recommend pie-dates for a book-club. Not only is it fun to make with your friends, but it also brings a more positive, homey vibe to the discussions. 

Another thing – at the end of the day, I always turn to pie-making. If I am stressing with something and I can’t seem to find any solution to the problem – or I’m just very ill-tempered by something/someone, I put on my apron and attack the kitschen. In there, I dissolve into my own little world. And while I bake, I think, I daydream, and I come up with new ideas for my book. It’s also a place where I can explore and experiment. Theres nothing like opening the drawers, picking out your best ingredients and spreading flour all over the counter. Most of the time, I decide to make a pie spontaneously; meaning that I don’t have any prior knowledge of the content in the refrigerator, but I choose to surprise myself by picking out random ingredients. And you know what – it almost always works out. Because if you add enough butter, it will taste heavenly regardless. Yep! The French were right. Churned, fermented cream (butter) is the ultimate savior.

Pie is more than a passion of mine. Pie brings people together. Pie creates joy, laughter and love between individuals. Pie is life. 

 My specialty is and has always been wild-berry-pie. And today, I would like to share with you – my own recipe for this dessert. So find that apron of yours and allow yourself to dive into a place that will turn your life around; the world of pies … 

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These are the ingredients! 

I don’t always apply cookies in this recipe, but if you want your pie to be extra tasty with a crunchy dough, follow my advice …

You can make your own berry/white-chocolate cookies if you want. Either way, just normal cookies should work just fine. Personally, I use this brand: (it’s Swedish) 

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  • First off, chop the 8 cookies up in squared slices. 

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  • When you’re done, put the cookies aside and start cutting the butter into equally squared slices. 

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  • Mix the butter and the cookies into a bowl together with all the dry ingredients; flower and oat-meal. Work the dough with your hands, until it starts looking like this: 

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  • Grease a pie-form with butter and spread the dough on it. (Remember that the dough doesn’t have to be perfect. There will probably be a lot of lumps in it, but that’s the beauty of a homemade pie!) 

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  • Spread some wild-berry-jam on top of the dough. (You decide on the amount, depending on how sweet you want your pie to be.) 

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  • And at last, cover the pie with frozen berries! (Again, it’s up to you, how many berries you want to add into your pie.)

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  • When you’re done with this, you can finally put it into the oven and let it rejoice there before it’s delicious and eatable♥ (With 200 degrees, it should be ready in 30 minutes!) 

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And then you have a wonderful pie! 

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Serve this to your friends, open up some books – and you’ll have the beginning of a wonderful day!

Bon appétit!

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

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Thursday’s book report – can one feel nostalgic about a time that one has never lived in?

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The theme this month is nostalgia; the wistful desire to relive or experience a quondam time – the sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or era.

When reading the reflective memoir by the Austrian writer, Stefan Zweig – I can get a clear picture of the man sitting by his desk, agonized by what has been, compared to what is now. The time of encouragement and vitalization has passed away, and Zweig feels the duty to show the world what they once had, as an attempt to bring it back to life again.

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“If I try to find some useful phrase to sum up the time of my childhood and youth before the First World War, I hope I can put it most succinctly by calling it the Golden Age of Security.”

Stefan Zweig

 

I am only at the beginning of this book, but I couldn’t help but share with you – some of the feelings that awoke in me these past few days.

 

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The author of this book was without doubt, in love with his past. However, can one feel nostalgic about a time which one has not lived through?

I have never felt a strong nostalgia for the past in my life – however, the yarning I have for the late 18 hundreds, is stronger now than it has ever been. 

I look at photos from “La Belle Epoque”, and I dream about strolling through the streets of Paris in flowery body-con dresses. I google old pictures brought to life by photoshop, and I come across a fascinating photo-gallery … 

All these pictures were originally black-and-white, but someone has made them come alive by adding color. It seems more real and more possible to relive these moments now, doesn’t it? 

For years, my mind has constantly been tormenting me with the idea of not belonging to ones time – and now that I read about Stefan Zweig experiencing the same feeling, only in this book, he has already lived through the generation he is longing for … it leaves me with an even greater melancholia. 

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Dor. It’s a new word in our dictionary. It represents a sad feeling. A feeling we should not have. But what if we have been walking around with this feeling our whole lives, without knowing? 

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Imagine yourself in a hopeful society, where people are not disconnected from each other by small devices called smartphones. Picture interacting with people. Constantly. And when you’re not with other people, you’re either reading a book, working on something or watching the nature. Depressed people look at the world today, and they call it things like selfish, insensitive, detached and pessimistic. They say the problem isn’t in their head. It is the society. 

Now, some may argue that depression is only in your head, and that the ways of the world today has got nothing to do with any mental illness. To some extent, I agree. The biggest reason for depression is usually inherited genes or an uneasy childhood.  However, I do belive that the world could be better, and that more optimism in general, could help the depression statistics go down. I think that by surrounding yourself with beauty, life will reward you with great things. Unfortunately, theres not much beauty left to indulge in. Buildings are turning into shoe-boxes. People are transforming into robots; serving their iPhone as if it was their master. And schools are becoming a threatened place, because of all the reported shootings – instead of an inspiring place for children to learn and expand their knowledge.

Things weren’t exactly great in the past. But are they any better now? 

Is the world … going towards the wrong direction? 

 

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Maybe it’s about time we start following Stefan Zweig’s wish. Why not learn from the past? Look at all the qualities and bring them back to life again. If one time, we choose to paint the world beautiful with harmonic buildings and statues, I can guarantee you – the people will be nicer and less selfish. 

We don’t have to call it going back in time. Instead, we can look at it as going into the new, beautiful generation. 

After all, white, shoe-box buildings are SO yesterday’s news, am I right? 

 

 

Alright guys! That was it for today. Now I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject! What was your reaction to “The world of yesterday”? How do you feel about the society/world today? Please, comment below. Let’s make a discussion! 

Until next time♥ (many of you have requested more articles on “The Nerdrum School” – so maybe there will be something concerning this topic in my next blog post …)

Stay updated! 

 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

Wednesday’s book report + my daily routine at the farm

WINTER MORNINGS = BLISS
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♥HAPPY VALENTINES DAY EVEYRONE♥

I finished the book, and there will be a report where I will include a short description on my thoughts and feelings about the memoir – but first … I would like to invite you into my daily routine at our farm in Norway.

What do I do when I wake up? How do I continue my day on the Norwegian country-side? Who do I spend time with, and what does my working schedule look like?

Well, you’re about to find out!

♥ First of all, I get up from bed around 08:30 in the morning. Then I head to our glass-veranda, where my mother is sitting with freshly brewed coffee and three cups; one for herself, my brother and me. We talk, read and discuss news for about an hour, before my father wakes up – and we make a new pot of coffee. Then I dance my way to our kitchen and prepare a small plate of breakfast for myself. This time it was pancakes with crushed almonds, bananas and maple syrup. 

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♥ After eating breakfast and reading for two hours, I either start organizing myself by making a list of new articles for the blog in the future – or I continue writing on an article I’ve already started.

All the organization-stuff, I write in my own homemade bullet journal, here↓

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♥ After writing for two hours, I go out for a walk in the snow-landscape together with a very good friend, my camera. I always end up taking a great deal of pictures of the nature, our cat, Apollon and Kossette, our dog!

♥ Then, I head inside to have some lunch. Afterwords, I sprint (eagerly) over to the other house at the farm to drink more coffee (not gonna lie, probably my fifth cup by now) with my father in his studio. Here, I start writing on my own things. I don’t know what it is, but I love writing creatively in my father’s atelier while he’s painting. There’s something so peaceful and lovely about it … a feeling I can’t describe!

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♥ Now, the clock will strike 3, which means guests will probably come over for coffee and tee. I am not saying this happens every day (maybe every second day would be more accurate) but it does happen so often, that it is necessary to include as a part of my daily routine. Some days, I will make a pie for this coffee hour. Other days, my mother will have bought something or made some sweets on her own. Either way, this time is always so lovely; lots and lots of coffee (I know, this drink is all we talk about at the Nerdrum School) and lots of inspiring conversations and good laughter.

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♥ After about an hour with social time, I sneak away to my humble bed-chamber and continue on my writing. This time, I type everything I have written by hand (earlier that day) into the computer. I usually do this, chapter by chapter.

♥ The clock strikes 7. Everything outside has darkened – meaning it’s time for dinner with the family. Everyone gathers around a big table. Candles are lit, the food is warm. Restless conversations start before anyone has even started serving themselves. These dinners usually last an hour or more.

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♥ After the meal, my brother Öde plays some piano, while I make coffee and glögg as an after-dinner-treat. (For you who are wondering – glögg is a Swedish hot-wine with spices. Very sweet and very enjoyable during cold days!)

After the coffee and the hot wine has been made, my two brothers and I gather in their office to watch BBC-period-drama together. This time, we are watching “Little Dorrit” from 2008; an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s serial novel with the same title. I can highly recommend this one for all the period-drama-lovers out there! It is very sweet, full of drama and utterly romantic! Plus, my brother is an absolute copy of Matthew Macfadyen, who’s playing Mr. Clennam (the hero of the story) in the series! Both in clothing and in personality.

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♥ After some well-spent quality time with Öde and Bork, I settle down in the fire-place room together with my mother, a good book and a cup of tee. Throughout the evening, the whole family will join us. My father will be watching a movie while talking to my brothers. I will read, watch and listen to the conversation at the same time. After this, I go to bed- usually around 12 – 1 o’ clock in the evening.

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And NOW to my book-report

 

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I would like to say that the further I came to the ending of the story, the more I loved it. Sadly, this is not true. I ended up feeling rather cheerless and sad by listening to the main character, Joyce Maynard, narrate her everyday-life during her time after the love-affair. This does not mean the book was badly written. It just had a very gloomy affect on me.

In my opinion, this sadness was mainly because of the constant repetition of her eating-disorder and her low self-esteem. I could not help but thinking; but she has got everything! Everyone loves her writing, she has people wanting to make publishing-contracts with her wherever she goes. She has enough money to buy a house in the end. She is a top-notch career woman at age 19. What is she complaining about?  

Of course, she was abandoned by her first love, which left an immense scar on her heart – making her fall into a long-lasting depression, including numerous control-issues and restrictions on her diet. All this is natural for any young person experiencing their first heartbreak, but for me … the story was quite different. I realized how different I was from Joyce Maynard when I understood that for her, J.D Salinger was everything she needed in life.

I am not saying I have a cynical approach to love, but it does have a relatively stronger impact on me, if I fail in my career, than if I fail in my love life.

Therefor, I found it hard to relate to her, which made me very detached from the whole story and also Joyce Maynard herself.

I will not spoil the interesting ending of the book … So my conclusion is, that this book is very suitable for young women going through a heavy heartbreak at the moment. Buy this book if you want to be able to relate to someone who has literally gone through the worst mentally, but came out through the other side. You will enjoy it!

 

Next book is …… “The World of Yesterday” by Stefan Zweig!

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I am looking so much forward to this book, and I can’t wait until next book report!

 

That’s it guys. I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with your loved one/ones (whoever they are) and I’ll see you next time♥

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum

 

 

 

 

#metoo? More like #MrDarcywhereareyou

Let’s talk about how Jane Austen taught me more about manliness and the reason why #metoo doesn’t work.

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Why is it that Jane Austen is more famous today than she ever was during her time of living? Her novels are adored all over the world and film and Tv-adaptations have brought them to millions more. Although it’s been over 200 years since the humble author put the pen to paper – we still cannot get enough of the classics; “Persuasion”, “Emma”, “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice”.

Here’s a questions that came into my mind when reading her novels for the second time; Are women today, secretly longing for the same politeness and refinement that they see in the men from Austen’s stories?

People say that her insights into the human nature of females – especially when engaged in the frustrating business of courtship – are as true today, as when she originally wrote them. I agree with this statement. Basic human emotions never change with time. Yet, have the men and their way of courting women changed? Yes. They most certainly have. Their manliness is lost.

First off, my view on manliness is not related to aggressiveness or being violent. Men are supposed to be polite – yet act like real men.

Manliness includes caring for women, keeping a strong character and overall – act like they’re able to protect the lady they’re courting. That doesn’t mean women are weak, or that they belong to the kitchen. Quite the contrary – in this article, I am honoring a strong woman who wrote love-stories and saved a great deal of people’s lives through them. Ideally, both genders should take care of each other. All I’m saying, is that 21st century men seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be a proper chaperone. Respect is lost. Their manliness is taken away from them, and we want it back. anigif_enhanced-buzz-29546-1390936973-4.gif

I see women all over Instagram – complaining about how they can’t seem to find a Mr. Darcy, and that men like him don’t exist anywhere. I experience girls my age – crying over a boy, because they cared too much and he cared too little. Yet at the same time, the metoo-hashtag-campaign is taking over the internett – making men too scared to even look another woman’s way. The dread of rape-convictions and cyberbullying have become a real thing, and the alfa-male has made the decision to back off. 

Why? Because that’s what they think we want! But what we actually want is for them to become a Mr. Darcy! Why isn’t there a #MrDarcywhereareyou instead of #metoo?

It would’ve made it so much easier for the men to understand. Wouldn’t it?

Just imagine how the world could be, if we had changed the hashtag to the one suggested; The men would’ve gotten their act together. They would’ve asked you out on a date, they would buy you a rose and kiss your hand. Instead, with the #metoo – we are not helping them in any way. Women make it seem like theres no solutions to the problem.

That’s just how men are, right? So now, we are just going to be angry and see what happens …

Well, if you think this way – nothing is going to happen. Both women and men work in such a way that when someone accuses them of something – they are not going to be willing to change, unless the accuser adds a solution to the problem.

 

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Right now, theres no solution! Me too – what does that even mean in a man’s brain? For an average man, all it means is that women are now gathering together, creating a hate-group against him. Oh and – they’re not going to tell him how to change. They just want to let him keep on living in confusion, thinking that the way he has approached women so far, and the way he will continue doing it – is all wrong.

Let me tell you something; Things are not supposed to be easy. But they’re not supposed to be hard either.

A 21st century woman should not have to beg on her knees for a 21st century man to ask her out. That’s just … wrong.

Anyone who has ever read Jane Austen’s books, knows deep inside that men are supposed to be like her characters. So why not tell the whole world about what we truly want – now that we’re already telling them about how much “we suffer” with the #metoo?

How do you think Mr. Darcy would react if he lived in these #metoo times?

Most probably, he would be sitting at home being all miserable like the other alfa-males out there.

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(What are your thoughts on this subjects? What did you learn from reading Jane Austen? Let me know in the comments below! Until Wednesday then.)

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum♥

 

 

How to grow fond of reading

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Hello lovelies♥

Yesterday, me and my mother visited a gorgeous little French cafe called “Étoile”.  It has now become our favorite in town, and I think it would be ideal as a meeting-place for a book-club! Sitting there, reading and talking with her – made me think of all the great advantages of being an active reader. Sadly, there are people out there who haven’t yet discovered this paradise, so I felt an urge to help you guys out a little.

So instead of Wednesday’s book-report (I promise it will come next week!) – I want to present to you, my list of ideas on how to truly commit to books and start loving them!

 

1. Make a friend join you!

When you start doing something new, it’s always hard in the beginning. However, with a friend (someone who is equally new to book-reading of course) everything suddenly becomes easier. It’s like exercising; very hard in the beginning, but once you start, you don’t stop. And if you bring a friend, its even more fun!

My advice is to create a small bookclub with your friend. Choose one book, read it and then discuss it afterwards with coffee and cakes. You’ll be surprised when you realize how fun this actually is.

 

 

2.  Don’t start with the classics, just because you feel like you have to

I definitely prefer the classics, but it doesn’t mean I started reading them as a beginner.  The most important things is to start with what you want to read. Do not take other people’s advice too seriously. This is about you. Your development. Your introduction into the world of books.  So read “Twilight” if you’re into love-stories. Read some Nicolas Sparks if you love watching “The Notebook”. Remember that once you get into reading, the classics will come naturally.

In fact, the first books I started reading actively (I think I was about 10 years old) were the “Sweet Valley High” books. If you don’t recognize the title; it was a widely popular book-series going on in the 1980s – about first love, high-school drama, dating problems etc. Every girl in my class read them, and everyone thought it was insanely cool – reading books from the 80s in the early 2000s. We thought we were sooo old-school of course.

I know … very teenage of me! But hey! It got me into reading. So whatever you choose to do, whether it’s diving into “Sweet Valley High” or some other glossy, gossipy love-fiction, do not hesitate or think it’s embarrassing. Just go for it.

(Ps: I have to admit that I still love these books … ! And I do read them occasionally.)

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3. Don’t tell anyone!

I don’t know if you’ve heard the advice before. Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I start something new – I like to keep it a secret. Everything suddenly becomes so much more fun if you’re being all mysterious about it. And if you choose to do this with your friend, make them keep their word as well. It’s nothing more exiting than reciting a phrase from a book you’ve just read to your parents or your colleagues. Most probably, they will freeze completely and get all confused. They thought you weren’t a reader. Well … I guess they were wrong!

 

4. Find your spot

This is probably the most important one on the list. Finding your own spot is like creating a routine. Furthermore, you’re creating your own meditation for the day – which is one of the biggest advantages of reading. Every time you go there, you know it’s time to open the book again and disappear from the world. So use your creativity. It can be the weirdest spot! Either on the top of a mountain hill, inside your parked car, in the kitchen while you’re cooking, outside on the balcony while taking a smoke, in a bar, in a café, in a local library, in your library, in your studio, in someone else’s studio, in your bed at night, in the bed in the morning while taking a coffee, in the bathroom, in your office, in your living room by the fire, in the forest while taking a walk, in the park …. the list goes on!

So find your spot, and I promise you; reading will eventually be the thing you look most forward to when waking up in the morning.

Personally, I prefer reading in the morning with my coffee, or reading at a café together with my mother or my brother. I also enjoy opening a book while I’m in my father’s studio of course!

 

5. Watch the movie first

Ok. I know exactly what you’re thinking now; she’s crazy! It ruins the book if you see the movie first! 

In one way, yes. It does ruin the book, and it’s definitely not something you should continue doing for the rest of your life. But in another way, it’s a great ritual to start with.

Believe it or not, but my first introduction to Jane Austen (who I love so dearly today and always will) was through movies. I remember I was about 12-13 years old when I saw the 2005-adaptiation of “Pride And Prejudice” with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen  for the first time on the television. I was together with my father that day, and we both cried at the ending where she asks her father for permission to marry Mr. Darcy. I looked her up of course, and I ended up seeing all the movie-adaptations in less than a week. Since I had never read any classics before, I was imagining her books to be terribly tedious, full of advanced words and unnecessary descriptions. (I know, I’m still not proud about that…)

Stubborn as I was, I refused to the read the books before I turned 14 years old in 2013. That year, I read all of them. I also started on the Brontë sisters and Victor Hugo.

For me, movies were actually a golden ticket into the world of classics. They made me put those “Sweet Valley High” books on the shelf and turned me into the person that I am today. So thank you movies! You have done more than you know!

Maybe they will have the same effect on you …?

 

I hope this list was fulfilling to you non-readers out there, and that you will feel encouraged to drop by the bookstore today!

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum♥

 

 

 

 

 

 

The magic of the Nerdrum School (from a writer’s perspective)

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The Nerdrum School.

Some don’t have a clue and others have misunderstood the concept completely. People tend to pretend they know. Most of those people think that this is some kind of a spooky cult, and others just don’t see the point.

I am here to tell you the truth – and this time, from a writer’s perspective …

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When I look back at my life – from the day I was only three years old, crawling around in the grass in-between students, painting themselves and each other at our farm in Norway – to where I am now, sitting by my desk, listening to Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his 5th symphony, reminiscing on the past – It doesn’t seem like time has gone by at all. Things remain the same; timeless.

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I am surrounded by beauty everywhere I go. My father is still working diligently on his compositions and students from all over the world are watching him with amazement. Some afternoons, my mother will appear with coffee and cakes, and we will all be sitting in the studio or outside on the lawn – discussing philosophical ideas or political matters. Odd Nerdrum will be having his coffee in his atelier, lecturing young, aspiring painters about Aristotle and Kant – and what impact they have had on esthetics today.

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I couldn’t wish for a better life … yet, I wanted to escape it multiple times during my teenage years. Why? I felt the urge to search for something new, a place even more thrilling and more exiting. Fact is, I left home, only to come back two years later – knowing that there wasn’t anything like the Nerdrum School out there … At least not for me.

Many things happened to me during my time away from this place. Both good and bad. However, I can safely say that I am learning more by spending one month here, than I have done by spending two whole years away from it.

Let me tell you the reason why …

On this school, we have a wonderful work-ethic. It is very easy to keep up with; You spend your whole day working on what you love. And that’s it.

It should be self-evident, but today’s perception of an artist or a painter – is not even close to our lifestyle. The students here don’t drink all day and paint when they feel like it. They don’t wait for the inspiration to hit them, while getting tipsy on absinthe or rum. They push through the difficult times, and if a painter’s block should occur – they look through Titian – or Rembrandt books to help them on their way.

How is this lifestyle convenient for a writer?

In so many ways – this type of living is ideal for anyone who’s doing something creative with their lives. In fact, I find painters and paintings to be a first-rate inspirational source for my writing. Not only because of the images they create on the canvass, but also the reason why they choose to do what they do; kitsch-painters who have studied under the guidance of my father – paint because they want to create something bigger than themselves. That is why time and the seasonal fashions connected to it – seem completely irrelevant when you you come to the Nerdrum School. By coming here, you begin to understand the fact that both writers and painters need to escape their time in order to create something truly great.

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Oftentimes, I have noticed that all the students who apply have one thing in common;  they have been searching their whole lives for people to connect with.

And when they finally find their people, they feel blessed.

Blessed to talk about a mutual passion.

Blessed to be around their biggest idol.

Blessed to escape the modern world, and enter (what my sister likes to call it) «The garden of Eve». 

Another thing I have observed here, is that painters also feed on writers. Through them, they pick up on stories and make them alive by depicting them. And if you fail, you’re not considered incompetent in your profession. You just have to work harder. For this is a place where knowledge flows and talents come together. A place where there is no longer the question of who made this – but how it was made.

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It is a place, where each day consists of an equal amount of both learning and doing. As Aristotle once said; «Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.»

On the Nerdrum School, the Master does both.

 

Love,

Aftur S. Nerdrum

(Ps: let me know in the comments below, if you want me to write more articles about this. What you are wondering about, if I should include something more etc.)