What I’ve learned from literature part 2 – the world needs more love letters

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AfterlightImage.jpgI have always been very fond of letters in literature. First of all, I find them to be a nice, refreshing change among all those descriptions and dialogues between characters – second of all, letters have a way of explaining the other persons’ feelings that just can’t be done in normal narrative fiction-writing. Since a letter is so personal, you can really allow yourself to dig deep into your protagonist’s true personality by expressing a sincere love for someone through decorative words. How wonderful! 

FIRST – I want to show you guys some highly romantic examples of love-letters from books – then, some real-life examples between famous writers and musicians! Yes, I said it!

1. Allow yourself to be a little extra – Like Captain Frederick Wentworth did it in his love-letter to Anne Elliot towards the end of her novel “Persuasion” by Jane Austen – where he finally opened up his heart to her, expressing everything that he had been keeping a secret for so long! 

Miss A. E

I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in  – F.W 

 

2. Don’t beat around the bush. Just pour out your heart in the most direct way, and it will become poetry  – just like Noah did in his letter to Ally – from “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks 

 My dearest Ally,

I couldn’t sleep last nite because I know it’s over between us. I’m not
bitter anymore because I know what we had was real. And if in some distant
place in the future we see each other in our new lives I will smile at you
with joy and remember how we spent a summer beneath the trees learning from
each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the
soul and makes us reach for more and that plants a fire in our hearts and
brings peace to our minds and that’s what you’ve given me and that’s what
I’d hope to give to you forever. I love you; I’ll be seeing you.

– Noah

 

3. Be kind, be soft. Be a comforting shoulder – like Gerry was to Holly in his last letter to her, from “PS. I love you” by Cecelia Ahern

Dear Holly,
I don’t have much time. I don’t mean literally, I mean you’re out buying ice cream and you’ll be home soon. But I have a feeling this is the last letter, because there is only one thing left to tell you. It isn’t to go down memory lane or make you buy a lamp, you can take care of yourself without any help from me. It’s to tell you how much you move me, how you changed me. You made me a man, by loving me Holly. And for that, I am eternally grateful… Literally. If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you’re sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you’ll try to see yourself through my eyes. Thank you for the honor of being my wife. I’m a man with no regrets. How lucky am I. You made my life, Holly. But I’m just one chapter in yours. There’ll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again. Watch out for that signal, when life as you know it ends.
P.S. I will always love you.

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And here comes the letters from real life … 

Zelda Fitzgerald to F. Scott Fitzgerald 

I look down the tracks and see you coming – and out of every haze and mist your darling rumpled trousers are hurrying to me – Without you, dearest dearest I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think – or live – I love you so and I’m never in all our lives going to let us be apart another night. It’s like begging for mercy of a storm or killing Beauty or growing old, without you. I want to kiss you so – and in the back where your dear hair starts and your chest – I love you – and I can’t tell you how much – To think that I’ll die without you knowing – Goofo, you’ve got to try to feel how much I do – how inanimate I am when you’re gone – I can’t even hate these damnable people – Nobody’s got any right to live but us – and they’re dirtying up our world and I can’t hate them because I want you so – Come Quick – Come Quick to me – I could never do without you if you hated me and were covered with sores like a leper – if you ran away with another woman and starved me and beat me – I still would want you, I know – 

Lover, Lover, Darling –      Your wife. 

Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas (Platonic or romantic love?) 

My Own Boy,

Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red rose-leaf lips of yours should be made no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.

Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first.

Always, with undying love, yours,

Oscar

Ludwig Van Beethoven to unknown “Immortal Beloved” (who could’ve known that the father of beautiful music, also was the father of beautiful poetry?)

Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us. I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all. Yes, I have determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of spirits — yes, I regret, it must be. You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never — never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so, and yet my life in W. as it is now is a miserable life. Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time. At my actual age I should need some continuity, sameness of life — can that exist under our circumstances? Angel, I just hear that the post goes out every day — and must close therefore, so that you get the L. at once. Be calm — love me — today — yesterday.

What longing in tears for you — You — my Life — my All — farewell. Oh, go on loving me — never doubt the faithfullest heart
Of your beloved

L

Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever ours.

 

So, do you see where I’m coming from? What if people today, STILL wrote love-letters like these, expressing their profound love for someone? It doesn’t even have to be to a seductive mistress or lover. It could be to your wife or husband. Zelda wrote countless letters to Scott, even after they got married. Their love didn’t die. Why? Many have been wondering about this, including myself. But maybe we have found the answer? Maybe couples should write more letters to each other? Wouldn’t it be great if we could all inspire each other to write like these people … Perhaps there’s something to learn from Zelda, Oscar, and Ludwig – Perhaps it would be a more beautiful world? More communicative, more compassionate, more romance? 

Anyhow, I’d like to hear what you guys think – Which one did you prefer? The real-life letters or the ones made up by fiction-writers? Tell me in the comments below! 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

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27.09 – 18 – Poem of the week

A Man’s confession 

Father, I am young and fit 

Still, I reach for air  

The pain is slowly killing me 

Alas! Too much despair! 

I’ve killed a child by accident 

It was a cloudy night 

I drove my car and there she was 

My view was out of sight 

Next, I know a girl is dead! 

Oh god, how much I cried! 

I could’ve called the hospital 

Instead, I chose to hide 

I took the corpse and ran away 

No plan, no place, no guide  

I’m only twenty-two years old,

yet I wish to die. 

Father:

Dear son, how much I praise this speech

But death is not like people preach:

It’s a land where taxes shan’t exist 

A land where men in grey play whist 

A land where angels praise the spry; 

the wicked men who yearn to die 

This is heaven, my dear friend

They are waiting for you there

now pull the trigger on the end 

Make peace with life if you dear 

Say goodbye to all the wretchedness, 

The agony, the dole

I’ll show you happiness 

I’ll show you, heart, I’ll show you, soul 

So pull that trigger darling boy 

Let death smile at you with joy 

It will make you wise and brave 

It will turn your heart to gold 

Man pulls trigger and dies. 

-A.S Nerdrum 

El Trovador

Painting by ©Copyright Raul Campos Artwork http://www.raulcamposart.com 

 

Q&A – answers to everything you’ve been wondering about

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1. When and how did you first become interested in reading and writing poetry? 

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been writing sentences that rhyme with each other – just because I genuinely think it’s very fun to do. When I was around eight years old, I discovered my father’s poetry and became even more interested. I wrote mostly narrative poems with a clear story-line. Of course, at the time, I didn’t know that what I was doing was writing poetry – but I knew that it sparked an interest in me, and that was enough. Funny thing, I didn’t start reading poetry by other poets before I reached my teens.  I was presented with some poetry during High School, but I didn’t like them – something was missing, I didn’t know what. Then, later, when a friend introduced me to Edgar Allen Poe – I finally realized: It was the verse that was missing in the poems that I didn’t like. RHYMING was so important to me, as it drove me right back to my childhood when I was struggling with finding a word that could rhyme with another. This is my passion! I thought. Since then I haven’t had the slightest doubt about what I want to do with my poetry. 

2. When did you discover your interest in fiction-writing? 

I give all the credit to my wonderful parents – they were the ones who encouraged me to read, and through reading, I discovered my passion and purpose in life. So .. I guess the answer here is books. Books, books, books. If you’re an aspiring writer, I want you to read as much as possible until you find what style you’re into – then, copy, rewrite, study this style as closely as you can until you automatically start writing like them. There’s no better way to train your writing skills, in my opinion. 

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3. Do you enjoy works from Cormac McCarthy or Franz Kafka?

No. Unfortunately, I haven’t read any works from either of them. However – I’ve been meaning to read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” since I watched the film and I’m also very much into dystopian writing these days. Of course, “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka is such a classic, I can’t believe I haven’t read it yet. Hold on! I will read them both and I’ll do a review on them. Just give me some time. 

4. How is your novel going? 

First of all, I don’t know how people know about this! But yes, I am and have been working on-and-off with a novel for a long time now. I won’t say too much, but I have the whole story-line, plot, idea, and everything ready. Now, the last thing to do (which is also the hardest) is to actually write it – which I am in process of doing, but it takes some time – especially when you have a lot of other projects lined up. But I will keep you guys updated. Question: would you want me to share more about this project on the blog? Like the plot, characters, excerpts, chapters etc? DO TELL ME! 

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5. Where do you live? 

Mostly in Sweden.  

6. Do you study? 

No. RIght now I’m teaching myself and watching philosophy-lectures and reading at home. However, I would like to study at a university sometime in the future. I love watching lectures more than anything else, so I can definitely see myself studying Philosophy and English Literature, and perhaps Psychology as well! 

7. Do you only read novels or are you into philosophy as well? 

If anyone knows me well, they also know that I treat philosophy like food and water; It’s something I have to have every day, or else I’ll feel like an outsider in this world! So yes. I do include my every-day schedule with philosophy, as well as novels. My favorite videoes to watch on YouTube are  “The School of Life” (a philosophy-channel) and videoes of Jordan Peterson. I also enjoy listening to the Oxford University-podcast; “Philosophy for Beginners” (you can find this on the podcast-app). My favorite philosophers so far are *Epicurus *Aristoteles *John Stuart Mill * Réne Descartes *Ayn Rand  

Ok, those were most of the questions you asked me! If you’re wondering about anything else, please contact me through my Social Media, email or write in the comments below:) 

→ INSTAGRAM

→ TWITTER

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

My Favourite Contemporary​ books

 

  1. “Crossing The Mangroves” by Maryse Condé (1989)

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“There was no denying the fact that the death of sugarcane was sounding the knell for something else in the country.

About: A handsome-looking outsider, admired by some, loathed by others – is found dead outside “Riviere au Sel”; a small village in Guadeloupe. No one is able to figure out the name of the murder – but as the villagers come to pay their respects in his funeral, they each–either in a speech to the mourners or in an internal monologue–reveal another piece of the mystery behind Sancher’s life and death. 

Why? It’s extremely intriguing from start to finish. All you want to know is “Who killed Sancher?” – a question which seems to repeat itself again and again throughout the novel. Will the mystery unlock itself in the end, or will it stay a puzzle? Read the book and you’ll see for yourself. 

Dice (1-6): 5

 

2. “Never Let Me Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005)

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“It was like when you make a move in chess and just as you take your finger off the piece, you see the mistake you’ve made, and there’s this panic because you don’t know yet the scale of disaster you’ve left yourself open to.”

About: I can’t say much, otherwise I’ll reveal the whole point of the book. BUT – I can say this: It’s an intense and gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and, on the whole – a criticism on human arrogance and how we treat the vulnerable and the different in our society.  

Why: It’s so so sad. And if you’re like me – if you enjoy swimming in all the sadness of the world from time to time (because misery is just SO incredibly beautiful! I don’t blame you…) then this is the perfect book for you. I should also add – it’s not always sad. It has its funny moments and it has its rays of sunshine too – even if they’re small! 

Dice (1-6): 5

 

3. “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989)

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“After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?”

About: The narrator, Stevens; An English butler at an old mansion, recalls his life in the form of a diary; his experiences with the staff and with his work in the mid-1930s through to the present. From his memories, we get to know about his complicated relationship with the housekeeper, Miss Kenton; What went wrong, what he did do, what he didn’t do and what could have been, but wasn’t. 

Why? This one is also very sad, as it focuses on nostalgia and the melancholia which comes with reminiscing about the past. I think we’ve all been in this situation before, and we’ve all felt the pain of not having done something in the right moment, at the right time – because of fear. So, again – if you’re one of those people who like to experience an overflow of dramatic, internal emotions – read this book. You won’t regret it. 

Dice (1-6): 6!

 

4. “Call Me by Your Name” by André Aciman (2007)

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“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”

About: An intense romantic relationship between an intellectually precocious and curious 17-year-old Jewish boy named Elio Perlman and a visiting 24-year-old American scholar named Oliver in 1980s Italy. 

Why? It’s very well written, it takes you right inside the head of Elio and it’s also extremely intriguing. Does Oliver feel the same? Is this a good or a bad thing? Is it love or lust or just platonic? Read the book and you’ll find out! –If you want to know more, I’ve written a long analysis on this novel in one of my former articles → HERE

Dice (1-6): 5

Hope you enjoyed this post – and remember to follow me on my Instagram → https://www.instagram.com/aftur_spildo/ 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

The perfect books for autumn

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Put some snuggly clothes on. Light some scented candles. Cuddle up with your favorite blanket. Put some light music on in the background. It’s raining outside, perhaps there will be a storm? Either way, you find yourself something warm to drink, maybe a tee or a hot chocolate. Then you grab a new book out of your shelf; One that you’ve been thinking about reading all summer, but just didn’t find the time to. You turn the page and it says Chapter 1; A new story, a new beginning. A new world to disappear into, so that you can forget your own, just for a couple of hours. You can feel your eyes sparkle with pure delight as you read the first sentence of the chapter. It’s an intriguing one; The kind of sentence that immediately pulls you into another human’s reality, and you want to do nothing more than just stay there, read and let your imagination go wild. 

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Am I right? 

So let’s jump into it. Let’s make this autumn your autumn. Let’s fill it with thought-provoking stories and psychological/philosophical theories and ideas. For many, this is the beginning of a new year of University or school. So, why not go all out and add some intellectual books to read on the side, shall we?

 

  1. “Crime and Punishment”  by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

     

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«Raskolnikov went out in complete confusion. This confusion became more and more intense. As he went down the stairs, he even stopped short, two or three times, as though suddenly struck by some thought. When he was in the street he cried out, “Oh, God, how loathsome it all is! and can I, can I possibly… No, it’s nonsense, it’s rubbish!” he added resolutely.

About: Rodin Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in Saint Petersburg struggles with his own mental anguish and moral dilemmas, and, as a result of this, does something highly immoral. 

Why: It’s extremely well written, easily read, and the author manages to pull the reader into the story by constantly presenting you the protagonist’s inner monologues with himself. Perfect for an autumn-read. 

Dice (1-6): 6! (I would never allow myself to give Dostoyevsky anything less than this!)

 

2. “12 Rules For Life” by Jordan Peterson 

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“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. 

About: A psychological study divided into chapters with each title representing a specific rule for life. His profound idea is that “suffering is built into the structure of being,” but although it can be unbearable, people have a choice either to withdraw, which is a “suicidal gesture”, or to face and transcend it. (In my opinion, Peterson and Dostoyevsky are very similar in their philosophies on life.) 

Why: Because Jordan Peterson tells you the hard, cold truth. And whether you like it or not, it’s important to hear – especially now that a new school year is starting (for the most of you.) He teaches you how to accept responsibility and how to train to become the better version of yourself = The ideal autumn-book.  

Dice (1-6): 6!

 

3. “The Royal Game” by Stefan Zweig 

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“Besides, isn’t it confoundedly easy to think you’re a great man if you aren’t burdened with the slightest idea that Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dante or Napoleon ever lived?” 

About: By the cause of unfortunate circumstances, Dr. B is forced to maintain his sanity through a book of past master’s chess games, which inevitably leads to a growing passion of his. Many years later, he accidentally stumbles across an inborn World Chess-Champion, Mirko Czentovic. When he challenges him to a game, things get heated; Who is most likely to win? Czentovic Mirko, who’s talent was an inborn quality, or Dr. B who’s talent was trained through books?

Why? For me, autumn is all about raising new questions and challenging our beliefs once again. The same reason to why nature slowly starts decaying, we are meant to kill our old perspectives, evaluate the old and the new during the long months of solitude during winter, and to finally form our own idea of it all when spring arrives with all its joy and glory. This book is perfect for that. Although it’s fiction, it does raise some important philosophical questions; Can one be born a genius, or will trained knowledge always have the upper hand? Stefan Zweig knew the answer, and you will too if you start reading the book:) 

Dice (1-6): 6! (I know I gave all the books the highest score this time, but I can’t help it! They’re all my favorites!) 

Alright. Those were my top 3 autumn-reads! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did and do make sure to gather some time for yourself this autumn. Everyone needs a bit of solitude and a good book! Especially during this time of the year♥

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

19.09-18 – Poem of the week

Can this be death? 

“Oh tell me, God, can this be death? 

The sweet-sour air which dawns on my breath? 

I hear no angels

I see no light 

Tell me, is there no battle to fight? 

No awakened thought or poem or verse? 

You steal my wheeze, you make it worse

Alas, God, don’t make me grey 

I try to reach, you turn away 

If anything, please tell me this 

How can life come to end like this? 

I did no evil, I shot no gun

I prayed to our Lord, the only one

Oh god, I feel it deep inside

the earth is light, alas! I shall die! 

My head is all but sand, the ground is high

Water, deep water 

          Is this when I die? ……”

– A.S Nerdrum

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Painting by ©Copyright Raul Campos Artwork http://www.raulcamposart.com 

The best advice you’ll ever get – a salute to Claire Wineland

Claire Wineland. Who was she? And how did she grow to be so popular in the world of YouTube? Some say she’s one of our 21st-century philosophers. Others, a normal girl who figured out something which most of us haven’t. 

Let’s start with the facts first. Claire Wineland was a girl who recently passed away, the 2nd of September, 2018 due to her progressive, genetic disease; “Cystic Fibrosis”. She was an American activist, author, and speaker, born in Austin, Texas. From the day she was born, she and her parents were faced with a horrible tragedy; a considerably short lifespan with a death sentence at five years old. Evidently, Claire started becoming known to the concept of death, and therefore, decided to form a personal relationship to it. Seeing how she could die at any given time, she felt she was forced to look at it closely, evaluate it, and figure out a way to make her life more liveable.

In my opinion – contrary to many others suffering from “Cystic Fibrosis” – she erased the growing fear of the unknown, and turned it into something positive – death slowly became her inspiration. It motivated her, transformed her life into something beautiful, something to be proud of.

And because of her positive attitude, she lived to be older than 5 years old, and by the time she had reached 20, she (among many others) began to see a pattern. Was it possible that her positive mindset could have had an impact on her physical health? Was her growing desire to change the world into something better – the very reason to why her body continuously kept on fighting against the inevitable possibility of an early death?

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I have a problem = I am undergoing an empowering situation

In this video, Claire (at 14 years old) teaches us how to turn a problem (such as a genetic disease) into a blessing. Now, you may ask how’s that possible?

Just watch the video and it will all make sense. 

Now, I don’t have the answers to everything. There are a lot of things I’m uncomfortable talking about, because of my lack of knowledge within specific subjects. However, there’s one thing I know for certain: Claire Wineland had something very important that she wanted to convey, and she spent her entire 21 years trying to get a voice so that she could teach us this lesson; Namely how much the mentality can impact your physical state of being. 

Because whether you choose to believe it or not, it’s true. Your way of thinking defines you. THAT is how fragile, tangible, scary, yet fantastic the human mind can be! 

Like Alan Cohen says:

Be a creator, not a reactor

Deal with the sickness. But don’t let the sickness deal with you. Create your inner home in your misery, and you’ll discover how little it takes to turn your entire perspective around, completely.

I’ll continue to be inspired by (hopefully) the better version of myself, Claire Wineland. And I hope that you guys will too. Rest in peace Claire♥

Her book⇒ you can buy it here51x4SxcjOKL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum