Prose #1: The Other Woman


She was the portrait every one stopped to see just one more time before leaving the museum. 

She was the Nordic light at dawn; mellow enough to keep you sane, yet distinctive in its presence – leaving you there like an old fool, wanting more. 

Words that came out of her mouth were only ever spoken in melodies. But you’d have to hold your guard. Because if you listened close enough, you’d find yourself completely captivated, mouthing pretty sonnets to yourself, day in and day out – all dedicated to her. You’d be drunk on her mouth, her tongue, her ocean of words –  your mind and your life would – without your wanting – become infused with the whole persona of one woman – you’d speak like her, smile like her, read the books in her manner. 

I knew from the very instant this happened to me – that music, literature, and paintings were all crafts invented to describe women like Alice. And I found myself – for the first time – forgiving him for leaving me. She was the other woman. But she was the better one.

 

– A. S Nerdrum 


 

20 things I’ve learned in 20 years

IMG_5204.jpegIMG_5206.jpeg1. Your body is a machine. Whatever you feed it – food or information – it will react accordingly. If you feed it junk, you’ll be junk. If you feed it with crappy reality-shows and celebrity-news, you will become like them, talk like them. If you don’t refill your battery with exercise (endorphins) and stimulating thought-processes, you will be depressed and fatigued. It takes a lifetime to find the perfect pattern that will tell you how and when to refill your battery properly and with the right portions. So start now. Don’t take this machine for granted.

2. Decrease your options in life – and you will eventually realize that it gives you MORE, not less. Don’t say yes to every event, don’t spend time with a million friends, don’t follow people you don’t care about on Social Media. Eliminate everything that doesn’t define you, lift you up or leave you feeling satisfied – and you will find where you need to be. 

3. Everyone is religious. Even atheists. Some people devote their lives to depression or anxiety. Others focus their energy around facts and figures. You might be religious about your phone – or your craft – or a God. But you ARE religious because none of us can actually survive without being submissive. We need something to guide us. Find out what your religion is, then decide whether it’s helping your life or destroying it.

4. In life, we will all suffer one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. Choose wisely. 

5. Human beings tend to inhale the very thing that kills them, only to feel more alive. That’s why we smoke, drink heavy alcohol and do drugs. We don’t necessarily like the substance in itself – but we enjoy the feeling of having done something we know is wrong. It doesn’t give us a “high” – what it gives us is a sense of PURPOSE. But it’s a short-term one, and it’s only attained by those who are too scared to take the big leap – too scared to finish that manuscript, go to those auditions or try something only to realize they’re bad at it. That’s why drug addicts are generally interesting people – they once had an intention to do something great with their lives. But when fear got the better of them, they relapsed and decided to drown their souls in short-term pleasures. And for the rest of their lives, they’ll continue fooling their body (with this substance) to think that they’ve done something great – to think that they have a purpose in life. 

6. Most of what you see and believe are human constructions. The city you’re born in, the border that divides yours and your neighbor countries, the name you’re given, the institution you’re forced to stay in for ten years (also called school), your hopeful parents – expecting you (or forcing you) to go to college and get a degree and become a doctor. Time, money. They’re all just abstractions that human beings – who are not smarter than yourself –  have created to put you into a box so that you can be a robot and serve a functional society, just like the rest of them. When you actually start playing around with these ideas, you’ll discover that everything is meaningless. Why should you care? You can break out of these constructions. You can make your own little island,  live by your own rules. A couple of people will be disappointed in you, but so what? You have one life. Don’t waste it on public formalities that changes every ten decades or so. 

7. Books will make you more tolerant. When you read a lot, you come across a lot of villains. Kidnappers, murderers, rapists, corrupt politicians, heartless bastards … the list goes one. Now, if you’re lucky, you might find yourself reading about these villains from a narrative perspective – meaning you’re in their lives now. YOU ARE THEM. And somehow, you discover the villain’s weak side. You begin to sympathize – and that’s when you’ve managed to put yourself into another person’s shoes – a person you never thought you’d be able to relate to. This will make you more mentally mature and it will strengthen your character in ways you never thought was possible. That’s why reading is so magical. 

8. If you want to change yourself, start with your environment. You are on average the five people that you spend the most time with every day. So choose your friends carefully. Whatever they talk about the most will enter your subconsciousness and become a part of YOU. If you’re an aspiring writer, find a group of writers. If you’re a painter, find a group of painters. Never underestimate the power of social influence. 

9. Being angry at someone can actually hurt YOU more, than the person you’re angry at. 

10. The first seven years of a human being are years in which the child will download ALL the exterior information into the unconsciousness. In fact, 95% of what we do in life, derives from those programs that we have ALREADY stored in our subconscious mind. In a way, we are living a life that has already been lived for us. What we watched our parents do – how many times they doubted themselves – what decisions they made – when they had success – all these things are ideas and choices that we unknowingly carry with us and use in times of decision-making. THAT is why it is SO SO important how you raise your child during these first years. And that is why the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich. Children of poor families (from age 1-7) have watched their parents struggle, doubt themselves and lose courage – this is why those children usually tend to have problems with this later in life. Whereas rich parents – they can have a stupid child who does stupid things and is stupid with money – but they will still be able to make money and live a decent life?! Why? Because they’re doomed – they’re already programmed to make these unconscious choices because of their parent’s success. This can apply to many other things. The trick is to ask yourself – where do you struggle in life? If you know the answer, it will likely be something you were NOT exposed to as a child from 1-7. How can you fix it? By repetition. Just like when we’re kids, we learn by things happening before our eyes over and over again. You need to practice, every day, and it will eventually stick to your subconscious mind. Only 1% of the world’s population find out about this and fix their flaws. The rest of the 99% continue living the life that is already (subconsciously) set out for them to live. 

11. We complicate our lives way too much. As human beings we are inclined to seek destruction – we tell ourselves, no, it can’t be that easy! “My life is complex and messed up and I’m never going to be like … happy. I’m just here and I hate the place I’m at right now but I can’t change it because life is just more complex than that.” No! It’s not! if you open your eyes – you’ll come to realize how easy things are. You either make a change, or you don’t. You either work on that task every day and become great at it or … you don’t! There’s no magic formula out there – that only SOME people are lucky to get in life. Life is not that complex. It really isn’t. It’s not that hard to be content and it’s not that hard to enjoy the little things. There is so much of life to enjoy already – hell, the very fact that you woke up this morning is a miracle in itself. If you take a look at the big picture, nothing really matters except that life is beautifully chaotic, filled with opportunities and YOU are more than lucky to have been born because the very fact that your parents met each other and fell in love was a coincidence. Stop complicating things, please. 

12. If it won’t matter in 5 years, don’t spend more than 5 minutes worrying about it. Seriously. Just don’t. 

13. No matter how “talented” you are, your talent will eventually fail you if you don’t practice your skill. Repetition and a hard work-ethic come first. Always. 

14. For a relationship to work, you both need to be free, independent individuals. You both NEED to have your inner home. You need to be able to make yourself happy, even in the worst of times. You need to have your own hobby, your own “cave” – that place you escape to when you just want to be alone – and you need to have your own friends. This might sound cynical and very anti-love, but it’s not. It’s highly crucial for the love, the chemistry, and the fire to still have a spark, even after many years. Perhaps your hobby or your activity is something that doesn’t resonate with your partner at all. Perhaps they don’t even like it. That’s okay! In fact, that’s better! Then you have something entirely for yourself, which is kind of awesome. Because being dependent on someone is not love, that’s an obsession. You should only ever need YOURSELF. Period. 

15. Your friends are not there to be changed or fixed – or to change/fix you. They are there to love you in spite of your differences. Dolly Parton once said: “The best friends have everything and nothing in common, all at the same time.”. Focus on your common grounds, don’t meddle with your differences. It will only ruin the relationship and create complications. You can give them guidelines, but you can’t fix them. 

16. You need to embrace an emotion before you can let it go. Go all out. Lie in your bed and cry. Scream. Talk to people about it. Analyze why you feel this way, how and why it arrived in your head and what you can do to diminish it. You need that closure because if you don’t have it, it will stick to your brain and slowly eat up your soul. Do yourself this favor today. 

17. Any bad situation can bring out something positive. Because in life, you are always the student: The abusive boyfriend that you held onto for too long was your teacher – he/she was teaching you every day what NOT to look for. Your terrible boss taught you how to handle terrible people. Your economical failure taught you what NOT to invest in next time. 

18. Treat yourself with respect and other people will start respecting you. 

19. Your life can ALWAYS, ALWAYS be rearranged. We are ever growing, therefore, ever-changing. If you think you’ll never be able to get out of your current situation, you are wrong. The reason why you haven’t done anything is just lack of courage. But this can easily change. The first step is always doing something. 

20. You’re not a writer unless you do it every day. The same rule applies to every craft. 


 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum

I joined the San Miguel Writer’s Conference​ & Literary Festival — this is what happened and this is why it changed me …

unnamed-7.jpgIMG_0014.jpgIMG_0013.jpgIMG_0016.jpgIMG_0018.jpgunnamed-6.jpgIMG_0009.jpgunnamed-5.jpg

We’re in Mexico.

We’re in the new cultural capital of North America; San Miguel de Allende.

It’s been exactly twenty days since I left my comfort zone up in the North. 

It’s the day after my last day at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference and I’m speechless. 

Where to start? 

 

I had never been to a writers conference before.

Why?

Perhaps I didn’t see the point, or perhaps I was just too scared … was I even good enough? What about my age? People will laugh at me when they discover how young I am. A twenty-year-old little girl hoping to make a living off of being a writer … give me a break … 

Anyways. So there I was, about to sign up for something I had been reluctant towards doing for years. My heart was pounding and my mind wouldn’t let my body rest; going through a dozen different expectations all at once – and let me tell you: ALL WERE NEGATIVE. 

In fact, these were my exact thoughts that moment: 

#EXPECTATIONS

The workshops will probably be rather boring and academic, held by a heavy-eyed professor with hearing-aids and poor eye-sight, located in a classroom with a whiteboard. The speeches will be all about how difficult it really is being a best-selling author (and that you really shouldn’t do it unless you’re prepared for a handful of tears, regrets, and rejections), the authors will most likely not want to talk to you (because let’s face it, when you’re finally famous and over-paid, why would you want to talk to a hopeless nobody, who’s scribbles of writing haven’t even made it to the editor yet, and most probably, never will?) The other participants will be much older, much wiser, much more published and therefore earn the right to meet the younger crowd with arrogance, rejection, and phrases like “so what does your book include – a hundred pages showing text-messages from your smartphone?”

As you can probably tell, I’m not exactly proud of my millennial-generation – without any choice in the matter, I have been automatically put into the category of inarticulate, empty-headed hipsters who, in the future, will be responsible for making the world’s population burn to the grounds and rotten in their own ashes; Also called ignorance.

So you can’t exactly blame me for being scared of talking to adults. They know things! And better yet, they know how stupid we are becoming! 

 

#REALITY

Well, let me tell you what actually happened … 

The workshops were held by fun, engaging published authors who didn’t seem to shy away from making a couple of sarcastic jokes every now and then. Not only were their words motivating, but their very presence made you feel like you weren’t alone in the everlasting fight for creative recognition. Every lecture was saturated with a handful of valuable, practical information – advice which you could only receive from those who really know the playing field, not from Google. The location was a beautiful hotel with an enormous garden – and everything was included in the package: The cute coffee-stand with free coffee and pastries, the daily gourmet lunch in the restaurant – catered by the very best chefs, the outside bookshop, covered by a tent, featuring all the best-selling authors from the states, Canada and Mexico – the public open-mic where unpublished writers would share a piece of their soul in front of an audience, the book-signings – where you could actually have a conversation with your favorite contemporary author whilst getting your book signed, the park where participants would meet, picnic, read or share their scribbled notebooks with one another. AND LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE SPEECHES – The speeches were held by authors who had flown all the way from the US or from Canada, just to inspire struggling writers with their personal stories, their highs and lows, their ten rejections and how they found their loophole through the rocky road to publishing. Most of the writers were exceptionally humorous – something that stunned me and made me think things over; WHY and HOW had I not received this information earlier?

Of course – you have to be FUNNY in order to be a successful writer! (I guess we have a lot to work on, myself and I …) 

Trust me on this – it’s not a lie – it’s not flattery – I BROKE OUT LAUGHING ABOUT 10 TIMES on average through every speech. These writers know the game; They know how to turn a vile reality into a Woody-Allen-like joke, they know how to charm and THEY KNOW how to gain the audience’s attention. (So if you’re reading this and you’re an aspiring author – LEARN HOW TO CHARM THE PUBLIC. It’s not the only way, but it’s a good way to get there.)

Oh, and the people – they were the kindest, most generous human beings.

Some DID point out my age, but it wasn’t with arrogance – they were just surprised by how young I was and that I was actually interested in going to a writer’s conference! I even had a conversation with a couple of writers from the US, got some contact-information and on top of that – I was invited to writer’s groups, poetry-cafés and more! I was in heaven! 


To sum it up, I will give you a list of a few things I learned – that I didn’t know before entering this conference:

  1. The best writers are humble people (they won’t meet you with arrogance and contempt, but rather with understanding and sympathy. They remember how hard the playing field once was for them and they would like nothing more than to show you guidance and meet you with mutual respect.) 

  1. Traditional Publishing is an expired tool (I was also sorry to hear this, but if you want to play, you have to accept the changing times. You can still do it traditionally, but it will be much harder for you to market a book properly and you won’t be able to publish your work under your own rights.) 

  2. Being a writer is not just a profession – it’s a lifestyle (If you really want to do this, do it right. If you’re a writer, you’re a living story-teller. You observe everyone and everything around you, every day. You note down random conversations in coffee-shops, you analyze people’s gestures, their weird attributes, their way of expression. You tell stories to your loved ones when you come home after work – what happened, what did you see, what did it make you feel and think? ALWAYS have a pen and paper with you-you never know when you have a good story – and remember – you’re never really out of your office. Your office is wherever YOU go.)

  3. As a writer, you have to be funny (I envy those who started off as stand-up comedians, then turned to literature. Man, they had it easy … Well, for us boring people, we have to practice! Because whether you like it or not, you have to be entertaining on the outside as well as on the inside. Fine, your book is funny as hell, but it doesn’t help if you can’t use this magic in spoken words. STOP BEING SHY. Just … STOP IT! If you are, I want you to stand up and yell out these exact words: I AM NOT SHY!! Now go out of your house and be awesome. Earn those laughs. Because you know you can. Anyone can. It’s just a matter of courage. 

 

Alright, better get to writing — AND watching YouTube videos of standup comedians … 

I hope you loved this article, and if you’re wondering about anything else, hit me up on my social media or email: 


INSTAGRAM: HERE

EMAIL: afturspildo@gmail.com

 

Love, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum 

 

#writersconferance #sanmigueldeallende #sanmiguel #smwc19 #2019 #writer #bookworm #howtopublish #tipsforwriting #howtowritewell #blogger

Introducing French​ culture through books, music, films, painters and more!

318x1cPQ-NL._SY355_.jpg

Oh, Paris – I am so lucky to have you, right where you are … IMG_5018.jpgIMG_4852.jpgunnamed-3.jpgunnamed.jpgunnamed-2.jpg

Who else is OBSESSED with everything French at this moment in time? 

 

France is a country that’s filled with culture. Sure, they do have their ups and downs when it comes to the cinema – they experiment a lot and sometimes a bit too much! 

HOWEVER …

When they do something well, it ends up being a masterpiece! Yes, I’m thinking about you Simone de Behavior, and you, Christophe Barratier, and you Edith Piaf … 

So let’s begin my list of absolute FAVOURITES in French culture, some have been recent, some have been with me all my life. I hope you get inspired! 

 

BOOKS 

 

  1. “When things of the Spirit come First” by Simone de Beauvoir 

“When she was alone again, an immense happiness flooded into her: at last she was going to be able to show what she was made of! She opened the window and leant out over the garden: thousands of sticky little leaves twinkled in the sun and all springtime murmured in her bosom – the inner wealth accumulated in solitude was yearning to blossom into action. Ecstatically, Marcelle greeted the renewal of her heart as the dawn of the renewal of the world itself.”

612852.jpg

 


2. “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo 

“The power of a glance has been so much abused in love stories, that it has come to be disbelieved in. Few people dare now to say that two beings have fallen in love because they have looked at each other. Yet it is in this way that love begins, and in this way only.”

9780375403170.jpeg

 


3. “Bonjour Tristesse” by Françoise Sagan

“A Strange melancholy pervades me to which I hesitate to give the grave and beautiful name of sorrow. The idea of sorrow has always appealed to me but now I am almost ashamed of its complete egoism. I have known boredom, regret, and occasionally remorse, but never sorrow. Today it envelops me like a silken web, enervating and soft, and sets me apart from everybody else.”

83f245b7a6f2e64ba1e467b56cbe0ea5.jpg

 

CINEMA 

 

  1. “The chorus” (directed by Christophe Barratier) 

61UAkX8O9yL._SY445_.jpg

Why: First of all, Christopher Barratier did a great job with this movie! The scenery, the music, the actors – everything is on its place. It’s beautifully rich with drama, forgiveness, love and the discovery of new talents. 

 

2. “Amélie” (directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet) 

AMELIE - American Poster by Laurent Leufroy.jpeg

Why: It’s not a lie when I say that Amélie will actually change your life for the better. She’s cute, she’s smart, she creates her own inner world and she’ll inspire you to do the same! Somehow, she makes being alone look simple and even fun – because it’s all about your attitude and what you make out of your time here on earth. Also, it’s set in beautiful, spectacular Montmartre, which is a sure stimulant for the eye! 

 

3. “Jean de Florette” (directed by Claude Berri) 

81MYaKZSfcL._SY445_.jpg

Why: Beautiful is too little a word to describe the scenery, the people and the story of this movie! If you wish to see a little bit more of the French country-side, watch this movie and you’ll for sure enjoy every second of it! Moreover, it’s about love, envy, hatred, revenge, family-tragedies and much more! French at it’s best … 

 

MUSIC

 

  1. Edith Piaf 

A-156406-1451398702-4294.jpeg.jpg

Favorites: 

  • Non, je ne regrette rien
  • La foule 
  • Je ne’en connais pas la fin
  • La vie en rose 

 

2. Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille-Saint-Saens.jpg

Favorites: 

  • Le Cygne 
  • Dance macabre in G Minor, Op. 40 
  • Carnival of the Animals, R. 125: VII – The Aquarium 

 

3. Claude Debussy

debussy-56a153305f9b58b7d0be473f.jpg

Favorites: 

  • Clair de Lune 
  • 2 Arabesques in E Major, L. 66: Adantino 

 

4. Erik Satie 

594c7f-20160516-erik-satie.jpg

Favorites: 

  • Première Gymnopédie 
  • Gnossiennes: No. 1 – Lent 

 

5. Carla Bruni

photo_wide-5df601f9eaac2545d368a6c0fbc6f0a6dcf20cb0.jpg

Favorites: 

  • Quelqu’n m’a dit 
  • Chanson triste 
  • L’amour 

 

PAINTERS & SCULPTORS  

 

  1. Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot

 

2. Jean-François Millet

 

3. Edgar Degas

 

4. Auguste Rodin 

 

Hope you liked my list, keep on being inspired, every day. Remember that♥

 

 

Amour, 

Aftur S. Nerdrum