Tuesday, 28 July 2009

The Writing Sisters Collective

One of the interview questions that I didn't answer properly
was about TEAM WORK.
I admit it:
I'm an individualist and am a very independent person.
However, it doesn't mean I can't cooperate with other people.

In the end of 2005 me and my poetry friends Morgan and Petra
formed the Writing Sisters Collective.
We are trying to write and perform together
as often as we can.
The past couple of years it has been quite sporadic due to:
photography teaching (Petra)
having Jude (Morgan)
travelling to the other side of the world (Lou).

Our latest collaboration happened like this:
we met spontaneously in a pub
and talked about writing a poem together again ...
but about what?
Love, said Petra.
Confusion, said Morgan.
Love and Confusion, said Lou.

So we gave each other homework
to write 4 lines each on love
and 4 lines each on confusion.
Then we met in a cafe, put it all together
and rehearsed it.

In the end we performed Love & Confusion
at the monthly open mic night at the Sanctuary cafe,
hosted by Brighton Poetry Society.
That's also where we first met ...

Lou Ice, Morgan Moon & Petra, a.k.a. Nelly B
visit us at www.myspace.com/writingsisterscollective1

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Shoreham Beer, Cider & Literature Festival

It's always great performing for a crowd that is normally not going to poetry events. The locals at the Duke of Wellington Pub in Shoreham got treated to poetry by me, Ash Ffrench and Dan Rovira and genuinely seemed to enjoy it!

When you just perform in front of other poets you don't really know if your stuff works or not. The real challenge is to try your poetry on people who might only read the Argus ... I did one set on teenage angst and one set on love. After doing the love set I ended up in a long discussion about what love really is with one of the regulars ...

We didn't get paid, but could have as many pints of beer, ale or cider as we wanted to! All the drinks had literary connections. e.g. Black Beauty from Anna Sewell's famous novel.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Like a lump of shit

For the past week or so my novel in progress has felt like a big lump of shit stuck in a toilet that needs poking at with a pen, so it can dissolve into brown snowflakes that eventually will clear and become white.

What!? You might be thinking. The truth is that I've been so preoccupied with this interview (no, I didn't get the job) that my creative part of the brain has been completely blocked.

I read an article in Mslexia about finding a metaphor about the project you are currently working on. That's how I came up with "like a lump of shit stuck in a toilet." The second part of the exercise was to transform the metaphor, trying to resolve the problem you were having. So that's when I came up with "poking at the shit with a pen until it dissolves into snowflakes ..."

Just thinking about a lump of shit dissolving made me more excited about my novel again. So today I made a start on re-writing the end part of the 3rd draft of Replacing Angel. It went very slow, but after three hours I was still sitting in front of the screen. That means I've got my motivation back. Great!

This might be too much information but after my writing session I had a great dump. Then I went out to sit in the garden. Ironically a sea-gull decided to have a dump as well. A big splash of brown shit hit my pink T-shirt. It physically hurt my back. I first thought it was some kid throwing something at me from a window ... If this had happened yesterday, when I was still creatively blocked, I would've been in tears, but today I just smiled and thought shit happens!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Identity as a writer

Today I went for a job interview. I've already got a job. I'm a writer. But unfortunately I'm not making enough money out of it. Yet. In the meantime I have to do something else to be able to pay my rent. On and off since 2001 I've been doing casual library work. The interview I went for today was for a permanent post as library officer, 3 days (21 hours) a week. It's a job that I really want, because it would give me 3 full days to work on my writing + 1 day to rest.

However I left the interview almost in tears. I think I did OK, but something made me feel incredible sad for no reason. It could just be that my period is due ... (My brother just made a comment that I'm not being very personal in my blogs, so there you go!) Anyway, another reason might be that it doesn't matter if I got a job as Axl Rose's personal assistant; I'd still mainly be a writer and therefore I'm not able to show enough enthusiasm when interviewed for other jobs.

When I came home I got a nice confirmation of my true identity. A letter had arrived from Australia! A few weeks back I wrote to one of my favourite authors Belinda Burns, who's the brain behind "The Dark Part of Me". This novel has inspired me a lot both when it comes to both writing and living. It's a coming of age story set in Brisbane and is loaded with sex, drugs and rock n' roll, but is also very funny and offers deeper insight into human nature. The end is especially good and twisted. Read it now!

I was delighted that Belinda took her time to write back! She was also happy to receive my letter as writing can be such a lonely pursuit ... Whatever I do to make my money I know that my writing always comes first. Sometimes you just need to connect with other writers to remember who you really are.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Only the teenagers missing at Peace Festival

The Peace Festival on Hove Lawns was quite peaceful on the grounds, but somebody must have been fighting in the skies. The wind was unbearable, worse than the rain.

Hopefully I kept some people warm with my poems. I was performing in the so-called Future Tent, aimed at people under 25. The only audience I didn't have was the teenagers ... The ones who came to see me seemed to be either under 10 or over 30! It was particular nice with the support from members from my local poetry group, Poets Cornered.

I did a set of poems about escaping small town life, teenage pregnancy and breaking boxes that people tend to put you in. Yet , I got the best response when I did a poem in Swedish called "A hell of a lot of holes", that is featured in my first novel. Most people seemed to think that it was a rude poem. It's not. It's more about having holes in your brain as well as in your heart.

Thanks Solera for the photo.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009


When do Young Adults become Old?
I'm 27 and still feel like a teenager from time to time.
Sadly I'm too old for Youth Advice Centres that welcome 14-25 year-olds.
The Young Adult section in the library is aimed at 13-19 year-olds.

My first novel, Punkindustriell hårdrockare med attityd,
was published and marketed in Sweden as a crossover between
teenage and adult fiction.
Yet, most people seemed to place me in the Young Adult box.

It has never been my intention to write for teenagers.
Even if my stories are about Young Adults
it doesn't mean that Older Adults can't read them.
I've had positive responses from People between 11 and 60.

The novel I'm working on now, Replacing Angel,
has a Young Adult as a main character,
but I still don't know what genre it is.
It is contemporary fiction for sure,
but is it for Young Adults or Older Adults?
Who decides?
I don't want Older Adults to miss out on what I'm writing
just because I've been put in a certain box.

As an example I'm very pleased that Melvin Burgess books
Junk and Doing it can be found both in the Adult Fiction
and Young Adult Fiction sections in Brighton&Hove libraries.

On Sunday I'm performing at the Peace Festival on Hove Lawns.
In the Teenage Tent. (3pm, officially called the Future Tent)
But please feel free to come and see me even if you are an Older Adult.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Welcome to my blog

I've been keeping two blogs since 2006:

LivingLollo (My Swedish blog at blogg.se)


Lou Ice (My poetry site at Myspace)

The reason I'm starting a third blog here is because I read literary agent Rachelle Gardner's blog:

"I DON'T want to see in your proposal, "I am willing to start a blog and join social networks to market myself."

I DO want to see: "I've been blogging for a year, with my readership growing steadily. I use Facebook and Twitter to create relationships with potential future readers of my books, and to drive people back to my blog. I'm currently making contact through the blog and social networks with several hundred (or several thousand) people a day."

I took this blog post of hers quite seriously. It's time for me to become more serious than I am already :=). Thanks to the writing coach Johanna Wistrand for the link!

By reading this blog you'll find out what it's like being an acknowledged novelist in Sweden, but dreaming about making it in the U.K. My aim with this blog is to maintain a healthy balance between writing and life.