Thursday, November 29, 2012

I have so many thoughts in my head...

My youngest son is 5 years old today. It's of course just another day, just another number of years, but for him it's a major milestone, as it is for me. My baby has grown so much, but he is still very young, with this long road ahead of him. So many possibilities to seize, so many choices to make. What will those years  bring and who will he be? I hope he'll remain the person he is today, that sweet boy who cares about people around him, who laughs a whole lot,  and who keeps asking questions like these:
  • "Can smoke become clouds?"
  • "Can we walk on clouds?"
  • "How is it possible to live in Heaven?"
  • "Do we get a new life when we die?" 
  • "Can a hippopotamus eat a whole pizza?"
And saying things like this: "I have so many thoughts in my head which I don't remember."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sleeping with the cat. (part II)

I posted this other picture, about my son who fell asleep while reading "The Cat in the Hat."
Here he is again, a couple a weeks ago. He wasn't tired at all, or so he said, lying down on the couch, and falling asleep almost at once. The cat joined in as soon as she realized he was going to stay there for a while. :-)

Monday, November 26, 2012


It is that time of year again. The anniversary of my dad's passing away. And today, like every single day for the past 6 years, I can't believe he's gone. It's so unfair, and such a terrible waste. It was too soon. I still had so many questions, so much to learn from him, and I still needed him and his recognition, his praise.

I still do. And in many ways I feel fundamentally, existentially lonely,

I recently re-read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (HP III) reading it to  my 8-year-old daughter this time. (Well, reading parts of it, actually, as she reads some of the chapters by herself) One of the conversations between Harry and Dumbledore stuck with me. It is towards the end of the book, when Harry realize that he didn't just see his dead father, like he thought he did. Instead it was himself he saw on the far side of the lake, protecting him from the dementors.
He tells Dumbledore about it, and the headmaster says these words, which might be of comfort to all of you who have lost a loved one:

"You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him."

An then, once again I let Josh Groban sing this song which says the same: "Maybe you're still here". 

To all of you who feel like you are left behind and don't see the road ahead:

"To Where You Are"
by Richard Marx and Linda Thompson

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory, so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be (?)
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me everyday
'Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away not far
To where you are

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Abrahams Barn / The Children of Abraham

Last Sunday I went to see the show Abrahams Barn  (Children of Abraham) created by Svein Tindberg and directed by Kjetil Bang-Hansen. The only person on stage is Svein Tindberg. It's basically a 2 hour-long monologue, and it's amazing. Through stories, anectdotes, facts and humor, he  tells us about the origins of the three religions Juadism, Christianism and Islam, and how all three religions claim Abraham as their founding father. What Tindberg does during these hours on stage, is painting a picture where we get to see that there are so many common references, so many stories and legends which are the same, just told in different ways. He asks questions, wonders why the need to fight and to kill, when we really all are... the children of Abraham. 

Svein Tindberg builds bridges with this play. Bridges across the abysses of ignorance, fear and prejudice. I learned a lot, and had lots of "lightbulb moments". 

The show has been played for months in Oslo (Det Norske Teatret), and now it has started touring Norway with Riksteatret. Everybody should see this. And everybody should talk about it, tell people about it, especially their children. The world needs this kind of input.  The world needs people like Svein Tindberg.
Thank you!

All photos: Dag Jenssen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Photo: Street Scene.

I took this picture in Rome, two months ago, while waiting for my pasta. Just ordinary people. A piece of life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

All I can do is sit and wait...

Earlier I wrote about having kicked my baby bird out of the nest, and how scary that felt, how worried I was that it wouldn't be able to fly by itself.
Well, now it has been 5 weeks and 1 day, and I still have no clue. I'm still standing there in the nest, peeking over the side, watching to see if the baby bird flies or falls to the ground.
And, just to make that clear. My "baby bird" is a manuscript.
I'm still waiting. And, what else can I do, than sit and wait for a good result? Well, life goes on, of course. I've been guiding and teaching a group in Florence, Italy, I've been taking pictures in my studio, and I keep writing, both new stuff, and constantly editing what's already there. But, still, I'm waiting, because a rather large chunk of my brain is constantly working the question: What will happen to that baby bird?
Then, while writing this, a song comes to mind: "Sit and Wait" with Sydney Youngblood, from 1989.  There is even a line about being ready to fly...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bivrfrost by Frikar / Dance Show

Yesterday I went to see a dance show, Bivfrost, with my 13-year-old son.  Frikar, a Norwegian dance company has created a fairytale about how to deal with racism and the fear of the unknown. Traditional Norwegian folk dance, lausdans, is combined with elements from break dance and Asian martial arts, and the result is both extremely impressing and very beautiful to watch, sometimes even funny.
"Bivrfrost" was, in the ancient Norse religion, a bridge that went from Åsgard (where the gods lived) to "Midgard" (where the humans lived). It was impossible for humans to enter the bridge, since the placement of it was constantly and magically changed.

This show is inspired by this.  The king promises the princess and one half of the kingdom to the one who can build a bridge between the two rivalizing cultures, make them unite.
This fairytale of a dance performance is made and directed by Frikar founder Halgrim Hansegård, and it is a co-production with Teater Innlandet, a regional theater company. For those who are in Norway, it is still possible to see it for a few more days, for instance in Hamar.

A little video presentation of the show:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Lady from the Sea / Fruen fra Havet

A couple of weeks ago I saw this play in our local theater: The Lady from the Sea (Fruen fra Havet) by Henrik Ibsen. This is one of Ibsen's lesser-known plays, and not so much shown as A Doll's House (Et Dukkehjem) or Ghost (Gengangere). 

We are in a little town deep within a fjord on (probably) the north-west coast of Norway.  There, in this narrow valley,  between steep mountains that only let you see a little piece of the sky, we meet Ellida, her husband: Doctor Wangel, and his grown daughters from a previous marriage Bolette and Hilde. 
Ellida is not happy.  She is constantly longing for the openness of the seashore, and she has never felt fully included in this family. She also carries with her the memory of another man, to whom she promised to be faithful many years ago. One day this man arrives at her doorstep, and she will have to make a choice: Leave her husband, or stay...

The play is all about love, and it is about having a purpose to your existence. It is also about choosing, trying to do what's right, about choices made out of fear and dreams of a different life...

It's really amazing that this play was written in 1888. Ibsen surely was ahead of his contemporary Norway, and today we can appreciate the everlasting relevance of his work.

Photo: Erik Berg

Photo: Erik Berg

Photo: Erik Berg

This performance was by Riksteatret, which is a state owned theater company who tours Norway. They have a handful of plays every season, and they travel to many small towns (like my own) and even to the countryside, where there is no institutional theater.  The plays are set up in movie theaters or community halls.  Every year there is a new cast of professional Norwegian actors joining the company.
The Lady of the Sea is directed by Anne-Karen Hytten, and the lead actors are Marianne Nielsen and Lasse Kolsrud. See here for full cast and information.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sleeping with the cat.

This picture was taken months ago, with my mobile phone. The photo isn't perfect,  but it is a real snapshot, a true glimpse of my four-year-old son's life at the time.
He was having his "quiet-time" after lunch, reading in my bed. I asked if he wanted to take a nap, but he assured me that he wasn't tired at all. I peeked in to see how he was doing, and there he was, asleep, on the last page of "The Cat in the Hat".