Have you ever felt like everything happens when you didn’t expect it? And that nothing happens when you are working really, really hard for it to happen? I have. At times, I feel like the most sensible thing I can do, is to step back, say «Fuck it» and vanish for a few days, weeks or even months. It is in my absence that good things happen to me. It sounds crazy, but the world is.
One of my life ambitions is to sail around the world. I haven’t yet. But when I do, I am sure that when I return and pick up one of those idiotic Norwegian newspapers, it won’t be much different from the last issue I saw before I left. The TV will be filled with the same crap, and people around me will be living just like they did when I left, the only difference being that they will be older. I am sure there will be some who haven’t even noticed that I’ve been away.
You might think this sounds a bit pessimistic, but the thing is that most people are what I like to call «slow moving matter». It takes a lot of effort to move them, and most of the time, it’s impossible. Most people will just continue living their lives as they move along the common patterns of the society they happened to be born into, and that’s it. And that is why they buy the same crap food as they did yesterday, even though they know it makes them fat and sick, and they will continue watching stupid reality shows, even though they know it’s stupid, and they will buy the same boring books that the ads tell them to – if they read at all. And if you think I’m being negative, maybe I am. But so what. Deep down, you know you’re thinking exactly the same.
I live in Norway, which best can be described as sitting in a big freezer handing out all your money to people you don’t know. Foreigners are not aware of this, but Norway is what I like to call a «NO» country. It is the land of the «Jante Law», which is basically a social norm that will punish anyone who tries to be different and successful at the same time. I believe this is one of the reasons I spend most of my time alone, and why I only feel 100% happy when I’m out at sea or hiking in the woods. And I have come to realize that most of the time, my professional presence is not needed. People will buy my books if they want to. Agents and movie producers will contact me when the they feel the time is right. In the meanwhile, I can be found by a campfire somewhere. Or maybe I’m gone sailing.
So I guess you could say that my mantra for the new year is «Fuck it». It is not very poetic. But it is easy to remember.
Don’t get me wrong. I will continue to work towards my professional goals. But it will be on my terms. I won’t be sweet-talking, not to anyone. I won’t be doing stuff for free – I don’t even write these words for free. I will, however, be there for anyone who shows genuine interest. If you are a fan of my books, I will be there for you. If you are a book dealer who’s planning to do something to promote my latest novel, you can count on me. If you are a movie producer who wants to look at the prospect of visualizing some of my novels, I will work 24-7 to help you make that happen.
But in the meanwhile, I will be out in the woods a lot, or out on the ocean, sailing. I will prefer the solitude of the boreal forest to any cocktail party and the sound of the ocean to any radio hit. I will, more than ever, be. I will be present and in tune with the natural world. And I will say «Fuck it» a lot.
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen