Journal #7

Norwegian translation below the picture x 

The house is quiet. I let my eyes follow specks of dust dancing lazily in the sun and I’ve got my hands around an elephant mug filled to the brim with blueberry tea. The steam swirling out of the mug paints roses in the air. I’ve never liked waking up early, but I’ve always loved being awake, morning’s early hours; the silence before anyone else wakes up. It’s just my book and me and the soft and distant whirr of the world outside. I think about the people I miss as I let my fingers play with the steam. As the steam looks like dragon’s breath, I think about all the people I haven’t met yet, and I think about the places I want to go, the things I want to write, as the steam slowly settles down. I also think about how many different “me”s there are, and that since I rarely get up this early, this “me” isn’t one I get to explore a lot. It’s like the rest of the world isn’t existing yet, in my little hour of the morning. Soon there will be breakfast and chatter and the people I care about, and I can’t wait. But right now it’s just me. I’m just here. It’s gonna be a good day.

IMG_0022.JPG

Det er stille i huset. Jeg lar øynene følge støvet som danser i late solstråler, mens jeg har hendene rundt en kopp breddfull av blåbær-te. Dampen leker, maler roser i lufta. Jeg har aldri likt å stå opp  tidlig, men det å være våken tidlig, det setter jeg pris på. Jeg elsker morgentimene, stillheten før noen andre våkner. Det er bare boka mi og jeg nå, og den myke, men fjerne, lyden av verden utafor. Jeg tenker på de jeg savner mens jeg lar fingrene spille igjennom dampen. Mens dampen snor seg som varm pust i kuldegrader, tenker jeg på alle de jeg ikke har møtt enda og jeg tenker på alle steder jeg vil se, alt jeg vil skrive, når dampen endelig legger seg. Jeg tenker også på alle de forskjellige “meg”ene som finnes, og siden jeg sjelden er oppe så tidlig som dette, er dette en “meg” jeg ikke opplever særlig ofte. Det er som om verden ikke er til ennå, i denne lille timen jeg sitter her. Snart blir det frokost og småsnakk og de jeg bryr meg mest om i hele verden, og jeg gleder meg. Men akkurat nå er det bare meg. Jeg er bare her. Dette blir en god dag.

-Andrea

WWW Wednesday June 13

Wednesday again already? Where did this week go?
Work, really. That’s where this week’s gone. But work I thoroughly enjoy, though, so no complaining here!

But yes, time for another WWW Wednesday; this wonderful thing hosted by Taking on a World of Words.
Anyone can join the WWW Wednesday! All you need to do is answer three simple questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m currently reading
Longbourn by Jo Baker

Even though I’m not doing all too well with it, I’m still attempting to finish all of Jane Austen’s novels in 2018. Maybe reading this could be the push I need to get started again!

Blurb:
“If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d more likely be a sight more careful with them.” In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs.

I just finished
Nærmere kommer vi ikke by Monika Steinholm

Last summer I started working shifts at a library, and this year I’m doing full weeks of shifts, enabling me to really get into the routines and the work. I enjoy it a lot, and one of the (many) reasons why I love it so much is that it gets me into reading Norwegian books again. As much as I love English literature and the English language, there is a certain kind of charm and comfort in a really good Norwegian novel; a novel such as this one.

Blurb: (translated)

Jens is scared of making a fool of himself, scared of water and scared of blood. Edor is dating Beate and he’s practicing new skateboard moves, skinny dipping with Celia and swimming further from shore than he ought to.
The only thing Edor is scared of, is how Jens makes his stomach flutter.
A novel about all-consuming love, painful and wonderful all at the same time. A love everyone can recognise, whether they’re gay, straight, bi or just a little bit queer.

Next book on the list
Sunshine by Melissa Lee-Houghton



A poetry book I’ve had on my shelf since my first semester-third year poetry module, and keep telling myself I have to get on reading. There idea of the pink ice cream front contrasting the heavy subject matter fascinates me, and I’m excited to put it on this list to keep myself a bit more accountable and actually read it this time!

Blurb:

Sunshine is the new collection from Next Generation Poet Melissa Lee-Houghton. A writer of startling confession, her poems inhabit the lonely hotel rooms, psych wards and deserted lanes of austerity Britain.
Sunshine combines acute social observation with a dark, surreal humor, born of first-hand experience. Abuse, addiction and mental health are all subject to Lee-Houghton’s poetic eye. But these are also poems of extravagance, hope and desire, that stake new ground for the Romantic lyric in an age of social media and internet porn. In this new book of poems, Melissa Lee-Houghton shines a light on human ecstasy and sadness with blinding precision.


I really like doing these WWW Wednesdays and would love to read more of other people’s WWWs! If you’re doing a WWW this week or has done some before, please feel free to leave the link below, I’d love to have a look!
Also, I hope you don’t mind that some of the books won’t be in English from now on! My bookshelf is a mess not organized by language, and some days just call for a Norwegian book, as other days need an English one.
Once again, would love to hear from you about your WWWs!

Have a wonderful day,
-Andrea

Journal #6

AFAC29B9-6BB3-4A6F-B409-DEE8A8EFDE38They say everything comes alive in spring, but I believe summer brings out the best in us. I’m sat on a veranda enveloped in the smell of roses and foxgloves, nursing a mug of strawberry tea, wondering how a warm drink can feel like a cold treat in this heat. Blue tits and flycatchers have been flying around me all morning, gliding from pine to spruce to silver birch. They’re small reminders that no matter what happens, the chatter of birds and the flapping of small wings will always sound like home. A couple of ants are walking in an uneven line along the stem of the peonies. In contrast to the skittering ants, my book is moving at a slow pace and it’s just the way I want it right now. I wonder how many days like this you get in a year. Days where the sun is awake and the clouds are busy somewhere else, and the breeze is playing around your feet and you have nowhere else to be. Summer has hit our little part of the world, and it’s charging batteries that’ve been empty for too long.

-Andrea

“Poem for the thighs”

Tea stain scars run down my thigh,
and the new skin growing
feels soft under my hands.
He has never touched this skin,
never let his fingers linger over it,
or kissed it with seafoam lips.
It’s like a teacup in my lap was what I needed,
to discard him,
grow out of him,
to make me see that the spot he used to rest his hands on,
isn’t there
anymore.

table-3224645_1920
This picture’s not mine, but it can be found here,
and for more poems, both text and video, click here!

-Andrea

 

Journal #5

During my time at uni, I’ve made a lot of blogs for different modules. The point is always to market yourself, to showcase your writing, to find a way to build an online portfolio. Most of them don’t exist anymore, but one I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about (and also the one I liked the most), is called InstantColouring, and it was for a first year “publishing” module. It has long since been abandoned now, but on it I posted a polaroid picture and about 100 words every day of March 2016.

I know I just said it was the blog I liked the most, but it also makes me cringe. I feel like that’s the case with most old writing; you progress, you learn new things, and suddenly what you used to be happy with feels a bit awkwardly worded, a bit unnecessarily flowery. However, this blog did capture snapshots of my everyday, during a month of my first year of uni, and now that that’s coming to an end, I’ve decided to put some of the posts here, in the Journal Series. I won’t edit them or try to make them better, they’ll just be a small reminder (mostly to myself) of how things have or haven’t changed. Sounds like a plan?

 

SPRING-CLEANING
02/29/2016

IMG_3220

“When asked about my favourite season, I wouldn’t say summer, even though I adore the lazy nights of July when the sun never sets and shoes are no longer a necessity. I wouldn’t say autumn either, even though I love the feeling of burying my face in the biggest scarf from this season’s new collection and how the colours change from green to auburn. I also wouldn’t say winter, even though it makes me indescribably happy when snow starts to fall from the clouds like dizzy ballerinas and the Christmas lights are being lit all over the world. No, I will always say spring, because of the soft light that’s reserved for April only, that gently knocks on your window and reminds you that it’s never too late for new beginnings.”

-Andrea

Writer’s Log 3

WRITER’S LOG 3
09/05-2018

Mission Log
A bit of an evening session. The weather here in Winchester (and the rest of England and Europe if we are to believe the weather forecast and my granddad on the phone) is so wonderfully warm and sunny now, which, of course, is nothing to complain about, but it does make it difficult to get any actual work done. The goal for tonight is to reach a 1000 words, though!

img_1303

19:26 I’ve got my water, got my tea, got my extension for this assignment, let’s go!

20:06 I actually really like the world I’ve created for this story! It’s a creative piece exploring how the world could end up looking like beyond 2050, so I’m writing a story set in England in 2087, after a huge economic crash has changed the entire structure of the world as we know it. Companies have pumped resources into very unethical experiments and scientists have eventually managed to change human DNA and make it so our bodies don’t actually produce melatonin anymore. This means that in (this hypothetical and highly fictional) 2087 we’ll have a world where no one is even able to sleep; only be awake, to create and be productive 24/7. Terrifying, but interesting to explore.

20:30 There are now 578 words of a prologue written, kind of like an introduction to how the world came to be the way it is. I do believe that’s a bit much and that I’ll have to cut it, but for now it’s a nice part of the process. It’s always nice, when you’re writing new worlds, to be able to create all aspects of it, to really get into how it’s working. It’s one of my favourite parts at least. Now on to introducing some characters! Stories do kind of need those too, yeah?

20:46 Character update:
Harper – leading lady, interested in dreams (which are only a vague, and slightly unbelievable, myth in this world).
Lydia – leading lady’s best friend, not so great at accepting her friend’s obsession with said dreams that no one’s had for 36 years and no one can really prove are true. We already have conflict.

21:08 A bit stuck on character motivation now, but have actually managed to get the prologue and first “scene” down in about an hour and a half. Heading to the fiction section now, for just a little bit of inspiration and a teeny tiny break.

21:39 Okay, that break turned out a little bit longer than planned, but I started writing an “I’m back!” blog post, and got a bit stuck in it. Lots of pictures of the past couple of weeks to make up for the radio silence. Back to Harper and Lydia now, though!

22:04 Making up fictional technology for an England set 69 years into the future is actually a lot of fun! I’m trying to base it on the technology we have today and then looking at where that technology may go, but also going a bit crazy and maybe stretching a lot of things too far. But I feel like if there is one assignment where you’re allowed to go a bit far, it’s the one called “Life Beyond 2050”.

22:30 Remember the article I talked about a couple of months ago, about my favourite places in Winchester? It’s been published now and they sent me a couple of copies! My mum just called to tell that the magazine was sent to my house back home in Norway, which means that I don’t have an actual copy with me right now, but I’m so excited to read it when I go home later in May! It looks so good, and I can’t wait to show you pictures of it, and tell you about the work I’ve been able to do with some of the people at one of the marketing teams here at the uni. So happy!
(Also, if you want to read some of this other, earlier work mentioned one sentence ago, click here!)

23:12 Okay, I’ve got my prologue, introduction scene and first conflict; time to pack it up for tonight. Tomorrow’s another day, and I’ve set it all aside for more writing! I’m trying out a new strategy a lecturer talked about, that is leaving the story before you feel “done” writing, so you know you’ll exactly where to start again tomorrow.
Very excited about that!

Recap of the session: This is a very world building heavy story

Mistake of the day: I always write “in between” in one word, and today was no exception. I’ve learnt to correct myself now, though, which means that not everyone work shopping my pieces have to, and I call that progress.

Word count of the day: Goal reached, 1166 out of 2500

Writing location: Library, top floor, computer 53, wonderfully quiet in here tonight.

Phone breaks: One quite long FaceTime break and a couple of messages, but no actual “hanging out” on social media or anything. Getting there.

Beverage of choice: Strawberries and Cream by Dorset Tea (I’m going to sneakily link you to their webpage because this tea is seriously my favourite tea ever and I stock up on it every chance I get).

Mood before writing: “I really like my idea and the world I’ve created for this assignment but I’m not entirely sure where I want the plot to go.”
Mood during writing: What kind of technology can I make for this world, and what kind of phones will we have in 2087? Still not entirely sure about the plot further down the line.
Mood after writing: I’m really enjoying this piece! Need to rework the plot and shorten down the prologue a bit, but having a good time with it so far!

Question of the day: How do you think our technology will develop in 2087?

Also, have a picture of some really good crepes we treated ourselves to today (I went a bit overboard with mine, but Bex had some chocolate covered strawberries on the side with hers too, so it’s okay).

Andrea Wold Johansen Crepes

-Andrea

Poetry Platform @ the Railway Inn

Before I came to uni, poetry was one of those things I enjoyed reading and listening to, but never did myself. Even though I read the works – and listened to the words – of all these wonderful poets I found online and in the library, writing poetry still seemed like something angsty teenagers did alone in their rooms. Then I got to Winchester, and I attended my first ever Poetry Platform. The Poetry Platform is a great open mic night, where poets from all over Hampshire can come together for a monthly night of wordery (this is a word now). I loved it from the beginning. The vibe of “everything’s okay here”, the little stage that welcomed everyone, how there was always room for one more person.
The entirety of first year was spent watching everyone else perform, while I was trying to build up a portfolio of half-decent poems in the creative writing course’s mandatory poetry lessons. I started loving those lessons too. Seeing poetry so alive,  and workshopping other students’ lines, sentences I could only dream of writing one day, made me fall in love with poetry as a medium. It’s a love affair I hope will last a lifetime.

I don’t call myself a poet. There are way more talented people, those who can express everything they feel so elegantly, who’ve just got words flowing out of their brains in poetic sentences every minute of every day. However, I do love putting together simple, uncomplicated poems, poems that ponder on how we all more or less fumble through life. My poems are rarely very deep, they don’t often tackle very heavy subjects, but after a performance the other day, someone told me they thought my writing felt like “a hug in poem form”, something they felt they could relate to, and I loved that. That’s exactly what I want my “art” to be. Something to make people feel nice and warm and good.

Here’s a video of a poem I did on this month’s Poetry Platform. I’m still working on the title, but it felt like a fitting poem to do on my (most likely) last performance at the Railway.


(The song is “Har du Fyr” – Hekla Stålstrenga, a beautiful song about your home always being there waiting for you, no matter how far off you venture.)

It’s all a bit soppy, but my three-year England adventure is coming to an end, so I feel like I’m allowed to be.

(For more poetry, both page and stage, check out my Published Pieces and Performances page!)

-Andrea

Journal #4

Cafe 004I’ve always been one to enjoy my own company. Don’t get me wrong, I do love being around people, and quiet days without anyone to talk to can make me go stir crazy, but still, at the end of the day, I always need a bit of me-time. Some peace and space to just be. However, lately I’ve started thinking about how this me-time always means staying in. Me-time is quiet-time, it’s pyjamas and knitting and another chapter of my favourite book. Days like that are of course perfectly fine and sometimes also very necessary, but it made me think about how I use the terms me-time and quiet-time interchangeably, when they’re actually quite different concepts (to me, anyway, I’m not trying to speak for introverts everywhere!)

Quiet time is needed when your head is full. When your mind is spinning with other people’s ideas and you just need some time with your own thoughts. Quiet time is for when you don’t want any kind of input, when you just want to hide away. Nights like these are the pyjamas-and-facemask nights, the nights you need to take a bit more care of yourself, to charge the batteries and just be you.

Me-time, however, is when you’re just not that into talking to people, but also don’t feel the need to hide away. It’s when you don’t mind having others around, you just don’t particularly want to talk to anyone. I realise that this sounds quite negative, but it’s really not meant to be. I have found, that when me-time is needed, I don’t really want to keep conversations and react to people, I just want to observe? I want to be around people, but not have them acknowledge me; at least no more than a polite nod, a smile, a hello.

Third year of uni has found me needing a bit more me-time, as the dissertation, assignments and commitments have piled up. I’ve found myself feeling restless during quiet-time, which I never did before, and have been able to identify it as a “I don’t want to be alone right now, but I also don’t want to talk to anyone.”

Cafe 001

This is a very rambly post, as I’m still trying to make sense of this in my own brain. However, as a challenge to myself, and to test out the theory about the difference between quiet-time and me-time, I’m going to start taking myself out for coffee sometimes. Right now I’m sat at Cafè Winchester with a cream tea (peppermint) and my laptop. I can’t remember a time I ever sat down at a cafè on my own, without waiting for anyone, without just quickly grabbing something to go. I like it, though! Not as a profound “I am brave enough to be alone with my thoughts”-sort of way (I really don’t like that whole idea and attitude), it’s just nice to hear people chatter and talk around me and know that I don’t have to partake in their conversations.

Does any of this make sense? Or does it just make me sound like an awful person who’d rather listen to other people talk than keep conversations going, themselves?
I don’t know. But this tea is really good, and I’m quite content right now.

 

TL;DR: Sometimes you just want to drink tea and eat scones and listen to other people do the talking, and that’s okay, too.

-Andrea

The Sound of Winchester

 Everything we humans create start with an idea, a desire to make something, to change something.

This year, a group of second and third year students at the uni wanted to create a student-led magazine, to capture the “sound of Winchester”, the vibe of the students and what they’re up to. It became this wonderful magazine that comes out every second month (at the moment), and it features student fiction, poetry, articles, information about societies and things happening on and around campus, plus a great section called “Humans of Winchester”, inspired by the photo blog Humans of New York.
Their second issue is out today, and it’s so cool to see all the pieces come together.

The Sound of Winchester FacebookAndrea Wold Johansen 009

Look how pretty this issue is!
The first picture is borrowed from their Facebook page, which you can find here.

And I’ve been so lucky as to have a short story featured in this month’s issue, along with some wonderful poems, stories and articles by other students. Really worth a read! Especially since you can get it in the SU shop for a pound.

-Andrea

Journal #3

“I can’t work in my room,” I say when people ask me why I’m always in the library, “too many distractions in there.” All throughout my degree, separating uni work and down time has been very important to me. I think one of the reasons for this is because I’ve been living on campus for the last three years, but maybe today was a bit different. I’m sat here now, by the desk in my little room, with my bookshelf full of adventures I’ve yet to go on and a phone that’s charging right next to me, and I’ve finished my dissertation without checking either. Or, I mean, I’ve finished the creative part of my dissertation at least. 8000 words, now finally edited, done and dusted. I’m sure I’ll go through and proofread a bit more, but from now on I’ll just be looking for spelling mistakes and stray commas, not any actual edits. It’s a weird feeling. And I did it all from the comfort of my room, here where I say I can never work. Guess I was wrong. I’ve got a proper mug of tea (not just a travel mug), a bowl of (almost completely) homemade pasta carbonara and I’m listening to soft music on speakers, not through headphones. I still think the library’s the place for me to sit down and properly get everything I need done actually done, but maybe I can be a bit more open to the idea of working in my own space too. This has been a surprisingly productive, but relaxed, day.
I can get used to this.

(Blog Andrea Wold Johansen) Desk 1
Have a very staged picture of how I’d love my writing nook to look like all the time. The norm is more pens everywhere and paper flying! (Also, I finished my tea just before taking this..)

-Andrea