Story, part two..

December 24th, 2007 by Rebekka in Uncategorized

i’ve decided this isn’t as aimless as i initially thought. I rather like this part. Perhaps i’ll even continue with this.
anyway, this can be read seperately , but it also works as a continuation of part one .

Rebekka puts down the sheaf of papers she’s just finished reading from, and looks hesitantly at the teacher, who gazes absently at something appoximately ten feet beyond her left shoulder.
“yes…” he says, finally.
“Im not entirely sure where you’re going with this…. its a bit… “ he trails off.
“have you decided what happens next?” he finishes.

“no.. not really. It all sortof wrote itself, rather effortlessly. I didnt really have a certain plot in mind”

“No. That’s …. evident. What about the rest of you? Any comments?” he says to the class. A few people cough awkwardly in that way people do when they don’t really know what to say, and one girl volunteers that the bit , when the girl drops the icing on her shirt and discovers the coffee all over the floor , was pretty funny.
“But yeah.. I think it was all very nice” the girl adds in a very unconvincing way.

She’s taking an evening course in creative writing. The classes are once a week, on Thursdays. She’d seen it advertised in the paper and thought she might as well give it a shot. She’d always wanted to write a book, but never gotten farther than a few pages at the very most before the plot sortof wandered off and refused to cooperate. Several times –mostly when she was a teenager- she’d started writing stories that centered on a female lead character constantly brooding about men, or her own misery, or, (more often than not), both at the same time.

Predictably, this attempt of hers won’t fare much better than previous ones. However, she’s long since come to terms with the fact that her role in life is (in all likelihood) not to write books. There are more than enough people doing that already, with far more aptitude than she would ever manage. This doens’t bother her, really, as its not realistic to expect from oneself to excell in everything they try their hand at. She’s been told that she’s an excellent photographer -enough people have told her this that she feels inclined to believe there must be some grain of truth in it- and seeing as many go through life without excelling in anything, she feels relatively content. But it’s her nature to constantly seek out something new, something better or just something that demands from her that she push herself in some way, because she’s a hopeless perfectionist. Which is why she’s here, struggling to write a novel.

Its a nice change of pace at least. She’s been feeling restless lately, especially during the evenings.. Her children have gotten to the age where they can pretty much take care of themselves, and the absence of a male companion, which has now stretched on for a record five months, is beginning to annoy her far more than she would ever admit to anyone in so many words. A course in creative writing isn’t any worse than sitting in front of the computer all evening watching crap on youtube or reading blogs from people she doesnt know and couldnt care less about , or lying in bed with a book, thinking about sex that isn’t being had. Also, there’s something about the classes that reminds her, in a pleasant, nostalgic way, of a TV show she’d enjoyed as a child. It was called Dear John. Judd Hersch played a hapless man –John- who arrived home from work one day to find a letter from his wife -a Dear John letter- where she told him that by the time he read these lines, she’d be gone..
John signed up for an evening therapy course for divorcees. These unfortunate individuals sat around in a circle and took turns whining about ex-this and ex-that. (instead of just getting on with their dumb lives, which would have been a healthier thing to do, but would have ruined the plot of the whole series) There was a blond, sex-crazed and rather annoying man there named Kirk, that was always hitting on this red-head that was full of herself, and an elderly lady who regularly shocked the others by saying things that were decidedly un-ladylike. Rebekka could no longer remember what they actually talked about, every week, month after month, but it was an good show, in retrospect.
The creative writing course was neither as eventful nor amusing as John’s support group for lonely single people, but at least it was in the evenings, and the participants did take turns reading stuff that was in many cases very personal, which wasnt that far from whining about personal problems.

She listens half-heartedly while those who are left read what they’ve managed to squeeze out since last thursday. She wonders if she should stop by some store thats open 24 hours to get an ice-cream bar to eat on the drive home. She furthermore wonders why she’s so bad at writing more than a few pages. She’s attempting to mirror real life in her writing. But real life moves on regardless, effortlessly, (though not always pleasantly) , without the aid of some sweaty writer working overtime, pounding away on some cosmic keyboard, thinking up new plots every second. It just happens.

It had snowed during the evenings class. While she rumages for her car keys in the vast cavern that cunningly fits inside her small handbag, she tries to remember if she’d ever located the snow scraper that had disappeared without a trace the other day. Her fingers close on the keys, and promptly she drops them onto the snow dusted asphalt. She sighs, bends down to retrieve them and feels a familiar twinge of pain in her lower back. This lower back pain is a perpetual annoyance, and makes her feel too old for her liking. The fact that it stems from a weight lifting injury , and not old age, is partly reassuring. The fact that it seems to be with her to stay, is not.

At least the car door opens. She was nearly certain that the lock would stick, as it usually does in cold weather, and she’d be reduced to bending over next to the door and blowing warm air into the damn thing, like some weird car pervert.
She sees right away that the snow scraper isnt in its place inside the driver-side door. And not on the passenger side either. She pats the floor under both front seats and throws a cursory glance into the back (why the hell would it be there?) The snow scraper is just as lost as it was the last time she checked. She opens the glove compartment and grabs the only cd cover to be found in the car. It houses the first and only cd from a band called Elexir, in which her ex-boyfriend- well, one of many- played drums. It’s a pretty bad cd. Two of the songs are surprisingly pretty good, but the sound quality -and the other 5 songs- are horrible.
The cover serves a purpose now at least. After removing the light layer of snow from the windows of the car, she gets in and slams the door, and marvels at the fact that in just that short amount of time, her fingers managed to turn white and corpse like. She’s always had very bad blood circulation in her hands and feet.. She wonders if she should start taking an iron supplement as she starts the car and manuevers it carefully from between two others that weren’t there when she arrived. Incidentally, they’re the only other cars in the whole parking lot. Go figure.

While driving home she considers all the different ways in which a white sheet can be used as a prop in a photo. This comes as a rather unexpected and random thing to be thinking about, but it strikes her as a rather interesting idea nonetheless. Right off the bat, several possibilities present themselves. A woman wrapped in a sheet. A woman wearing a sheet like a turban. A person hanging a sheet up to dry. A person ironing a sheet. A handball player preparing to hurl a tightly balled up sheet at some invisible goal. A kid using a sheet for a hammock. A man pulling a sheet he’s hooked on his fishing rod out of a lake. A sheet used as a net in a game of beach volleyball. A sheet tightly wound up like a rope and draped in some clever way around the nude body of a lithe model. The variations were seemingly endless. She decides to create a series of such photos.
First she just needs to find a sheet.
Then, she has to find people willing to pose with the sheet.
Maybe this is a completely stupid idea. However, it might also add to her reputation, (in a positive way even) as an eccentric yet clever photographer, to go ahead with a stupid idea like this. Besides, she can see all of the images clearly in her head, printed out large and framed , hanging in a gallery somewhere. That must mean it’s actually a good idea.

After she’s gotten the kids off to school the next morning she goes back to sleep for a bit. This is one of the luxuries that come with being your own employer. Not that she’s lazy or anything. Three days a week she gets up early and runs 5-8 kilometers on an empty stomach, setting a personal record in either distance or average running speed each session. This is very important to her.
The other mornings she rewards herself by snoozing a bit longer.
She wakes up to the phone ringing at 17 minutes past ten..
“hello?” she says, in a hesitant, faintly questioning tone of voice. She’s never managed to come up with a cool way of answering the phone. She always sounds like a rather dumb teenager to her own ears. Of course, the sound of your voice in your own ears isnt really right.; as anyone knows who’s ever heard a recording of their voice , its actually even worse in real life.

But back to the phonecall. Its a woman. She introduces herself as Marilynn, and has a question. Could she, Rebekka , take on a commission to do a creative and artistic family photoshoot.
“Family?”
“Yes.. its a couple in their thirties, their two year old daughter, two chi-hua-huas, and one opera girl from Vietnam”
Opera girl? She thinks to herself. What an odd thing to say. Aside from that , it sounds like a particularly awful collection of models. Probably no chance of getting them all to look right in the same photo… she’d probably need to do some splicing in photoshop..
She silently sighs and says reassuringly “sure, i can do it, sounds like a fun project. When did you have in mind? Will i be shooting them at their home?”
Marilynn continues to explain and the whole thing just sounds worse and worse. The photoshoot would take place somewhere outside town, (with a wide angle natural icelandic backdrop, like in your selfportraits! Marilynn gushes), with assistants carrying warm blankets so the subjects wont get cold (the little girl especially! No we wouldnt want that, Rebekka agrees, and groans inwardly) and you’ll have complete artistic freedom to arrange the subjects as you feel best. In some interesting way, Marilynn adds.
The conversation ends with her having agreed, contrary to her better judgement, to meet Marilynn and the family in question at their home the next evening to organize the shoot.
She only realizes when she’s in the shower half an hour later that the Vietnamese opera girl must be an Au-pair..

Read 20 comments

20 comments for this post

wyndl jones wrote on December 25th, 2007

… you made me look up au-pair, but that shouldn’t be too surprising since I’m an ignorant american =P

i am really enjoying these, hope they continue!

Hey Rebba,
This reading is just perfect for me for today.
I am dying in my bed after xmas feast yesterday, with huge hang over in my head also not being able to move because of too many chocolates and cake.

Inspiration and motivation to do something with my day and life comes as a great remedy after reading this.

Keep going with it Girl, You damn good! I really enjoy reading your stuff.
I like the cold narrative tone a lot and ex-bfriend CD part made me lough.

Have a good one.
xx
Marta

You’re an Icelandic wonder, Rebekka. Beautiful and scarily multi-talented. And brave! You put yourself out there in so many ways.

I’m enjoying your writing as much as I enjoy your photos. To echo the comments above, please continue sharing this story with us. It’s good enough to keep me wanting more! I can identify with that artistic perfectionist tendency, but don’t be too tough on yourself. I think you’ll gain fans here just as you have with your photography. And if you enjoy it and others like it, what more can you ask for, eh?

I hope 2008 brings you continued success with all your endeavors and brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.

Bruce

Hi,

what a nice pin sharp self-reflection that snippet is (?).
Maybe some photographers you should write a lot more of it… ;)

Btw, did you get my request for using 2 of your scenery-photo´s for
a none-profit programming experiment?

Cheers
_frank

chuckdarwin wrote on December 29th, 2007

Hey, are you going to go with the sheet idea?

i was very seriously considering it last summer..
i’m still stuck with the problem of finding enough models.
time will tell;)

hi rebekka. I just thought I’d let you know that I was reading, I’m nobody really, and don’t have anything profound to say. I just think it’s weird for someone to drop by your blog and not make their presence known. It’s a bit stalker-ish.

I was reading quite nicely, you know. That probably means you’re good. You have this nice perspective of yourself, none of your self-consciousness shows even though you say you weren’t meant to write a book or be an author. Authors with more aptitude, as you say, now seem to me to be affected and pompous, most of them anyway. It’s calming and refreshing to read a “newbie’s” work, usually. Just keep at it if you feel like it. Sometimes that’s enough to make it stellar.

Oh, I saw your earlier entries and I might try that choc cheesecake. Though it would probably be disastrous. And one entry of where you posted self-portraits of you looking like different people, I like the December one, the one with the reddish hue. Lovely, and charmingly innocent quality to it.

I’m guessing this is somewhat autobiographical?? But I don’t want to pressume… But if it is, I’m glad someone else has trouble writing long things! I too have been wanting and trying to write a book since I was about 13 – I have started lots like this, and never get further than chapter one! But I keep trying never-the-less, so hopefully one day I’ll have some success!

i’m loving this so far, very readable and an insight into a fascinating woman.

Thanks for entertaining me on a dull day at work.

xx

Hi Rebekka,

Have admired your photos for a while and drop into the blog once in a while. Enjoyed the entry, it reads quite well. Someone once told me the best way of writing was to sit down at the same time every day and write. Doesn’t matter what you write as the act of writing will sometimes just lead you down a line of thought and you can always throw the beginning away once your brain starts on something interesting!

Like the thoughts of the sheet photo series too!

Am now absolved of being a stalker I guess… I’d have felt guilty all night…

Am just reading the bottom of the page – isn’t it nice to be “proudly” powered by WordPress?

John x

just_twisted wrote on January 10th, 2008

Hi Rebekka,

I wish I could do all the things you are doing but maybe I was not burn for this…. I am just a simple romanian girl, with an ordinary job and an ordinary life….with no luck in her love life……I really like what you are writing…..
keep doing all those wonderful photos….and I look forward in reading Part three…….many kisses……

Kristín H wrote on January 11th, 2008

Fábær samningur, til hamingju !
Er sjálf mjög ánægð með að geta flogið oftar til Íslands með Icelandexpress frá Barcelona. Hversu lengi verður sýningin opin ?

Stendur til 10 febrúar :)

You must continue with part 3. I find your writing style captivating. Like the comment of the above poster just_twisted, your photography is wonderful and I also look forward to new material.

Hi, Rebekk–

I haven’t stopped by recently, so want first to wish you and your family a wonderful, fulfilling 2008! You are among the most creative people in the entire Flickr universe, and I’m always intrigued by the glimpses of you that I get whenever I come around. Whether a touching photo or, now, a deliciously sketched story-fragment.

Well, it’s complete, too, of course; nice denouement, in fact. “Opera…”

But it could go many directions, and I for one would feel drawn along into whatever plot your mind chose to take us.

I was going to ask your permission to put up some excerpts on my blog (devifemme.livejournal.com). However, it’s fairly short — and I think a reader would best enjoy it by reading the whole thing. So I’ll simply recommend it and include the URL.

Thanks so much; great little read!

Justine

Sigurd The Absurd wrote on February 16th, 2008

Just finished part two and… what can I say? Not much! As I’ve just enough time for a brief note before my partner fulfills a promise to hold my head underwater ’til bubbles cease to rise, let me beg you stick to commercial photography – and quit writing. Okay, that’s not fair and… [bubble; gurgle; gargle; help!] Appears I’m loved more then the promised D300 and glass. [Shucks! And I was starting to see the light, too.] Seriously, this is worse then that shit one time child star Bjork was dialoguing years before she discovered – in no particular order – yodeling, blackmen and Snickers bars. If you’re old enough to remember when beer was finally legally imported in Iceland, effectively ending the booze cartel of Icelandair flight attendants, then you may appreciate what your long suffering writing tutor endured whilst swinging from a rope and, in the process, risked getting his brains dashed out against those rocks. [heh?] Listen kiddo, a little less neurosis and a bit more character development would make for better reading. It is only because I’m such an insufferable bore that my subjects are so interesting. Don’t let this happen to you! You have an opportunity that until only relatively recently the gods alone possessed; to create out of whole cloth something truly your own, if not altogether unique. Just don’t look for inspiration in a mirror. Leave cloning to agribusiness, Sandoz and the bioethicists. [Put the camera down... I've changed my mi... gargle... gulp...]

Just dropped in to say I’m telling everyone I know here in Milan, Italy, about your work. It would be cool (being from Iceland it would be difficult otherwise, but I’m sure you’ve been told this crappy joke 1000 times) to have an exhibition with your stuff here. Quite luckily I know quite many people in this field. Nope, before you ask-I’m not looking for money. See-something will happen

hey,

waiting for more stories…
I know, i know…
if only a day could have 48 hours…
cheers
:)

are you sure Marta? i mean.. poor mr. sigurd the absurd up there may just decide to kill himself if i write more….
:/

this page was what i’ve been looking for the purpose of! I found this blog bookmarked from a friend of mine. i am going to also share it. with thanks again!

I searched in whose sale benefits completely unique, but discovered your websites! And must say thanks for your time. Great study. Will get there back.

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