The Kindness of Strangers – 2014 in a nutshell

Oh 2014, what am I going to say about you? In many ways you’ve been the worst year ever. In other ways (but not that many) you’ve been really good (mostly in making it really obvious what direction is wrong, but there are also some seeds planted that I really look forward to see what they grow up to be). You’ve been a trial, a sorrow, an endless in-between. But I’m not gonna give you too much crap before I can truly see what the consequences of you are. As someone once said: “Sometimes our lives have to be completely shaken up, changed & rearranged to relocate us to the place we’re meant to be.” So, I’m just gonna write down the first few thoughts about you I come up with + some of my fav music/books/movies/whatever of the year, and then wait a year and do a proper 2014 evaluation when you’re far enough in the rear-view mirror to be judged properly.


This is the first year since my debut 2005 that I haven’t written or published a book. This is a sad fact, but the only thing I really care about now is making sure that this is the first and the last time this happens.

But I did write stuff. Shorter things, like captions to my pictures and little compositions like that. And sometimes this shorter stuff touched people in different ways. Some laughed, some cried, some thought about things they never thought about before. And all this reminded me about the Power of Words, and it also reminded me why I love what I do so much.

A good friend said that he would bitch-slap me endlessly if I gave up writing. That warmed my heart. I haven’t quit. I just have a flat writing-tyre, and I need to fix it. I’ll be on the road soon again.

The second best compliment I got this year was “You’re so wonderfully demented it makes me happy” (thank you Jimmy!). The best one I’ll keep to myself.

I got kissed by a lesbian under the mistletoe (bi-curiosity works both ways it seems).

Keywords for this year: “HappySad”, “Kindness of strangers”, “Wanderlust”, “Changes”, “Finding your Home”.

As I said, didn’t write a lot, but I took a shitload of pictures (when I did the last end-of-the-year backup I counted 19 294 pics in the 2014-folder). What I never knew is what a wonderful storytelling instrument the camera can be. I’ve found myself using it more than the pen or the keyboard to tell the stories I have in my head. Another thing I also noticed with photography is that at some point you’ll find your own voice, and if you put enough of yourself in it you will connect with others that speak the same language. Something you’ll notice when the comments go from “nice light” and “cool angle” to “you have an old soul” and “this made me cry”. And when that happens it’s the same wonderful feeling as when you’re at a party and you see someone wearing a tee with that band you love but no one’s ever heard of, or when you’re being the only one completely mesmerized by a painting at a museum/gallery while everyone else just strolls past it … until you notice that someone is standing right beside you, also lost in what they see. That feeling. When you look at each other and share that knowing “You and I are the same”-smile, and you know that you have found a member of your Tribe.

And if my pictures have a language, it’s most likely polish. Don’t know why, but most of the people I have connected with this year are polish. Maybe I am too, just born in another country? So, dziękuję Poland!
(Honorable mentions to Russia, Croatia/Bosnia-Herzegovina and Italy).

Oh, and I’ve created a FB-page for my photography, and an Instagram account. Check them out, like, add, follow, sample, sniff, or ignore and go out and have a beer instead.

Physical changes of the Year: Got myself an absolutely-not-a-hipster beard (actually it’s more of an ambitious stubble). And got back to the jeans size I had in my teens (my secret trick? Worry too much to eat!). And still no need of reading glasses!

The Grim Reaper was on a roll. Too many people that really shouldn’t have passed away.

I’ve met a lot of people through my photography. Many of them became friends. Thank you, new friends, you really made my year. ♥

Peter Capaldi turned out to be an excellent 12th Doctor (no surprise there really). I truly enjoyed season 8 (and again identified very much with this brooding loner and madman with a blue box). And once again a lot of quotes from the show (most of them penned by Steven Moffat) felt like chapter titles from the Book of My Life. The one that resonated the most was probably “Sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose”.


Had two unexpected successes this year. One was when there was another case of victim blaming in a rape trial (“she wore sexy clothes/was drunk/had a reputation/was out late at night/etc”), and I dusted off an old satire piece I once wrote when this insanity pissed me off for the first time. In it I used the same type of victim blaming-reasoning on a bank robbery (“they wore expensive suits/everybody knows they have money there/if they don’t want to get robbed, then why do they have doors people can enter through?”). If you understand Swedish you can read the thing here. And that little satire piece got +200 000 hits in three days.
The other was when a pic I took of a rain soaked bench on a dark October evening became a Daily Deviation over at deviantART. It got almost 13 000 views, +2 000 favs and a shitload of comments. The funny thing is, it’s not even one of my personal favorites. 🙂

Hello October

My personal favorite is this. I got the phrase “If you cant keep up I’ll go alone” (a line from VERSA’s ‘Wanderlust’) stuck in my head, saw an image before me with that title, and set out to create it. Usually with all art, it never turns out as in your head (on a good day you get maybe halfway there, but mostly you just want to kill yourself and set the world on fire when you see the result), but this time it not only turned out exactly as I had imagined it, but even better! (Probably the first and last time that ever happened…)


Insights, lessons, memories and brain farts of the Year:

  • I’m partially color blind. I have to judge people by the music they listen to.
  • “We are only here briefly, and in this moment I want to allow myself joy.” (line from the movie ‘Her’)
  • I’m way too lazy to be bitter. (It’s soooo much easier to just shrug and move forward!)
  • Our mistakes help us find the persons and things that are right for us. So keep on making them!
  • My spirit animal is most likely a sleepy wombat.
  • I’m going to look at humanity as an art project. It makes way more sense that way. (Come to think of it, I probably make more sense as an art project too)
  • I want my own flag. An evil one, like the Albanian.
  • Talked to a researcher who had interviewed 1000 women about what they find attractive in a man. ‘Intelligence’ came in as no 12.
  • All the cool and awesome stuff are on the other side of fear.
  • Anagrams of ‘The meaning of life’: ‘The fine game of nil’ – ‘The engine of a film’ – ‘If no female, the gin’
  • The trouble is, you think you have time.
  • Life’s best lessons always taste a little bleurghy in the beginning, but the aftertaste is to die for.
  • You know you live in an interesting building when there’s blood spatter on the mailboxes.
  • You are never fully broken, you can always get back up again.
  • The upside to being as pale as I am, is that everyone will think that I look “so natural” at my open-casket funeral.
  • If I’d put all my FB-friends in the same room, there would be blood on the floor within 5 minutes.
  • Wait until you’re ready? That’s crazy talk!
  • Tortoises aren’t constructed to be horny on parquet floors.
  • Life is one big learning curve. First we have to learn how to crawl, walk, talk and use the bathroom. That’s the easy part. Later we have to learn not only to read, but to read between the lines and read what’s behind that smile; and not only to spell but when to say the right words and when to shut up. We have to learn how to fall in love, how to mend our broken heart and how to walk away from someone we don’t love any longer. We have to learn that the path to success is not a straight line, but more like some demented rollercoaster that you are riding backwards and in the dark. We have to learn how to keep going on when the dark tunnel never seems to end, and how not to worry about losing our happiness when we finally find it. And we have to learn how to let go, of anything and everything. Even life…


Enough of reflections. Let’s do lists and shit.

Music of the Year:
Anberlin, Betty Who, The Birthday Massacre, Broods, Devin Townsend Project, Florence + The Sphinx: Sumerian Ceremonials, iamamiwhoami, Imogen Heap, Ingrid Michaelson, Killer Be Killed, Lauren Aquilina, Machine Head, Night Terrors of 1927, Owl City, Periphery, Raunchy, Rae Morris, Slipknot, Upon A Burning Body, VERSA, Vertical Horizon.

Movies of the Year:
Her, Snowpiercer, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Edge of Tomorrow, The Babadook, The Raid 2, Guardians of the Galaxy.

TV of the Year:
Sherlock, Oddities, Helix, True Detective, Walking Dead, Hannibal, Game of Thrones, Penny Dreadful, Doctor Who, Constantine.

Books of the Year:
M.R. Carey: The Girl With All the Gifts, Hayley Campbell: The Art of Neil Gaiman, Caitlin Moran: How To Build A Girl, David Mitchell: The Bone Clocks.

Trailer of the year:
Ok, the new Star Wars-trailer was cool and exciting, but the one that made us all drop our jaws and be very very excited for 2015 was the surprisingly awesome first look at Mad Max : Fury Road. Hauntingly beautiful, really exciting, and maybe the best edited and paced movie trailer ever.


Acting of the Year (+ best scene of the Year):
Eva Green finally got to show all of her skills in the role of her life as Vanessa Ives in the brilliant show Penny Dreadful.



Listening to: Chelsea Lankes
Reading: Emily St. John Mandel: Station Eleven
Watching: Nothing
Feeling: Faith (the non-religious kind)

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