marshtide: (Mymlan)
Att springa by Maria Sveland is an incredibly depressing novel about rape, abuse and systems of power. It's a novel written with a really pretty journalistic motive, and I wouldn't say it's beautifully written, but it's really powerful social commentary. It's sometimes pretty fun along the way but in the end it's very, very bleak.

Ett nytt land utanför mitt fönster by Theodor Kallifatides is a book about being an immigrant, about language, and about how we perceive the world (and how it perceives us). It is beautifully written, with a lot of clarity and very elegant simplicity, and it says a lot of things that I've thought or felt (in fact basically all of the things I said about language on this journal recently, it turns out) but says them much more clearly. Also it's really nice to read a book by a not-so-young dude and think, when he describes relationships and how they work, "yeah, that sounds about right."


Now I zoom off to pack my bag. Giving a short talk about Swedish lit at school today as one of those "getting people to stand up and use their linguistic skillz in front of the class" things, then going to go and chill out at Val's parent's house, which is about the best place in the world for just curling up and reading for eight hours straight.
marshtide: (Mist)
We've been talking about language. I'm beginning to feel like I'm living in Swedish; I have control over my language and I think in it and I can communicate increasingly complicated ideas in it. I don't have fine control. If I'm not concentrating I use the wrong one out of present tense/infinitive fairly often. There are words I'm missing and have to talk around. Sometimes my subclauses end up with weird word order. But I have a different grasp of the language now to the one I've had before, and it's one where words stop just being words and start being big, complicated and loaded with associations.

We talked about Swedish literature. I've been reading quite a bit by modern authors, ones who aren't particularly literary, and they have quite sparse language; they just don't use many words. Mian Lodalen and Maria Sveland use so few words when you compare them with Birgitta Stenberg. If they didn't have things to say - and they do - then I wouldn't bother, basically, because there is nothing they do with language itself that's particularly exciting. The excitement has to come from characters and ideas; which is fine. But in terms of learning Swedish and feeling out the extent of it they have basically nothing to teach me. Against that, Theodor Kallifatides has heaps to teach me. For example.

Then Val said: If you want to see what the Swedish language can do, read Tranströmer.

So I did.

I am fascinated.

Tranströmer is a poet. He writes about nature a lot, but not like anyone else writes about nature.

He writes lines like, Gryningen slår och slår i havets gråstensgrindar.

And,

I en långsam virvel har tystnaden stigit
hit från jordens mitt, att slå rot och växa
och med yvig krona beskugga mannens solvarma trappa.


The texture is somehow as fascinating as the content to me right now.

(Also discussed: whether I write in English or Swedish, this experience, living in another language, will change my writing. I find that really exciting. I'm beginning to find this whole experience, with language, really genuinely exciting. Before I was just fighting to get a grip on it; now I'm learning nuances.)
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
Tove Jansson är så jävla duktig. Gud!

Hemulen vaknade långsamt och kände igen sig själv och önskade att han hade varit nån som han inte kände. Han var ännu tröttare än när han gick och lade sig och här var nu en ny dag som skulle fortsätta ändå till kvällen och sen kom det en till och en till som fortsätte på samma sätt som dagar gör när de fylls av en hemul.

Han krop under täcket och borrade in nosen i kudden, sen flyttade han magen till sängkanten där lakanet var svalt. Hemulen ägde hela sängen med utbredda armar och ben, han väntade på en trevlig dröm som inte kom. Han rullade ihop sig och gjorde sig liten men det hjälpte inte. Han försökte vara hemulen som alla tyckte om, han försökte vara den stackars hemulen som ingen tyckte om. Men han var och förblev bara en hemul som gjorde sitt bästa utan att nånting blev riktigt bra. Till slut steg han upp och drog på sig byxorna.

...

Han såg på fotografiet av honom själv och segelbåten, de hade blivit avbildade tillsammans vid sjösättningen. Det var en vacker tavla men den gjorde honom ännu mer sorgsen.

Jag borde lära mig segla, tänkte hemulen. Men jag har ju aldrig tid...

Plötsligt tyckte hemulen att allt han höll på med inte var någonting annat än att flytta saker från ett ställe till ett annat eller tala om var de skulle stå oc han undrade i ett ögonblick av klarsyn vad som skulle hända ifall han lät bli.


...november, va?
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
Yes. I'm alive.

I've just finished my first week of school with SAS, and I actually have next week off because it's autumn break (I may spend some time in Stockholm, but mostly I've decided to try and pick a project, any project, and work on it until I'm done - even if it doesn't turn out how I wanted). So: SAS. It's still pretty easy, actually.

But I like my class. It's quite small, friendly, and focused. I have a pretty good idea of who people are (although I'm not doing that well with names, which I don't have a good memory for). I have yet to feel threatened. I have had really interesting discussions with people. I'm planning to take the next round of tests as soon as possible, but also considering grabbing contact details from about half the class. I kind of wish I'd asked some people if they wanted to have coffee or something during our week off. Which I think is a good sign.

P.S. I'm giving a short talk to the class in a few weeks. On anything I like! I think the trick here will actually be to find something I can keep short enough... uhh.

P.P.S. I've been enjoying Ramp, which is a TV programme from UR about relationships, sexuality and identity. The first episode was about heterosexuality, and I'm watching the second episode now, which is about homo- & bisexuality, and then I think tonight's is going to be about transsexuality. I think I'm partly just kind of overjoyed that a programme treats heterosexuality in exactly the same way as other sexualities and identities.

& a few weeks ago this showed on TV. ("Heterophile: a heterosexual cabaret") It was on pretty late and I was too tired to follow everything - and of course it was really complicated Swedish - and I'd like to see it again to try and pick apart more of it. Some of the parts that I got were really good, while in other parts I understood the words but still couldn't follow what they were actually driving at (and want to try again with those as well). It is, of course, a lot about norms, and power, and identity.

& this is what we're doing tonight.
marshtide: (Mymlan)
I'm going back to school for an introduction to the next course on Monday, and then I begin school on Tuesday. For reasons which are not entirely clear, the introduction is on the far side of town to the actual place we'll be studying. But anyway: back to school! This course has an actual syllabus and set texts, by the way, which was not a feature of the previous one. I shall take this as a good sign.
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
Bwahahaha.

Quite, Maud.

Quite.

("Man blir utpekad och ledsen som man och heterosexuell
Och förresten, vad betyder det där heteronormativ?
Den där tjejen borde prova på att byta perspektiv"

pfffft.)

(Yes, I wish I had the mental energy to give you a translation as well.)
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
1. Yesterday afternoon I had the final part of my exam with Sfi. (I've passed, by the way. I don't know if I got a "good" or a "very good", but I definitely passed.)

Yesterday morning the school rang me to ask me if I knew when my exam was meant to be, because they had forgotten.

Yup. That's Sfi.


2. We have a kitten. He was a stray. He doesn't have a name yet and I admit I am still worrying darkly about potential health issues, but it'll go however it goes, and at least he's pretty happy and lively at the moment. Although terrified of hairdriers.

Perfectly reasonable, really.


3. I can't believe how much I want it to be the weekend considering how little I've actually had to do in terms of school etc. this week.


4. I'm having a music crisis. Why can I never remember what music I like outside of two or three obsessions at any given time? I feel somehow quite sure that my taste is more varied than this.
marshtide: (Default)
1. I'm reading Mian Lodalen's Tiger now. I have hopes! We'll see! It's also remarkably easy to read after Birgitta Stenberg... slight generational difference there. (And at some point I'll be going back to read more Victoria Benedictsson. Beware the verb forms?)

2. I wish Birgitta Stenberg's books were translated. I don't know as I'd recommend her to everyone, but there's a quite specific group of people who I firmly believe would think she was the best thing ever.

3. I'm actually pretty interested in going to take a look at this exhibit about fashion photography through time. It's there until the end of the year, so I just need to decide whether I'm paying-the-entrance-fee interested.

4. But this week I'll probably go and be nosy at this event (discussion of whether we should hate Strindberg or not! At the feminist bookshop! I've been wanting to go to something there for a while now, and I have a free bus card to stockholm that lasts until Friday, so the timing is good. There's another thing on Friday but it involves cake and, well, me and cake...). Watch me attempt to leave the house sometimes and venture forth into definitely Swedish-speaking environments. Ones where I'm not familiar with how the people involved talk already, I mean. ...yes, I know I don't pick easy-to-understand situations.
marshtide: (Parkvakten)
Berglins-sd

(från igårs Svenska Dagbladet.)
marshtide: (Mymlan)
listorna

Entropin ska inte vinna den här gången! För nu har jag LISTOR!

--men seriöst, den här är nånting som läkaren sa att jag borde göra. Bestämmer hur jag ska organisera dagarna, skriver en lista och gör som jag har planerat så mycket som möjligt. Det har jag gjort innan och det hjälpte ganska mycket, så nu prövar jag igen.

På den röda listan står vardagliga saker, som ge lite struktur. Jag skriver ner också allting jag vill/måste göra - annars glömmer jag mycket och senare får ångest.

(Jaaaaaaaa, jag skriver skitdåligt på svenska, och jag bryr mig inte om det heller. Idag skiter jag i grammatiken. :D)
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
Sofi Oksanen - Baby Jane
Mian Londalen - Tiger
Nina Björk - Under det rosa täcket
Maria Sveland - Bitterfittan
Tove Jansson - Anteckningar från en ö (illustrerad av Tuulikki Pietilä)

& I'm reading Birgitta Stenberg's Kärlek i europa (Love in Europe) now.

Mian Londalen and Maria Sveland were guests on this week's Babel and sounded well worth a look; they were talking about feminism and someone recommended Nina Björk (feminist writer) at some stage, Sofi Oksanen is in next week's episode which reminded Val to tell me to read her, and Tove Jansson is of course my hero.

P.S. Why does my history teacher from high school want to be friends on facebook? So she can throw sheep at me for all those times I talked back in class and didn't do my homework...? Slightly weirded out now.

Mina öar

Sep. 14th, 2010 06:29 pm
marshtide: (Default)
1. I've just finished Mina öar. Other than me, one person on LibraryThing has read it. And I live with that person.

Aren't we just such special fucking snowflakes. ♥

Anyway, Birgitta Stenberg. She's pretty cool, I think. If people have read her books even in Swedish they're probably the ones about her earlier life - which I haven't read about yet but I gather involved lots of sex and drugs in various parts of Europe. This book is about her later life on an island off the west coast of Sweden, Åstol. Mostly there's local in-fighting and fishermen who talk about god a lot, but I was thoroughly engaged. (I also recognised quite a bit of it. Different small community, some of the same things...)

Random:

Några år senare hade vi hittat en annan båt, R-yachten, som gjorde oss yra av gladje. Lholo sålde vi till en tändläkare som berättade att han tänkte kalla den Dentina. Vi nickade bifall, mycket nöjda med att han inte var gynekolog.


...indeed. (They got a new boat, so they sold the old one. To a dentist! Who said he thought he would call it Dentina! They are very glad that he isn't a gynecologist. As I think we all should be.)



2. My exam is Probably Almost Definitely next Wednesday. I did practice tests last week and got them back today: almost perfect on everything but the writing, which was... you know, OK for SFI. I would say you have no idea how much it pains me to write those words, but I believe many of you have a comprehensive understanding, actually. I can definitely write better but then again I'd never written a formal letter before. Or been told how to write one.

I would really like to be done with SFI now so I can move on to being stressed over the next stage, possibly in a new locale!

I keep thinking that I should post in Swedish sometimes.

Then I get scared and run away from the idea.
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
I'm really enjoying Birgitta Stenberg, although the book in question contains a lot of sailing and weather related words which are thoroughly specialised and need looking up, because seriously, I have not yet learnt the Swedish words west-coast fishermen use to talk about different types of wind. (Obviously a great failing of Sfi.) But she's both really interesting and really funny, and I recognise the sort of community she describes.


Yesterday our main teacher took me aside and said that she thought I should take the national test soon. I sort of freaked out at that point and my brain just went into a loop of "me! test! now? me? test! test?? now??? me?!" so I am actually not entirely clear on when. Possibly next week, or in a couple of weeks, or something like that. I'll seek clarification today. It is, in any case, soon enough that I've been shifted to doing test papers in class instead of the regular stuff, which means I am spared further political debate for the moment.

There is an up-side to this, which is basically that Sfi is too easy for me, and I'd been resigned to being vaguely bored and getting as much listening and speaking practice in as possible over the next few months until I could take the test; the next level should be more appropriate.

There is a possible downside to this too though: I'd hoped to get a work placement with the library via Sfi, and there obviously isn't time now. I'm going to have to ask if I can still get that sort of placement with the next level of education (SAS, svenska som andra språk, swedish as a second language), because otherwise, the only other way to get any such thing is via the jobcentre.

And jumping through the jobcentre's hoops is a whole world of OH GOD NO.

I really want that placement though!
marshtide: (Default)
Actually, I'm on my way to bed, but I just have to leave this here. Dear Swedish-speakers in the audience, I present to you my favourite song this five minutes, written and performed by Maud Lindström, love-critical bisexual feminist singer, writer and poet:

Fröken Normal - Maud Lindström

You're welcome.

(Well, non-Swedish-speakers are welcome as well, but seeing as I love it pretty much completely for the lyrics, you know...)
marshtide: (Default)
10 months ago I read, with great difficult & a lot of help from Val, a short Swedish picture-book called Nasse hittar en stol ("Nasse finds a chair", where "Nasse" means "piglet" but is in this case the name of a bear. I clearly picked a completely straightforward starting point...). In it, Nasse finds a chair and tries to work out what it is and what to do with it. Hilarity ensues.

Over the last week I read Resa med lätt bagage by Tove Jansson ("Travelling Light" is the offical English title; it's just been released in English, possibly for the first time, if I remember right.), which is a fairly slim book of short stories but one definitely aimed at adults. I'd read a couple of stories from this volume before in English - the title story, and another called "Correspondence" - and thoroughly enjoyed them; I enjoyed quite a bit of the rest of the book as well, and one story randomly tripped me over into some kind of panic, and some stories I should probably read again to get more of the nuance. Tove is writing here about freedom and responsibility; being away and being at home and being in between places; things we carry with us. Enjoyed, though I'd still give people Sommarboken/The Summer Book & Rent spel/Fair Play to read for preference. Though several of Tove Jansson's books for adults do take the form of short stories - all three mentioned here qualify - The Summer Book and Fair Play are also single coherent works which focus on one pair of characters each, and I think of them more as novels than as short stories, whereas Travelling Light has a much looser theme. The stories aren't connected together in the same way, so I would talk about loving individual stories from it rather than loving it as a whole book.


Which was a rather long-winded way of reminding myself that I've come some way.

LibraryThing is providing some kind of map of my progress through the Swedish language (though I've a sneaking suspicion I've left one or two things off; notably, I've been reading quite a bit of manga in Swedish and for some reason I've never put manga on my librarything account - not sure why).



(& note to self, while I'm still on books: following a conversation a while ago on [personal profile] cimorene's journal and a Tiger Beatdown post which felt like it had missed the mark by several thousand miles for me I am pretty sure I'll be reading the Millennium Trilogy in Swedish soon, for compare-and-contrast fun. Since I hear there are meant to be problems with the English translation and am now wondering exactly which bits don't match up. Curiosity. I has it.)



Lately I've been having this odd feeling that I've hit some kind of a block with Swedish. No-one else seems to feel like this is true, & I'm told I'm using a lot of new words all the time and that my grammar is improving constantly as well. I'm trying to work out where, then, the feeling is coming from. I think my best theory is that all the new stuff I'm saying I've been able to understand for a while already, so being able to say it is a kind of progress that hardly registers; it just feels like something I "should" have been able to do already. Which is ridiculous; the gap between what one can understand and what one can use can be huge, and making progress in that respect is really important. I suppose it's harder for me to measure myself, though.

Also, the more you know the more you are aware of how much you get wrong. *g* I think that I have a reasonable understanding of grammar in principal now, but relatively poor practical application. So there's that; I can hear myself speaking incorrectly. It takes other people pointing out how I can do x now when I couldn't before for me to go "Oh! I see! Cool!"

Positive self-awareness has never been my strongest point, though I'm pretty good at awareness of my failings. (Stop laughing.)

Language

Aug. 13th, 2010 08:06 am
marshtide: (Default)
Sfi has changed over the summer. This is basically a product of a government decision that it should take a limited number of hours of teaching to pass Sfi. I have no idea how this is going to work out overall, to be honest, but it's definitely picked up the pace of the teaching.

For new arrivals, there are two terms of teaching allotted. For us my group, which is the highest covered by Sfi, they would prefer it if we were finished and out by Christmas. (My plan had been to ask to take the proficiency test when the next round came up, which would have been in November, so basically no change.)

The previous system was, essentially, that passing the course could take as long as it needed to take. There are people in my group who have been in it for several years, and Sfi at its worst definitely has a reputation for inconsistent teaching and a lack of progress as people constantly leave and join the class. I think how I actually feel about this whole thing may depend on what the provisions are for people who can't learn fast, though. For me, it's good to feel like we're going somewhere. But!


Anyway, we're writing out our goals over the weekend, apparently, and what we plan to do to be ready before Christmas, and what we need help with. What do I need help with? Grammar, mostly, I suppose. Grammar and building a more varied vocabulary. I'm doing really quite a lot to study already (novels from YA upwards, although not too far upwards! other books! svenska dagbladet! TV when I can find anything on! talking Swedish at home! Lurking on forums! Trying to remember to e-mail Val in Swedish instead of English when I need to ask a question about grocery shopping or something during the day! Music! Films!), though one can always do more. I should probably write more, for a start, because it's a bit easier to think about (and be corrected on) grammar when one's writing than when one's talking. I talk a lot, but not very correctly.

Thinking about other angles of attack, anyway! I know I keep meaning to listen to the radio. Oops.

Pride!

Jul. 28th, 2010 07:16 pm
marshtide: (Default)
We're going to pride tomorrow! We were going to go today as well and do kids stuff with J, but following the terrible week of illness and grumpiness we decided we were way too behind on packing for our holiday to the UK (leaving on Friday) and way too low on energy and had to pass. But tomorrow we've got day-tickets for the two of us lined up and we're going to make the most of them, I hope!

Things I've spotted so far:

Uniformer, normer och makt (Sjöhistoriska museet) (Stuff about uniforms at the maritime museum)

Rosa bibliotek (Stockholm stadsbibliotek) (Queer lit)

Queervisning (Armé museet) (Army museum does pride)

Vasa goes queer (Vasa museet) (Vasa as in the Boat What Sank In The Most Embarrassing Manner Possible. Not the king.)

Kan man vara mer hetero än kungen? (Livrustkammaren) (THIS is about kings, though.)

...

Theme? What theme?

You might very well think that. I couldn't possibly comment.
marshtide: (Default)
Då blev det sommar.

SA400558

SA400556

SA400559


Now people stay and swim at the lake well into the evening. We've been down there most days, just to sit around in the shade and let J play.

Böcker

Jul. 8th, 2010 12:14 pm
marshtide: (Default)
Jag läser:

- Loranga, Masarin & Dartanjang av Barbro Lindgren
- Agnes Cecilia - en sällsam historia av Maria Gripe

...helt olika böcker.

Agnes Cecilia are kanske lite svårt (men jag förstår ganska mycket i alla fall). Loranga är lättare, men jättekonstigt. (Just nu har giraffen ätit sängarna. JAG VET INTE. [personal profile] valborg säger, "it's a special special snowflake, that book." Ja. Precis.)

(No, I don't write in Swedish very often. But I need to! Oh how I need to. Baby steps, right? And that thing about not worrying so much about making mistakes is relevant here as well. One of the main frustrations is understanding a word in context when it's used at one, but not enough of its precise connotations to deploy it oneself, which leaves me with a tiny vocabulary. These things will come, though.)
marshtide: (Default)
1. When I saw my doctor last week she took me to task for not believing in my own point of view, emotions, ideas. It's true; I absolutely don't. It makes it hard to speak, post, write, decide what to have for dinner. I am saying this out loud, again, because I need to tell myself, again (and again and again and again), that it's a perception error, not reality, that I have no worth & nothing to say.

Not being the most talented person in the world is not the same as being worthless. Being wrong is not a disaster. Food is not out to get me.* I'm definitely allowed to post in my own space about things I don't think other people will be very interested in; "I wanted to say it" is a reason sometimes & being boring isn't actually a crime. Not everything has to be perfect. Producing imperfect results doesn't mean I'm a terrible human being. Maybe I'm really not a good writer like wot my brain tells me so often, but if so, that doesn't mean I have nothing to offer anyone at all.

* except assorted grains, which totally are.


2. Isen på Riddarfjärden
smäller som gevär
Blåljus vid Tegelbacken
Våren är här
Du står i spegelsalen
med ett brännbollsträ
Där ute väntar natten
på att stan ska implodera


I'm kind of fascinated.

("The ice on Riddarfjärden
cracks like guns
Blue lights at Tegelbacken
The spring is here
You stand in the hall of mirrors
with a rounders bat
Out there the night waits
for the city to implode"

... or something like that. I think.)

(There! This is boring and totally pointless because I refuse to elaborate at this time on why I find it interesting and I'M POSTING IT ANYWAY. Take THAT, brain!)


3. My writing process right now:

On Monday, I opened a word document. I wrote five words.

On Tuesday I turned the five words into an actual sentence by the cunning addition of punctuation, and added a second sentence. I got annoyed, opened a new word document and made notes on something completely different.

Today I went back to the first document and changed around a few things in the first two sentences, turned them into a paragraph, and began working on a second paragraph. It was about then that my subconscious realised what it was letting me get away with and decided that the sky must be about to fall.

I do wish it wouldn't do that.

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marshtide: (Default)
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