Samuel Bjork on Writing

Samuel Bjork on Writing

A few weeks later, in Norwegian class, in my little remote village, closed in by the dark forests, far away from the world and everything, my secret was discovered. My eight-een page story about a little boy who at night could turn into anything he wanted, was read aloud in the class. My teacher looked at me in a very strange way. There was something in his eyes, almost puzzled, like he wanted to say, you are only eleven years old, and you wrote this? I was so proud. I felt such joy. But then I looked around in my class, and they were all staring at me with very strange faces. It was like they were saying: Who are you? Next playtime – soccer of course – and for the first time I wasn’t picked for any team. And on that day, at eleven years old, I learnt my first life lesson: I had discovered this beautiful secret. But I didn’t want to be different. I had to keep it to myself.

So I did.

Twenty two years later, I found myself at an airport in Berlin. I had just finished an artist in residency stint. I really should have been grateful. But I wasn’t. I felt unrest. There was something wrong, like I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. At the time I had written two novels. My songs were played on national radio. I had written five plays, two of them shown at The National Theatre. I had been asked to translate Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but still I wasn’t happy.

So, at this Berlin airport while waiting for my plane, I went to the bookstore. I must say at this point that I had not read a lot of crime novels. But I decided to give it a try. I was tired. I wanted something exciting that could accompany me home on the plane and entertain me. So in this Berlin airport, I picked up a book with the words: New York Times Bestseller, on it. Has to be good, I thought. But I was wrong. The book was boring. None of the characters interested me, I had the plot figured out early and I found myself flicking through, waiting for a point that would catch my intention, but to my disappointment it never happened. And then, landing at my remote airport in Trondheim, Norway, the centre of nothing, waiting for the airport bus, I suddenly had an epiphany.

What if?

So.

I began.

And to be honest, it was almost like it was meant to be.

Mia.

Holger.

The dead girls.

The darkness in our lives, and the security of trusting that there will be always someone there to help us, when we need it.

This is how I started.

And this what I am still doing.

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