Reflections

Why it is important to choose your dining companions with care

My sister shared an interesting little story with me about a well-travelled man who decided to drop in on a tribe of cannibals – not my first choice of people I’d like to have dinner with, let me tell you. Apparently, the first major hurdle in getting to Cannibal Land was to find someone to …

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A century of change

My grandfather was born in 1906. At the time, Sweden was not exactly the welfare state it would one day become—not so strange, seeing as the concept of a welfare state had as yet not seen the light of the day. Like in most European countries, Swedish society in the early 20th century was divided …

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Ring out the old, ring in the new – YES PLEASE!!!!

New Year’s Eve is a date imbued with hope. It is also host to a variety of traditions, all of them meant to ensure a happy future—or at least give us a glimpse of what is to come. Eating twelve grapes at midnight is one of those “let us hope things go well next year” …

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The bride wore white for the first time ever. Meet a15th century trendsetter

Quite some time ago, I wrote about Margareta of Denmark, a rather impressive woman who ended up as the de facto ruler of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. When Margareta died in 1412, her adopted son Erik of Pommerania took over the reins of government, and I suspect this thirty-year-old man was more than thrilled to be …

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When my imaginary taskmasker wields the whip – a post about inspiration and discipline

“No inspiration,” I sometimes sigh, while staring at the screen which remains enervatingly blank. And yes, inspiration is a must when it comes to writing—if nothing else as the igniting spark—but there’s another component which is just as important: discipline. “Of course,” my very own muse, Ms Inspiration says. For the day, she’s wearing a …

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Schools, songs and epidemics – a mental ramble

In 1842, Sweden implemented seven years of mandatory schooling for all children, no matter social background. Prior to that, a relatively large percentage of the Swedish population was analphabetic, this despite the fact that the Lutheran religion advocated that people knew how to read and write so as to properly study and appreciate the word …

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Of emotional wrecks and other writing hazards

“Do writers in general suffer from low self-confidence?” hubby asked me the other day. Hmm. I would not describe myself as low on confidence. Low on self-esteem, yes, but that’s another matter. Or maybe it isn’t, because if your self-esteem is a bit shaky you become vulnerable as to what other people think of you—and …

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Onwards and upwards on the greatest adventure of all

It’s the end of a decade. (And yes, you are excused if that opening sentence has you humming a certain ABBA song.) Soon, we’ll have survived two decades of the new century, of the third millennium. I remember thinking back in 1999 that here I was, mother of four and borderline middle-aged entering a new, …

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Of ancient sprites and how to bribe them

Midvinternattens köld är hård Stjärnorna gnistra och glimma Alla sova i enslig gård Djupt under midnattstimma Månen vandrar sin tysta ban Snön lyser vit på fur och gran Snön ligger vit på taken Endast tomten är vaken Right: How many readers are still with me after that opening, hey? Now and then, though, I must …

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This little light of mine – reflections on a dark November day

Once upon a time, our very, very ancient ancestors sat huddled in the relative safety of their cave and stared out at the dark outside. It was just as dark inside—and cold. Until some bright person discovered how to make fire. I suspect it was more a case of “look, look, that bush is on …

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