On April 28 this year I will have a forty years anniversary as an author. Yes, I started early, on the night when I turned twelve.
I had written a few bungling short stories as school projects earlier, but that was more duty than need and pleasure, even though the desire to create stories clearly was present. The storyteller was there from the start, but discouraged by everyone it was fading, turning immaterial.
Then, there it was, the shell-setting event.
On the night I turned twelve I dreamed the entire Janus Clan story, from start to finish, a beyond vivid dream so very different from everyone I had experienced to that point.
The next night it repeated itself, even clearer, more detailed. I started jotting down notes, page after page after page. On the third night the dream repeated itself again, and I kept doing the notes.
I had loved reading from an early age. My father started reading Donald Duck to me when I was two. When I was three I could read it on my own. I started reading novels early, starting out with children’s books, of course, but quickly growing beyond them. The desire to write was there early as well, but, as stated, with no encouragement from my surroundings it didn't really manifest itself.
But after those three nights of intense dreaming and during the following weeks I knew I wanted to be a writer. It wasn't exactly the bolt of lightning from the blue (or night) I describe here, but more gradual.
Something that grew stronger, more powerful the older I became.
But the dream was clearly that before mentioned shell-setting event. My imagination had always been there, rich in content, but not such organized clarity.
I didn't write much at first, because I didn't really know how. Progress was staggeringly slow. The fact that the story was so extensive, so vast in scope made my inexperience even harder to deal with.
It was about a group of people suffering from persecution. They walked on and fought on, through snow and rain and flood and strife. There were no cities at first, then there was and then there were many. The story clearly stretched across centuries and millennia. I didn't know where to even begin telling it. I had always been interested in history, both at school and outside, but this was beyond me. At first my entry point was the old west, probably because I had read quite a few westerns, so I had some initial knowledge of the era.
But it didn't feel right to me, so I quickly abandoned that, and decided to write the story from what was then my present. That first «draft» was about 50 000 words and took me four years to complete. Then, displeased with that bungling version I started again, from scratch. I chose, right from the start to do my own stuff instead of doing establishment propaganda. When I stayed up late at night during high school it wasn't to do homework, but far more interesting and important things.
There have been some modifications to the original three-night dream, some additions and subtractions, but it is the same story I experienced and envisioned the night I turned twelve. I know more, now, about life and everything than I did then, but the basics remain.
Forty years. Sometimes during that long and brief time I became a writer, and the Janus Clan came to life. I’m still only halfway through their story, but I’m getting there, and hope for at least forty more years of writing, of course.