Sunday, July 14, 2013

My life as cycles (III)

  My life as cycles (II)

  The next cycle was from 1997 and four years ahead.
  I inherited the house and the property and decided to make an attempt at keeping it. It needed a lot of fixing, of work and money, but my stubborn streak prevailed.
  So, I became a businessman…
  Like earlier, with the vacuum cleaners I realized that I was good at it. We sold books, music and comics, and I think I sold far more of our products than most others would have done.
  But it still wasn't enough. I realized that I was only good at the art of selling, not at business. We never actually went bankrupt, but we didn't really earn much money on it and discontinued the company.
  I spent most of the year outdoors in 2000, in order to do research for my novel Thunder Road: Ice and Fire. It was an amazing experience. I had always enjoyed spending time in nature, in the forest, but that segmented it. I found that I could survive, almost without help from civilization at all, and in a place where there is very little game left. I mostly fed on roots and herbs and the occasional, rare visit to the local grocery store. I spent eight months outside from March to November, writing on an old laptop and carrying lots of batteries.
  The first year I did it because of research. The next I did it because I had to. There was not much money left, not even to pay for electricity. I lost myself in the forest, and it hardly felt bad at all, but on the contrary like the right, the perfect thing to do. Even if I started out fairly unskilled I still managed. That tells me all of us can do so, if we put our minds to it.
  One «break» from that, one more highlight, was when I sneaked onboard the train to Gothenburg without paying and participated in the protests, the «riots» (mainstream media strikes again). We activists had a shared experience there, with a value that can hardly be measured.
  I sold the house and the property not long after my return. The sale was finalized in October. I traveled to London to find a place to stay, but the prices had increased so much in the eight years since I had lived there that living there and paying for an apartment was totally unfeasible. So, I returned to Norway and moved in with a friend, until I found a place to live three weeks later.
  I had started playing poker in earnest, on the web during that time. My first small wins were in August, even though it wasn't sufficient, even close at being sufficient as a living.
  My new, rented place felt strange at first, but I quickly made it my own and found the nearby forest and mountains to roam. I found myself fairly wealthy, even though I knew my small fortune wouldn't last that long if I didn't add to it.
  The next cycle lasted from that moment until December 2003 or perhaps February 2004.
  Three things struck me more or less simultaneously: The digital age had come and I could publish my books fairly inexpensive. I could travel, travel the world. And I could play poker at a fairly high level.
  And I did. I began my travels across the world in late December, making preparations for the publication of the Norwegian edition of Dreams Belong to the Night. And I played poker, live poker and on the web, where an entire new world created itself for us all.
  Two old and «renowned» British betting companies wanted in on the emerging poker craze and sent out words to their customers, imploring them to join in. In what I and friends call the New Klondike there was an enormous influx of new poker players both online and offline… that couldn't play poker. In the period of January to April 2002 I won approximately $150.000. You just had to sit down by a table and chips (and thereby money) would literally flow your way.
  I published my novel and began my Journey across the Earth, one that should, with a few breaks and interruptions last two years.
  It was definitely the best part of my life so far. It suddenly struck me: I had, through time and patience achieved all the goals I had set for myself when I was twenty. It was so beyond satisfying all of it. Sitting there with my published novels in my hands, all the great places I visited and experiences I enjoyed. This was indeed the life I had envisioned for myself when I was twenty.
  I basically made two important mistakes. I wanted to publish my book before leaving Norway, but in the digital age I should have realized that I could have published it from Antarctica and it wouldn't matter. So I didn't move my base of operations, so to speak, which would clearly have been beneficial later. And I presumed the New Klondyke would last forever, which was stupid, of course. It wasn't like I threw away money. Compared to how others would have spent it I was quite modest, like I have always been.
  But I still ended up suffering from what should have been a predictable situation. New Klondyke ended. The really bad players didn't have more money left to play with and the rest got better, improved their game. Things evened out. Nothing lasts forever. Even though I could travel around the world and play poker with a solid profit I couldn't win enough to cover all my expenses and still keep playing poker on the level I needed.
  So I decided to stay in Norway for a while and play only online. I kept winning but not enough. So, I scaled it down more, with only about $10.000 left.
  In a way I was fortunate. I still had money left. Many I know ended up with large debt, while I ended up with $10.000 to spare, if you will.
  Two years, seven-hundred-and-thirty days where I basically lived out my dreams.
  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
  And I keep living out my dreams, just at a smaller scale, even as I keep trying, in various ways to return to the bigger. I keep telling myself, either true or false that the best is still ahead of me, and my persistence and stubbornness and hunger for life keep bringing me great moments.
  I ended up living on welfare from February 2004 to August 2005. During that period I didn't visit the local town at all. I couldn't afford the bus fare… I bought lots of food each time I did my foraging and filled the fridge, so I wouldn't need to forage often. I couldn't afford to go job hunting, except on the Internet, since I didn't have money for the bus fare. So, except for long excursions into the forest I mostly stayed at home.
  In May 2005 I did manage to fit in a London trip. The airplane fare had become so inexpensive that even I could afford it or at least make myself afford it. It lasted only forty-eight hours, but it felt like a lifetime. I couldn't afford to pay for a hotel room the second night, so I didn't sleep at all the last period of darkness, but enjoyed the London night all the more because of it. I wasn't tired at all, and all of it felt like a miracle.
  What I did do during those eighteen months was writing, writing more than I had ever done, before or since, about five hundred thousand words. I wrote on new stuff and I translated, rewrote and expanded on my first novel The Defenseless, the one I had started on when I was twelve.
  When I finally got a job and returned to town in August the town actually looked different, looked changed and actually was. Many things improved. I no longer needed to be afraid that I wouldn't have money left for food at the end of the month. With more money to spend I could play poker at a higher level again and win more.
  I was fearful that working, even though I didn't work fulltime would affect my writing negatively, but it didn't. I realized then, if not before that nothing could or can. I will always write, no matter my economic circumstances.
  The next time I traveled to London I did so in style and stayed for a week. I slept sixteen hours the first night there, exhausted from too much working, no longer working part time, but fulltime plus, 1.5 day. Instead of the usual 28 hour week I worked twice that. It was only work, eat and sleep for a while. I kept writing (in my sleep), though.
  In August 2008, after months of problems I had what amounted to a physical and «mental» breakdown. My neck and mind just said stop. No more work for me. I was on sick leave, while undergoing treatment for my physical ailment, my poor neck and recharging my empty batteries of spirit. I had a rather well-filled bank account once more and that felt good when I was recovering. I suddenly found myself with lots of free time again, which at the time actually felt strange, alien to me. I, who had been a stranger to ordinary work for most of my life and wished it so, had been working nonstop for three years. No wonder I was down and out.
  I tried returning to work the next summer, but I was unable to work more than one day each week. Then the company closed down its local branch and I was unemployed again. I have been on disability support ever since. I have undergone five different treatments, to no avail. My neck is permanently fucked.
  But that free time was not wasted. I used it, as I always attempt to turn a bad situation to an advantage. My novels had been pretty much ready for publication since 2006, but at the time I had neither the time nor the necessary enthusiasm to get on with it. Now, I did. In spring 2010 I had The Defenseless ready. It was published July 21. Your Own Fate followed a month later. Eight more would follow in the next two years and three months.
  I am self publishing. Twenty years earlier I had become pretty much convinced that no established publisher would ever publish my books, not the way I wanted them to be. Not long after that I decided I no longer wanted any established publisher to touch my novels with anything (not even gloves). I didn't know how I would be able to publish my books then. I only knew that I would.
  The digital age came and progressed and now traditional publishers have become obsolete. They haven’t quite realized it yet, perhaps, but they have. Anybody can publish whatever they want today without kneeling before the landlord, and I love that, of course. And I do.
  I haven’t become wealthy during those three years (and that has never been my primary objective either), but the possibility that I will actually earn money on my art is always present. And it feels great to know that they’re out there, for people to procure and read, and will probably be for as long as I live.
  And the digital age has brought more wonders, more possibilities for me to fulfill age-old dreams. Filming and music have also become inexpensive to make and publish. I am on it.
  And it does feel great to be alive. In December last year I was diagnosed with cancer in a mole I had had removed. In close to two months after that I didn't know if one of the deadliest cancer types in existence had spread (ninety percent mortality rate), but it hadn't. So far there has been no sign of anything resembling a reoccurrence, which is always a possibility, though slim, I’m told. I have written more during these seven months than I have ever done before during the same amount of time. My creativity works like that. It can draw inspiration from anything.
  Life, in spite of the many snags remains beyond interesting and wonderful.

  «He who isn't busy being born is busy dying» - Bob Dylan

  I've been arranging or participating in witchnights annually or several times a year in quite a few countries since 1988. One of my more memorable travels was also Europe by train in the spring of 1997 and a beyond memorable poker game between Berlin and Amsterdam, where I cleaned the table completely. I have participated in numerous protests around the world, including the anarchist conference «Ten nights that shook the world» in London in October 1994 and the «anti-globalization» protests in Gothenburg in 2001, where the police shot and killed a protester without the slightest provocation. I have taken LSD eight times in my life and at least five of them were memorable, one beyond what any words can describe. Both here and out there, in the whirlwind I've encountered and befriended countless interesting people, witches, rebels and other players in the night, most of them more or less in opposition to everything modern society is about. If I should mention one person it would have to be Dorothy. She showed me more than anyone else what life is about and we shared everything that is to share. We met briefly in eternity, met again some time later, easily rekindling our passion and then went our separate ways without regret.
  My reincarnation dreams began early, in my teens, but I didn't understand their significance until much later, but when I did an entire new and bigger world opened up to me. The discoveries that I was a witch and shaman had similar effects, of course. My eyes, my consciousness remain open, far beyond any narrow chinks of your cavern.
  Yes, in spite of necessary and wonderful contemplative moments life is a rollercoaster ride of some kind or/and it should be…
  I feel alive, so very much alive.

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