Monthly Archives: December 2012

Juldagen

IMG_2011

Christmas day 2012. Now what Instagram filter should I use on this photo?

Du bor på en ganska liten ort, där alla känner alla. Du vet, en sådan där Lagom Stor Stad, där man hälsar på grannen ute på gatan, vet vems katt som smyger förbi ute i trädgården och när du går till butiken vet du vad tanten i bröddisken heter i både för- och efternamn. Det är tryggt.

Eller snarare “du bodde”. För du har flyttat från den här staden för ett tag sen, efter att du gick ut gymnasiet. Nu är det julhelg och alla bortflyttade tar paus i sina liv på annan ort och styr kosan hem mot föräldrahemmet igen, för att fira jul med nära och kära. Så även du. Du längtar efter att träffa dina barndomsvänner igen. Ditt Gäng. Dom som känner dig utan och innan. Någon har backpackat i Australien, någon har luffat runt i Thailand, en har börjar studera i Åbo och någon bor ihop med sin pojkvän (du aldrig minns namnet på) och pluggar (något du aldrig minns vad det heter) någonstans i närheten av Stockholm. Det är först när du träffar dem du inser hur mycket du verkligen saknat dem.

Så kommer juldagen. Julafton och Kalle Anka är avklarad, resterna av julbordet ihopskrapat och satta i Tupperwareburkar i kylskåpet, resten av skinkan inplastad. Familjen ligger i koma efter att ha plundrat ännu en Aladdinask framför TV:n.

Av någon outgrundlig anledning ska man ut och festa den 25:e december. Ingen vet riktigt varför, men det ska man. Så är det. Dina föräldrar tittar på dig och muttrar om att “på min tid skulle man tänka på Jesus på juldagen, då fick man smörj om man inte var allvarlig och ledsen hela dagen”. Du och ditt kompisgäng bestämmer er för att träffas hos den som bor närmast Stadens Nöjeskvarter. Det är dags för glögg och förfest, för att prata om allt som hänt under ett år, för att sen gå ut tillsammans.

Det är underbart att se dina vänner igen, ni skrattar, pratar och hälsar på alla nya Plus Ett som följt med dina kompisar till Staden den här julen. Plus Ettorna försöker hänga med i era internskämt, de skrattar lite nervöst, du ler och försöker få dem att känna sig hemma. Du minns hur mycket du saknat dina vänner, tänker “tusan vad jag saknar tiden vi gick i skolan och fick umgås varje dag”. Nostalgin biter till. Du dricker lite för mycket ljummen glögg och vet vad som väntar, tittar på mandlarna längst ner i koppen. Klockan närmar sig midnatt och hälften av gänget vill gå, hälften vill fortsätta hemmafesten en liten stund till. Ni har blivit för högljudda och värden påpekar att grannarna kanske sover. Du vet att ni måste gå NU om ni ska ha en chans att bli insläppta innan kön utanför utestället (låt oss kallad det “Arken”) sträcker sig ända till stadens Badstrand.

Du väntar medan hälften av gänget bättrar på läppglansen, någon frågar efter en iPhoneladdare, vems är handväskan som ligger på golvet? Ni leder era cyklar mot Arken. Det är halt och kallt, underkylt regn faller från en grå himmel och december visar tänderna. Du känner vinden dra genom dina strumpbyxor och ber tyst att kön inte är för lång, men du vet att just nu beger sig allt mellan 18 och 35 till Arken. Folkvandring. Lämmeltåg. Ni stannar vid en bankomat och plockar ut pengar, ett gäng fotbollskillar står och sjunger fyllesånger och tömmer det sista ur sina ölburkar.

Och så står ni där och trängs utanför insläppet. Kön är så klart rekordlång i år. Igen. Hur är det ens möjligt, undrar du. Hälften av dina vänner vill gå till Det Andra Stället (låt oss kalla det “Indigo”), för att “kolla vem som är där”, men du vill bara in i värmen, du darrar som en sån där liten hund bloggare brukar ha i handväskan. Du huttrar i din alldeles för tunna klänning, ser gamla klasskompisar bakom dig i kön, en kille du tror du hånglat med ett lågstadiedisko, framför dig. Burkar av Koff och Karhu ligger strösslade i snödrivorna. Någon slirar förbi på vägen i sin pimppade Volvo, spelar techno från 2002 och tutar på 18-åringarna som stapplar förbi på vingliga klackar.

Och så står man där, svär över att “hur tusan kan de ta 20 € för inträde till  Arken i år igen? Det är ju helt sjukt, i Stockholm skulle det här aldrig fungera. Skandal.” Men du pungar lydigt ut med din hårt förvärvade slantar, och stiger in i värmen. Här någonstans tappar du magiskt bort hälften av sitt gäng. Du vet vad som gäller. This Is The Night. Det är det här alla väntat på. Nu är alla tillbaka i Staden igen, nu gäller det att visa upp sig från sin bästa sida. Alla du träffar har klätt upp sig till tänderna. Time to shine, baby. Det är dags att visa exakt hur lyckad, cool och världsvan du blivit sen du gick ut högstadiet eller gymnasiet. Alla vet det. Det är de snyggaste klänningarna från H&M och Kapp Ahl som gäller, de där klackarna som egentligen är alldeles för höga för att du ska kunna gå bekvämt, det är smycken som egentligen var inne förra våren och lite för mycket ögonskugga, lite för desperat röda läppar. Paniken lyser i deras ögon, men dämpas effektiv av några shots vid bardisken. De bara råkar nämna hur de “rest på jordenruntresa för att hitta sig själva”, och Gud nåde om du själv jobbat på Shell det senaste året. De lägger huvudet på sned och säger “jahaaaaa” medan de ler, men du ser att i deras ögon lyser en lättnad. Lättade över att de inte är en sådan där som blev kvar i Staden efter skolan. I deras ögon står “LOSER” skrivet. Coolast jobb vinner. Häftigast är den som tagit sig längst bort från Staden.

Du börjar svettas och känner dig lite olustig. Från dansgolvet hörs RixFM:s senaste. Du vet inte riktigt hur du ska göra, ska du hälsa på de där människorna som står längre fram på dansgolvet? Ni gick ju ändå gymnasiet tillsammans, men du är osäker, så när de tittar åt ditt håll låtsas du inte se, väntar på att de ska ta första steget och hälsa. Du sticker in på toaletten för att få lite andrum. Möts av en flock tjejer som står och putar mot sin egen spegelbild, försöker göra korta kjolar lite längre genom att dra i dem, vänder sig mot spegeln och övar på sin bästa sängkammarblick. Du tänker “kollar de verkligen leg på alla? De där tjejerna kan ju inte vara äldre än 16?”. Du minns för några sekunder den där sommaren när alla i ditt gäng fyllde 18. Hur ni gick ut tre dagar i veckan, låg på stranden och solade på dagarna, dansade de ljumma nätterna. Drog och nakenbadade nere i Hamnen när Arken stängde. Tillbaka till nutiden och verkligheten. Några tar egobilder med sina iPhones framför spegelväggarna, applicerar noga utvalda Instagramfilter. Det vet du, för du kommer se dem i din Facebookfeed imorgon. Du undrar om ni borde hälsa, ni är ju trots allt vänner på Facebook? De känner inte igen dig när era blickar möts ovanför handfatet.

Någonstans här börjar du sakna förfesten och dina vänner. Du vet att det kommer ta lång tid att lokalisera kompisarna i den överfulla lokalen, du är trött och i ett hörn ser du din gamla mattelärare hångla med en av sina före detta elever. Så du bestämmer dig för att vara vuxen, gå hem, hämtar jackan trots att klockan inte ens är 1. Ditt 18-åriga jag är besviket. Byter om till dina bekväma vinterskor du gömde i väskan, när ingen såg, för att inte verka ocool.

Vandrar hemåt och skickar ett SMS till dina vänner. Du ler och tänker på förfesten, undrar varför in inte hade hemmafest hela kvällen istället, det var ju så mysigt. Du går fort, för att få upp värmen. Det snöar och Staden är helt stilla i vintermörkret. Stora flingor landar på din svarta jacka. Längre fram på vägen, när du går förbi den övergivna bion ser du en bekant gestalt. Det är en av dina vänner som även hon bestämt sig för att gå hem. Du blir glad, och ni slår följe hem till henne. Sparkar av er snöslaskiga vinterskor i tamburen och kryper upp kring hennes köksbord. Julstjärnan sprider sitt varma sken i fönstret när ni kokar te och brer smörgåsar, försöker att inte väcka hennes sovande familj. Du förundras över hur välfyllt kylskåpet är jämfört med ditt eget där i studentlyan. Du skrattar och säger “minns du den där gången när vi…”

Och helt plötsligt är klockan fyra på morgonen, du måste ta farväl och går den sista biten hemåt. Tvättar bort sminket och kryper ner i sängen. Det känns konstigt att sova i ditt gamla rum, men doften är bekant, och huset knarrar på samma sätt som innan du flyttade hemifrån. Du tänker på dina vänner och bestämmer dig för att nästa år, då ska ni inte slösa tid och pengar på Arken. Men du vet innerst inne att om exakt 364 dagar kommer ni att stå där igen, i kön och frysa. Ni kommer att svära över priset, vara osäkra på om ni ska hälsa på gamla klasskompisar, ni kommer att skratta på toaletten åt hur pinsamt det är att er gamla lärare raggar på er, och ni kommer att fråga varandra om ni börjar bli gamla eller om 18-åringar alltid varit så här små?! Det är som om tiden stått stilla, men allting har ändå ändrats.

Please note this is a mix of personal experiences and things that never actually happened.

My Page In Numbers

I know 2012 hasn’t ended quite yet, but whatever, I feel like making a small summary of what I’ve been posting on this personal web page so far! I got active and started posting stuff in January this year, and since then I have:

  • Almost 15 000 page views (can’t tell how many unique)
  • Busiest day was 17th of August with 622 views
  • A normal day I have around 30-70 views
  • I have published 132 posts all in all
  • 370 different tags
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Busiest month is the month Junebud went bankrupt and Lydia from Mojang tweeted about some of my posts. It’s also the same month I wrote some of my most serious post about life and stuff I think about.

I’ve noticed the traffic my site gets it’s almost directly proportional to how much I tweet about it, or if I post about it on my personal Facebook (marketing is what it is). The reason I even started this page in the first place was to have my own corner of the Internet, where I got a chance to express myself, to share small pieces of my own life. I really feel it’s important to be in charge of your own name what shows up when someone googles you.

Next I’m gonna list the 5 most popular posts I’ve made in 2012. The views are “views dedicated to that post”. This means people clicked a link that showed only this post and not the whole web page. In most cases visitors land on my page because they have it book marked or google for something, and then just scroll down. Those views are not counted on any specific post.

 

The 5 Most Popular Posts of 2012:

5. “What I Came To Realize About So Called Female Magazines” with 106 views posted 10th ofJuly

femalemagThis post deals with what you really learn when reading all those crappy mags aimed to young women and girls. Those papers that tell you “you are awesome the way you are”, and on the next page they teach you how to loose 5 kilos in one week…no wonder so many young girls suffer from anxiety and poor self-image.

 

4. “Mindless Behavior Or How I Tried To Change My Life” with 144 views posted 1st of July

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This post got written after I’ve realized I was not happy at all with how much time I spent online just doing nothing but wasting time.

My post about how I came to a point when I felt my life needed a change, is the 4th most popular post made 2012. I wrote it one late night while on summer vacation, on the Åland Islands in Finland. This post even got a response from the game journalist Beau Hindman at Massively. He wrote about if the Internet is ruining creativity and originality  What happens when we spend too much time consuming instead of creating. This is a topic that’s still important to me. As someone working with crafting computer games, and hanging out with plenty of gamers who play video games, I don’t think aggressive behavior is the most dangerous psychological effect of playing too much games (like 40 hours/week). I think what could be dangerous in the long run, is how passive games can actually make you. Since they tap into your brain and are made to make you want to spend just one more hour in front of the screen, many individuals could easily get trapped in front of a game for weeks, months or years. There’s nothing wrong with playing a good game of League of Legends every now and then, or to hang out on Skype with your guild mates a few nights a week, but I think it’s a troublesome situation when you might neglect your family, friends, getting enough sleep or exercise because you spend too much time in front of a computer playing games or browsing kittens.

I myself felt I was spending too much time doing something that didn’t made me happy or lucky or relaxed. Browsing crappy fashion blogs or Reddit for hours just made me feel numb and wanting to see one more funny photo. I got tired of achieving nothing. I still don’t want to base my life on entertainment or “to have fun”. I feel like I need to go trough a hard time to appreciate joy, or to get bored sometimes to get creative. But that’s just me.

So what’s happened six months later? Did I never ever visit the crap blogs again? I did visit them a few more times, I still do if I get extremely bored. But mostly I keep an eye on myself and try to watch out for that kind of behavior. I try to consume things for both my mind and my body that feeds it in a good way. I started the “Learning To Draw”-project on my spare time to get busy, and I’ve actually managed to keep up painting and drawing despite moving to a new city, changing jobs, health issues and travels. If I open up 9gag/Reddit or crap blogs today I quickly become bored and most of the time I don’t even remember that they exist anymore, when going online.

 

3. “About Creativity And Inspiration” with 252 views posted on 9th of October

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A very personal post.

This post is a very personal post. I shared how it felt like when I was almost suffocated about a year ago. Luckily I got out alive thanks to my colleague, but It was very scary when I started to think about what could have happened. I had one more “close call” this autumn, and I might write a post about it or not. I remember standing on the subway, surrounded by strangers, listening to crappy David Guetta and thinking “how do you go on living when you know you can die. When death stared you in the face and you stared back?“. Well you do. You find a way, and if you live long enough you face these kinds of situations sooner or later. This spring I did some stupid things, and it’s only now I realize I was waiting for something bad to happen. I went to places and met people I should not be hanging out with. But that’s another post.

 

2. “Women In The Gaming Space” 496 views posted on the 10th of August

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A post I knew I would write a some point since I see a lot of people who want a change for the better about this subject.

It’s a bit of a paradox that many people who search the Internet for “blade and soul babes”, “sexy video game chick”, “naked girls”, “young hot teens” and other totally NSFW search terms end up on my web site. One reason for that is this post I wrote about all those things that are not so awesome about the video games industry and how some of it’s members treat women or females.

It happens quite often that other game developers want to talk to me about feminism, Anita Sarkeesian, sexist concept art or just ask me what’s it like to be in a minority within my field. The truth is, I’ve had very few downright negative experiences. Of course I’ve seen my share of women in string bikinis at GamesCom, topless body painted girls doing commercials for payment providers and heard stuff like “but you can’t make games because girls don’t play games derp”. If you want to read my open letter to the game event Casual Connect click here. But really, most of the time people are super nice, I’ve never had problems with co-workers and I get along really well with both guys and girls. Nevertheless, there are real problems, and to me the gaming world is far from being a place where you can expose your gender and doesn’t expect it to be a problem if it turns out you are not male.

Sometimes I feel like I’m so tired of this gender talk I just want to scream. I sometimes get tired of being some kind of representative for all the girls in the world. I can’t tell you what all the other women out there like or dislike about games or gaming. I believe we should not be to focused on male/female, but to think more about respect and our fellow human beings.

 

1. “Self-Esteem” with 1 495 views posted on the 19th of July

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Many people struggle with their self-esteem, and you can be sure of that those people you envy have as many problems as you do, to deal with.

Everybody got issues and problems, things they feel insecure about or inner fights with themselves. The only real difference is what kind of problems and how much we show or tell others about this. It’s easy to start comparing your life or job to others when it’s so easy to read blogs about how others are attending cool parties  posting nice photos of them at a beach in Thailand, or a cozy dinner with their sweetheart, or a Facebook status update about how they got their art featured in a magazine.

Someone once said, “when you tell yourself something bad or negative, stop for a second and think, would you say the same thing to your best friend?” We are often too busy feeling sad about things we don’t have, we forget to actually appreciate what we have right here and now. I feel like this is something that gets better, when you grow older. Another good thing to do is to stop overdoing blogs written by people who live “perfect lives”, or to  spend too much time on social media like Twitter or Facebook. A good thing to do is to find something you love to do, and to focus time and energy on that. Make something where you don’t feel like you need to be the best, you just do it because you love to do what you are doing. For me it’s drawing. I get a little uneasy when professional artists start discussing my work without me asking them to do it (sometimes I ask for feedback in order to improve my skills). To me it feels like Olympic champions discussing my latest gym session, if you know what I mean.

10 Most Common Search Terms To Find My Site 2012

  • “Encrypted_search_terms”  2 012
  • sara casen 68
  • “sara casen” 48
  • uffie 36
  • cute kittens 34
  • blade and soul 27
  • johan bernhardsson 25
  • frida tidning 22
  • funny pedo 20
  • junebud 20

A lot people searching for facts and info about Mojang’s developer Johan found their way to my site, which is a bit funny. Johan and I went to the same school and did a project together (with the Mojangsta Tobias Möllstam) in 2009/2010. The reason they come to my web site is this post about Mojang I wrote earlier (click here). The post got featured on Minecraft’s forum when curious players went hunting the Internet for the mysterious Johan Bernhardsson haha! Other search terms people used to find my site were: derp, skeletal systems, ola holmdahl, artistic photo sex doll, mass effect women and zombie pig.

This year has been a very exciting year, with travels to both Paris, Hamburg, Egypt, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden. I experienced the fall of Junebud, went looking for a new job, moved from Malmö to Stockholm, started a new job, gained a whole bunch of crazy friends and went to places I should not have gone (but still I regret nothing).

 

DeviantCrap

DEVART

I collected all art from the “Learning To Draw”-project in one place!

It took me four hours (because DeviantArt suck) to upload all the stuff I made for my project. Or, I din’t upload ALL, but nearly, just the most important stuff, which is around 70 photos. Just the fact that you can’t upload several photos at once, or direct them to particular albums without having them all end up in “gallery” first, is simply astonishing. How?! Why? How can a web site dedicated to displaying photos be so badly designed?!

Anyways: click the photo or this scentence to get to my DeviantArt page. Hopefully it will be easier to get some feedback in this comunity. I was haninging out there in 2009, but since the deisgn and interface was justa as bad back then I lost interest. Let’s see if I’ll manage to keep it up this time : P

Generally I’m thinking, if a web site is baldy done it’s not worthy of my time. The same goes for books and movies. Life is short, crap is forever.

Learning To Draw: Post #11

I’m back with more stuff for my personal “Learning To Draw Project“. Had a small brake when going to Egypt past week, and the week before that I had no energy at all to draw due to plenty of work and some health issues (sorry for whine). This week I’m hopefully back on track, practicing drawing & painting. Been reading Andrew Loomi’s book “Creative Illustration” like mad during my vacation, and there’s been more epiphany than I can ever explain to you.

For the first time in my life I’m approaching drawing and painting in a conscious way. It’s like my eyes have opened up in a totally new way. Excuse the corny explanation, but I really feel like Harry Potter when he arrives to Hogwarts in the first book. To learn you posses a special ability, and you have no idea what to do with it, or in what direction to take it, and then someone shows up and open your eyes. I’ve made countless notes about shades, light, form, color, how to tell a story etc when reading Loomis. Things I’ve never even dared to approach before, or stuff I’ve never been conscious about. I feel like a total noob, but at the same time I guess it’s the only way to go. Enough chitchat, here’s the pictures:

photo (1)

3th Dec. Found a Halo 4 concept art piece on the web and got inspired (left). Some robot sketches, looks like I’m into a robot phase at the moment. Hopefully I get around to paint some of these in color!

snowyscape1

Some snowy mountains. Approaching painting in a more conscious way, trying to draw thumbnails at first and sketch some roughs. But I fucked up since I didn’t think about the light. The light needs to have direction and purpose.

Squids

30th of Nov. A family of squids! I’ve always loved to draw marine life : D

photo (2)

26th Nov, some robot designs. Struggling to  produce at least some doodles when I don’t have any energy left when I get home at night. Better than nothing, right?

On a related note, here’s a really nice color/Photoshop layer tutorial I found on Autodestruct’s fantastic blog! Click on the photo to get the video : D

lightning

A really well done tutorial about Photoshop layers (frankly I still have no idea about what to do with 70% of them) and lighting. Picture drawn by Autodestruct and video by Anthony Jones.

Previous posts about my “Learning To Draw” project here: 10987654321

My Seven Days In Egypt!

I was lucky enough to catch e few minutes with some giant green sea turtles in a bay.

I was lucky enough to catch e few minutes with some giant green sea turtles. They were huge!

A sting ray on the left. The waters in the Red Sea are top rated and coincided to be aiming the world's top places for snorkeling and diving!

A sting ray on the left. The waters in the Red Sea are top rated and considered to be aiming the world’s top places for snorkeling and diving!

I’m back from seven days in Marsa Alam, North of Egypt. The main purpose of the trip was to snorkel, get some sun and rest, and I think I managed to do all of that. All in all it’s the fourth time I’m traveling to Egypt, but my first time to Marsa Alam. We found an abandoned hotel in a bay, near where we were staying, and I was lucky enough to swim with some sea turtles!

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The water is crystal clear as long as no sand is carried to the Ocean with winds from the desert.

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A group of small scissortail sergeant fish. These fellows are everywhere and very curious and friendly.

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I met so many warm, friendly locals at the hotel. People were very friendly and greeting you with a smile. I spoke with some of the locals, and it really puts your life in a new light, when they tell you they are working 15 hours a day, two jobs and barley surviving.

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Small banded dascyllus in shallow waters near the beach. The hotel had its own reef, and many rules about how to protect the environment. You can not touch the fish or the coral, not feed them or walk on top of them. You should never touch the wild life when diving, it can be both dangerous and poisonous. 

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A small grey moray!

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Most fish stay something like 1-10 meters below the surface, and the water is extremely salty, you really have to struggle to dive deep because you float almost too well! This photo is taken around 6 meters down.

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Me and my sis, the last day before departure. We woke before sunrise and saw the sun rise above the desert.

I’m extremely happy and thankful my dad was a dedicated diver in his youth. He has always made sure me and my sis knew how to swim almost at the same time we learned to walk and talk. I love the Ocean, to swim and look at all the fish. I can honestly say it’s one of the things that make me truly happy in my heart <3

Working 9-5

Hello there!

Paradox offices, Christmas is on the way!

In da club!

Joakim and GustF from Coffee Stain Studios.

Winterrrrr! My desk.

Lunch with developers from DICE, Paradox, Avalanche, Mojang and Easy!

Sometimes there’s kids visiting around at work, someone brought the kids with them for one reason or another (and we are all fine with that). It strikes me they must have a hard time thinking we are actually working…there’s Legos everywhere, plastic nerf guns on the desks, posters of movies and we have video games on our screens. Colorful miniatures of anime characters, stacked board games and some Guitar Hero guitars laying in a corner…

Went to a game developer beer two weeks ago. Had a great night, many of my friends attended, so nice catching up. I miss you guys :/

In My Head

Trying to shoot a photo capturing “creative”, on my desk. I’m sorry stuff is blurred out, but that’s because it’s still kinda secret.

Lately I’ve been trying to write something about feeling creative, but every time I’ve written down a few words I feel stuck, like I still can’t make any sense of what I’m trying to tell you. In the past I wrote this post about why so many artists choose to live in chaos, but what I’m trying to tell you this time is something different. I’ve been feeling very happy to create, imagine and picture things over the past weeks, some nights I’ve even got a hard time falling asleep because I come up with new ideas to paint and tell (and also I have been very stressed for the past two week. So stressed I haven’t almost drawn anything new for my “Learning To Draw”-project. What a paradox!).

Sorry for the Swedish. This is a Facebook update I wrote last week. I walked into the smallest sushi restaurant in the world, had a fun discussion with a 9 year old about squids, while the rain pored down outside. I really wanted to describe this little scene in words and share it with others, and that’s what I did when I got home the same night.

Right now it feels like I come up with new ideas a ll the time. I have started to take notes in a small note book, on charters and stories I want to tell and craft. I see all these small details in everyday life, and get so inspired. It can be a face of a stranger on the subway, a nice piece of music in my headphones or a photo on a web site. Most of my inspiration comes from people in the real world or music. The make me feel stuff, and those feelings are what I essentially want to put down in a picture or a written story. I use words and brushes as vehicles to try to do that, to share my stories or feelings.

I often doodle when I think or listen. This is the final iteration of some robots I’ve been playing with for the last two weeks. Hope I get around to paint them in Photoshop some day.

To me it feels like I’m collecting gems, small treasures I find everywhere.  I unwrap a story in my own consciousness, by paying attention to the real word and get inspired. I don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sens to someone other me, but this is how I feel. I wonder, does anyone else out there lay awake trying to figure out how to translate all that stuff in your head & heart into something meaningful to share with others? Is this something that happens all artists or creative people?

I wrote a small book when I was 15. It’s about love, hate, death, friendship and vampires (before all this Twilight nonsense, mind you!). It was called “The Ring”. Handed it to my teacher at school, she read it and helped my to improve my language, along with a note telling me “never stop writing stories, Sara!”. Gave it to my sister who loves to read. The story made her cry. Not because it was bad, but because it made her feel something. I did write a couple of novels after that, but none of them just felt as important as the first one. I sometimes feel like I knew more about life when I was 15 than I do now.