Monthly Archives: November 2008

Photo: the blue barn

Part of the Landscape

Part of the Landscape

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Must-See Icelandic Films

Haldora the most wonderful coordinator here at Klaustrid gave me three movies to watch on my DVD and I´ve really enjoyed each one of them. For the ultimate in dysfunctional family flicks, Hafid is a must see. No matter how bad you think your family might be, this one is worse…making it a feel-good flic 🙂

For a more Stephen King point of view, try Kold Slod, which means Cold Trail (2006) A love story slash murder mystery with a twist…

A really bad movie: 101 Reykjavik by Baltasar Kormakur: rating — Gay Comedy, not rated. Says in house movie critic, “I would rather have non-medicated open heart surgery than watch this again!”

Yet to see:
Cold Fever
Children of Nature
The Swamp (Myrin)

And my favourite creepy film (the scene with the bird will stay in my mind forever) watch Kaldaljos.

I am hoping to convince Jonathan to screen these all when I get home — Icelandic movie night.

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EEE PC in Iceland

Baby computer is with me in Iceland, and of everything electronic that I brought with me, yes, including my ipod and logitech player, it is her that I´ve appreciated the most. At night, when the wind howls and I lie awake listening for strange noises, little rock solid touches my heart by providing me with overnight talk shows — usually BBC, and sometimes, for few minutes, CNN — but that station is pretty bad.
Why oh why can´t I get CBC — streaming problems…

After a few hours of frustration, I finally figured out how to download picasa for linux, and now little computer can manage my photos. The best part is that my EEE PC travels with me everywhere I go in my purse, and she is much lighter than all of my other junk. I can´t imagine packing around a big laptop half way around the world.

Possibly, this was one of the best “I see you in the store window and I must buy you now,”
moments that I have ever had.

Now, I dream of the 1000…

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Grila and her Bad Bad Bad Cat

One Scary Momma

One Scary Momma

Santa´s Evil Mother is named Grila — in the picture above you can see the bag at her side — it is filled with naughty children who she is taking home to enjoy with perhaps a glass of merlot and a sprig of parsley.

This Grila entirely of Driftwood, kelp and sea shells

This Grila is made entirely of Driftwood, kelp and sea shells

Gila has thirteen elves — young boys who represent various forms of impishness verging on evil, but they are nothing compared to her cruel kitty-cat. Kitty, (not sure of her name or even is she has one), likes to hunt for small children and if she catches a child, she plays with it llike a normal-of-this-world cat would play with a mouse, and then she kills the child.

Bikini Grila is my favourite

Bikini Grila is my favourite

Fortunatley, if a child recieves new clothes at Christmas time, they are protected from Grila´s evil feline. Let´s hope that in spite of the terrible economy, parents in Iceland will at least buy new socks for their little ones.

The students in the local schools around Klaustrid have been creating the most wonderful Grila dolls, some of which I’ve copied into this post.

Grila´s in the Window at Klaustrid

Grila´s in the Window at Klaustrid

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Perfect Cut Reviewed Again!

My publisher just sent me great news. The Perfect Cut has been reviewed in in Canadian Children’s Book News (Fall 2008 volume), and it was highly praised! I need a copy if any of my Vancouver friends should come across one.

Feedback is so rare, and I am always thrilled when one of my books gets noticed. I have heard from lots of teen readers and the comments are generally really encouraging. Thanks, Readers.

Fall 2008 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News:

After the death of his older sister Michelle, Brian has difficulty coping and begins withdrawing from his parents, school, and his friends. His only solace comes with cutting. In the few seconds it takes for the razor to break the skin, he feels alive, and it’s only when he takes things one step too far, and another tragedy nearly occurs, that Brian is able to confront his feelings and to live without cutting.

In her latest novel, author Julie Burtinshaw has created a raw and realistic look at cutting, which has become increasingly popular among young adults as a form of stress relief. The story is told primarily from Brian’s perspective and the reader will be drawn in by his bluntness and his genuine anguish as he spirals deeper out of control.

Not just another teen issue story, this rich, multi-layered plot peels back slowly, revealing another dimension with each layer, adding to the richness of the characters, and demonstrating that surface appearances don’t always give a complete picture.

While Brian’s ultimate breakdown was easily foreseeable, it is his journal revelations as part of his therapy that are the most heartwrenching and revealing, and the strong support network of friends and family that rally around him end the novel on a hopeful note, without succumbing to a happily-ever-after tidy ending that some readers might expect.

Suitable for teens ages 14 and up, this novel works well for opening up discussion about this important topic, and could be studied in conjunction with Monique Polak’s novel Scarred, published as part of James Lorrimer’s SideStreets series last spring, which also addresses teenage cutting.

— Rachel Steen

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Filed under Events and Readings

A Productive Day in East Iceland

White on Black

White on Black

OMG, I´m sleeping again and what a difference this makes to my life. I got lots done today — finished an article for an upcoming book, and submitted it, hopefully on time. I also had time for a really long walk to visit my sheep friends down the road, and crawled about in a half-frozen waterfall.
Next weekend is the Christmas Buffet and everybody in the house is busy getting prepared — Some of the rooms have been decorated with dolls the local children made of the woman who visits thier houses for the thirteen days leading up the Christmas. She´s a bit spooky. She´s got an appetite for humans and is already on her third husband, the first died (not sure how) and she ate the next one. She also eats naughty children, but does give gifts to those who are well-behaved. Some of the dolls are in the image of a woman with the ugliest nose in the world, often dressed in a bikini, or as a model, dragging around a bag of captured children who will end up in her soup pot.

You know, re-reading this, it is possible, I got the story wrong, but I don´t think so…As I learn more about Christmas, I´ll keep you posted.

weed

Loner

Loner

I like the Black Sheep -- think it´s his eyes...

I like the Black Sheep -- think it´s his eyes...


Through Branches

Through Branches


gate -- stone and wood

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One Week Today and Getting Lots of Writing Done

Wide Open Sky

Wide Open Sky

I didn´t see a soul today — a big shout out to skype — keeps me talking to the outside. I´m still not sleeping well, which means that I end up waking really late, and that cuts down on the hours of sunlight. Usually I go for a walk, but today, it just looked so cold outside that I didn´t bother — I regret that now, but it´s dark outside and no place does dark as well as Iceland. It´s an all encompassing blackness, where you can barely see your hand when you hold it out in front of you.

I´m not really sure where the time goes. I´ve been working on my new book for hours every day. Sometimes I feel that it is going really well, and at other times, I hate what I have written. This is, I know, every writer´s lament and I miss not having anyone to bounce my rough draft off. I guess I am working on blind faith, knowing that since I´ve done it before, perhaps, I can do it again.

I hit the 21,000 word mark. I am aiming to write at least 15,00 words per day, and then I begin each new day by re-reading and heavily editing yesterday´s work. My characters haven´t quite taken over yet, and this is a bit of a worry. I write well into the night, at least until I find an English language show on our one channel. I don´t miss TV at all — at least not our 160 stations with nothing on them that we have at home.

House from the road

House from the road

Today, because nobody was around in the afternoon, I played my ipod on full volume and danced around like a crazy person. It struck me how odd it would look if there were hidden cameras in the house, because I was shouting out the words and really having a great little dance session all on my own. And then it struck me as odd that I would even have that thought…

When Christmas celebrations start here, there will be an elf and a singer and I think maybe a clown in the house, so that will be refreshing company in the evenings. I am not afraid of clowns, like so many people are — thank god. I think I am pretty brave to be here on these dark days alone, and I am really enjoying my own company…I don´t know if that is a good thing or not :). Not to say that I don´t get lonely, but I am under the impression that I am quite good company. Of course, I am biased.

This is about as close to outward bound as I´d ever want to get…and I am very comfortable and warm in the house. I should mention, that the people, when I see them, are really super. They are kind and welcoming and fun to be with.

I am in Good Company

I am in Good Company

That´s all today.

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