The writing (second blog) 

Oslo is covered in snow and November will soon let December take over. More light, both from nature and in everybody's windows and gardens. I need light.   

I am spending my days writing, thinking, singing, wondering if this next song is ever going to come together, knowing it will if I decide so, but doubting, pushing the work forward by a weird mix of stubbornness and curiosity. It's a hunt. I'm hunting, though if you saw me I might look like someone lost in the woods. Maybe I am. A lost hunter. At this stage, anyway.  

I talk a lot with my students about the writing process. Rarely with you who listen to the music and come to my concerts, though. I don't get the chance that often. And, playing is more important when we meet. But I would like to share it with you here.  

How do I begin writing? I collect ideas. It's almost like a hobby, collecting ideas. It's a process of its own, an ongoing activity which exists as though it was completely unaware of its importance in giving birth to words, notes, songs and albums. When I collect ideas I am not a hunter. I'm an observer. I listen, look, taste, smell and feel my surroundings (constantly it seems - a switch could have been useful from time to time). Observing is to be awake, alert and to grab hold of anything of interest when it floats by - interest meaning intuitive emotional or bodily response. It could be all sorts of things. It doesn't matter if it will never turn into a single useful idea ever. At this point, all that matters is the potential. The possibility. The vision of maybe.  

My collection of ideas reminds me a little of my dad's garage. It was like stepping into a different world. A wonderful, adventurous world, filled up with stuff (far beyond what is expected to be found in a garage) that I could hardly name or use, but he definitely could, and though it looked like a mess, he would know - most of the time at least - where to find what he needed. It doesn't have to be nice and tidy in my collection. It has to be somewhere I can go and look around, some days I stay there for a long time, to notice, remember, rediscover, be inspired, and to pick something out that I can use. 

I usually begin playing around with one of these ideas, it can be one word, two words, a phrase, a little melody I sing, a beat or a motif. If I like this idea, I don’t ask why - not yet. I just like it and cannot stop thinking about it. That’s all I need to know for now. So I write, sing, clap and add some chords - not necessarily in that order - until the idea has become a verse, a pattern, or some sort of structure that gives the part an identity. Something that makes me recognize it, and at the same time helps me see what it could become. The part is then about to go from an idea to a project. 

There is no better feeling than being on the right track, it is almost better than finishing a song or an album. But sometimes, like today, I am doing neither. I am just this lost, stubborn and curious hunter struggling with changing the language in my lyric from English to Norwegian (because I know that is what I have to do) and that means a nearly finished song isn’t finished at all. It is not even clear to me what it is really about right now. I still have a little time to figure it out before picking up my son from school. And tomorrow, I will figure it out again.

With stubbornness and curiosity…

8 comments

  • Harald Berre
    Harald Berre Norway
    Loved reading about your father's garage. Write a song about it!

    Loved reading about your father's garage. Write a song about it!

  • Torun Eriksen
    Torun Eriksen
    Oh, thanks, Harald! I might have to give it a try. Will add this idea to my collection:-)

    Oh, thanks, Harald! I might have to give it a try. Will add this idea to my collection:-)

  • SIGRID MARIE
    SIGRID MARIE OSLO
    You seem to be doing exactly what Julia Cameron recommends.. letting the creative process develop in droplets. This gives a genuine nerve to it, because you cannot really express what you don’t «see». Thanks for this inspiring sharing!

    You seem to be doing exactly what Julia Cameron recommends.. letting the creative process develop in droplets. This gives a genuine nerve to it, because you cannot really express what you don’t «see».

    Thanks for this inspiring sharing!

  • Torun Eriksen
    Torun Eriksen
    Thanks, Sigrid Marie! So glad you stopped by. And thanks for mentioning Cameron. Looking forward to reading more!

    Thanks, Sigrid Marie! So glad you stopped by. And thanks for mentioning Cameron. Looking forward to reading more!

  • Wenche
    Wenche Stord
    Thank you for sharing and for this opportunity to get inspiration! Thanks to Sigrid Marie for sharing the name Julia Cameron.. I went straight ahead and bought a couple of her books.

    Thank you for sharing and for this opportunity to get inspiration! Thanks to Sigrid Marie for sharing the name Julia Cameron.. I went straight ahead and bought a couple of her books.

  • Torun Eriksen
    Torun Eriksen
    Thank you so much, Wenche! Let me know how you like the books if you read them before I do:-)

    Thank you so much, Wenche! Let me know how you like the books if you read them before I do:-)

  • Clementina
    Clementina Berlin
    I always felt like your lyrics were sung poems to me. So delicate and not only the sound but also the pause.... In the song.:outside inside. My favorite part is when you say It gets silent when a heart no longer beats and then the the drum comes in like heartbeat... As if it was bringing something back to life. It moves me deeply every time to this day... and I would love to know more about those lyrics. The whole song is so dear to me... But part of the present of hearing music is also how it iterfears with my own word of emotions... And maybe that is all there is to know...

    I always felt like your lyrics were sung poems to me.
    So delicate and not only the sound but also the pause.... In the song.:outside inside.
    My favorite part is when you say
    It gets silent when a heart no longer beats and then the the drum comes in like heartbeat... As if it was bringing something back to life. It moves me deeply every time to this day... and I would love to know more about those lyrics. The whole song is so dear to me...
    But part of the present of hearing music is also how it iterfears with my own word of emotions... And maybe that is all there is to know...

  • Torun Eriksen
    Torun Eriksen
    Hi Clementina! Thank you so much for reading, and for leaving such a heartwarming comment! It means a lot to know you are out there listening (closely:), and I'm glad that "outside inside" has become part of your life and now belongs to you and your world too. Your last two sentences really capture the essence of what I hope to achieve as a songwriter: Sharing. The fascinating thing with music - and art as such - is that it seems to offer endless variations of meaning. As for the songs I write, I know where and what they come from, but not always where they have gone and what they have become. Sharing means change:)

    Hi Clementina! Thank you so much for reading, and for leaving such a heartwarming comment! It means a lot to know you are out there listening (closelysmile, and I'm glad that "outside inside" has become part of your life and now belongs to you and your world too.
    Your last two sentences really capture the essence of what I hope to achieve as a songwriter: Sharing. The fascinating thing with music - and art as such - is that it seems to offer endless variations of meaning. As for the songs I write, I know where and what they come from, but not always where they have gone and what they have become. Sharing means changesmile

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