Saturday, November 20, 2010

Occasionally I Contemplate Murder

One of my intentions with this blog is to present my books, hoping for visitors to comment on them. I start with a book of fiction, which is not really a novel. Occasionally I Contemplate Murder might be called an essay. It's just my train of thoughts about life, death, and the meaning of it all.

I started it as an experiment in writing a book where I would not hide behind a story, but just plainly say what I thought about some eternal questions. I would put my message on the lines instead of between them. It was a kind of challenge for me.

What I found, though, was that some stories were needed to get the message through. Some subjects, the most difficult and profound ones, cannot be grasped and explained without the use of stories.

Fiction is fact, indirectly and subtly, often confusingly, but nevertheless fact. About human nature, about the terms of existence, and so on.

By fiction we can embrace subjects that otherwise escape into the chaotic complexity that we summarize as life. Fiction is needed to tell the whole story, maybe not as it appears to the scientific instruments of analysis, but as we experience it. We are subjects, all of us, not objects. So, a relevant rendering of life as we experience it needs to be subjective.

I found myself pulling my train of thoughts forward by the use of stories.

The grim title and theme of the book, discussing life from the perspective of death and different causers of it, came from me being triggered by the assassination of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986, shocking our otherwise rather peaceful country. I had met him a few times, enjoying his intellectual sharpness and the confused longing of his soul evident in his eyes. So I was also shocked.

But as always in writing, the book quickly took over and went its own way, exploring the mysteries and ethics of life and death, in the eyes of men as well as those of gods, if there are any.

If you've read the book, please humor me by commenting it and the thoughts it might have awakened in you. Of course, you are equally invited to comment if you haven't read it, should some thought come to mind – whether you are tempted to read it or not.

Here are the opening lines of Occasionally I Contemplate Murder:

This world is, I find, a strange place to be, wherein my brain is not the best of guides.

Somehow, somewhere in the very core of my being, I believe myself to understand all as clear as day. I really do.

But that’s in the core, a center unreachable, hidden inside layer upon layer of misconceptions. My conscious mind is lost.

It’s like an onion. Rip off the peels, one after the other, until you reach the center — only to find it empty. No nut, not a thing to explain all those peels, covering the kitchen sink and making you weep.

Yes, the onion contains the secret of the universe. I dare say that the onion is the secret of the universe.

You can reveal it with tools of the hand and of the mind. It doesn’t even take very hard work. But you find nothing, and it sure makes you cry.

It’s all very logical, I guess. If you take the peels away, if you dig down to the very core — well, then it’s no longer a core of anything. So it’s nothing. What else could it be?

Where’s a poor human being, the biggest brain among primates, to find guidance?

So, occasionally I contemplate murder.

You can find the book at Amazon US and Amazon UK.
If you're Swedish, it's quicker and cheaper to order the book from AdLibris.

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