Since I first visited Iceland in 2016 I never stopped missing it, thinking about it, reading, gawking at photographs. We spent almost all of April 2017 there and it didn’t help. I am homesick for a country I never lived in.

 

Part I: Poland

I was originally made in Poland. I never met my biological father. My Mom raised me as well as she possibly could, but she had no influence over the ever-present homophobia. I left that country in 2006. While the LGTBQIA+ organisations grew and started to fight for our rights, so far results are rather unimpressive. I mean, it’s lovely that there are Pride parades gathering thousands of people. It’s just that they don’t really affect anyone except those who partake in them. When Husby and I visit my Polish family, because of the Polish law we are not only considered not married, we’re considered to be total strangers. We always buy extra insurance to fly us home in case there is an accident because I wouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions on behalf of my husband.

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As I might have mentioned once or twice, I am (hopefully) getting close to finishing my first novel, Storytellers, historical suspense with fantasy elements set in Iceland between 1885-1920. Here’s an honest confession about my delusions…

 

Drafts

Having read approximately 15823098 articles on writing, I was under the impression that a book is written in three drafts. The first is for the writer. The second is for beta-readers. The third is when everything gets fixed, becomes perfect, and I get my first Pulitzer Prize.

Things didn’t turn out that way.

On January 1, 2017, I started working on the first draft of the story I’ve been carrying in my head ever since I dreamt it years earlier. I vomited rather than wrote that first draft. It took me two weeks to produce roughly a hundred thousand words. At this point, I didn’t know yet where the book would be set, so I went for generic “village” and “ocean” terms. But of course, I was already starting to get obsessed with Iceland. When I read Independent People and Wasteland With WordsI realised it was the perfect setting. In fact, it seemed as if Gods created Iceland with the sole purpose of helping me write the novel.

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I used to be a big town boy when it came to holidays. London, Berlin, Amsterdam were my favourite destinations. In the last years, however, things dramatically changed. My idea of a great holiday is being in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and animals, spending evenings sitting by a bonfire ideally somewhere near the water.

Except… terms and conditions apply…

Nature Boy taking photos with his smartphone.

This is Arnarstapi, one of the most incredible places I’d ever been to. I loved it. Everything about it. The screams of birds, the basalt columns, the fury of the waves, the smell of the air, even the drizzle. The feeling of being alone with nature, being a small part of it and nothing more than that. Not checking my messages, emails, not getting phone calls (not that I do phonecalls). Unfortunately, there was a catch. When we decided we were cold and wet enough, we went to a lovely cafe and had the most delicious apple pie with caramel. Then we drove back home, warm thanks to the airco. Once we arrived, we took off our coats and leathers as the modern geothermic heating system allowed us to be as warm as we wanted to be. Of course, I had to share pictures and stories with everyone on social media. What good is being in nature if everyone doesn’t know?!

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