Until I wrote "Skuld" (Guilt), I had never written a word. Hadn't even reflected over the idea of becoming a writer. The fact that I had the ability to express myself through writing, I knew since school. But I had never realized it as being a talent, which I should do something of.

I'm brought up in a small country town called Huskvarna. My parents are teachers and I have two brothers, one elder and one younger. In 1993, my elder brother Magnus fell down a mountain and crushed his head. In that very moment, when the phone rang and delivered the message that Magnus had been killed, I didn't realize that this was one of those moments in life when a thick red pen stroke is drawn in the almanac and nothing will ever be the same. It was for me impossible to understand, that there was nothing I could do to bring everything back to normal again.

I was in my ninth month, soon having my second child and with sheer survival instincts I pushed grief to the side. I tried to be cleaver and imagined all the strength that I knew Magnus would have shown in my situation had been transferred over to me. For three years I struggled against the darkness growing within me. Three years, and for each day that passed I became all the more restless, moody, scared. I succeeded to hide my feelings in front of my family and my friends, and in the end I was constantly on the run. I was totally unaware of this escape, being my own wish to hide from my darkness and myself. I just felt such a self-consuming fear. How was I to protect my children, now, when it had been proven to me that anything could happen, anytime in life. In a second, all could be too late. And so it all came to an end. After a year of insomnia, chest pain and difficulties in breathing, I fell down at home on my kitchen floor. I was positive, I'd had a heart attack, although the tests at the emergency ward showed I was in explicit shape.

Someone has named panic attacks being "the souls need to vomit", and that was just what my soul was doing at this time. Once I had slightly opened the door to this darkness, which had taken over the inner life of my own self, there was no way of return. I was declared sick leave for six months, didn't even dare to step outside my own doorstep. The shame over having lost control was total.

Then one morning I woke up with the beginning of a story in my head. I imagined someone being in the same state as me, but with the courage to break his own entrenchment, at the same time confronted with someone being highly importunate. I phoned my husband and asked how to turn on the computer. This "someone" who I had woken up with, in my head, became Peter Brolin, and without being aware of it at that state, I wrote the first chapter of Skuld that very day. But the continuing of this I had no idea of, and I felt an urge to discover it.

Finding the ability to write felt similar to have suddenly discovered a secret room in which I had never been before. I wrote and wrote and made up the story as I went along, and five weeks later I noticed from the amount of written characters, that I had almost written a whole book. By then I had recovered my inner will to push on, and I also knew by then what it was I wanted to do. I wanted to write! The feeling of having reclaimed the urge, the belief in a future, the joy of living, was fantastic. I looked through the yellow pages in the phonebook and sent my script…

Naturally, I could never feel that it was worth loosing Magnus if it was this, that was required for me to discover my writing ability. He will forever hold a place in my heart and we miss him incredibly much. On the other hand, I can feel very thankful for what the pain of loosing him has taught me. I now know what's important in my life and what's not, and I've learned what real problems are and what aren't. My grief also taught me that death is a reminder of life. That it is the little moments in life we should treasure, because nobody knows what may happen next. The only thing we know for certain that will follow us throughout the rest of our lives, are the consequences of those actions and choices we are making at this very moment.

10 April 2013

The butterfly effect

Karin Alvtegens new novel

will be published in Sweden