Sometimes you have to do things just for your own sake. You know – that kind of feel-good: reading local history (written by some priest in the 50s), sorting through the stamp collection from your childhood, trying to build a harbour crane in Lego, etc. Such good things. (OK, you can go on a spa weekend too.) I think that it usually doesn’t matter that much what you do, as long as it doesn’t lead to any definite goal.
Our time’s fixation on goals sometimes makes me sick – of course, it’s good to have goals in life, but isn’t existence bigger than that? It’s as if we were all elite track and field athletes with the Olympics in our sights; “Find your strengths, set interim goals, focus…” I try to keep everything I do open to what may happen and appear along the way. There’s no point in planning too much – nothing will turn out as planned anyway.
But I think doing things without having a ready goal is good, or more than good – it’s important! You get lost so easily. Sometimes I have to create pictures in the studio without any purpose. Drawing can easily become a boring job if everything you do has to be presented and published. I devote myself to free art, not so much to exhibit as to keep the balance in life. Don’t tip over.
It’s nice to occasionally paint a thin piece of moss that I’ve picked in the forest and give a complete thumbs up if anyone will appreciate my painting at all. It is not important, it can exist for its own sake. And it’s the same with texts. Some things should stay in the drawer (now in the hard drive), where they belong. They are not written for anyone but me.
I am writing a kind of family chronicle with elements of local history. It will never be published. It will be read by a few. I am writing it for my own sake and that of my loved ones. As well as for those who are dead and no longer exist. Mainly I write to write something without a goal. Possibly my goal is for it to be finished, but even that doesn’t feel particularly important. Because when is something ready?
My writing tip this week must therefore be: write something completely pointless as if you didn’t want to publish a book at all. Turn the dramaturgical curve upside down and see what happens. Set yourself free!
Mattias is an author, editor and illustrator