She’s Back

December 19, 2014 § 24 Comments

You know, I kind of wish I could meet this woman. Enjoy.

So Begins Los Angeles and I am NOT Kidding:

Okay, so like last night? We finished mall shopping and I got this OMG TOTAL RAD and SUPER CUTE acrylic purple-sparkle sweater and wore that bitch home, found parking for my enormous (rad) car around midnight and for reals, the soothing mercury vapor lamp bathing the plastic fibers of my entire ensemble in its glow made me look like I was on fire. And I am on fire, okay? Meaning my life is BLOWING UP it’s so rad.

Now I’m online ordering multiple plastic figurines for each of your blog followers, just a small token of the TOTAL LOVE and jealousy, hostility and aggression I feel for people I’ve never met in person but who are all, oh, dude, my cow is like, so friendly it gives me milk and my sheep are knitting things and can you SMELL ME? PLUS! LOOK AT THIS HOUSE I BUILT! Oh my god. Hello, do you know what renting even IS? It means more time for shopping and TEXTING OBVIOUSLY. Oh my god. OKAY.

Anywho, so I am totally ordering stuff online PLUS I’m also reading about Hollywood celebrities and for real, who would date that guy because he doesn’t even make movies anymore plus? That girl is like, old. Oh my god. I just texted my friend all about that PLUS I’m maybe ordering takeout, plus TOTALLY updating Facebook and chillaxing in general. Also, OMG, so cute this cat video! SO FUNNY! Okay, listen to this goat. It’s screaming! WTF? I am dying.

Across the room the kids are TOTALLY staring at their multiple screens and game consoles and I could feel the unbridled joy of zombie-darkness coming off them in waves. “Aren’t you tired, girls?” I inquired. No reply. They are SO into it! SO CUTE! “Aren’t you tired, girls?”

“Shut up, mother,” they flipped me off in unison. “Thanks to your decision to liberate us from the tyranny of coming up with our own agendas, we just can’t get enough of this game: Kill All The People Dead with Deadly Weapons II.”

OMG, motherhood, AM I RIGHT?

In the kitchen, my boyfriend was making Molotov-Midori shots with melon liquor and gasoline. Edited to say: okay, dude? I don’t even know what dew IS and I can’t even parody that paragraph because WTF is he talking about? Oh my god. Anywho, we had green drinks and ciggies for dinner because I am totally losing weight and getting into my skinny pants. So over being big fat size two. WTF. YO. Also YOLO.

This morning we had MENTHOL cigarettes and coffee (with hazelnut-gingerbread-pumpkin spice non-dairy fat-free creamer) for breakfast and the coffee made itself because I went and got it at Starbucks. I was still wearing the purple sweater from last night and if you don’t know how HOT that is, that is HOT.

The girls didn’t come with me because they were on the seventy-third level of Dead People Dead and they shot everything they could because YO. Also YOLO.

So I get back and the girls are like, YO, MOM, what is for breakfast? And I’m all, um, I don’t know. Do I look like your servant? Am I supposed to go out and GATHER YOUR EGGS FROM THE STORE BY HAND? OMG, RUDE! I was all, YO, can’t you open a box of sugar cereal? And they are like, YO. And I am like YO. And then the older one said, your sweater is rad, Mom. So I go, I KNOW.

But then her sister is like, COME ONE I WANT TO GO TO THE DEADLY WEAPON SHOP AND RELOAD, FOOL, and I said, DO IT. YO. And I sat there losing weight with my coffee and watched my girls blow up this whole crazy rad building or country or SOMETHING on the shooter game and you are probably saying like, NO WAY but I am writing on this comment section to tell you: WAY. They did it. I swear to GAWD and LOL it doesn’t get any better.

So begins another day.

 

So Begins, a Self Parody (inspired by Miss Fifi)

December 18, 2014 § 62 Comments

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I finished knitting another cage-free alpaca sweater around midnight, the soothing candlelight bathing the soft fibers in its glow (I’m making a sweater for each of my blog followers, just a small token of the love I feel for people I’ve never met in person, and oh the joy I find in the task and the small clicks of my fair trade knitting needles, like the sound of pure gratitude). Across the room, the boys were digging into a trigonometry lesson, and I could feel the unbridled joy of learning coming off them in waves. “Aren’t you tired, sons?” I inquired. “Oh, no, father,” they piped in unison. “Thanks to you and dear mother and your decision to liberate us from the tyranny of school, we just can’t get enough advanced mathematics.”

In the kitchen, Penny was making tea from dehydrated morning dew siphoned from clover leaves in the pre-dawn hours back on the summer solstice. We dry it atop the matts she wove from artisan hemp fronds. The dew doesn’t have many calories, it’s true, but ever since we’ve become utterly independent of the modern industrial economy, we don’t need as much food. (Can’t afford it, either, but that’s a story for another day)

This morning, while the cows milked themselves (if your cows don’t milk themselves, it’s probably because they’re not of the proper heritage breed and because you’re not moving them to a fresh grazing paddock every twelve-and-a-half minutes), Penny and I stoop hand-in-hand at the height of the land, watching a rainbow shimmer (if you don’t see rainbows in winter, it’s probably because you work in an office and feed your children boxed cereal). The boys had already completed the remaining chores, spent three-hours tracking a moose, which they decided not to shoot with their self-made long bows because “he just looked so magnificent and we felt such great respect for him” and were hitting the trig yet again. “I really want to help Rye understand these unit circle inverse functions before I fill the woodbox, do the dishes, and gather shed alpaca hairs for tonight’s sweater,” replied Fin. “Will that be ok with you, sweet Papa?”

“Of course, my son,” I said. “But please don’t forget the 8-page handwritten thank you letter to your Grandmother for the dime she gave you yesterday.”

“Actually, I wrote that last night after you and mama went to bed,” he replied.

So begins another day.

 

Not Mine to Understand

December 17, 2014 § 48 Comments

Cozy

Cozy

Too warm this morning, 40-ish and spitting rain. The snow, which just yesterday was ideal for skiing, that elusive combination of glide and yield, has gone to mush underfoot. What more, it has been gray for more consecutive days than I have fingers to count, and while I suppose I could remove my socks to facilitate the math, I don’t like cold toes. So let’s just say we haven’t seen sun for at least 10 days, and let me keep my warm toots, ok?

This morning I noticed a spike in traffic to this site; ever curious, I followed the spike back to Heather’s page, where she’d linked to this page. I like Heather; she’s been incredibly supportive of my work, and furthermore wicked generous with her insight and experience. She strikes me as a thoughtful and gentle person, though of course I know her only at a distance, and this allows me the luxury of imagining her in a manner that’s entirely inconsistent with that impression. I’m thinking pack of Pall Malls perched on the corner of a chipped formica counter, something raunchy on the juke (Skynyrd? No, wait, I got it: Skid Row!), post-breakfast Bloody Mary in hand… damn, I better stop, or she’s never gonna talk to me again.

Anyway, my only-partly-latent narcissism couldn’t keep me from reading the comments pertaining to her post, which included the following statement: I can’t help but feel a bit judged when I read Ben’s work. I might’ve passed it by, but it’s an issue that’s been on my mind; a while back, someone (can’t remember who, and I’m too lazy to go looking) commented on this page that what I write here sometimes makes them feel inadequate. 

I’m not sure exactly what to say about the sentiments expressed, except the only honest thing, which is that they make me feel pretty bad. I know that wasn’t the intent, but of course intent and outcome do not always align. I also know what it’s like to feel judged myself; if you have a spare, oh, 5 hours or so, scroll through the comments pertaining to my Outside article. There’s no shortage of judging going on over there. The obvious difference, though, is that I sort of ask for it. I mean, I put myself and my story and my views out there for the world to see and dissect and critique. Over the years, I have developed a fairly thick skin, though of course it’s not without its cracks. I don’t exist in some sort of evolved state of consciousness where nothing anyone says about me matters. Which is why I suppose the comments about my work making people feel judged or inadequate bother me in the first place.

Ok, I’m figuring out what to say. The first is this: If what you read here makes you feel lesser in any way, shape, or form, please don’t read it. I mean, I want you as a reader, don’t get me wrong. But not at the expense of your self-worth. Or at least your perception of your self-worth, which I suppose is pretty much the same thing. I realize this might sound sort of cold – if you don’t like it, don’t read it - but that’s not how I mean it. What I sincerely mean is that if my work does not hold some positive value for you, find someone’s work that does. There is so much great writing out there; there are so many interesting stories. But far as I’m concerned, none of them are worth feeling shitty over. Conversely, if what you read here somehow makes you feel superior to us, well, you might want to think about that, too. Because that’s its own form of self-deception, is it not?

Second. My intent is never to suggest that our way of life is the best, or that I’ve got it all figured out. We are constantly reevaluating, making changes, tweaking, thinking, talking. In my view, the moment you stop asking questions, not merely of others, but of yourself, is the moment self-confidence tilts toward arrogance. And maybe I am guilty of this at times. I hope not, but maybe so. I know I feel strongly about many aspects of our life, about many of the choices we have made. Truth is, you can’t make these choices and not feel strongly about them, because many of these choices are not widely supported in our culture. I would like to think that through my work, I do not offer answers, but rather encourage people to ask questions. The answers they come up with might be entirely different than the ones we come up with, and that is exactly as it should be. Why? Because they’re not us, that’s why!

Ok, one more thing, and then I’ll shut up. We do thing things we do, the things I write about, because they align with our version of a meaningful life. We do not grow most of our food to meet some arbitrary goal for how much of our food we can grow, or because we’re trying to uphold a moral code. We grow most of our own food because we like it. Because when we wake up in the morning, we get to wake up excited for what the day will bring (well, ok, maybe not today, what with the rain and all). Because we like the feeling of dirt under our fingernails. Because I like to sing stupid, made-up, ad-lib songs to the cows as I go about chores, about love and fur and hay and milk. (If I get $1000 in donations today, I’ll make a podcast of one of these songs. It’s like one of those NPR fund-raising challenges, except the reward is actually a punishment)

Someone once said something really smart to me, and I try not to forget it: I cannot control how people perceive my work and what they take from it. I think this is true, because of course my work is not entirely mine: It inevitably crashes against and into the experiences and perceptions of those who read it. This just now occurs to me, but it’s like the rain that’s falling this very minute. It’s mixing with the snow, it’s becoming something entirely different, one into the body of the other. And the outcome – the final result – is not mine to fully understand.

 

 

 

Exactly The Opposite

December 16, 2014 § 47 Comments

Barn window

Barn window

Sometimes I think I should write more about food. I know a lot about food, I really do. For instance, I just finished making a shepherd’s pie. I cooked up burger from one of the cows we killed back when. I tossed in some sausage from the last batch of pigs. I diced up an onion and a bulb of garlic. Grated a couple of carrots and a half of one of Penny’s monster beets. Thyme and oregano. Chopped a whole bunch of lacto-fermented green beans and mashed a half-dozen potatoes, added a splash of fresh cream and some of our own butter. The only boughten ingredients in the whole mess were salt and pepper. Oh, and some fennel that was in the sausage. I like me some fennel sausage.

Last night I made a soup. I sautéed onion and garlic. Carrots. When those were ‘bout done, I dumped in a couple quarts of beef bone broth. We make a lot of bone broth. I browned ribeye and blade steaks (no particular reason I chose those; they just happened to be on top of the pile of freezer beef) in lard and chopped ‘em up pretty small. Still bloody. Tossed ‘em into the mix. I rehydrated some dried chanterelle mushrooms. Lacto-fermented green beans again. Splash of tamari. Pepper. Crumpled in a few handfuls of dried kale. Real handy, that dried kale. Real handy.

We don’t ascribe to any particular diet. We pretty much eat what we grow and call it good. I guess you could call it a “whole foods” diet. Or maybe “traditional,” assuming one associates tradition with region. Which we do. I mean, otherwise it’d be pretty confusing, would it not?

There are few foods we avoid. We don’t eat much, if any, highly processed, multiple ingredient prepared foods. We rarely have pasta. Maybe once a year. We consume relatively few grains, but not because we’re paleo or anything. Not because we’re afeared of gluten. Mostly because we’re too lazy – our habits are such that it’s easier for us to cook with vegetables, meat, and diary, that’s all. We eat hardly any dried beans. I’d eat more, but Penny hates ‘em. The only food we might be a little dogmatic about is sugar. Oh, and soy. Sugar because it’s sugar. Soy because it’s loaded with phytoestrogens. Well, that, plus it’s disgusting. (yes, I know that soy is the primary ingredient in tamari. But it’s fermented, and that’s a whole ‘nother dealeo)

We aren’t foodies. We don’t talk about food in exhausting detail (although, like most of you, I’m guessing, we are sometimes exhausted by food). Our kitchen is simple, and usually pretty cluttered. We spend waaaay more time growing and processing our food, than actually preparing it for the table. But of course growing and processing is preparing it for the table, so maybe that’s a ridiculous distinction. We try to make the most of the animals we slaughter; in addition to using many of the hides, we eat a lot of organ meats. We make a mean liver pate, and pate on warm sourdough crackers with a side of kimchi is one of our favorite meals. In fact, yesterday we polished off a pint of pate in no time flat.

My general sense is that a lot of people are really confused about food. My other general sense is that the dominant food industry likes us to be confused. And maybe a little afraid. It likes us to think we’ll die of some horrible disease if we make a batch of sauerkraut or butcher a pig at home or drink unpasteurized milk. It likes us to skip from one diet to another, because each skip represents an opportunity to sell us more things we don’t much need.

I also suspect that the first step toward eating a truly healthy diet is to listen to whatever government nutrition professionals tell you about eating a truly healthy diet.

And then do exactly the opposite.

PS: Andrea posted an interview with me. Check it out if you’re interested. 

To Your Heart’s Content

December 12, 2014 § 25 Comments

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Four straight days of accumulating snow. It is dense with moisture, the poverty snow I wrote of Wednesday, and moving through it calls to mind the heavy-limbed feeling of running in water I remember from childhood. So much effort expended for so little progress. Our yard is a spiderweb of beaten tracks – to the barn, to the hydrant, to Rye’s goats, and finally, deep into the woods where the pigs reside. I’d intended to bring them closer to home for the snowy months, but things intervened, and I am now shackled to my own stupidity as I ferry the sloshing five-gallon buckets of milk-water-grain slurry to the hogs and their insatiable hunger, each lurching step a down payment on the debt created by my procrastination.

Yesterday the power flickered on and off and on again intermittently, and the boys were perplexed. It was our first significant outage since we grid-connected way back in September 2013; prior to that, we were immune to the vagaries of utility power, and they’d never experienced such a thing. Truth is, we own a generator, and thus could have brought ourselves back online with only a modicum of effort, but could not determine a reason good enough to do so. The animals’ water troughs were full, and both wood stoves were radiating waves of delicious heat. Our refrigerator is powered by cold winter air, and the chest freezers’ frigid cargo would hold for days. So we stuck a pot of leftover squash soup on the cook stove, lit a few candles, and went about our business in the soft light of those small flames.

Then the candles burned down and we went to bed.

•     •     •

Inspired by Penny’s rousing success with intricately folded strips of birch bark, and seduced by the sweet corruption of material wealth, the boys have been in a frenzy of making. As such, I humbly offer this link, where they have posted a few of their wares, each and every one crafted with exactly zero assistance from Penny or myself.

Go ahead. Corrupt to your heart’s content.

A Notion of Relief

December 10, 2014 § 27 Comments

Feeding out before the storm. I like how the cows are watching the bale in anticipation.

Feeding out before the storm. I like how the cows are watching the bale in anticipation.

If you plow driveways for a living, there are exactly two kinds of snow: Money snow, and the sludge that fell last night, which might best be described as “poverty snow.” That’s because most plow guys charge by the job, not the hour, and a storm that consists of four or five-inches of cold, low density powder, the sort of stuff that practically leaps from the path of the truck as if in anticipation of contact… well, that, my friends, is money snow. That’s the sort of snow you can plow with a hot coffee wedged into your crotch and a sugared doughnut on the dash, with the radio tuned to 107.1 FRANK FM, with your foot to the floor – 20 mph on the straights, the snow pillowing and billowing into the weeds, a $30 driveway done in 8 minutes flat. A bite of doughnut, a sip of coffee, Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion, and onto the next. You could plow forever.

But this stuff? This stuff is the reason you don’t take money snow for granted. This stuff is the reason you keep a shovel and a bag of sand in the bed of your truck. This stuff is the reason you think about charging by the minute, rather than the job.

This stuff is the reason our truck is current stranded in middle of our driveway with a pool of hydraulic fluid beneath the raise/lower cylinder of the plow. Ah, well. So it goes. At least I needn’t wonder what I’ll be doing later this morning.

•    •    •

Part II of my interview with Andrea.

BH: I would like to hear more about your family’s days, the first thing you do in the morning, the last thing you do before bed, etc
AH: Get up. Place fire in the stoves. Make coffee. We have slow mornings. We get to have slow mornings. We never had that before. Work: fetching water, doing the dishes, chopping wood, feeding the animals, then working on some building (right now a sauna) or a book (right now a book about the old norse poem called Voluspá). We used to have a lot of animals but we don’t anymore because it was a bit much work for us (we are still somehow- but not as much as we used to- in the process of BUILDING and creating, our homestead is not a fully functioning operation yet, still lots of things we need to learn and do). Food plays a large role in our lives and I spent a lot of time preparing the food, baking or making dinner. In the wintertimes we don’t do a lot, we go into hibernation, we drink hot cocoa, read books, we don’t lift a finger- in the summertime we work until very late in the evening, we work all of the time. Our lives changes all the time and I think this is very healthy- what made us sick before was the fact that there was not time or space to actually be tired or go into hibernation and there was not time or space to do the opposite, we had to live a life of constant productivity and our lives in the forest is not like that. The days are extremely varied. Depending on factors such as weather or mood.Work. Lunch. Work. Dinner. Internet. Books. Music. Last thing we do: fill the stoves with firewood. Sleep.
BH: If you could do it over again, what are three things you’d do differently? 
I think it’s a good thing we didn’t have a backup plan. We invested everything. We didn’t have any money. If we wanted to go back we could’t because we had nothing to come back to. I think this was essential because in the hardest of times I would have used the backup plan if we had one.
So I really would’t do anything differently. We needed everything that happened. I only wish I hadn’t been so fearful and afraid but I was and this was a part of it as was doubt.
BH: You write about despair pretty regularly. Can you talk about the role of despair in your life? 
AH: I believe that we, as modern people and me in specificality suffer from a notion of relief, a longing for a paradise state of eternal bliss free from disappear and hurt. Since moving into the wild this notion has changed a bit. I have had moments of joy and grace, so much joy and so much grace in nature that I will never be able to find the words to describe it. Absolute total bliss. More than bliss. More than joy. More than grace. I call those moments for “the happiness moments”. They have been so hard to describe, much harder than the disappear and also I have tried not to rub it in peoples faces too much- if I describe that joy and that grace people might want to do like we have done. They will be deceived by a notion of paradis. A tale of perfection. But the TRUTH about this tale and the TRUTH about the happiness moments are that they are equally balanced by moments of total and absolute dispair. And you have to take that despair. You have to go through it. You have to into it head first because you can’t escape it… and lately I’ve come to think that maybe you shouldn’t. Maybe we shouldn’t fear the ugly so much and maybe we shouldn’t fear depression so much and maybe we should’t fear despair so much. Maybe it’s totally interconnected with the grace and the joy? The more you seek to protect yourself from moments of hopelessness…. the less hope you will feel?

It’s something I’ve been thinking about.
And I’ve been thinking about it because our despair was good for us. It was GOOD that we were so frustrated and unhappy and had so much dispar because if we had´nt acknowledged that these were the emotions we were feeling… then we might not have REACTED.
The despair made us ACT.
So that´s what I think about that.
BH: Ok. I think that’s probably enough, don’t you?
AH: Never. I think what is most needed in our culture, more needed than anything, is that we begin to TALK to each other. Share experiences. Open up. I believe in open source- of the mind. Let’s share experiences and doubts, lets connect without the pretentious and without the taboos.
That’s it.

 

 

The Biggest Treason

December 9, 2014 § 21 Comments

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I was awakened at 4:30 this morning by Rye, coming indoors from the wall tent in which he’d spent the night. I found him sitting on the rim of the kitchen woodbox, quietly sanding the blade marks out of his latest spoon. He smelled like fir boughs. I lit a fire and just sat for a while, lulled by the building heat, the early hour, and the rhythmic scratching my boys’ work. It was his first night sleeping out alone, something he would not have done even a few months ago. So this is how it happens, I guess.

The air feels soft this morning, the calm before the storm. A foot of snow, some sleet, maybe freezing rain is what they’re saying, so I passed much of yesterday cleaning up our small log yard in anticipation. I stacked and stickered the 2×6’s I milled over the weekend, laid old roofing tin atop the pile. I wrapped a tarp around the sawmill’s motor, cinched it tight. I called Melvin and offered as much of the bucked-up slabwood as he could take and he came and twice filled the big bucket of his New Holland. Today I will head to the woods to drop and skid as many sawlogs as possible, because while it’s preferable to have some snow on the ground when working the woods (keeps the logs clean, for one), a foot on top of what we already have will equal about a foot-and-a-half, and that’s about where things start getting cumbersome for a little one-man, tractor-logging outfit like myself.

•     •     •

As most of you know by now, I really enjoy Andrea Hejlskov’s writing. I discovered it when I followed a link from a comment she made a while back. I must confess to not reading many blogs regularly. In truth, Andrea’s is the sole exception to this rule-that’s-not-really-a-rule, and there are two factors at play. The first is as I have already said: I like her writing. It is not like mine, and it is not how I would like mine to be, but it is exactly how I would like hers to be, if that makes any sense. The second is that I’m drawn to her story. She and her husband Jeppe and their four children fled the city life, and with it, their increasing sense of desperation and isolation among the masses. They moved to the forest in Sweden with little more than what they had on their backs and few skills to rely on. I think I’m drawn to their story because it helps me believe I’d have the courage to do as they did.

(She wrote a book about it all, but it’s in, I think, Mexican, or maybe French, or whatever language unAmericans speak while they’re measuring things in Celsius and centimeters and smirking about their government-sponsored healthcare and 50mpg diesel hatchbacks, so you probably can’t read it. But it was a best-seller in her homeland of Denmark and she got sort of famous. If any American publishers are reading this, you really should drop Andrea a line).

For the heck of it, Andrea and I asked one another a few questions. Here are the questions I asked her, with their respective answers. Actually, I’m going to milk two posts out of this, so here are some of the questions I asked her. Part II tomorrow.

BH: Please tell me a little bit more about your life before you moved to the forest. What compelled you to leave it behind? 
AH: I worked as a child psychologer spending my days observing kids I could’t really help- because the problem was never the kids, the problems was the life we give them, the time we take away from them, the distance between parent and child, the expectations we rise them to have. And I could’t change all that. Dwelling in things you can’t change makes you apathic. We had become apathic. All of us. Satellite family. The children hiding behind the screens in their rooms, Jeppe and me eating frozen pizza while watching cooking shows on tv.
A life of unconscious choices and coincidences, not at all what I wanted when I was younger. I wanted to matter! I wanted to live my life on purpose!
One day my husband said “It is the biggest treason to have realised something and not react on this knowledge.”
So we quit our jobs, threw out all of our belongings, took the children out of school and drove to the deep forest of Värmland, Sweden where we settled like pioneers and built our own log cabin.
BH: What do you miss most about your life before the forest? 
AH: Nothing.
(maybe junk food)
BH: Tell me about your book (which myself and most of my readers can’t read) and about the response it has generated. 
AH: My book is about our first year in the forest. It’s our story. What happens to a modern family when they leave modern society and immerse themselves into nature? (I’m looking for an american publisher so HEY MY NAME IS ANDREA YOU WANNA PUBLISH MY BOOK?)
I’ve published several books in Denmark (in the genre of nonfiction/autofiction: writers writing books about themselves) but this book was different because the response was…. colossal.
A lot of anger. A lot of admiration. A whole lot of reaction actually and that was strange and weird because I had left all that behind and lived a quiet life in the forest, a real simple life. On one hand I want to offer what I have to offer, my stories, my perspective, my thoughts about sustainability, I think it’s important that people know that alternatives exists, that it IS possible to do something else if you want to (not easy- but possible) On the other hand it´s so easy to lose yourself in the mainstream, it´s tempting to let ego rule, it´s difficult to handle that you LOSE power (over your story) when a book is published- people will go on assuming all kinds of things about you and you can´t really say anything because suddenly you have “an image” and stuff like that.
I know my book has touched a lot of people. As a writer I am not allowed to complain about what happened regarding my book. I got to stand on scenes the most prestigious places and I still get to talk about capitalism and existentialism, my book is read by real live actual human beings and it means something to them. So I should really suck it up and just enjoy it… but I lost words. I lost my words until one day I began talking to you, Ben, and you gave me back my words and I´m eternally grateful for that. Which only goes to show, in my humble opinion, that we as a species NEED each other.
We left the modern capitalistic society because we felt it was killing us slowly- but we didn´t stop needing people and we didn´t stop wanting to give and add to the collective spirit. We are hermits and weirdos living in the forest, yes, but we are also artists (Jeppe is a musician) and I needed to come to terms with both my creativity and my need for other people. This has been a process with many ups and down. I´m happy now though. Glad that I went through it.
BH: Why do you share your stories in such a public way? What have you gained and lost from doing so?  
AH: 1. Because it’s wired into my existence and I could’t stop even if I wanted to.
2. Because I’ve come to realise that I do important work (as do you). The stories of our cultures are too narrow not leaving enough room for people to move, change, think differently, examine alternatives, question everything. I believe we, as a species, need to broaden our stories if we are to face the challenges of our times: climate change, rising social and economic inequality, the loss of meaning. I think we need to work on our stories- also our stories about alternatives.
It gives me a lot to feel that I work for US.
I lost my sense of self. But then again, isn’t that what writers do? We flex between the self and the community, we move between the stories.
Sorry about the formatting; wordpress is not letting me add spacing to the interview. I edited to bold the questions, which should make it at least a little easier to read. 
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