Kristina Meiton

Sjövik. January 10th.

Every written letter bores me. I can feel a resistance in each and every finger typing a letter. To write to write and then erase. I wonder why not all the jobs I do feel like real jobs, why they don’t all give the satisfaction of having worked. The work still has to be done and time still passes, although time passes what ever I do, like right now. I look at a few sentences I’ve written, the start of a text about work that I know I’ll write, but not now… I sit locked up in my study while a large man works on the living room floor downstairs. He’ll bring forward fine looking wooden boards that'll be polished and soaped. The more you scrub and the older they get the finer they'll become, the man says. A sympathetic floor that’s been there, placed under the parquet. I think the floor makes me a slightly happier person. Really. Yesterday I dreamt of knitting a round rag rug for the floor. Visiting the flea market and searching for the right fabrics to be cut to shreds rolled up into skeins and knitted. It'll be fine. Now I've got to get started again, get back into work again so I can have the time to just sit. The door slams and the machine goes silent. The man swears over a marble that seems to have rolled into his machine.

”Certain people claim they love work and hate being idle. I do not question their views, but I'm bold enough to believe their dislike towards sloth is a result of such an active life that their senses have never had the opportunity to understand the meaning of pleasure”

Dr Samuel Johnson 1709-1784

Sjövik. January 21st.

We feel a calm here at home. A light doze to be affirmed fall into and snooze through the day. It could have worked but it doesn’t. Already in the morning in front of the children's program it doesn’t work. Today my worries gnaw worse than usual at my body. How long time has been spent at doing nothing? The kids aren’t even sick to their stomach any more, they're just in a 48 hour quarantine with about 35 hours left. With a five year old in the house I can work, but with a two year old... it's nearly impossible. Twists, turns and scrapes and my thoughts go into spin. Without warning and from nowhere waves of low self-esteem, envy and jealousy well up. They spread out and bring the evening to a halt. I'm exhausted and tuck myself in. On the bedside table lies "Thinking sociologically" and a book by Stefan Sundström about cultivating. If I'd put in a hard days work I'd have treated myself to a chapter from the book by Stefan Sundström. That's if I'd kept a fast-pace during the day, a reasonable level of stress and strangely enough maybe some of that anxiety, brought on by breathing high within ones chest. That's when it feels good to go to bed and relax. I would've been able to enjoy his book and give in to the thoughts of getting a few chickens, building mighty growing beds, drying nettles for making tee and picking apples to make sap from. Instead I read the text on the backside of the book "to see peoples actions as aspects of a greater whole, to gain greater understanding for other people and other forms of living: as a tool for living your life in a more conscious way". (Zygmunt Bauman, Thinking Sociologically, 1992)

Sjövik. February 16th.

Casually dressed I wave goodbye to the kids as they stand there, noses pressed against the kindergartens hall room window. "Bye sweeties, have a good day, see you later!". Now I've got five and a half hour to get something done. I meet a well dressed woman by the kindergarden gate. She looks determined probably on her way to work. I'd like to radiate that same kind of aura with the confidence of having something important to do. Having people waiting and have decisions to be made. I do but you just can't see it. I wonder if they think I spend my days slacking of at home or maybe I don't even have a job? It doesn't matter. I know so why pretend? I know. Maybe it's the clothes or the laundry I threw into the machine on the way to the computer or the toys I cleared away from my desk. I hurry the 200 meter I've got to walk home. I drop my outdoor clothes on the floor in the hall. The computer is already on, the mail box already open. A quick account, who's waiting, who's got expectations? The plan is always to get rid of what must be done - so then I can do my own, that which requires calm and focus. Start by answering the simple e-mails and then the ones that require concentration. The stress both increases and let's go. A release when answers are sent. Fewer await and more people can get on with theirs. I close the inbox. Now it's my turn. I connect a hard drive and open my editing program.

March 3rd 2011.

Mentor tips: "Avoid what happens if you devote yourself to laziness instead of work and see if it gives you something new". The suggestion comes after complaints from my part about inner stress. That I can't and don't either want to disconnect myself from the thoughts of my work. I justify things I shouldn't, I justify things I shouldn't justify because of my work. I'm both apposed and tantalized. One day it has to happen and that is a day chosen with care, a day when I'm pretty done with my work. But we over sleep and fight on the way to the kindergarden. I say unnecessary things and my youngest one gets it straight away and sits down in refusal on the cycle path. I grab him under my arm and hiss at Tasse who's pulling at the leash. Back home, through the door, closing it quickly behind me. Inside the house, trying to catch my breath, stress has my stomach in a bundle — already. And... instead of making coffee and lying down on the sofa which was the plan it's easier to sit down in front of the computer.

But after lunch I turn it of. I was advices to watch fires or birds. I sit down in by the window surprised by the number of birds tinkering about in the garden. Birds fly from the plum trees to the apple trees bathing in the puddles on the pathway, swinging from the withered flower stalks. Every half hour they're scared of by empty busses passing by. Then they come back to start over or maybe continue. It's hard to say. Most of them are yellowish, some of them sparrows and some blue tits. Above them the clouds move in different layers. It's been a long time since I've looked at the clouds and seen how they move. Beautiful and quick yet so cohesive. The same goes for the seasons. I miss the transitions. Dog owners pass by and look through the window. I had a suspicion it might get troublesome sitting here. Soon the kindergarden group will pass by on the way up to the forest. I can see my daughter in front of me unwittingly explaining to her teachers "my mom works from home".

Work is winning over more and more the good conscience to its side : the desire for enjoyment already calls itself " need of recreation," and even begins to be ashamed of itself. " One owes it to one's health," people say, when they are caught at a picnic. Indeed, it might soon go so far that one could not yield to the desire for the vita contemplativa (that is to say, excursions with thoughts and friends), without self- contempt and a bad conscience. — Well ! Formerly it was the very reverse : it was "action" that suffered from a bad conscience. A man of good family concealed his work when need compelled him to labour.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The joyful wisdom, 1912

Sjövik. May 11th.

I struggle heavily. There's physical pain. I'm reaching my own limit and I've got more than half left. I can feel tears building up as passersby joke about "how great it is to see others work". It'll be a beautiful green fence made of willows keeping people from seeing in. The 180 centimeter long willows will be woven together but first 130 holes each 40 centimeters deep have to be made. More than half left and I silly enough already feel faint. I bite the bullet and create an image in my mind. It's an image I often feel close to. It feels like I slowly approach a centre where things fall into place. I myself am part of the image even though I shift form and take different roles who are all important in some way. All of them fighting for space. Welcome to our home for a summer celebration. The house is filled with people. Barefoot they wonder around on the wooden boards reading the spine of books placed in neat disorder in the shelves along the wall. Biographies by artists, authors and filmmakers. Art books not to boldly placed but visible. My own row of books is filled with books from the time I studied biology and wanted to work with environmental issues. Yet another row is filled with popular political books by Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky and bought when I subscribed to Ordfront. Thrillers are hidden away in the shadows. Classics are mixed up with Harry Potter and Harry Bosh. I take a step back and see my life in these books. Different books representing different parts of me. At the same time I see this wall of books from the point of a gazing guest and I feel pleased with what I see. Then it falls apart. I grab the shelves, that still haven't been secured properly for the kids to use, and tear them down so the books spreads out over the newly polished floor. There among unspoken wishes, demands, tolerance, compromises and silences, formulations and reformulating, I brush myself of and move ahead by placing on foot in front of the other. One after the other until they move along by themselves and gain speed again. I joint together the branches from the willows in a sprawling grid that encapsulates the room around us.

Sjövik. June 3rd.

I awake because of the heat and the stuffy air under the sloping roof. It feels late and well rested in a troublesome way. I look for the small digital figures on the digital box. I regret not getting up and starting to work when the clock rang. Then I'd feel fine now. I could've woken the kids and eaten breakfast with a calm body and a good conscience. The calm stresses me out at the same time as the languor spreads out in my body. I slowly walk to the mailbox. I pick a plum and aim every step precisely right. Was it a good idea to place the stone slabs in such a way that you have to take small step in order to place your whole foot on each slab. To be able to take these steps in a pleasant pace you have to slow down to half of your ordinary pace. Otherwise it gets choppy. But that was my intension. I liked the thought that you had to change your pace and slow down but now it feels worrying that the steps back and fourth to the mailbox fit me so perfectly

"Doing right by oneself’, means that through ones work in society one contributes to society. It's through working that one creates a place for oneself in society. You don't have a place through your mere existence. Excistence is not enough, you have to take your place, conquer it by giving something back...

Sven-Olof Collin, Right, Solidarity and Justice, 2010

Sjövik. July 5th.

Vacation has just started. Vacation for most employees. They clean their desk, empty their inboxes and go through their answering machines so that they can be free from their jobs for five weeks. I'm free as well. Kindergarten has closed and the kids have come home. Before the vacation started I was sent six rejection letters concerning different projects. But now I shall not focus on that but on what's still under control. That which is chipping for air, twisting and turning, pushed down between the sun beds, by the barbecue, under the wet sandy towels. When I still feel it, via bad conscience and a feeling of being completely useless at my profession, somehow in a strange way it helps digging through the soil. Just as they say, the overly aroused, the disillusioned, the seeking, So I dig a moderately deep furrow around the compost. I fill it with water and plant the lilac bushes I've saved from the building site a block away. Trample around with my boots and hope that they’ll survive.

Sjövik. December 1st.

The computer screen shines. I sit in front of it tense. The kids are watching television. I can't think of anything to do but I still sit here looking at the computers desktop. On it I have a very cute picture of my kids. The picture is cluttered with lots of small icons in different colors. I try not to place the icons on their faces but now they're all over the place. Some contain small pictures. Pictures from films I'm working on. Small out-takes that have been sent of awaiting assessment. Lacking something to do I go through the small icons to see if I've missed something, neglected something. I have a vague but significant feeling that I haven't done what I should for a while now. It gives me a really bad conscience. I wonder why every time I have a day of I have to discuss with myself how to make up for that day by working? How come I have to deserve my time of? Why do I have such a hard time relaxing in front of the TV or reading a book when given the occasion? Why do I need an ulterior motive to make up for the time it takes me to do those things? Now they're crying out for me to come and watch christmas television. So that's what I do. But I'd really like to understand these things. Understand, clarify and concretize why work is given such a central place within me.