Postcards from Liseberg

januari 9, 2010 kl. 10:05 e m | Publicerat i Skrivande | 19 kommentarer

Liseberg, an amusement park in Gothenburg, is closed for winter. I have been there every year since the dawn of man. But not last year. It just didn’t happen. I had planned to see some pop concerts or at least play pinball and that funny arcade game when you are a crazy taxi driver. I love that one.

Maybe I’ll go to Liseberg this year. No. Make that a ”I shall go there”. It’s important to have a little fun now and then.

Since books are a part of the entertainment industry, there is perhaps something I can learn from amusement parks.

Liseberg has 3 million visitors every year. My first and only novel sold less than 100 copies.

The main reason most people go to Liseberg, I guess, is to be thrilled. They want to scream with fear, knowing deep down that they actually are 99,9999 % perfectly safe. How can I make readers scream when they read a novel of mine? Can it be done at all?

It’s easier in the movies. First of all you have this big screen and that loud noise that you can’t protect yourself from. Secondly, you have the mechanism of wanting to communicate with other people about your shared experience, so when you watch Borat or Brüno in an ugly scene you must scream and laugh and put your hands in front of your face and say: ”Oh, my God, that’s disgusting” and other words. If you had watched the same scene alone on telly you would probably just have closed your eyes or grabbed the remote control (if it wasn’t already in your hand). Then there is often also the mechanism of mass behaviour. If a lot of people around you scream in a cinema or a rollercoaster, you will probably do it as well. You can’t reach that level by reading a book. What a book can do regarding this matter is to move a person to laughter or cry, and if that be the case, then it was a damn good writer. But a writer can never make a person scream.

Let’s make a test:

Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden can stand on stage and shout: ”Scream for me, Sweden!” and then 50,000 people will obey him.

Now, I say to you:

”Scream for me, Sweden!”

Did you scream?

Ok, I think I know why. Let’s give it another try:

”Scream for me, EU!”

I guess that didn’t work either.

”Scream for me, Tellus! Scream, goddamnit! Scream! Scream for me, Solar system!”

In space, no one can you here you scream, they say. That goes for cyberspace too, it seems.

Writing is obviously one of the most complicated and toughest divisions in the world of entertainment.

Håkan Tendell

And finally: Close, but no Liseberg – a picture of a gothenburgish blue and white tram disappearing into a tunnel: available to ride in all seasons for the price of two coupons. You got to go to Gothenburg some day. It’s lovely here.


19 kommentarer »

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