I just finished reading Karl Ove Knausgård’s My Struggle Book 3. I could say that I finished it in one sitting, but I cheated in a way. Earlier this year The New Yorker published an excerpt from the book, which I read then. When I was going through the book to figure out which pages the excerpt was from, I noticed that there were a few minor changes here and there, primarily so they could isolate it as a short story. I didn’t mind missing an extra word or two. From what I could tell it was primarily the same. I was able to skip forty pages this time. If I ever go back to reread it, I’ll go cover to cover. I’ll wait until all six books are translated into English before I do that, though.
As I read it I noticed that I had a strong emotional connection to parts, especially dealing with his overbearing father. Don’t get me wrong, mine wasn’t nearly as bad as the father in the book. But my parents could be quite restrictive at times when I was growing up. I could identify with the frustration and anger the narrator felt, especially when he was in the right most of the time. I also recognized the same feelings when he went through the bullying at school. I think I may have had it worse, as I had even less friends to play with.
I’ve been harboring feelings of wanting to strike back at authority since childhood, then. Not big news and certainly not unique to me. But I never really rebelled in any significant way, either. When I moved out, I got an apartment three-eighths of a mile up the street, and the landlord is family. Yes, that means I got a great deal on rent and the move was easy. But it’s still too close to be considered much of a change. When my landlord gave my parents a key without consulting me, I got angry but did nothing. Could I really have caused a fuss, especially when she would have probably done it anyway? One of the reasons I moved out was that my parents never respected my privacy. Yet I know he’s been in the apartment at least once without checking with me first. It was a benign reason, apparently. A workman replacing the windows needed to get inside and my landlord wasn’t home. But that’s not the point. My father should have checked with me first. How do I know that he hasn’t been here other times without telling me?
I would like to believe that the answer is he hasn’t. And that’s most likely the truth. Nevertheless, the possibility is there and I don’t like it. Yet my biggest point here remains that I haven’t done anything about it. I never really took any giant leaps in my life at all. I keep talking about how I want to move to Portland, Maine but I won’t go unless I have something solid like a new job. But why not? Gas isn’t cheap but I could still commute to the job I have until I find something up there. Moving might give me more of a motivation.
Then, as I was reading Knausgård’s book, another thought hit me: why not Europe? I’ve been to Norway before and it wasn’t exactly a culture shock. The language barrier could be a problem, but as they all spoke English in Oslo I could adapt for a while. I’ve also had my eye on Belgium for a while although that’s the home of the EU and NATO. I would practically be living in a big target. But really, I live close enough to New York City that argument could apply here. Hell, if the bomb is big enough I could feel fallout if one is dropped on D.C.
Okay, let’s leave my normal paranoia out of this. I’ve also though about taking a cue from a couple of friends of mine and move to Seattle. There are a lot of advantages to living out there. All the benefits of living in a small city are there: stores are open late, everything is within walking distance and as long as one knows where to go it’s pretty safe. I’m also liking the direction the politics are heading. When I was there last I felt no strong connection to the place, which was something Portland had over it for me.
Let’s suppose I don’t relocate at all. That might not be the answer to these doldrums I’ve been feeling over the past hour or so. Perhaps just a change in routine will do. I could focus solely on the writing and not creating music. I just realized that I haven’t picked up a guitar or bass in a few weeks anyway. I’ve been having problems when jogging lately and honestly, I don’t know if my heart is in it anymore. I would love to change jobs, but what I really want is to become a published writer. I should focus more time on writing then, as opposed to music.
I think most of all I need to me more aggressive, more confident and more assertive in the way I go about life. I noticed in the past few months I’ve been too much of a pushover when it comes to work. Somewhere along the way I lost my ability to stand up against management when I know I disagree with them. Things do look like they might be improving but that’s besides the point. Maybe I should get out more. I don’t mean I want to pick fights but I’m not growing as much as a person being such a recluse. Lack of money isn’t really an excuse anymore.
When it comes down to it I need to make some changes. I don’t mean that I necessarily need to improve things about myself, although I would like to grow in certain areas. I mean that if anything, I need change just for the sake of change.