The people that know me and talk to me daily will probably say “Oh, here he goes again!” right now. Just reading the headline of this piece gives you an impression of how an ideology oppressed me so much that I almost gave up on writing, but that isn’t quite right. It is not what I mean with that sentence. I nearly ruined my talent for writing and storytelling by allowing myself to be swallowed up by an ideology that seemed to have all the answers I was looking for.

Let me start at the beginning. When I was a kid I told stories and I noticed that when I told stories people would listen. Often those stories were things I had heard or things that I just made up. This would entertain my cousins, my parents and my uncles and aunts and I loved that. It felt so good to be able get attention for something I felt like I created in the moment. Sometimes those stories would not be absolutely correct and maybe even lies.

I would tell my teachers stories about what I would do during the summer and make up all sorts of stuff. When my fellow pupils grew up with me, they would start dating and I would make up stories of girlfriends in areas they did not know about. I was a bit geeky and strange, and I did not really know how to act around girls. I learned to lie to avoid learning how to act. Some of my teachers may have caught onto this and one specifically warned me that if I continued this, I would wind up not doing anything worthwhile.

When I was in my teenage years, I discovered a love for filmmaking. I had always loved movies. It was a great way for me to escape from the bullying when I was in my early teens and my childhood, but unwittingly I loved it because it showed me examples of how to act. Movies showing me heroic archeologists, soldier rising up from the ashes and police officers fighting corruption. I wanted myself to see that the lies I used to tell myself may have been why I got in trouble with my peers and why they were picking on me.

As I was in my late teens, I got involved in politics and we became a tight knit group that would make movies, mostly parodies, badly made ones at that, of popular films at the time. Me and my friend Christian would write the scripts during the winter. Well, I say me and Christian, but the truth is that Christian did most of the writing, in fact he and his brother Arnfinn did most of the work and they are now both successful in their own fields. This led to me studying film.

In film school I started to hang out with people who knew how to really make movies, some of my classmates are working fulltime in the movie industry on a high level, and I first came across the philosophy of post-modernism. Now at first it did seem like a really cool philosophy that gave me everything I had been looking for. As someone who did not believe in a god and loved the latest movies that had come out, it seemed a quite playful philosophy. You get to decide what something means. There are no set answers. For a creative person it is a dream philosophy. Or so I thought.

At that time, I would write very fanciful scripts about Norsemen and ideas around fantasy. I had a great line of scripts ahead of me (I might still do something with those ideas, as I still find them very interesting, but I might change them a lot). This engaged a female producer who loved my ideas and she wanted me to write more. We would change the Norwegian film industry together. I worked hard on that script, but at the time Norwegian film was not interested in stories about Norse culture. They wanted “stories” about real life, preferably something that could show how one person was oppressed by his or her culture. At this time, I started to slide down the thought of writing more post-modernist scripts. I would chuck the idea of heroic rises and focus on just cool pop culture references. I thought I got pretty good at it, but it was eating away at my soul. I would not write about overcoming the bad things. I would write stories where I focused on how life had fucked me over and not how I could solve that. I even got pulled in on writing the same kind scripts with other people. Stories where there was no structure and the characters did not learn anything.

It took a friend of mine, a film producer who died in 2011, to tell me that I did not love what I was doing anymore. He wanted me to find a project that I could actually finish and I would have finished it, if Daniel, my friend, had not died. That sapped away my will to do anything in writing for a while. I would work on other people’s stuff and come up with minor stories and scripts that I would write for other filmmakers, but the love wasn’t there anymore. During those days the same ideas ran through my head. The idea of there being no right way of reading a situation, a story or life. I was starting to think that it didn’t matter anymore whatever I did and that got me on edge with several people. I would come up with great ideas, but not follow through on them because I did not see any sense in it.

It took an illness, a break from filmmaking and giving up on trying to understand everything for me to rediscover my love of writing again. I had to relearn all the things I knew back when I loved to tell stories and now I am working on my second book and I still have a box filled with ideas for my next twenty books. I just hope I haven’t wasted too much time on silly ideas about things not mattering, because guess what… What you do matters and there is a way of living your life that gives you meaning. The first step is to give up on ideologies that screw with your head and makes you think that it is all a power game. So maybe post-modernism isn’t only to blame here, but as I said in the beginning, some of the blame… No… Most of the blame lay at the feet of me as an individual. I will continue on the great tradition where things I write have the meaning I meant to give it.

There is no death of the author as long as the books exists.

JH Lillevik is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy. He writes screenplays, novels and short stories. He also works as a writing consultant for upcoming writers. His specialty is mythology, world building and psychology.

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