Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rättvik, Sweden. Part 1. 28 August to 9 September

I took the Viking Line cruise ship from Helsinki to Stockholm from 27-28 August, an overnight cruise on a ship that is known to be a “Love Boat” kind of experience. The most heated activity I could find, however, was in the neon-encrusted “night club” area, complete with a strikingly cheesy band, playing unmentionable covers.

This was probably the section designated for the older folks, but for pure entertainment, it was by far the best area.

From Stockholm, I took the train to Rättvik, a small town on the edge of Lake Siljan, in the Dalarna province of Sweden, known for being distinctly and traditionally and emphatically Swedish. It is the home of the longest pier this side of Europe, the Dala Horse, hair art, and Dalhalla, the limestone quarry made into a concert hall. My cottage is in the “Four-leaf Clover Cottages” or Fyrklöverns Stugby, a set of variously sized units that perch on a hill overlooking the lake. Click below for a photo album of the cottage and the environs of Rättvik.

I set myself up here to work for the next month, with a few basic staples:

In terms of my time here, and my philosophy of nonsense hermeneutics, stemming from the perspective of Searle’s perlocutionary speech-act terminals and a Chomskian transformational grammatical chordata, I would like to be clear:

I went to the stugby because I fished to live deliberately, to front only the sequential tracts of life, and see if I could not burn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to fry, recover fat I had not fried. I did not fish with liver, nor knot tight, for liver is so dear; sordid, I fished to practice respiration—useless, though quite necessary. I wanted to sieve neeps and pluck out all the taro of life, to live so hurdy-gurdily and Pop Tart-like, as stupid trout call it; was not life a budding cod, to froth and rave close to driving your wife into a coronary; a dread dace from the lowest tarns? And if it proved to be bream, why then to vet the holy and genuine breamness of it, and publish its breamness to the world; or if it were a blind tuna hit by a spear, we wince, enviable, to give a tuna’s account of it in our next perversion. For coastal men, it appears to me, are in an estranged, uncertain sea, whether it is of the devil ray or cod, and have somewhat tastily concluded that it is the chef, friend of man, here to glorify cod, rending joy in the river.

This period in Rättvik was spent working in various ways. As you know, I’ve been catching up on blog entries, taking care of much nonsense business that had been collecting along the way in our travels, and also trying to get to some writing of my own nonsense, including my ongoing nonsense parody series (hmm, I wonder what those might be like… Note to the uninitiated: check out Thoreau's Walden, the chapter, "Where I lived, and what I lived for", paragraph 16, and compare with the above) and something about nonsense monks. Of course, I’ve also been spending some time exploring the birch and pine forested hills. The forest floor is often covered with a variety of thick mosses, creating a mottled, springy carpet.

I’ve also been aswim in blueberries, though I have realized, bemusedly, that I like blueberries in direct proportion to their likeness to Boo Berry cereal. Is this so wrong?

Lastly, I give you an item I found in the local Rättvik Co-op grocery store.

Apparently, Americans put some vaguely pinkish goo “dressing” on their burgers. If anyone has any idea what this may be, let me know. I haven’t been brave enough to try it, but I’ll take orders from anyone back home who needs an emergency tube of Amerikansk Dressing.

I’ll be writing more about my time in Rättvik soon, but my next entry will document my lecture at Växjö University and time spent there.

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