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You’ve come a long way, little blog

Yesterday the most delightful little surprise landed in my inbox: an invitation to appear at a cultural festival in Italy “featuring influential authors and journalists from all over the world.”

At first I thought, there must be some mistake. I mean, I have a BLOG. I write about googlies.*

But … wOOt!!

This annual festival, which is organized by the Italian newsmagazine Internazionale, attracts around30,000 people [!] and is scheduled to be held in town called Ferrera, in northern Italy, the first weekend in October. Past guests include Noam Chomsky, Roberto Saviano [who had to go into hiding after writing Gomorrah: Italy’s Other Mafia as the mobsters threatened to take him out] and Arundhati Roy, author of one of my very favourite books, one of the few books I’ve read twice [and cried both times], The God of Small Things. This year they’re going to be featuring Iceland’s economic meltdown, which is where YT and the Weather Report come in.

Meanwhile, last night I had dinner at my favourite restaurant, Sjávarkjallarinn, courtesy of two Norwegian journalists [hi Hendrik and Christian!] who are here to write stories about our current predicament. I’ve got an interview scheduled for Saturday with the Swiss daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung [their Nordic correspondent is here, hi Ingrid!], and on Monday this blog will be featured in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, in a section called “Wie die Welt bloggt” [hi Gunnar!].

Back in October 2004 as I sat in my little office, bored with filing my nails and playing Snood and wondering what sort of distraction I could come up with next, it never would have occurred to me that this little blog I was about to start would eventually lead to all this and more. But then I never could have envisioned the kreppa, either, which is in large part responsible for all the publicity this blog has received.

The Icelanders, in jest, refer to World War II as “the blessed war” because it brought them so much prosperity. From now on I think I will refer to the kreppa as “the blessed kreppa“.

TODAY FELT LIKE THE FIRST DAY OF SUMMER
It was just so beautiful. This morning there was this gentle sunshine, mild temperatures and absolutely NO WIND, which as most of you know is virtually unheard of up here on the ice cube. The sea was this gorgeous iridescent blue and smooth as glass. Everyone was talking about the weather … I went to my dentist, and she remarked “at least we still have this“. Right now 4°C [39F], sunrise was at 5:52 am, sunset at 9:05 pm.

* Which reminds me, it’s been a while.

Comments

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  • biff3000 April 17, 2009, 12:53 am

    Congratulations! A well-deserved honor.

  • CarolQ April 17, 2009, 5:13 am

    You deserve all the recognition you’re getting! I can say I read your blog back in the day when you were just about your life and the Niceland “weather report”.

    Congratulations!!

  • Dumdad April 17, 2009, 7:44 am

    It’s about time you published the book of the blog. And then the film of the book of the blog. Oscar glory next stop!

  • Guy April 17, 2009, 8:27 am

    Congratulation! (have fun in Italy)

  • Rafał April 17, 2009, 8:38 am

    Deserved, deserved, deserved! 🙂

  • alda April 17, 2009, 9:59 am

    Many thanks, everyone!! 😀

  • jpeeps April 17, 2009, 10:31 am

    Obviously congratulations, but also I entirely agree with you about The God of Small Things – a fabulous book that really stays with you.

  • Bluegrass Mama April 17, 2009, 12:03 pm

    Glad there’s a bright side for you! You’ve done an excellent job documenting this. But I still miss the googlies. 😉

  • Chris April 17, 2009, 12:40 pm

    Congratulations…and I can agree with the others that you totally deserve this.

  • Jessica April 17, 2009, 1:25 pm

    It is remarkable how far this blog has come. I can see this blog turning into the “The Huffington Post” of Iceland (a great alternative to “news” sites in my mind) — and hey, maybe some of the laid off Iceland Review writers can be contributors and you can call yourself Senior Editor!
    But remember, it’s always your blog and you can do or write whatever you please. We’ll still be reading whether it’s about Googlies or riots ; ‘ )

  • Karen April 17, 2009, 2:46 pm

    Heya, congrats!

    Maybe it’s time to dust off that old manuscript and float it around again – with a raised profile, maybe the publishers will take to it better this time.

    Or maybe like Dumdad suggested, it’s time for the book of the blog!

    May your blessings continue to accumulate!

  • Mondrian April 17, 2009, 4:19 pm

    Congrats! wOOt indeed!

    Scotland = too cold… Glad things are sunnier in Niceland…

  • Voyager April 17, 2009, 5:02 pm

    Wow! A long way indeed. And well deserved. Enjoy it.
    V.

  • mary April 17, 2009, 7:04 pm

    All the very best Irish wishes to you!

  • idunn April 17, 2009, 7:12 pm

    Well deserved.

    I’ve read your blog with interest and increasingly find it relevant. Partly due this moment in time for Iceland, also because you so well synthesize what is happening. Thus little surprise the attention, it comes to you in measure that written touches others, precisely for a reason, and indeed deserved.

  • Grif April 17, 2009, 7:29 pm

    Big congrats! Any signs of you having to go into hiding soon? :p

    For years I’ve been thinking to go visit Milan again. Maybe I’ll do both and come cheer for you in October 😉

    When looking at the menu of Sjávarkjallarinn, I noticed they have a vegetarian dish. So I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m in Iceland.

  • alda April 17, 2009, 9:36 pm

    Thank you, everyone! 🙂

    Cat – I’ll make a point of doing a googlie post soon. I’ve collected a few doozies over the past while.

    Jessica – The Nicelandic Huffpost, huh? Doesn’t sound half bad, but I daresay I’d only get about .05% of the hits they do. Believe it or not, there is only a very, very small fraction of the non-Icelandic-speaking world that is concerned with Iceland in any substantial measure (hard to believe, I know. ;))

    Karen – thanks for the vote of confidence, but I’ve developed a serious antipathy towards the publishing *industry* over the past few years. Although if a publisher came along and offered me a handsome advance to write a book about Niceland, I’d probably take it faster than you could say everythingyoualwayswantedtoknowabout thekreppabutwereafraidtoask
    But alas, I don’t think that’s going to happen — I’d probably need about 100 times more traffic than I have now for them to even think about it. 🙂

    Grif – Um, I don’t think I’ll have to go into hiding … but I might have to put on sunglasses. 8)

  • Ljósmynd DE April 17, 2009, 9:40 pm

    Congratulations and I’ll make sure not to miss your blog’s appearance in the German SZ.

    This weather seems to be quite symbolic – it’s just middle of April and Iceland is already spending the sunny days, reserved for the next summer. 😉

  • jóilondon April 18, 2009, 12:05 am

    Hamingjuóskir, Alda!

    Single-handedly you have given the country what it previously lacked – an international voice for the Icelandic people and a tangible identity for the country which has Björk to thank for ‘outing’ as a nation.

    Keep up the good work and buon viaggio.

  • James April 18, 2009, 2:11 am

    Best wishes for your “little blog”, from someone who visits Reykjavik regularly but still knows only 8 words of Icelandic…

  • Don in Seattle April 18, 2009, 4:46 am

    Congratulation, Alda!!

    The comment by joilondon echos my thoughts exactly. A job well done.

    I am sorry that it took the worldwide financial crisis, and in particular the Kreppa in Iceland, to bring your writing to such notariety. I enjoyed what you did on IR, and very much enjoy this blog, as I’m sure you know.

    Please, I do hope you will take my multiple request for a book seriously. You have accomplished so much with your blog that it is now time to document that with a published work. I really think the story of IWR merits publication.

    Don

  • TMCD April 18, 2009, 7:23 am

    Good for you 🙂
    Keep writing!!
    The very best to you 🙂

  • alda April 18, 2009, 2:11 pm

    Takk takk! 🙂

    jóilondon – I’m flattered, but in no way can I take credit for giving this country a tangible identity — much as I would like to. 🙂

    Don – I truly appreciate your encouragement, I really do. But the truth is I have pitched books to publishers, including one about the collapse, and they are not interested. I even sent a proposal to an agent, who expressed interest, and then turned around and commissioned such a book from one of her own clients.
    Without interest from a publisher, the enormous investment of time and energy that is required to write a book is just not viable – at least not for a normal person who is working to make ends meet. The only possible way of doing so would be use the time I invest in this blog, meaning I would have to stop writing it, but even so, there is no guarantee that it would justify that kind of sacrifice.
    So as you can see, I’ve even gone a step further than thinking about it – and a book is not in the cards. At least not for the time being.

  • Physchim62 April 18, 2009, 10:41 pm

    Congratulations indeed, keep up the good work and enjoy yourself in Italy!

  • Don in Seattle April 19, 2009, 3:01 am

    Thanks for the information.

    Not being familiar with all that is required in geting a book from inspiration to “on the shelf”, I tend to think that these things just happen. That an author gets an idea, sits down, and cranks out a book, regardless of marketability, and gets it published; which perhaps is why my local Barnes and Noble bookstore has so many items on the discount shelf.

    I still think that with your talent for writing, it would be a great success.

    However, I’ll defer to your experience in getting something published, even if I feel that to not publish on this topic is a waste of your talents on a matter that has worldwide significance.

    Thanks for letting me know all that you have tried to do along these lines, and with that, I’ll end my quest for you to write a book. I don’t like it, as I really believe you have a story that needs to be told, but at least now I understand your situation.

    Thanks again for the explanation. I guess it is more difficult than I imangined to be an author, but if anyone could write this story about Iceland, it is you.

    Regards, Don

  • Kathryn April 19, 2009, 5:47 am

    Congrats Alda !

  • jóilondon April 19, 2009, 8:31 am

    In my defence of you, Alda, you are giving Iceland an international identity. I have lived in nine European capitals and in each the embassy was primarily staffed by crass, smug and foolish men.

    For decades now, Icelandic cultural events have been akin to top-secret meetings of ex-pat Icelanders and duty-bound local government officials, with half-cut diplomats promoting precisely nothing.

    At one fiasco an inebriated attaché enthusiastically briefed my guest on astronomical prices, grim terrain, loose women, alcoholic debauchery and fantastic [sic] street brawls. This even before his ‘official’ take on Iceland’s triumphs, the Cod War, the interminable Miss Worlds and the four times winner of the World’s Strongest Man (sorry Magnús Ver minn!).

    Even now Björk, Ólafur Elíasson (the artist), Vesturport (the theatre company), Arnaldur Indriðason (the author), Baltasar Kormákur (the film director), Sigur Rós (the band) and Nobel prizewinner Halldór Kiljan Laxness are perceived as refugees from Igloo Central, an anonymous country somewhere near – hmm, Finland?

    It has taken the loathsome kreppa to quite literally put Klakinn (Ice. slang; the ice-cube) on the world map, which the forthright journablog commentaries of Alda Ísbrjótur (that’s you, Alda Icebreaker) have so deftly and vibrantly illuminated and clarified for an international audience.

    In a final salute to Icelandic creativity, Alda, your photography alone is an superb example of the extraordinary poetic essence which gushes through the blood of a people uniquely inspired by their land.

    Your Nobel prize is in the post.

  • Grif April 19, 2009, 9:13 am

    Today’s comic of Pearls before swine nicely captures the origin of the kreppa. Not something we all know for a long time already, just nicely blunt explained. (of course if you follow the comic and know the personalities of the characters, it’s even better)
    http://www.comics.com/comics/pearls/

  • alda April 19, 2009, 12:01 pm

    Don – That an author gets an idea, sits down, and cranks out a book, regardless of marketability, and gets it published — alas, nothing could be further from the truth! That’s why blogs and the Internet are so important — they allow all those voices to be heard, that otherwise would not be.
    Thank you for your confidence in me, though. It is much appreciated. 🙂

    Physchim62 and Kathryn – thank you!

    jói – Well, I’m not going to ARGUE with you! Thank you for the lovely words into my garden. 😉

  • Rozanne April 28, 2009, 12:25 am

    Congrats! You’re going, right? Italy is wonderful!

  • Dave Hambidge May 3, 2009, 12:31 pm

    Bit late on the scene but very warmest congrats on a well deserved honour. KUTGW

    dave