Denmark 10, Bakker Zippo

by rsbakker

Daily Aphorism: Writers kill their characters the way alcoholics beat their children: it’s their way of spreading the blame.

There’s something to be said for working out all your raping and pillaging in your pre-Medieval past, because the Danes have to be the most urbane, friendly, and civilized people on the bloody planet. Last night I presented my final lecture (the fourth in two days!) in – get this – the English Department’s bar… Too cool, I have to say.

They make me feel like the longhaired savage – except, of course, I no longer have long hair.

So I’ve been ranting and railing against the literary establishment in both its academic and non-academic incarnations, all the while expecting some descendent of Kierkegaard to stomp on me and tear my arguments to pieces. Nothing of the sort happened, with the exception of one bearded philosopher, who seemed to have more of a problem with me than with my arguments per se. I’m not a real scholar, see. I actually had a self-professed Derridean tell me that he agreed with 95% of what I said. That’s the thing with these Danes – they’re every bit as polite as Canadians! The only difference is that you get the sense that some element of their Wodenistic past lingers, and that behind their accomodating smiles they’re actually thinking of way to grind your bones to roll into their flour. Make you into a Danish…

(Speaking of which, the danishes here are easily the best I’ve tasted in my life. I’ve made a couple of cavity raids to the wonderful bakery across from the Guesthouse here. Me, oh my.)

Seriously, though. Mathias, Nik, Lars, and Christian have treated me like royalty, and I will be forever grateful. The weeks leading up to this trip had been very difficult. Aside from my frustrations with Disciple’s release and the resulting existential career fears, a wonderful friend of mine succumbed to cancer shortly before I left. I was literally cramped with guilt because I couldn’t make the funeral. And as some of you have no doubt heard, Ralph Vicinanza, my agent’s boss, and the genius who rewrote the agency playbook for genre fiction, passed away suddenly. It’s strange the way a string of bad and painful news can convince you that only bad and painful things await you in the future. Such has not been the case. The talks have far and away exceeded my expectations. The Danes actually get my quirky – and thoroughly vulgar – sense of humour (and even managed to outdo me on several occasions (Christian, I’m talking about you, bud)). Today, the boys are cooking me a traditional Danish dinner – and the fools even bought a copy of NHL11 because they knew I would be missing the opening of the hockey season!

And they presented me with my very own Zippo as a gift.

I still miss my daughter horribly (this the first time I’ve been away since she was born a year ago), but I’m inclined to say that I’m climbing out of the fog of negativity that has baffled my heart for much of the previous month, infecting these posts, and leading to the indiscriminate slaughter of at least two major characters.