Friday, November 25, 2005

I am thinking about death

and i wrote this as a result of this thought ...

I don't fear death itself
but how it sucks
the live out of the living

I welcome death
oh natural death
breath of eternity

Green moss eyes
volcanic stare
ever moving circle

It is the stare of despair
the angst
driving people to slow suicides
of apathy
that I fear

Oh natural death
sucking the life out of the chest
a graceful last gasp
from a perfectly serene body

I spin in circles
all around I see twisted half deaths
zombie life
killing time
ripping the sacred
bound between man and nature
into scornful pieces

It is not death itself I fear
but the rapture
of the faithfully fearful

Friday, November 11, 2005

So much to do and so little time to do it

my greatest challenge these days is to deal with all the email i get...
i love getting email from interesting people, however i find it impossible to reply to everyone
and sometimes people get an email from me a year after they sent me an email
i sometimes miss the days of snail mail
it somehow had a more natural flow to it
i would write a letter and maybe if i was lucky get a letter back in a week or so

this autumn a got a poltergeist in my computer and many things mysteriously vanished from the hard drive
including my entire IN box... and about 2000 emails i had sent ... including heaps of poems and other wonderful
things i write when i wake up... well to be honest i felt a bit relieved... but at the same time i can't remember what letters
got lost, i had about 200 pending... my IN box was however empty for the first time since 1996 and it was a glorious feeling... for a few days... so now i got a backlog of 60 letters, and no matter how hard i try to work on this thing
it only seems to grow... and GROW.... anyway of course my book is late from the printers
it is somesort of law... things will never be ready on time when it comes to printing
i am dead nervous about this whole thing. but at the same time i am enjoying it and it is almost like i am in love
get them butterflies in my belly when i think about the book.. i am very happy with it .... got 3 copies yesterday
will get the rest hopefully today.... and it is just the way i wanted it to be ...

have a look at this site if you like amazing B&W photos

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Joy B the covermaker

i like to make things that are final
like book covers and posters and stuff
i don't like making web pages so much any more
not for others that is
because it is endless and the person i made the web for can mess with it
that is why i like to make books
they are final
once they have been printed
i can't or don't have to do anything

here are a few covers i have been doing lately

and one poster i made a week ago

Thursday, November 03, 2005

finally finally after 18 years of birthpains

the Diary of the Chameleon will be published...... same day as i gave birth to my younger son Delphin
7th of November.... interesting... i didn't intend it to be published that day
it is written in Icelandic but i am working on its translation to Enrish.... English....
Here is the cover.... a collage from two of my old scrapbooks

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Comics: Closer Than First-Person

I have always had a weakness for comics. My newest favourites are graphic novels that recite history. Just read three books on this subject. They have a common thread, life during wartime experienced through the eyes of the innocents. The visual of the graphic novel somehow brings the distant world of the inhumane closer to heart than any documentaries I have seen, and these books brought me closer to these horrid events that have occurred and are still occurring in our human history.

Maus approaches the unspeakable.
I started with Maus by Art Spiegelman, a Pulitzer Prize winner. I hate to admit that I am rather bored with documentation of the Holocaust, seen so much of it and it had ceased to have any effect on me, except the traditional sadness of human brutality and insanity. Maus is great because it is not in the hero-making business. It is a brutally honest story within a story. Maus approaches the unspeakable through the diminutive and at the same time it is set up against the backdrop of guilt brought by survival and the relationship between a survivor and his son.
It is not always the ideal relationship and yet it has a warm core to it and it moves easily between the grisly past and the difficult now as a result of this past. Art Spiegelman’s work from Maus is on display at the Reykjavík Art Museum as a part of the comic show Nine at Hafnarhúsið.

I couldn’t help compare the fate of the Palestinians to the fate of the Jews.
The next book I read was Palestine by Joe Sacco, winner of the American book award. Somehow it was a lot more difficult to read that one because it is not based on the past but what is actually happening now and I couldn’t help compare the fate of the Palestinians to the fate of the Jews. The parallel is uncomfortably real.

Sacco manages to use the comic book format to its full effect, bringing fragmented life into reality, his work made its way deep into my soul so that I actually felt as if I were with him on his journey, and like him I couldn’t wait to get out. Again it was the brutal honesty of the author about himself and his weaknesses, like in Maus, that made the story what it is, unforgettable.

Children were the soft targets of the snipers because they got paid for each person they killed.
Finally I read Fax from Sarajevo by Joe Kubert winner of Eisner Award. This is a story based on real faxes from Sarajevo. Joe received these faxes from his friend and comic book publisher Ervin Rustemagic during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992-1993. It tells the story of Ervin and his family struggling to survive and the many facts about war that was just too easy to forget: like how the rest of the world did nothing, and how many children were the soft targets of the snipers because snipers were paid for each person they killed and kids were an easy target. The adults would usually come out from their hiding to help them if wounded and then the snipers could shoot them too.

The place to get hold of these books and other like them is Nexus, the only specialist in comic books in Iceland and of course you can always get them at the city library’s ever-expanding comic book department.

A Unique Life – A Unique Museum

Article I made for the Reykjavik Grapevine about the home of Halldór Laxness

It was raining heavily and the rain turning into sleet when I arrived at Glúfrasteinn, the home of the late Halldór Laxness and his family, recently turned into a museum.
I pushed the doorbell and a got a warm welcome from the guide. It was a strange feeling to walk into this world I had heard so much about and which is woven thoroughly into the history of Iceland’s culture during the last century. The walls were covered with art by some of the greatest Icelandic artists of Halldór’s generation.

The first item that caught my attention was a painting by Kjarval. I could see that someone had tried to paint a moustache on the male figure. The sound guide on the Walkman explained that it was Kjarval himself who wanted to make this addition to the painting when he was visiting Halldór. The thing that impressed me the most was its surroundings, how it merges with the ambience of the home. There are so many windows and through each of them, the unique nature of Iceland is on display in all its glory. It is as if the windows are frames around an ever-changing work of art.

In Auður’s bedroom one can hear the clear blue river sing its songs and the strong smell of books is everywhere. It is a house of books, faith, creativity and hospitality.
The life of Halldór was unique to our history and culture. Like many good artists he was eccentric and did things his way. For example, he would always write by hand, standing at his high desk, his wife sitting next to him typing everything he wrote. The home is full of interesting things for the eye, relics, interior design, furniture, books or art that used to be very exotic and bold for our fellow islanders at the time.
If you go, you have to give yourself time to walk down to the river and explore the surrounding nature of Gljúfrasteinn. And when you leave make sure to give yourself time to read at least one of Halldór Laxness many brilliant books, for example Independent People, a book that has influenced generations of artists on the island.

The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays 10.00-17.00.
More information to be found at

Voices In the Waterfalls

Interview I did with the Icelandic artist Rúrí ­ early spring 2005.

Rúrí represented Iceland at the 50th Venice Biennale 2003 with the multimedia installation Archive - endangered waters. The work is finally displayed in Reykjavík at the National Gallery of Iceland, and will be until the 13th of March.
The work contains 52 waterfalls that we have almost lost, have lost or will lose through dam building. Rúrí has recorded the voice of each waterfall and when you pull out the image from the archive the waterfall speaks to you.

BJ: What was the inspiration for the show Archive – endangered waters?
Rúrí: “Nature without doubt. I respect nature deeply, I connect with her. Whenever we do something to her, it affects all of us. Each nation has the duty to treat their environment and nature with full responsibility and respect. This planet and its whole biosphere is our joint responsibility.
There is an extra dimension to our planet that most Icelanders are not aware of because of the abundance of water we have. It is the fact that water has become the blue gold on our planet. Pure water is a very fragile aspect of the planet’s biosphere. If the mentality of power and greed is put aside then it becomes clear what really matters; water and nourishment, not oil.”

BJ: What sort of reactions has the exhibition gotten?
Rúrí: “I have never experienced as much warmth and kindness at an opening of my work before. It was as if the child within came bursting out in people when they got in touch with the artwork. People often feel joy around water, perhaps the sounds from the waterfalls opened a space for that in them.
I have also heard that people in France cried at the exhibition when they realized what the work was telling them, that most of these waterfalls will be no more.”

When asked what is ahead for her, she said, “I am preparing work that will be a part of a new sculpture-garden in the mountainsides of Vesuvius, Italy. I am also working on two sculptures that I have been commissioned to do for a museum in Germany.”
Some artists have a unique access to the collective consciousness and their work speaks to everyone because it contains levels of truth and vision we all can relate to. Rúrí’s works have a mythological sense to them. She is a modern mythmaker.
In works like The Gate, a memorial for missing persons, The Rainbow at the Leif Eriksson Air Terminal in Keflavík, the Glassrain and her masterpiece Archive – endangered waters, she makes that quite clear.