In 2014 I visited Reykholt as part of a sort of saga pilgrimage. Here is the hot pot known as Snorrilaug, or Snorri’s Bath. It is believed to have existed in the fourteenth century, when the saga writer and preserver Snorri Sturluson lived in the area, and to have been used by him. As you can see from the steam and my attire, it was just the sort of freezing day that makes a hot soak sound good. Of course the pool is not open for swimming, and the spot is not quite quiet enough to sneak a dip. But looking at the pool that day, I felt a little like a pilgrim standing on the edge of the Ganges. If that holy river can purify a penitent soul, what might Snorrilaug do for a hopeful writer?
In the middle of a small park in a small town not far from Reykjavik, there is a grass-covered mound. No fence protects it from climbing feet or digging hands, but a placard nearby reports that it contains the bones of the horse that belonged to Skallagrim, the father of the legendary saga character Egil. (It perhaps also contains the remains of Skallagrim himself, and/or Egil’s son Bodvar. I can’t tell because the sign is in Icelandic.)
Remember the line from a Primus song that goes, “Funny thing about weekends when you’re unemployed. They don’t mean so much, except you get to hang out with your working friends”? Well, in that way, freelancing is like unemployment. The internet is loaded with TGIF gifs and memes, but they have rarely resonated with me. Unemployed or freelancing, Friday is equally likely follow a day off or precede a work day. Those times in my life when weekdays necessarily meant work and weekends freedom have been few, and have almost never been happy.
It is great to take a break from work, and it’s great to have work to take a break from. But for too many people TGIF means “Finally I can get back to my life,” and in that case I’ll skip it. I can appreciate some separation between work and family, but I want to be living when I’m at work.
I once stood among a group of writers at a talk presented by then-Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson. He said that we would notice Iceland had no statues of presidents or generals, but had many of artists and poets.
In Reykholt, I saw a statue of a man who may have qualified as both. A big man of his time, Snorri was engaged in all sorts of power struggles and eventually died a violent death. He is also credited with preserving (and possibly writing some of) some of the world’s greatest literary treasures, Iceland’s sagas.
I didn’t have any government work in October, so it felt like a slow month. But when it comes to content marketing and features writing, I’ve been working like a beast.
Here are my published stories from the last month. I hope you find something you enjoy.
I spilled my cheap travel secrets in How I became an airfare ninja for ParentMap. If I missed any tricks, I’d love for you to let me know so I can afford to travel more.
I blog about opera fairly often, so I was thrilled when ParentMap let me review Hansel and Gretel this fall and make the case for Why you should take your kids to the opera.
And of course, I used my obsessive love of research to bone up on a bunch of everyday legal issues for AvvoStories (formerly more colorfully known as NakedLaw).
I don’t look at my page stats much anymore. I’m just too busy with paying work and can barely justify the little amount of time I still spend blogging, without noticing how much traffic has dropped since I wrote long, wordy posts on the regular. But I took a peek and thought I’d share what activity I did find.
In October, besides my home page and the About Me page, the most popular posts were:
Graveyards Well, of course if you post about graveyards on Halloween weekend, someone is going to look.
Opportunity How positive. I will try not to imagine that people were actually looking for inspirational office posters.
Desiree’s Dolls One of the first posts I ever wrote on the blog. When I first started, I thought that I might make an I Heart Reykjavik sort of blog about Seattle. I know I don’t have the time to do it right, but the perennial popularity of this post about a local artisan who makes rag dolls by hand is proof that it’s a good idea.
Referrals to the blog have shifted. Once it was mostly Facebook and Google searches. Now it’s Twitter and AvvoStories. Perhaps that is evidence that I should start focusing more on my professional side?
Finally, the search terms that led people here. I might not be writing much on this blog, but I think searches like these prove I’m doing something interesting.
eistnaflug nearest airport
himalayan yogi cave
I went to Iceland again this year, and there was so much I wanted to write about it and never got around to. Likewise, there were a lot of things I wanted to do when I was in Iceland that I didn’t get to. Determined to maximize my experience, I usually run myself into the ground when I’m there – I’ve gotten sick on every trip so far, and this time I decided to try a more moderate approach. One of the things I missed was the Weather Diaries exhibit at Nordic House. Continue reading