An Australian author living in Norway

Author: Zoë Harris (Page 2 of 2)

Swallow, swallow, little swallow…

. . . will you not stay with me for one night and be my messenger?

The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde is one of my great pleasures. I love it the way you love anything that set you on your path.

As a child, I had a reading of it on cassette that I listened to every night to fall asleep. I loved (and still love) the other stories—The Selfish Giant, The Devoted Friend and The Birthday of the Infanta among others—but nothing quite touched my heart like the plight of the Happy Prince and his little swallow. It is a love story in its purest form. The prince’s love for his people, and the swallow’s love for the prince, are selfless, and tragic, and painfully beautiful. I don’t remember now who the voice on the cassette belonged to, but it was a lovely reading, slow and musical—the way I always hear the story in my head when I read it.

I’m sure there are millions of writers the world over who have been inspired to pick up a pen by Oscar Wilde for more than a century. He was, and remains, incomparable. I am no different to those millions, I suppose, but it was specifically the story of the prince and the swallow that made me want to write. The way the words flowed like water, the way each character, no matter how insignificant—and Wilde is a master of tiny yet complex cameos—pulled at my heart. Even as an eight year old child, I knew I wanted to create beauty like this through words of my own. I wanted to write.

Continue reading

Spending Christmas alone—and why that’s okay

A couple of months ago my relationship of almost fifteen years ended very suddenly, leaving me reeling. Aside from the actual break, one of the hardest parts of accepting what happened was knowing I was going to have to stay in Norway, even though my every instinct screamed to run home into the open arms of concerned friends and family. But to do that, I would need permission from my daughter’s father to take her out of the country, and though I knew he’d give it for a short period, moving back to Australia was always out of the question.

Luckily (or not perhaps not luck—maybe my subconscious was hard at work preparing me all those months ago), I had already booked a trip back for my daughter and me before everything fell apart. Through November and December, we spent five weeks surrounded by the Australians who love us, not one of whom didn’t want us to stay forever, yet not one of whom said or did anything to make it harder to do what I had to do: return to Norway.

Continue reading

Quiet is the New Loud

Last night I went to a concert I had been waiting to see for six years—the last time I saw Kings of Convenience I was six months pregnant, and it was, without a doubt, the best concert I’ve ever attended. Eirik and Erlend are a Norwegian duo I have been following since their first album came out in Australia in 2001; not by coincidence, I discovered them because I had just begun dating a Norwegian boy. The concert began with an interview by journalist and author Ørjan Nilsson, who released a book about the band last year, followed by a performance of the entire debut album that shared its name with the book, Quiet is the New Loud, and which contained the essence of their appeal: unassuming, profound songs that are at once relaxing and deeply passionate.

Continue reading

Fighting the Inner Impostor

“You don the disguise long enough, and you can’t even recognize that you are acting. That you are behaving inauthentically, from a place of fear and insecurity. That you can’t figure out how to reconcile the real you with the pretend you.”

So writes Facebook’s Product Design Director, Julie Zhuo, in her article The Imposter Syndrome. She talks about the insecurity and fear she used to feel while she studying and working in software development. It spoke to me because not only have I felt that way working in software development myself, but because even after a change of career paths, I still worry that I don’t belong, despite feeling all the while like this is what I was born to do. And I’m not the only one; so many of the writers I’ve come to know have these thoughts all the time.

Continue reading

Newer posts »

© 2024 Zoë Writes

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑