Den fjärde oktober 2020 skrev jag till honom.
” Dear J Ryan Stradal!
I am a swedish blogger ( I would like to call myself something more interesting but I suppose that is what I am). The name of my blog is ”Sjung O Gudinna” which is quite untranslatable ( My English is very poor. I ´m better at German, I don´t know why.) But the name is inspired by Illiad. I review books, obviously , and recently I wrote about ”Kitchens of the Great Midwest” on my page. I enclose the review, carefully translated by my mother. Would it be possible for me to get a short interview with you? It would feel like such an extreme honor. I understand that you must be very busy, but if you think you could find the time I would be very happy indeed.
Best wishes Annika ”
Mitt lismande anslag var jag ju inte så stolt över förstås. Jag är skitdålig på tyska numera. Så varför måste jag skriva att jag är bra på det? Men ni förstår; J Ryan Stradal har en filmisk svartvit hemsida, han verkar förkrossande cool, men också trevlig. Han är mycket stilig, han verkar rolig och snäll. Han har skrivit Kitchens of the great Midwest och något var jag faktiskt tvungen att göra.
Några dagar senare satt jag i min soffa igen, ilsken efter en usel arbetsdag, på samma plats som jag suttit på när jag skrev till honom, och glodde in i min dator, utan någon särskild anledning. Då kom ett mail från honom. Det var ofattbart.
Två dagar senare, den sjätte oktober 2020, skrev jag till honom igen. Och om mitt första mail varit lismande placerade sig detta i en helt annan division. Jag kallade honom gudalik, jag skrev för mycket om mig själv, jag skrev att jag inte ens kunde tänka mig att använda översättningsprogram, jag ställde ett oändligt antal frågor; jag hade tappat kontrollen.
”Mr J Ryan Stradal!
I am violently happy that you answered. I find that very generous of you. Thank you so much!
It´s a living hell trying to invent completely unique questions for God-like writers to impress them. And it´s too hard. At this point I´ve learned to focus on what I really, really want to know about someone (you) and hope for answers, rather than to be admired. I suppose it´s a personal development.
Here are some questions for you. You don´t have to answer them all! Pick the ones that interest you. Or the ones you want to answer. Once again I apologize for my not-so – hot English. (There are of course translating programs but somehow it feels wrong, a bit too distant.)
1. You seem to be a person who writes extremely much and has a lot to put in writing. It seems easy for you. Is it? Is it ever hard for you to write? When – and under which circumstances ?
2. My feeling as a reader is that you are the kind of writer who control your story just as much as it controls you. You seem like equals. What I mean is that I don´t picture you in the middle of an emotion or in some kind of a trance when you write. It doesn´t feel that way, at least not in your novel`s or in your texts at jryanstradal.com. Have you experienced that something you wrote came as a complete surprise and/ or was hard to handle? Is your writing ever really personal?
3. I don´t want to sound ridiculous, but how did Eva Thorvald come to you? How do you feel about her?
4. Have you investigated other ways or styles of writing or did you find your thing immediatly?
5. If so – how has it affected you and your writing that your success has been so big ? Is it good or bad for a writer to be as praised as you have been? Are you ever scared it might not last?
6. Is it old-fashioned to suffer unpublished nowadays? In Sweden it´s quite common for writer´s ( unknown writers, that is)to completely avoid the publishing houses and publish their own work by themselves. How do you feel about that?
7. Abour reading: What do you read? How much do you read?
8. About lutfisk: The thing is the sauce. If you succeed with that, it´s quite good. But noone ever does ( except my grandmother). How was it served when you had it?
That´s all. When I´m done with my portrait, I will once again ask my translating mother to help me, and then send it to you.
All the best, J Ryan Stradal, and thank you for one of my reading life´s highlights. KOGM is a book I won´t ever forget.
Han skrev till mig igen efter någon vecka. Att han hade ont om tid. En dag skulle han återkomma.
”J. Ryan Stradal!
Please don’t feel any pressure at all! I fully understund that you’re busy and I’m so grateful that you even answered. I can wait forever!
Så skrev jag till honom, den 15 oktober 2020, och precis just så har det blivit.