2013. The Hours.

As I am writing these words my batteries are empty when they should be full. Behind me are some of the most challenging and emotional days of my life. 2013 was a year that took it all from me. As I wave the old year goodbye here is one wish for 2014: Please be awesome.

In January I missed Mikko every second I was away.
In February I felt like somebody I didn’t know.
In March I watched him pause and wonder.
In April I returned to my beloved South Africa.
In May we were brothers in arms.
In June swim, bike and run made up for good times.
In July my mind was racing from chasing pirates.
In August I was headed upstream.
In September I was walking down the magic carpet.
In October I was in an Empire State of Mind.
In November nothing felt better than being a dad.
In December things stopped making sense.

Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.

I believe.

for you, wherever you may be.

And I told you to be patient,
And I told you to be fine,
And I told you to be balanced,
And I told you to be kind,
And now all your love is wasted,
Then who the hell was I?

I believe.

On things past and present

It feels like that over the past 10 months I have met more people than in the 30 years before. I believe the human mind can only take so much and I am looking forward to the day when I’ll just hide away with another book. I’ll think of the things past and present and that my life as it is happens to be a pretty good one. And then there’s unbelievable human being, small, still fragile but curious to meet the world and I can’t wait to show it to him. Being a dad changes everything.

I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.

I believe.

just so you know.

Mikko, I miss you every second I am away.

I believe.

I saw the world.

I first heard of Zoe Keating in a YouTube video. There’s something special about her music, the way the melodies blend when she’s playing the Cello. When I listen to her it feels like the soundtrack of my life – one player, different melodies. In the past 12 months my job took me to the US, Spain, Sweden, Germany and now Hawaii. What a ride. No matter what the future will bring now I don’t regret my decision to try something new, to prove myself I could do it.

I believe.

and we’re back after break

Just figured this has been the longest time I did not publish anything here. To add insult to injury mindwork.net was down for over a week because – hold your breath – I had forgot to pay for the domain name. Seriously. Well here we go for another five years. Talking about years it will soon be a year that I left journalism for PR. Oh yes, I miss it a lot sometimes but then I have a tendency to glorify the past. Three loose toughts on journalism. . .

Good journalism is still there and the web is helping it
Talking to my friends in joruanlism and publishing I am astouned by their negativity a.k.a. “the web will kill us all”. It won’t but you’ll have to adjust pretty soon or you’ll be gone. In Austria the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the union and the publishers basically states that print journalists and online journalists are two entirely seperate groups. Say hello to reality. I know some colleagues in the business that for their lives wouldn’t write web-only or web-version first. I have a pretty simple but probably unpopular solution: Set them free. As print advertising goes down and online revenue goes up this should also be reflected in the ways journalism targets platforms. I am not saying that we should switch everyone over and treat print like a dying breed but change needs to be embraced. Period.

Let’s all Facebook & Tweet and the world will be cool again
I play hockey. I started 20 years ago and I am an addict unwilling to undergo treatment. It’s the fastest team sport in the world and if you don’t keep your head up you will get checked and you will get hurt. You can tell great from not so great hockey players by their behavior when they don’t have the puck. Not so great hockey players will follow the puck wherever it goes, they’ll charge it deep into the corners and suddenly find themseves out of position. Great hockey players have the puck follow them. With revenues dwindling publishers either freeze or go after every little stick thrown their way. Facebook and Twitter are great channel to engager your audience. We’ve started to build solid hockey community during my time at the Kleine Zeitung but they’re one small step. However I have to admit for some publishers they are actually a big step and the second biggest thing after people started to write letters to the editor. Audiences need to be engaged, but then you have to channel their engagement to your platforms. Publishers decry how the value of content has gone down by content becoming freely available on the web but they hardly ever look at their content and ask themselves if their content is WORTH to be paid. Deliver unique content and yes you will be paid – there are countles examples.

We’re all in the gutter. . .
. . . but some of us are looking at the stars. I read this beautiful interview with media economist Bernhard Pörksen in the German “brand eins” magazine. Never heard of him, but I like the way he thinks. Bad news are good news and this is now turning back on journalism itself. Let’s face it: journalists love bad news. They just happen to sell easier. Now it gets down to them and their inner conflict of walking that thin red line between doing PR, journalism, corporate publishing and such. Freelancers have been walking it forever. Pörksen has it figured – journalism won’t be able to survive the way it did over the last 100 years. But it thrives on the new platforms that are soon emerging and yes there is money to be made. Of course you might as will keep whining wbout how bad times are and await your fate.

I believe.

Invictus

I first visited South Africa in 2009 and it will be forever a special place to me. It was there that I did a last-minute application for the US-Austrian Journalism Fellowship. It was there that I learned how a country came to be guided by one man’s will and million people’s wishes. It was at Robben Island where I saw that a prison cell can never contain a strong mind. My new life brought me back to South Africa just a few days ago visiting Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. The scars are still there, everywhere to be seen. But the wounds are healing and there is a special sentiment among South Africans that can be only described by this

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

I believe.

Herbst

It’s one my personal favourites by Rilke.

Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwere Erde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.

I believe.

72 hours of mikko


I just spent three days with my son while Astrid was away. The most intense, beautiful and rewarding days I could imagine. Love carries.

2011, the hours.

In January “I” turned into “we”.
In February I added life to my days.
In March it was about someone like you.
In April I felt like I shoulda, coulda, woulda.
In May it was about life in a nutshell.
In June we were due south.
In July I understood that no man is an island.
In August my heart knew things before my mind did.
In September I left what I loved.
In October it was a new beginning.
In November I dreamed special dreams in St. Pete.
In December I found peace of mind.

When I walked out the very office I had worked in for over 8 years I cried. I cried because I felt I had failed. I cried because I felt I had betrayed myself. Because over those crazy, beautiful, sobering and stunning 8 years I firmly had started to believe that being a journalist, a storyteller, a person who would make this world a better place by telling about it was my calling. I felt I had given up. Even from a distance those tears did not go to waste. I left what I loved. Three months later the passion is still there, but I do see how beautifully things worked out. I love my family, I love my life and I wish you all the best for 2012.

I believe.

Special dreams.

I drove down the highway to St. Pete from Tampa Airport just as I had done when I moved to Florida in spring 2009. The times might have changed but the excitement was right there. I remember why I had come here and why I had to leave. Visiting the St. Pete Times was unreal. Looking back coming here, working there and then having to leave was larger than life. I often wished the story would have had a different ending. But then again life doesn’t always ask for a second opinion. However, great moments never let you go.

I believe.

early mornings.

And if the lights draw you in
And the dark can take you down
And love can mend your heart
But only if you’re lucky now
- Ryan Adams, Lucky Now

I remember days when I couldn’t fall asleep without music. I’d put on “Anna Begins”, “Round Here” or some other Counting Crow song. I had them on repeat while I slowly drifted away. Whenever I get up early with Mikko I put the music on – Bruce, Tracy Chapman, U2, The Stones, Ryan Adams. He’d carefully listen to the first chords and then start to wave his hands. Sometimes I pick him up, hug him and then we’d slowly dance. As a parent you wish these moments would last forever but they don’t. The good news is – they just make room for the next moment. Love is not a single epic second. It’s all these small little moments when – though he does not speak yet – he knows that he will be forever loved.

I believe.

Leaving II.

Oh, look at me
At all I’ve done
I’ve lost so many things that I so dearly love
I lost my soul
I lost my pride.

I believe,

Leaving.

Leaving journalism is hard, harder than I ever imagined. But it’s the right thing to do at the right time in my life. Still I will miss it from the bottom of my heart.

I believe.

It tolls for thee.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were. Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. John Donne

Sometimes it strikes me how some people come through and change the lives of millions. I pause and ask myelf: What have I done?

I believe.

chasing

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

Thumbs up, if you listened to Snow Patrol (thanks Axel!) a long time before they were on Grey’s.

I believe.

50 mm

I just figured why I love the 50mm lens Georg gave me so much: There is no zoom. It forces you to get up, close & personal with your subject again. That’s journalism, that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day.

I believe.

life in a nutshell.

Thought that just ran through my mind: Where will I be, when he is finally able to read all this? I have no clue how many people still follow me on here but if all these years of writing have one final meaning then I found out what it is.

I believe.

shoulda, coulda, woulda.

"The Last 3 Minutes" Directed by Po Chan from Shane Hurlbut, ASC on Vimeo.

I am not sure what’s more disturbing in today’s journalism: The fact that we are unable to see anymore that everbody has a story to tell or our lack of willingness to tell it.

I believe.

someone like you

You’d know how the time flies.
Only yesterday was the time of our lives.
We were born and raised in a summery haze.
Bound by the surprise of our glory days.

[. . .]

I believe.

the big 3-0

I was going to write a long look back at those crazy, funny, great 30 years I just celebrated. But I don’t have time for that. I am busy adding life to my days instead of days to my life. Sorry.

I believe.

Me, Myself & I

I feel exhausted, mentally and physically. I rush but I don’t go anywhere. There has been going on so much around me. Fort the first time in my life I doubt that the good ones always prevail. I’ve seen ellbows fly, people kicking their way up. Make no mistake: I do believe there’s a god. I just doubt he’s always on watch.

I was eight years old and running with a dime in my hand
Into the bus stop to pick up a paper for my old man
I’d sit on his lap in that big old Buick and steer as we drove through town
He’d tousle my hair and say son take a good look around this is your hometown

What keeps me going is Astrid and Mikko.

I believe.

Let There Be Light

There used to be a time when I said “I” and I really only referred to myself. Now when I say “I”, it’s Astrid and Mikko. And there’s not a thing that I wouldn’t consider giving up for them. Not a single thing. When life was at stake I vowed to give mine if it would mean for them to live.

I believe.

2010, the hours.

In January it was about place and emotions.
In February I listened to you breathing.
In March a single call changed my life forever,
In April I understood that we’d meet again and again.
In May I felt that those who speak know nothing.
In June I said yes.
In July I travelled old roads.
In August it was about frozen memories.
In September we started to count down.
In October god gave us life.
In November my eyes were opened.
in December it finally started sinking in.

In 2010 my life felt like a time-lapse-movie. So many loose ends were tied, so many questions answered and so many prayers heard. I will never forget those seconds on October 6th when Mikko was born. I held him in my hands, this beautiful little human being staring into the world with those big dark eyes. It felt like time stood still. Hours later I was caught between extremes – life and death. The wounds will eventually heal, however it will take time, love and patience. Astrid and I are willing to invest an abundance of all three. Life is beautiful.

I believe.

Life

When I look into his eyes, life is beautiful. I’ll eventually show it all to him.

I believe.

Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me

Suddenly you look at yourself and you have grown – older. Do we ever stay true to ourselves? Do we ever understand who we are and the responsibilities we take?

I believe.

your eyes

Mikko

make me see.

I believe.

the quiet things that no one ever knows

It’s been the first night I properly slept through since Mikko was born. It will take some time for us to understand our new (and changed) roles. However the past few days – not always in a pleasent way – consisted of some some of the most intense, emotional, beautiful and horrible moments in my entire life. The wounds will heal, Mikko will grow and love will continue to carry.

I believe.

that night

loose ends were tied, love intensified, hope paid.

i believe.

believers

Years of believing finally made sense. God gave us life.

I believe.

Counting down

The weeks and months have flown by and the big day is closing in. In terms of adusting our home to welcome Mikko to this world, our world, we are prepared. But could you ever be prepared for the sleepless nights, the fears, the prayers? It’s something that Astrid and I have discussed over the past months. Until we understood that our feelings of insecurity, being lost and somewhat helpless are exactly how millions of other parents have felt before. Love carries.

I believe.

Frozen memories

There I was a soon-to-be-30-year-old surrounded by a bunch of kids. After a couple of exercises my legs hurt, my lung felt like it was bursting and I was on the verge of throwing up. However in hockey it’s the legs that feed the wolf and sometimes a feeling of coming home, a feeling of being at peace with your body is nutured by the pain that comes with it.

I believe.

Loves creates Love

When Astrid Aand I chose the words we wanted to have on our wedding rings, we thought of that one single feeling we’d love to pass on to Mikko and all those we love: Love creates love – amor gignit amorem.

I believe.

Rocket brothers crack and burst

The hardest lesson in life is to let go. Believe me, I’ve been taught it a million times. There are some things I wish I could have held onto, there are some people I wish I could have kept in my life. There are places I wish I could keep closer to my heart. And it all boils to a simple yet unreplied little note – I miss you.

I believe.

Not forgotten

Weeks ticking away. After the scare, things have turned for the better. We took two weeks off, going to Sweden and Denmark. We took the very same route I did when I moved to Sweden in 2001 nearly nine years ago. I couldn’t stop smling all the way as it brought beautiful memories of a beautiful summer back to me. Then Copenhagen, where I spent my 15th birthday and on to Malmö, where mom took me for a hockey game nearly 15 years ago. I tought of my brother, Lukas, a lot this week. They way he pursues his dreams, I envy him. He’s right where here should, enjoying his life, seeing the world, going after a law degree. Yesterday Astrid asked me if I wanted to be 22 again. “Yes”, I quipped and she probably got it wrong. I love my life, I enjoy every bit of it and I can’t wait to hold our son in my hands. It’s just sometimes I wish I had been more consequent, harder on myself, pushing myself on getting college done in time instead of now trying to fit the odd course in my already crazy busy schedule. One wish granted, one change granted, this is what I would do: Get over with college. I would still get into journalism (at least for some years), as I still believe it’s one of those few places where you can still inflict change on people, companies, politics (yeah, right. . .). So yes, sometimes I wish I would be 22 again. Just to prove myself that I could do it. That some of the last years weren’t wasted. This may all be connected to my believe that life is one long process of learning and I sometimes feel I deprived myself of the chance to do it.

I believe.

Gewinner

An allem was man sagt, an allem was man sagt, ist auch was dran!.
Egal wer kommt, egal wer geht, egal es kommt nicht darauf an.
Ich glaube nichts, ich glaub an dich, glaubst du an mich, ich glaub ich auch.
Ich frage mich, ich frage dich, doch frag ich nicht, fragst du dich auch.

Ich bin dabei, du bist dabei, wir sind dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei, bist du dabei, sind wir dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei, du bist dabei, wir sind dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei, bist du dabei, bin ich dabei uns zu verlier’n.

Leichter als leicht, geht es vielleicht, leichter als das, was vielleicht war!
Leichter als leicht, das ist nicht weit von hier zu dem, was noch nicht war.
Suchst du mich, dann such ich dich, ist die Versuchung groß genug!
Ich lass es zu, komm lass es zu, komm lass es uns noch einmal tun!
Ich geb’ nicht auf, gehst du mit mir, gehst du mit mir, mit auf uns zu!
Fällt dir nichts ein, komm leg nicht auf, komm reg dich auf und komm zur Ruh.

Ich bin dabei du bist dabei, wir sind dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei bist du dabei, sind wir dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei du bist dabei, wir sind dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei bist du dabei, bin ich dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei du bist dabei, wir sind dabei uns zu verlier’n.
Ich bin dabei bist du dabei, sind wir dabei uns zu verlier’n.

Ohhh
Yeeeh
Ich bin dabei!!
Du bist dabei!!
Wir sind dabei!!

Ohhh
Ich bin dabei!!
Bist du dabei?!
Sind wir dabei?!

I believe.

The prayer

Within seconds things you consider important become meaningless. I prayed as hard as I could.

I believe.

tonight

Time is never time at all
You can never ever leave without leaving a piece of youth
And our lives are forever changed
We will never be the same
The more you change the less you feel
Believe, believe in me, believe
That life can change, that you’re not stuck in vain
We’re not the same, we’re different tonight
Tonight, so bright
Tonight

And you know you’re never sure
But your sure you could be right
If you held yourself up to the light
And the embers never fade in your city by the lake
The place where you were born
Believe, believe in me, believe
In the resolute urgency of now
And if you believe there’s not a chance tonight
Tonight, so bright
Tonight

We’ll crucify the insincere tonight
We’ll make things right, we’ll feel it all tonight
We’ll find a way to offer up the night tonight
The indescribable moments of your life tonight
The impossible is possible tonight
Believe in me as I believe in you, tonight

Thank you all for a great night. I feel incredibly happy deep inside.

I believe

Those who speak know nothing

The feeling is hard to describe. Astrid’s belly is growing right in front of my eyes and we are going through what I consider some of the happiest weeks I have had in my entire life. We created life and though I understand the technical aspects of a pregnancy (thank you, Wikipedia) the mere fact that we’ll be parents is still a miracle to me. While Mikko (yes, it’s a boy and yes he will get a Finnish name) is still 20 weeks away form us, things have changed, I have changed. Since I was 18 I was independent, free, floating. Now it’s up to Astrid and me to take care of this little being we so dearly wished for. While I not neccessarily believe in the teachings of the present-day catholic church, I believe in god. Love creates love I read somewhere. “It’s a beautiful thing we can tell him once, how much we wanted him”, Astrid said a couple of days ago when we talked about how life would feel as a little family. It might take us a while for him to be able to understand it – but we will make sure he will feel it right from the start: love created love.

I believe.

wishes.

I pray that one that day that will finally allow me to just do what I think I do best: telling stories.

There is fiction in the space between
The lines on your page of memories
Write it down but it doesn’t mean
You’re not just telling stories
There is fiction in the space between
You and me

I believe.