Let’s try something new, shall we? A letter to my readers

For twenty-three years I’ve been writing a year-end letter to my closest friends and family. Feedback has decreased over the years as fewer people use e-mail to communicate. It’s all on social media these days. Being of a certain age, though not old, I have the privilege to decide what I want to do, so I invite you on a journey to look back on the year we’ve had as well as a short outlook on what might await us beyond the chasm of midnight on December 31, 2022.

From a pandemic to war: will it ever end?

As a European, I am fully aware that I am writing this from a position of enormous privilege. Even more so as a Swede, with a government (and a constitution!) that allowed us more freedom to hunker down and get through the Covid-pandemic than many other countries. If you ever doubted it, there IS a vast difference between a democracy (Sweden) and a dictatorship (China.) I’ve been appalled not only by the way Xi has handled the pandemic until recently but almost more by how they suddenly let things run their course. Again, it shows how much dictators do not care about their people. They don’t need their votes after all. My sympathies to every Chinese who is losing loved ones as natural immunity races to a sudden equilibrium, hardly slowed down by subpar vaccines and low vaccination rates amongst the most vulnerable.

Just as we thought the pandemic was over, Putin attacked Ukraine and has been on a daily mission to obliterate a people he claims are Russian. Again, dictators don’t care about their people. He’ll never need the votes of the Ukrainian people to be elected into office. So what if he slaughters them by the thousands? I for one just pray that they keep one cell empty at the international war tribunal in The Hague. Slava Ukraini! May we keep supporting the valiant efforts of this peaceful people.

Culture Wars: what next?

For years now, conservatives have moved their focus away from their disastrous political “trickle-down” economics (how did the poor ever think ‘trickle’ wasn’t an insult and vote for a politician advocating this?) This trickle-down scam has led to CEOs multiplying their advantage in salaries compared to the rest of the workforce. From earning 31 times as much as a worker in 1978 to a whopping 351 times in 2020. You can rest assured that figure is now even higher. It’s indecent, but yet, trickle down, right? Not sure if they finally realized this was no longer a winning strategy or if it was a way to shore up support elsewhere, but for years now we’ve been stuck in these culture wars. Whether it’s a backlash against Gay rights or Women’s rights, rising antisemitism or anti-ziganism, the countless laws to go after the trans community, or the rampant islamophobia, there is something for everyone, right? How did we end up in this mess? And how do we get out?

Gothenburg, my home town, during the Holidays.

Gothenburg, my home town, during the Holidays.

I for one have always believed in conversations, in talking to people one to one, but even that has become increasingly difficult. Just the other day I had a conversation with someone who was horrific in their comments against Meghan Markle, leaving me speechless. Only to read the press articles about a certain overrated car tester who said more or less the same things. Mind you, I am no fan of Meghan. I’m indifferent to her, as I don’t know her. As a Republican, I’d love to see her stripped of her titles, that’s about the extent of my involvement.

On Facebook (the only social medium I engage in personally), and in real life, it is getting increasingly difficult to have a normal conversation. People make up their minds sans having the appropriate information or knowledge, and I find that the more I learn, the more uncertain I am. However, I have this nagging feeling that we are all being played and that these culture wars are but the latest ploy by the “haves” to trick the “have-nots” into sending more money up the ladder. It’s likely to get much worse before it gets better. I hope the nukes get to stay in their silos while we figure this out.

On a different note: my latest “work in progress”

I don’t blog much anymore. That is sad. I used to blog up to three times a week. Then again, nobody reads blogs these days. It’s all podcasts, Vlogs, and reels. And while I don’t mind a live Facebook feed now and then, I’m neither interesting nor pretty enough for regular stuff. Who needs to see my gravity-plagued face? I’d never sell a book again. LOL However, I have been working on a novel for some time, and while every decent publisher tells you to focus on ONE genre, heck I just read an article where Swedish publisher Ewa Åkerling, Ordberoende Förlag, says, and I quote: “stay in your lane, dress and behave adequately” (Författaren 4/2022, p.20, not available online) I guess I’m just lucky to have an amazing publisher who allows this Gemini to test their wings. Call my genre LGBTQ, rather than feelgood or whatever, but my latest story is a crime novel. We don’t have a title yet, nor a cover, but this chosen Swede has finally given in to peer/reader pressure and written his first crime story. Here’s what I can tell you in a temporary blurb:

Opus XXVII–My coming novel

The disappearance of 72-year-old Lennart shakes his family’s foundation, leaving behind his husband of fifty years and their daughter, Anna. A futile search and rescue operation slowly turns into an investigation into Lennart’s death, while his family is trying to grapple with the why, and worse, the risk of living next door to a potential murderer.

Anna is a successful PR executive living in Stockholm. Her life is turned upside down when her father mysteriously disappears in the middle of a major campaign at work. Rushing back to her native island of Styrsö, she needs to juggle her relationship with her estranged dad, an increasingly stressful situation at work, as well as the sudden complications of her personal life.

Opus XVII is a story of perseverance, and how even the most shattering events in our personal lives can evolve into the foundation of something stronger. It’s a tale of love and second chances amidst a family tragedy set on a small, idyllic island off the coast of West Sweden.

The new book is expected to be released sometime in early April 2023 by award-winning Beaten Track Publishing, the world’s most amazing publisher. 💙💚💛🧡❤️💜 I haven’t made any plans yet to market the new book. I do know that I’ll be in New Orleans for the LGBT-event “Saints & Sinners” at the Tennessee Williams Festival in March and New York in April for the Rainbow Book Fair. Maybe we’ll see you there? I’ll also do a book release event (or more) in Sweden, so keep your eyes on my Facebook page or this website. I might also do a newsletter. Let me know if you’d like to be added to the mailing list.

2022 is almost over…

I for one won’t miss 2022. It was not a bad year for me or my family, but with all the war and the crazy politics going on all around us, I hope that 2023 will be better, more peaceful, and prosperous. For these final days of 2022, I wish you all the very best, happy holidays, and a great 2023!

As always, I remain your faithful friend,

Hans