Foreword by Freke Räihä

There is this lake, Trollsjön, a few steps and steep hills from where we slept. A timeless narrative sprung from a contemporary setting. We were a handful sleeping. Sometimes whisky happened. Sometimes I woke the others at 6.00 as I spent most of the residency translating and did so with some discipline. Ora et labora, as the saying says. The 2012 book Nomos has now been re-written in English. Is it the same book? No. Is translation possible? I added lines, changed lines, cried.

The lake was a breath. A common breath. And we all felt the serene silence there, the calm, — silence as it could be understood in the anthropocene. A silence filled with the expected sounds of humanity: driving, birds echoing radio, the fret of plastic on the shoreline. The fire raging. The threat of death of water.

When this in-the-moment recording was made you can hear this anthropocene silence — there are probably no places left were we as a kind have not touched the soil or the surface with our steps. Our breath of air surrounds the world. And to see these untouched places we would have to go there, touching it. Breaking the silence.

There is something organic to it, the film Laura made, the vertigo I felt watching it for the first time. The notes of straw, the wind of Mahir’s flute. Our breaths. The one quiet angle while all things move around it. The changing of focus as Rhian and Eleanor build a larger story out of the guilt we all felt about being away from our duties and how we always stand a chance to free ourselves from bondage and grow wings — and in flight reflect our bodies in the lake beneath us. Only our gaze touching. There is a sense of vertigo in that. A sense that touches the whole body.

Maybe all this guilt was an engine to the intense work we all did during these weeks as residents. But it is always more complex than that. Guilt can be gasoline on the forest fires, guilt can be the sun burning our skin; the work have to be done.

When the guilt overwhelmed me I took the train home, still there in mind I remember the lake, the residents, the translation — and the process of being in another language than my first. After the first week in Tranås Swedish was the foreign tongue. As other as the swan maiden to the troll. Something to long for, but not mine to keep. I will always be there, at the lake, sitting on a moss laid troll sharing breaths with you. And watching the sky for the flight of a maiden reflecting in the waters.



Eleanor Shaw är AD vid PeopleSpeakUp ( – en organisation som arbetar brobyggande genom berättande, muntliga framföranden och kreativt skrivande. Eleanor själv är historieberättare, vägledare och praktiserande, föreläsande sökare utgående från Sydvästra Wales. Mitt liv och mitt arbete, säger hon, handlar om att berätta och utforska historier och att hjälpa andra att berätta sina historier, förvandla dem till teater och slutligen föra samman människor för att åstadkomma en positiv förändring i samhället.

Rhian Elizabeth föddes i Rhondda Valley och bor nu i Cardiff. Hennes romandebut, Six Pounds Eight Ounces (2014) uppmärksammades med nomineringar och prisvinster liksom hennes debutdiktsamling The last polar bear on Earth (2018). Hon har också framhävts med stark emfas i poesitävlingen Disability Arts Wales. 2017 utnämndes hon till en av Wales starkast lysande stjärnor. Hon driver också en skrivargrupp, Word Ward, för människor med kroniska sjukdomar; själv diagnostiserades hon med Multipel skleros men har trots det varit resident vid både Hay Festival och Coracle Europe.

Ferhat Mahir Çakaloz är psykolog, sociolog och doktorand i filosofi samtidigt som han undervisar i interkulturell kommunikation till bland andra icke-statliga ideella organisationer. Han spelar också både ney och go.

Laura Bianco är en italiensk filmmakerska —