It has been music. It has always been music. It has been music that fascinated me and accompanied me through all the ups and downs. I have read countless biographies to understand what is behind the music. Who is behind it and why there is someone in the first place. There were good and not so good biographies. In most cases, I liked autobiographies the best. "Tears from a stone" isn't an autobiography. And yet a book, probably the book that changed my life.
In early 2020, I lay on my red carpet for hours listening through all the albums by the Norwegian band "a-ha". The pandemic was in its infancy and raging outside the window as I lay there listening. a-ha is one of those bands where it's worth looking behind the biggest hit and never looking back out again. I, as a biography lover, quickly searched for biographies about the band and its members. A little later, I was lying on my carpet with "Tears from a stone" by Ørjan Nilsson. In this book he focuses on the life of guitarist Pål Waaktaar Savoy, talks to him about his songs and also about how it feels to be in the spotlight with social anxiety.
Anxiety is my emotion. It has been since I was a child. I know this emotion, I'm at home there. And I have always assumed that it would be impossible to stick your head out from behind the dark curtain of fear and show who you are. Show who you are and what you can do. With a captivating mixture of interviews and storytelling, Ørjan Nilsson rolls up Pål's life from the beginning, tells where he comes from (from Manglerud), how he first moved out into the wide world (to London) and how he then moves on for love (to America). Pål tells how he is suddenly completely beside himself when the camera starts rolling and he has to give an interview. How his head is suddenly empty and he is always sure he is about to say something terribly stupid. He talks about how his songs come about, how he works, why it's always raining in the songs and at what point he has doubts. As if he had been invited to an open door day, he lets Ørjan walk into his life and Ørjan knows how to handle it. Softly, intimately and with a Nordic roughness, he describes what he experiences at the side of one of Norway's greatest songwriters. And also how he experiences this songwriter.
I never read books more than once. I have already read "Tears from a stone" four times. Each time, it encourages me and shows me that it is always worth believing in yourself if you are convinced that it is this one path. That it is this one path for which it is worth peeking out from behind the curtain of fear. Maybe it's a fate that Pål agreed to appear as a fictional character in my latest book, "Es regnet in Manglerud". Whatever it is, I like it. It's raining outside, I should listen to a-ha and read "Tears from a stone". One more time.
© Tessa Weitemeier 2021-11-05