Questions from Vi Magazine


Is there any word in particular which has meant especially much to you?


What associations does the word give you?

It’s only one syllable long – but what connections it creates. Yes and No, Heaven and Hell, You and Me … »And« has neither beginning nor end. Like a coral reef it just adds, making existence richer and more complex. »And« is the shortest answer to the world’s abundance.

Take that curlicue the Romans used: &. Doesn’t it look like an infinity sign in profile? A mini eternity buddha. But two ends stick out. As if even eternity weren’t enough, and instead the word opened itself to something even more – upwards and downwards …

Do you know anything about the origins of the word?

It dates back to a Proto-Germanic word for »increase«. You find the remnants of it in the German auch, »also«.

What does the word sound like to you?

Like a short explosion in your mouth – both painful and pleasurable. Air is inhaled through the o, the tongue rears, ch ignites and then all is once again well with the world. It’s like starting an old Volvo.

I can’t help also hearing the Greeks’ melancholy óch, their cry of woe, much like the Scots’ och – as if the word were also a sigh. Perhaps the sigh that was heard when the world was created? In that case, our mouths mimic the first day of creation every time we speak.

Do you use it often?

Not a day without it.

In what contexts?

When holding your tongue will not suffice.

Do you know of any other author who likes to use it?

You’ll have to forgive me, I know little of my colleagues’ mouthings.

What would you say the word’s role is in Sweden today?

The least remarkable yet most important. I’m happy for Sweden to be an and-society.

What word would you say is the word’s diametrical opposite?

»Or«, which does not unite but separates.

Who would do well to use the word a bit more frequently?