My parents would laugh when I showed them my drawings, obviously a little uncomfortable that I was drawing strong male and female characters in a fantasy land that combined luxury apartments in skyscrapers alongside rituals in gothic churches.
“Ulrika, sometimes I wonder if you read too much – filling your head with so many ideas and visions.” That was my dad, a forestry manager at the local council, more comfortable with physical activity than mental.
“Perhaps you could watch a bit more tv,” chipped in my mum, who mostly stayed at home watching hours of tv after she lost her most recent job.
So my evenings were usually spent reading and drawing, in my room and away from their tv and bland life.
My days used to be rather boring too, because options for 12-year-olds are rather limited. There was only so much of the mall or getting teased in the playgrounds that I could take, so would often sit in the art gallery or the cathedral, happy with my own thoughts.
One day, wandering on the “old” side of the school grounds where both the old buildings and older kids congregated, I found a shed with a loose window. A window just loose enough for a skinny 12-year-old to squeeze through. When just about to start exploring the contents, I heard some voices approaching. I moved to a side wall away from the light and sat to wait for the newcomers to pass by. They didn’t.
An excerpt from Brian’s Red Diamond, part of the Women out of Time trilogy.