Ulf is a Swedish name that once meant Wolf. So, yes, Wolf Wolf, that’s me. I was born Ulf Ronnquist one snowy night in late October, in one of those northern Swedish towns that are little more than a clearing in the forest. Fast forward through twenty Swedish years, ten or so English ones, and another twenty-four in the US and you’ll find me in front of an immigrations officer conducting the final citizenship interview, at the end of which he asks me, “What name would you like on your passport?” And here I recall what a friend had told me, that you can pick just about any name you want at this point, and I heard me say “Ulf Wolf.” That’s how it happened. Scout’s honor. Of course, I had been using Ulf Wolf as a pen name for some time before this interview, but I hadn’t really planned to adopt that as my official U.S. name. But I did. I have written stories all my life. Initially in Swedish, but for the last twenty or so years in English. To date I have written six novels, four novellas and two scores of stories; along with many songs and poems. My writing focus these days is on life’s important questions (in my view): Who are we? What are we doing here? And how do we break out of this prison?
My Curious Oceanby Ulf Wolf
I arrived in this Universe a while back.
Initially, you understand, just to sightsee. You know, glide around a little, take in the milky ways and the dusty swirls, all these stars large and small, all these planets green and brown and blue, some with purple plains and sandy deserts, some with gray black mountains draped in trees some and capped in white/p>
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I arrived in this Universe a while back.
Initially, you understand, just to sightsee. You know, glide around a little, take in the milky ways and the dusty swirls, all these stars large and small, all these planets green and brown and blue, some with purple plains and sandy deserts, some with gray black mountains draped in trees some and capped in white others, some neither. Many frantic oceans, too, and many placid seas. All very varied and quite pleasing, I must say. Sightseeing.
Drifting in for a closer look at some of these planets, I saw roads and wagons and gates and guards and many people, he called them.
Drifting in closer still, I saw steady hands under furrowed brows brighten white canvas with color and warmth to capture trees and mountains, painting he called it.
I heard symmetry of sound from throats and hands on strings, music he called it.
And I saw many feet move in delicate delicious rhythm, dance he called it, and they seemed to enjoy it, these what he called people.
And drifting closer still, I heard laments by lovers wronged, I saw seductions soft, and stark betrayals, brutal slayings and happy resurrections.
I saw brother helping brother, sister leaving sister, son trusting father, daughter hating mother, or at least that is how he explained these odd happenings to me, my escort. Though, to be honest, I could not see the truth of these events for they had no pattern to them, not like those of their music or dance, he called them.
So I turned to him and I asked, “What’s the point, then? Without a pattern?”
“It’s hard to explain,” he answered. “And almost impossible to understand without one of those,” indicating a long display of sparkling shapes that looked just like what he called people but that didn’t move. He brought me down and closer.
“What are they?” I asked.
“They are called bodies,” he said. “You should try one.”
We slowly drifted down the line of these shapely shapes all in glistening skin (still drying and cooling, he told me), until we came to the very end of the display where hung a firm and strong male, he called it, cooled and comely in his long white robe. “Touch it,” he suggested.
I looked at him. A question. I once heard of these things. I heard there can be danger.
“Trust me,” he said.
So, perhaps unwisely, I trusted him, and I brushed against the bare, strong arm.
On contact there was a shock a jolt a rush and then a screaming wind furiously inhaling and then a brief blackness and then I found myself inside this what he called a male and many things happened all at the same time, too fast, too many, too soon:
Every one thing I saw, every blade of grass, every bird, every tree, every pebble—until then simply small pattern-less somethings to me—was absorbed by this body and once inside it each of these almost countless things spawned a response—a sea of responses. Each and every thing. I felt like a weather system. Storm everywhere.
- Ulf Wolf
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