The Listener [NOOK Book]

Overview

Seems my life is a string of modified intentions.

Many are the times I have vowed to give up this job. But it does pay well and someone has to do it. So instead, for a while, I give up meat. Or coffee. Or sugar.

Oh yes, sugar. I don’t like to be all sugared up when I work. Calm is better. I pride myself on being a good listener. Good and calm. Besides, now and then their stories are quite interesting and I ...

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The Listener

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Overview

Seems my life is a string of modified intentions.

Many are the times I have vowed to give up this job. But it does pay well and someone has to do it. So instead, for a while, I give up meat. Or coffee. Or sugar.

Oh yes, sugar. I don’t like to be all sugared up when I work. Calm is better. I pride myself on being a good listener. Good and calm. Besides, now and then their stories are quite interesting and I don’t want to miss anything. It’s hard to hear sometimes when your ears buzz from too much candy. So no sugar. At least for a while.

They believe their stories are all for the record, for their children, for their grandchildren, what have you, posterity, but it’s not. It’s to put them at ease. We always re-use the chips.

The key is to listen well, or at least to appear to listen well. To make them feel heard, make them believe that their lives meant something, really, no matter how meaningless.

The job comes with a quota. The quota is three a week. Most of the time that’s not a problem, but sometimes the telling takes several hours, in extreme cases it can run into days even, before they’re done, or fall asleep, whichever comes first, and if you’re unlucky and run into two of the days variety in a row, well, then it can be hard to make quota.

Sometimes they struggle and that takes a lot out of you. Both physically and mentally. You need your rest after a struggler. And then there are talkative strugglers. And if you’re really unlucky—no, seriously, it can happen, it’s happened to me, more than once—you get a couple of talkative strugglers in a row, and I can tell you that’s one week you’re not making it to three. Those are also weeks after which I usually head back to sugar, meat, coffee, what have you, after one of those weeks. With a vengeance.

“Take your time,” I like to start, “it’s your life.”

It’s my favorite opening. I usually have to repeat it. They don’t hear so well at first. Not looking forward to what comes next I guess. But I say it again, as loud and as many times as needed, and with my good smile in place so as to show that I mean it. Then they seem to relax a bit, well, maybe not relax as much as stop shaking, and then they begin telling their stories.

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940045097048
  • Publisher: Ulf Wolf
  • Publication date: 11/18/2012
  • Sold by: Smashwords
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 311,698
  • File size: 90 KB

Meet the Author

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?

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