A New Volume in the Book of My Life

Hogne B. Pettersen flying

The cat’s out of the bag. After 27 years, I’m leaving Molde. As a part time journalist, I really should make a headline like “This is why he’s leaving” or “You won’t believe where he’s going now.” But the fact is that a new chapter of my life is about to start.

Actually, calling it a new chapter is wrong. This isn’t just new chapter. It’s an entire new volume!

The first volume was finished in 1993 when I left Fauske, where I grew up, and arrived in Molde.

The second volume was Molde. College. Working at the radio, newspaper, a photo studio and in IT-related positions in various companies and organisations. Started a family and became a dad. Broke up the family and became a weekend dad. Fourteen unbroken years of Molde International Jazz Festivals. A bunch of other festivals. Revues, stand up, podcast, comedic radio dramas and other stuff to entertain the local population. Lego exhibitions. And not least of all: Good friendships and a network of people.

Volume three starts now. And I’m terrified. Freaked. Stressed. Excited. Butterflies in the stomach. And I’m excited and happy beyond belief. Am I doing the right thing? What if this doesn’t work out? And then the punchline: I can’t believe I’m moving back home to the village of Fauske! Yup, I’m returning back to my roots.

How many years have I repeated the mantra “I will never move back to the North of Norway”? But as I’ve gone through life, I’ve realised that you should never say never. Because you never know. That’s why I’ve stopped judging people for the choices they make in life. There’s so little I know about the reasons for why they made those choices. Or what kind of people they’ve got in their life who influenced their choices.

This choice is made out for purely personal reasons. Come autumn the offspring will move away from Molde, and I will have no family left here. This fact really hit me when I attended my aunt’s funeral at Andøya in February. Even if the entire big family was gathered together for a sad reason, I felt that I missed the closeness of family. Not just my parents and my sister and her family, but also my uncles, aunts, cousins and their kids as well. When I move up there, they will be much closer (so they are hereby warned).

So, while I’m writing this, sitting on my balcony with the world’s most beautiful panoramic view, I’m contemplating the fact that I’ve lived here more than half my life. And that in the last fifteen years I’ve been living in this apartment, that I love so dearly. It’s going to be so strange leaving this place. But everything has its time, and I feel that the relationship between Molde and me has run its course.

I’ve been very open about the fact that I’ve had some really bad moments in the past few years. Maybe a change of scenery will help? There’s also the fact that some friendships and relationships have faded in the past few years. I don’t blame anyone for this. People and circumstances change, and everybody are busy with their own lives. In addition, there has been less and less freelancing for local media. And even though I love running around in the nature here in these parts, and it’s with great joy I see how much the town has changed in the past few years and become more beautiful, and you have lots of things to see around here, the fact is that I’ve seen it all. Many times. And I’ve most likely written about it and photographed it.

So, all of these things combined made me reach the conclusion to start looking for a new job up North. It has absolutely nothing to do with me not being happy with my current employer. I’ve had a great time for the last 18 months, working with extremely clever colleagues. And the fact that I’ve had a very flexible arrangement where I could use my home office has been great. But it’s a bit ironic that I’m leaving them just as we have started on a bunch of very interesting projects. Some of them have been started courtesy of me, others have been the result of the hard work my co-workers have done. I’m a bit sad that I won’t be around to see their conclusion. But that’s life.

But I take solace in the fact that this decision is made for purely personal reasons. Even so, I was also determined that I would find an interesting job if I was going to move. And when I was presented with this job, I felt it was exactly up my alley. And now the job is mine.

My new position is at the Hight North Center at North University (Nord Universitet) in Bodø, about 50 km west of Fauske. My official title is “Advisor” and among my duties will be the following:

  • Tell the world about HNC and the work they are doing. This includes all projects, progress, results, travels etc
  • Provide both national and international media with news, information and assistance
  • Provide and offer interviews, send out press releases, photos etc
  • Establish contact with the editorial staff at media outlets
  • Content management of the web pages of the center’s projects
  • Update and administer social media accounts
  • Create graphical material
  • Translate and approve all written material being sent out of the organisation
  • Produce and create film and photo
  • Represent HNC, both abroad and in Norway, during debates, conferences and presentations
  • Hold press conferences
  • Internal collaboration and communication
  • Push scientists and researchers into the media spotlight and help them with writing chronicles and similar material
  • Write speeches

I will also be travelling quite a bit abroad (after this corona thing is over) and take part in Parliament’s Arctic delegation.

People who know me says this sounds right up my alley, and I can’t wait to get started. Also: A lot of this is stuff I’m already doing in various capacities.

– But what about HCL, Notes, Domino, Connections, Sametime and NCUG, I hear you cry (Ok, you’re probably not saying that, but in my head, you are). And the answer to that is that the HCL community won’t get rid of me that easily. I’m using most of these tools either privately or via several of the causes I’m involved with. In addition, I will continue programming and developing. My hope is to be able to keep my title as an HCL Ambassador in the future as well.

But my life as a freelance journalist won’t be a part of the chapters in this volume. That’s just not compatible with my new role at HNC. This doesn’t mean I’ll stop photographing or never write about music again. I’m sure I will keep on doing that. And who knows? Maybe I can combine it with my new job? The possibilities are endless.

I’ve no idea if you’ve made it this far in this text. But I want you to know that I will of course miss Molde, and the friends I’ve made here. And I hope it’s ok that I can come visit every once in a while? I can’t give up Moldejazz completely, can I?

Hugs from Hogne, soon to be a purebred North-Norwegian again.

16 thoughts on “A New Volume in the Book of My Life”

  1. Met you first time in 95 (as in 1995) at hiMolde as a student help teacher. You made impression, and I can clearly see you in this new role at HNC. Enjoy your new volume close to your people!

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