Life Imitates Art: Meeting Ingimar Oddsson

Ingimar Oddsson. Photo courtesy of the author.

One of the really nice aspects of my time in Iceland thus far has been the opportunity to write freelance articles for The Reykjavík Grapevine. I’ve never considered myself a journalist, and never thought that I would be writing for a paper professionally, even though I’ve really enjoyed contributing book reviews and short culture pieces to various websites now and again. But as well as forcing me to really learn how to write on deadlines and produce new kinds of pieces (such as interviews), writing for the Grapevine has also been a really great opportunity for me to meet all sorts of interesting people who I would have not otherwise had the chance to meet.

One such person is Ingimar Oddsson, the author/musician/artist who created the fictional world of Bildalia, and recently self-published The Bildalian Chronicles about his experiences in this magical village on the edge of the Westfjords.

Here’s an excerpt of the profile I wrote of Ingimar, which you can read in full on the Grapevine website here:

Verisimilitude is key to Ingimar’s project: Bildalia has its own currency (called hlunkar, meaning “fat,” with one hlunkar being roughly equivalent to 10 ISK), its own newspaper (The Bildalian Post), crest, and even its own king (Peter) and royal heir (Lady Gu›run Louisa Ernst). Moreover, Ingimar himself is the story’s central character, a role that he finds easy to integrate into his daily life.

“The character is not that exaggerated from myself, so I don’t have to act a lot. I have been on stage several times and that is a harder thing—you have to put yourself into a different character,” he says. But when Ingimar puts on his “costume,” he’s not just doing so for the sake of his fictional alter ego. He’s just getting dressed for the day.

“When I discovered steam-punk, I thought: ‘so this is what I’m called—so there is a name for me.’ Twenty years ago, I had long hair and a long tail jacket and I walked about in a cloak. This is like coming home.”

Also, if you get interested, you can purchase e-book copies of Ingimar’s book (in English) here.

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