My Struggle: The Elevator Pitch

Hello. You look like someone who appreciates a good idea. It's about? Well, it's about life, really, and death, too.

Does this appeal to you? I can have 1,429 pages on your desk by noon.

Image courtesy of Carl Cabading.

Hello. I have an idea I would like to share with you: It begins, our slow descent into the ground.

Our upright posture is a pretense, destined to be revealed, and even that revelation is unremarkable, indifferent. It makes no difference to the body’s mortality whether it swings both legs out of bed, sits upright, and puts its feet on the floor beneath. Time moves forward in a way that, eventually, consciousness as we conceive it won’t be able to measure.

The feet are alive, the central heartbeat sounds in their veins, and yet this is temporary, even the worms that will one day feed off them are themselves mortal, sustenance for more worms.

Ah, I see this is your floor. I hope to—yes, bye.


Ah, hello. Yes, going up. I haven’t chosen a floor yet. You may know me. I’m a writer. Imagine: A young man boards the bus to his grandparents’ flat in Elvegaten. He usually sits on the left side of the aisle, a few rows from the back, by the window, if the seat is available. It is: He sits there. He—there’s more to it, actually, but—yes, have a nice day.


The lobby! Hi! No need to wait for me to get off. I think I will stay here on the elevator. What do you think of this? It’s evening, after bedtime. A young boy wants to see if the late nightly news broadcast includes a certain story, so he can observe his mom and dad’s reaction to it. He leaves his bedroom, tiptoes along the landing, and peeks into the living room through the sliding door at the end of the hall. If he is caught, he will be punished.

Well—no, he isn’t caught. No, the news story isn’t about zombies. It’s nevertheless unsettling. You see—OK, fine, talk to you another time.


Fade in: Limericks in italic font about the author’s mortality. Huh. Well, they aren’t dirty per se, beyond the general obscenity of death itself. If you would just—the elevator will stop at this floor again, on the way down, if you would like to hear a stanz—bye.


We open: The author sits at the desk at which he writes. He feels no special connection to the view outside the window. He is thinking about what he is writing now and what he will write next. He inhales a single time. He exhales. Does this appeal to you? I can have 1,429 pages on your desk by noon.


Hello. You look like someone who appreciates a good idea. It’s about? Well, it’s about life, really, and death, too. Asbjørn Skog has agreed to appear in it. Asbjørn Skog, the famous actor? The Dustin Hoffman of Norway?


Picture this: a young man walks out of his house because his dad has insulted him. Then, the young man relents, and returns. His dad never knows he left—Oh, I see. Well, perhaps you could also mention this to your employer when you retrieve her car from the valet lot, and, for that matter, your friends and family, too. Don’t forget the part about the young man leaving, and the dad not know—all right, bye!


Hi! Have you ever sat still and contemplated your own shadowy image in the reflection of the window facing you—the three deep furrows in your forehead, the two lines beneath your cheeks, the same eyes from birth, the mouth closed, the day-old facial hair—while the small banalities of fatherhood accumulate around you? But surely you—no, I don’t work here. I’m a writer. I need five hours of complete solitude each day in order to maintain my sense of self.

OK, see you on the way down.


Hello. I was hoping I would run into you on the elevator today. Here, this scene would be perfect for you: A young man takes an orange from the bowl in the kitchen. He sits on the couch in the living room and peels it. He eats the orange. He gets up and puts the peel in the wastebasket in the kitchen. His mom—AHHHHHH!

Phew. Oh no. Well. This is troubling. I’ve been riding this elevator for a while, and I believe there is an alarm button and an emergency light—there.

No need to panic. On the upside: I’ve only just begun.

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