Archive for December, 2001
From Hämärä luonto. Aamunkoista Yön tuhmaan lintuun (niiden käyttäytymysestä ja elämästä yleensä) (’Natura Obscura. From the Moth of Dawn to the Naughty Bird of Night. On their behavior and life in general’, Tammi, 2001. Illustrations by Tatu Tuominen)
There are three species living on Earth which, it can be assumed, will survive a possible nuclear catastrophe: the cockroach, the rat and the rubber duck. Of these, the rubber duck is perhaps the most durable. Nothing affects it.
As soon as it emerges from the shell, the rubber duck secretes around its down an insulating layer of gum elastic for it cannot survive among bacteria or other non-mathematical creatures. Here begins the journey toward perfect self-sufficiency.
When young, the rubber duck looks at the world from behind its transparent membrane, protected from causes of disease, bad influences and modern poetry. With age, the rubber layer strengthens and becomes cartilaginous. Finally, the rubber duck lives alone in its own microcosmos, where there are no inter-species competition, nest-usurpers or elephant seals that mishandle their young. On the other hand, it has no room, either, for sunsets, litters of furry soft toys, or the lusty touch of lovers.
Sometimes the rubber duck finds itself in an existential panic: is there anyone, anything, outside the insulating layer? And does it itself exist? Who is speaking? Wrapped up in these thoughts, it reels around, bouncing from one bath to another, one season to the next. More…
From Kaukainen puutarha (‘A distant garden’, WSOY, 1924). Introductions by Vesa Mauriala and Leena Krohn
The earth’s spilling out purple lilac clusters,
To live, to live, to live!
So what if death’s coming!
Maa kuohuu syreenien sinipunaisia terttuja.
Elää, elää, elää!
Mitä siitä, että kuolema tulee!
From Meddelande. Noveller i urval 1971–1997 (‘Messages. Selected short stories 1971–1997’, Schildts, 1997)
I’ll make it to Maritim, got hold of Gustafsson, van coming at 8, have redirected mail to summer address, bye kiss Tooti
Take last things out of fridge
Hi my name is Olavi. You write well but last time you didn’t make a happy ending. Why do you do this?
We look forward to your valued reply soonest concerning Moomin motifs on toilet paper in pastel shades
Don’t say too much if they ring, don’t promise yet. Bye Tooti
Hi! We’re three girls in a mad rush with our essays about you could you help us by saying in just a few words how you started writing and why and what life means to you and then a message to young people you know the kind of thing. Thanks in advance More…
A short story from Dockskåpet (‘The doll’s house’, 1978)
When the summer exhibition closed in the evenings and the last visitors went away, it became very quiet. A short time later boat after boat set off from the shore and sailed back to the village on the other side of the lake. The only member of staff who remained overnight was the caretaker; he slept in the sauna changing room at the bottom of the large lawn where the sculptures had been lined up among the trees. He was very old and had a bad back, but it had been hard to get hold of someone who didn’t mind the long, lonely evenings. And there had to be a night caretaker because of the insurance. More…
30 December 2001 | Fiction
Extracts from the radio play Porkkalansaari (‘The island of Porkkala’, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, 1993)
The surface of the earth is the first to freeze; then the still waters. The sea freezes at the shore often at the same time, on the same night, as the slow-flowing brooks. I have watched them for many years. When you live in the same place for a long time, you notice this much: that almost everything just repeats and repeats.
It flows into a plastic tube. I suppose water flows inside it. You could drop matchsticks in on the other side of the road and wait on this side for them to swim through the drum. You’d only have to find one; that would be enough to prove it. More…