Short cuts

Issue 1/2000 | Archives online, Authors, Interviews, Reviews

‘For me, writing is an irrational and intuitive process’, says the young writer Tuuve Aro (born 1973). ‘I do not decide or plan in advance what I want to say; the text carries me onward as I go’.

Tuuve Aro strikes one as cheerful and intelligent, a self-assured and resolute young woman. She relates to her new role as an author just as naturally as she describes the genesis of her short-story collection Harmia lämpöpatterista (‘Trouble from the radiator’, Gummerus, 1999). For Aro, writing has long been a tool to figure herself and the world, but she has never felt the compulsion to gather her writings into a book. But when a certain sort of text had accumulated sufficiently, it was time to send the manuscript to a publisher.

Aro has actually been educated to be a writer, although it is often said that it is impossible to get such an education in Finland. ‘I certainly do not see education as a requirement to become a good writer’, she says, ‘but on the other hand, one also doubts the myth of the autonomous genius who emerges from the forest.’

At home, Aro’ s mother encouraged her daughter’s art and writing activities. Specialising in the arts at school inspired Aro to study literature at the Orivesi writing academy and later at university. Each stage has prodded her writing forward. When there was no study program in creative writing at the University of Helsinki, she and other students formed a writing group called the Nobelist Club, in the shelter of which their texts could develop and take shape.

‘Really, writing cannot be taught. You have to have the talent and the passion, but motivation and giving criticism drives you forward. There is no way I would have got this collection done if I had been writing for the desk drawer.’

Aro’s other passion is film. She works for a commercial television channel’s website as a film critic. This shows up in her book, too. Her short narratives often resemble film shorts.

‘It can’t be said that I have been influenced by film; I would say that influences have come to me, whether I like them or not. I enjoy writing the most when the text simply appears before my eyes as images. Recording on paper images that have welled forth from the subconscious is enjoyable.’

Aro is satisfied if readers grasp her narratives in their own way. Through absurd twists and preternatural occurrences she aims to present a world that is both familiar and alien.

‘Of course I write about this world, but perhaps a kind of oblique, unanticipated perspective makes it appear fresh. Playing with different vantages and their plurality is my aim.’

A short narrative form has felt the most natural for Aro, but she is not sure what kind of text she will write next. She may take a break too. ‘I have had this feeling that something is simmering in my subconscious, and it could bubble out at any time.’

This interview first appeared in Helsingin Sanomat


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