Writing letters

30 December 2001 | Fiction, Prose

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

Dear Miss Jansson, you must understand that the only way I can earn a living are panholders with Moomin figures which I design myself and make in the kitchen without any paid help at present. How would 6% be for a start

Hi, I’m thinking of becoming a writer, can you help me with a little information? Is it all right to send your MS to several publishers simultaneously and is it better or worse with illustrations? And about contracts

One shimmering moonlit night I got up and do you know what I did… I went out into the park and danced in my nightie! Maybe no one saw me but maybe someone… Do you understand? Write

You are a really sinful person on top of everything else, but don’t think you’re safe, you’re being watched every moment because we’re there and we’re waiting

My dear friend, I’ve been thinking of you so long now that it’s really time I plucked up courage to ask a little boon of you; could you sometime when you feel like it draw all your sweet little figures in colour for my granddaughter Emanuela

Hi coming later heat the soup
Kiss T

My hamsters have been named after you and your brother, I had a christening party on my fortieth birthday but Astrid Lindgren didn’t come.
You each had a rosette round your tummy. It’s been an uncommonly cold winter and folk who are uncared for freeze to death, one morning you were both dead on the balcony. I’m thinking of having a funeral on Riddarholmen island, best wishes

We are contacting you in connection with this year’s marmalade promotion, in the first instance wondering if there would be any chance of a previously unpublished Moomin comic strip on the theme of marmalade

What steel pen do you use to draw your comic strips? Everything I’ve found seems old-fashioned and the new ones are useless. Can you give me a copy of the usual contract and I’d also very much like to know a little more about world rights

Dear Mrs Jansson,
I have produced Moomin pictures for my home and also for profit and pleasure and placed them for sale in art galleries and kiosks bordering busy traffic routes. Now one of my friends is saying that one ought to ask permission, can this be true? If I don’t hear from you before week 5 shall go on as usual

Insufficient address
Father Christmas Moomin Valley. Please give current address and surname

We are fully aware that you had planned a black troll for our Moomin liquorice advertisement, but for technical reasons

What shall I do with my parents, they’re becoming more and more hopeless. Write!

Couldn’t we meet and chat about the old days at school? I’m Margit, the one who punched you in the stomach in the playground

We look forward to your comments concerning the foregoing account in connection with earlier uncompleted agreements and taking into account secondary effects to which our most recent market discharge may have given rise we would be glad if in urgent order

Now don’t be afraid, but have you any understanding whatever of what your comic strips can mean for expectant mothers, how great a responsibility you bear?! Have you even remotely grasped what it can mean for expectant mothers to be constantly, constantly confronted with those snouts – how do you think the next generation may look

My cat’s died! Write at once

Hi dear unknown fairy-tale auntie, we’re a group of young folks with Ideas! What d’you think? Are you up for it?
Luv, Plastic Ltd, ‘Now or Never’ project

Dear Jansson san
I have collected money for a long time. I will come and sit at your feet to understand. Please when can I come there?

Last night they came in again. They’re everywhere. Please come, I implore you

Could you consider becoming patron of this constantly-threatened little area of natural beauty

How could you even consider invading this constantly-threatened little area of natural beauty

We’ve launched a discreet new mini sanitary towel – earlier design Peach Bloom Ltd – but now we’re aiming at a younger clientele with the slogan ‘Hi there, Little My always plays safe’ – a bit of fun which with your kind permission

Can’t you draw me a Snufkin that I can have have tattooed on my arm as a symbol of freedom

I don’t know why I’m writing but I must because my heart is so big tonight throw away these lines forget them don’t bother to read them if you feel embarrassed but please be terribly kind and answer if you possibly can

It was you who murdered Karin Boye*

Hi, took the mail with me
Kiss, T.

Is it OK for you to transfer my fee to Sri Lanka? My latest translation into Esperanto can’t be ready till New Year, I hope you will be patient

In your story The Cat you change cat twice and that’s heartless. As a member of the RSPCA I must

I thought it might make you happy to know that there is someone who has everything that life can offer. It’s true of me and I’m thankful. But the one thing I long to do is create. My therapist recommends water colours and suggested I should phone you. It’s a matter of choice of colours and motifs

My very dear friend, you are wallowing in sin. A Voice has spoken to me and now I pray for you every night which makes me so tired. I enclose some Tracts, read them and let me know if things go better. Hold out. There is an explanation and forgiveness for everything

This is a message in a bottle for Toffle from Australia. If the paper gets wet on the way ask your mummy to iron it dry

Have you forgotten your baby’s fiftieth birthday? Have you read my letters? Have you got my presents? Don’t tell me you’re old and tired, I won’t stop writing – I’ll never let go of you!

I brought the washing in, you can put the potatoes on at 6. Someone called Anttila phoned

Dear Jansson san,
Take good care of yourself in this dangerous world.
Please have a long life.
With love

Translated by Silvester Mazzarella

* Swedish poet, novelist and story-writer who took her own life in 1941


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