Sunday, 31 July 2011

road trips and midnight escapes

A sublime weekend, driving up with friends to a red house by a lake.

Blasting our music with the windows down, pitching our tents on the perfect lawn, laughing too hard to breathe, going for a swim first thing in the morning, finding a ukulele and adopting it for the night, going to the sauna around three in the morning, falling asleep with the sun rising, brewing tea over a blue flame, singing until our voices grew hoarse.

How lucky I am to be able to surround myself with the people I love, the people who make me feel safe.

(Maybe this is one of those times I'll remember for years and years to come. Maybe this is what it really is to be young and to be happy, unguarded moments like the one below, captured on our journey back home.)

Soffulle kiitos kuvasta!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

notes from an island

So there was the sea and the smooth cliffs pouring into it.

There were sunsets to warm the bone to its marrow. (Sunsets I mostly spent on the phone, because sometimes you need more than beautiful views, you need tangibility.)

There were small cold waves to dive into and lots of books to read. (I mostly read Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It's been years since I've last read it cover to cover and it's very different from what I remembered. And I might have outgrown Fitzgerald, oddly enough. He's too melancholy for my state of mind.)

There was a lot of thinking and even more writing. Pages upon pages. Most of it utter nonsense but sometimes there's no need to judge. Not right now.

There was a huge bed to lie back on and listen to my breathing during the nights when sleep didn't come. A small lamp to light up the walls made of wood and outside the steady sighs of the sea.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

10½ inclinations by ben okri

 There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten you. Find that trail.

 Read outside your nation, colour, class, gender.

 Read the books your parents hate.

 Read the books your parents love.

 Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you; and make their works your secret passion.

 Read widely, for fun, for stimulation, for escape.

 Don't read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later, cautiously.

 Read what you're not supposed to read.

 Read for your own liberation and mental freedom.

 Books are like mirrors. Don't just read the words. Go into the mirror. That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That's where the gods dream, where our realities are born.

 Read the world. It is the most mysterious book of all.

From A Time for New Dreams by Ben Okri.

Friday, 22 July 2011

expect the unexpected


There are some essential things I am learning to do this summer.

Like collapsing into the arms of friends as a way of saying hello, letting myself be folded into familiarity. Trusting the people I love to support me.

I am learning to speak of the future without trepidation. It seems to be the thing we mostly do these days, outline plans for when we graduate, for when we send ourselves into the world with just our wits and hearts, open wide. Over and over, universities and gap years and beyond, into marriage and children and everything that comes along with adulthood.

I am trying desperately to learn to trust. I am fighting the urge to distance myself from the people I love. Because sometimes fear is insignificant when compared to what could be without it.)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

on poetry

A few weeks back someone asked me why poetry matters, why I seem to think that we all should read poetry, what is it poetry can give us that the everyday cannot. 

My answer rambled onwards without making much of an impression. And now I only wish I'd had Ben Okri to back me up.

"Heaven knows we need poetry now more than ever. We need the awkward truth of poetry. We need its indirect insistence on the magic of listening.

In a world of contending guns, the argument of bombs, and the madness of believing that only our side, our religion, our politics is right, a world fatally inclined towards war ‒ we need the voice that speaks to the highest in us.  

We need the voice that speaks to our joys, our childhoods, and to the Gordian knots of our private and national condition. A voice that speaks to our doubts, our fears, and to all the unsuspected dimensions that make us both human and beings touched by the whisperings of the stars."

Ben Okri: Poetry and Life (from his collection of essays, entitled A Time for New Dreams)

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

"I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can't tell fast enough, the ears that aren't big enough, the eyes that can't take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone."

Jonathan Safran Foer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Sunday, 17 July 2011


Peonies are possibly my favourite flowers. (I say possibly because I can never truly choose between peonies and lilies of the valley. And lilacs.)

(Today is one of my slower days. The house is quiet and nights are again growing darker. I think I'd quite like not to have to be alone tonight.

Sometimes my courage dissipates and my hands begin to shake again and the only thing I can do is wait for a new morning, a new beginning. But by now I've learnt that mornings do arrive on time, and there's nothing to worry about. Not really.

And peonies help, with their heavy flowers and slim yet sturdy stems. There can never be anything sad or wistful about peonies. Which makes them my favourite, for tonight.)

Photo from Matchbook Magazine, found on Lolita.

Friday, 15 July 2011

new mornings

It's raining now, after all these days of sun, and all I feel like doing is going back to bed with a book or three. (Or maybe I could wear my wellies and go wading through the puddles, maybe make my way to the library.)

So far this summer has been extraordinarily good to me. I've calmed down a bit, I think. Maybe nothing you'd notice on the outside, but the people who know me inside out have told me so, and I choose to believe them. 

Blue days still come and go but now I finally have the courage to call the right people and say the right words. (And if all else fails, there is this song that somehow makes everything easier to bear.)

The first and third photo are linked to sources. The middle one is from a Marimekko ad campaign from a year back.

a love letter of sorts

To my city.

Because stepping off that train and breathing in your sun-tinted air, lying down on the freshly cut lawns of all your parks, bringing my tired feet to rest in the folds of your sea,

it's home.

More at home than I've ever felt.

I have broken my heart in your arms, I have cried too many tears of frustration, and yet you are the skin memory of my youth. There are few streets not blotted with moments gone, few tram routes that don't have me glancing up from my book to smile at a certain corner, a certain window, a certain someone.

And however far I end up going, I promise to come back. Every now and then. When you are at your best, during these summer months made of sunsets and cobblestones warm beneath bare feet. When one can stumble upon a young man playing a grand piano in the middle of Senat's Square, when the sunlight hits the golden domes of Uspenski just so.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Sunday, 10 July 2011

july so far

A weekend at Ruisrock festival: wading knee-deep into the sea while listening to Finnish reggae, singing along to Scandinavian Music Group and pounding the dusty ground with my feet, carrying around a massive slice of watermelon and eating it during the worst heat, biking home at 2 am in that incredible warmth.

And before Ruisrock, an impromptu sleepover and brunch the morning after. A reunion. Some gossip (the nice kind) at night in a park, kisses planted onto foreheads and stolen conversations at sunset.

And now there's my first quiet evening in weeks. The house is silent and I am spent and exhausted and happy.

Kiitos Karkki kuvasta!

Friday, 8 July 2011

something someone said

A few days back I was sitting on the pier at one in the morning, cold and exhausted, and I asked a friend

Why am I not happy when there are so many things in my life to be happy about?

And he looked at me and said It doesn't work like that.

And he asked me whether there really are enough things in my life to be happy about. 

He told me that happiness will come when there is reason to be happy, and it will be effortless.

This is possibly the single most helpful/hopeful thing I have heard in years.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


I'm home, finally. (Yes, finally. I was supposed to be gone for ten days but it became almost two weeks. These things happen on tall ships: they needed crew and I needed to keep on sailing.)

And now I'm sat in this empty house, tired and a bit sad and ultimately thankful to have experienced all this. Life throws us in such strange directions and sometimes following the wind is the only thing to do.

The places I've been and the things I've done during the past two weeks seem oddly detached from the rest of my life. And that is exactly what I love about sailing, this chance to leave everything regular behind. I live and breathe the ship and sea. I get to forget myself, completely and without a doubt. Sailing tall ships is one of the most beautiful things in my life and I need it desperately. It is an act of forgetting.

(Also: countless bruises, new scars, wonky tanlines on my forearms from all those rolled-up sleeves, tar and sweat and mud on every piece of clothing. Chipped nails and callused palms and I love it all.)