Friday, the 10th
I was writing a letter yesterday and it felt so good that I decided to resurrect my blog. Internet - they say - is a dangerous place and one shouldn't write everything for the whole world to read, but who cares. One must have a little trust in people. Right? Right. I hope.
My summer vacation has started. This feels like the first day of holidays even though I'm basically already on to the third day. It's just that days spent at home in front of the computer don't really qualify as vacation. They are part of my usual avoidance of life routine; they are my source of love and acceptance and friendship. And that world is still very much with me even though I'm now far away, sitting in front of the lake, waiting for the sauna to warm up, devouring the last piece of chocolate. Is it any wonder though? My head has been full of imaginary friends since I was eight and created the first to make up for the lack of real ones.
But we shall not think of that today. The sun shines and the lake is beautiful, even though the wind is still so hard that it is just slightly too cold to sit outside. I've planted flowers today. Bought a birthday card, which I forgot to do yesterday. It will be a day late, but better late than never, right? It felt so mature, responsible. Perhaps I will try to remember birthdays from now on, little things like that. One is supposed to remember them, isn't one? I also brought brochures back home. To find places to visit, events to go to. I fear I'm getting a touch restless. That's the bad thing about the computer. When you get used to someone saying something nice to you on an almost daily basis, you start to miss that. One is no more comfortable spending two weeks alone in the middle of nowhere with no human contact. Not that I didn't get my fix today. When I went to buy the flowers, one of the employees there offered to carry my second box to my car. Same thing last time, different woman, but she also helped me with the flower boxes. Strange people here in the east.
Yep, yep. Must go check the sauna now.
Alright, back. 65 degrees. Not much longer any more and it will be ready. This one is best at below 80.
First time to the sauna after getting the tattoo. Tramp stamp, that's apparently what they are called in the UK. It was a good experience, didn't really hurt at all. During the first two minutes it was just on the verge of pain, but that's because I was concentrating on the feeling to assess it. The trick, however, is not to think about it. You float with it and then it's actually quite pleasurable. At least the back is. There was a woman sitting next to me getting a tattoo on her ankle and it clearly hurt more. She didn't say anything, but you could tell by her breathing. Yep, it will be interesting to see what the tattoo thinks of sauna. So far it has been healing rather well. Itches a little. The few white lines for some reason react to the lotion, but I doubt that is dangerous. Okay, I will go now.
Sauna is a wonderful invention. And so is writing. I think I shall practice that for as long as there's juice in the computer.
Tuesday, the 14th
A couple of days have passed. It's the holidays so I'm not going to put pressure on myself to do anything. Not even to write the blog. I spent the weekend completely at the summer cabin. The weather on Saturday was quite nice, so I mostly just read. And cleared the old parking place a bit of the branches someone left there to rot and went and rowed around the lake. That was much much fun. Sunday wasn't quite as good weather wise, but still at the cabin, mostly just reading.
Yesterday I came to the house. It rained little grannies, I was out of water and milk plus Ä, S and his parents were going to drop by on their way to Imatra. They came after six, stayed for a bit to have coffee and left Armi the Cat here with me. She's already outside. Sniffing the morning air and trying not to get her paws wet in the morning dew.
I've really enjoyed the holidays so far. The reading has been great. So far I've managed a number of women's magazines I didn't have the energy for during the winter. Or did I save them specifically for summer since it's so wonderful to sit outside and read that kind of stuff? Perhaps both. Two books. Johanna Sinisalo's really lovely book about a young gay photographer who finds a young troll outside his apartment. Fascinating blend of fact and fiction. Pirjo Hassinen's Suistola. About a boy who grows up to be a man, making his own decisions and living with the secrets and desires of his own. I warmed up to it a bit slower, but it also left a good taste in my mouth.
And then - and this is what drove me to write this morning, since I think best when writing - some non-fiction. I took two work books with me and on Saturday or on Sunday I decided that I would read them through slowly during the next couple of weeks. Thirty pages per day - not too much, is that? Not too demanding. I managed on Saturday or on Sunday, which ever day that was. It wasn't anywhere near the most boring work book I could have read, but still I kept checking the page numbers always after few pages. How much more left? The thing that I find worrying is that I also took with me some other non-fiction books. During the weekend - during Saturday and Sunday - in addition to those two fictional books and the magazines I also read two 300 page long books by Liisa Keltikangas-Järvinen. Yeah, you can guess what those are about. Psycho-babble. Popularized developmental psychology, temperaments, self-esteem, all that. God I love that stuff. I devoured 600 pages like nothing. I haven't been able to force myself to read any more of those work books since Saturday (probably).
Now the problem comes from the fact that yesterday I started the next psycho-babble book. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book called Creativity. (His book called Flow is fabulous btw. I highly recommend it.) This one is about creative people: mostly scientists, artists, writers etc. Researchers of all types are included in the category. He has for instance interviewed Natalie Zemon Davis. I've only read the first 86 pages so far, but one thing that makes these people good at what they do is that they are interested in what they do, they enjoy their work. One can't be good at research unless one is interested in and curious about whatever it is that one is studying. Do we see where this is going? I have to force myself to read thirty pages of work literature. And...that book was written by a historian, not a lawyer. History still interests me, law bores me absolutely to frigging death. I've had to force myself to read pretty much every single book that I've read for the dissertation. They do not interest me. There are very very few books or articles I remember as interesting from the past ten years. Zemon Davis' books, some of Pieter Spierenburg's, everything I've read by William Ian Miller, that article of James Whitman's, the other weird one I read in Frankfurt about carnevalization and dirt and who knows what, some of the legal anthropological stuff.
So I was trying to think last night what it is that does interest me. Research would not be a bad career choice, since I do like to write. Some kind of stuff I love to write. I'm not stupid. If I'm interested in something I'm persistent as hell. I can read 600 pages over the weekend. When I get obsessed I can - easily and with pleasure - spend 12 hours searching for info and not notice the time passing. Of course so far I've only had two obsessions like that. Rammstein and Knighthood. But if one could have the same kind of passion for work.... Imagine what kind of heaven that would be. Forcing oneself to read uninteresting books however is very far from heaven.
So, interests. Interests that could be connected to legal history. Somehow. No matter how distantly, since I will never be a hardcore legal historian. Most importantly perhaps because I'm not interested in pure law, but I need people. And not just as a group. Not lawyers or judges or legal scientists as a profession or whatever. No, people with their fears and desires and motivations. I was thinking of Johan Uhlström last night. He was a merchant from Oulu, lived at the end of the 18th century and during 1790 he was involved in at least four different cases on the appeal court level. I was wondering why. Was there something about Johan that made him more likely to bring cases to court? Are there others who are "heavy users" of the court system and if so, why? That's something I could look into. What also interests me is why people use law, how they see it? Is it something negative or positive; repression or protection? The connection between law and divine is also something very, very important, but I don't know what. Archaic law, the honour codes, sacrifices and rituals. The old epics, sagas, poems, literature in general, popular conceptions of law and justice. I remember my old class in Greco-Roman Civilization during the year I was an exchange student in Portland. Pam Brown's class. She was the top, the best teacher I've ever had. She also taught me Latin. Gosh, I loved those classes. We could sometimes do assignments for extra credit and I remember analyzing this Greek drama: Odysseus retrieving a bow from Philo-something, some others. She liked my analyses; I liked writing them. That one was about justice in a sense, about fairness. About real politics clashing with someone's right to a possession. The story if I remember right was that the boy had inherited this bow, possibly from his father, possibly from Achilles, a very important heirloom to him anyway. Odysseus however needed it, the Greeks needed it to win the war against the Trojans. They couldn't win the war without it, the Gods with their strange demands, playing their little games. And so Odysseus came to talk the boy out of the bow, Odysseus with the golden tongue, but the boy didn't want to give it up and so in the end he cheated, Odysseus did, to get the bow. That's how I remember it anyway. (edit: my memory cheats a bit, the play is called Philoctetes by Sophocles, the bow belonged to Heracles and the one suffering the moral pangs was Neoptolemus.)
I don't entirely remember what I argued in the paper - probably that Odysseus was not only right to cheat, but the only sensible one in the drama since sometimes the goal is more important than the means - but I do remember Pam Brown writing that I had a very cynical attitude for someone so young. I was proud of that, since I was seventeen and life feels hard when one is seventeen. I must dig up the paper, I bet I still have it. I never throw away important stuff and those classes were important to me. We did field trips, to a college for some kind of seminar in latin language. I loved that too. She gave me tickets to the opera. I wanted to be like her when I grew up. I wanted to teach like her. She was a bit cynical herself, had a very dry sense of humour, intelligent and clearly interested in what she did, she had an Italian background and I remember her telling once that she had relatives back in New York, in the "Family". She was great. She made me want to be a history teacher, which is of course what I should have become. Or literature. That's what we mostly did, wasn't it? Analyzed the old classics. Perhaps I should have read literature.
I won't ever forget the look on the face of the open college teacher either when she said that she liked my essay on Timo K. Mukka's "Maa on syntinen laulu". Almost shyly, in passing, when the class was already over and we were leaving. That's the best paper I've written since school. Law and literature. Perhaps I can find something interesting within that. Makes one excited, it does. I so can't wait for the day when I can bury a copy of my dissertation in the garden and forget that I ever wrote it. A new start.
And today, I believe, I will continue the new start and see if I could find those museums in Kouvola. I also intend to visit Verla and Repovesi this summer. I shall live from now on, not just exist. I promise. I shall do everything I can to that end.
Wednesday, the 15th
I went and located the museum quarter yesterday. Only visited the art museum and this nice little coffee shop/boutique, but that was fun too. The coffee shop was in the downstairs of someone's home, tables in the garden, homemade pies and a big black scruffy dog barking at the noise from the railroads. A refill and old-fashioned lemonade, onion pie, carried to the table by the very friendly woman living there. Are they really friendlier here in the East or is it just summer? Summer makes people happy. It certainly makes me happy.
Today I got the shovel from the shed and dug out a little piece of land to try and grow some stuff. I found these old tiny bags of seeds from the cupboard. Too old probably by now, but I still wanted to try. I bought them myself, maybe two summers ago, but never put them to the ground. Now I have a little round plot back there by the berry bushes, after a decent amount of sweat and protests from the little red ants. The biting kind. We'll see. Even if they do start to grow, it's probably too late for them to grow big enough. They should have been planted by Mid-June. Who cares. This is an experiment anyways. If something does happen - or actually, whether something happens or not - I shall plant something next year at the right time and from proper new seeds. I've wanted to have my little garden for a long time now.
I was also going to mow the lawn, but the stupid lawnmower doesn't work. I tightened some screws - since it's starting to be ancient and bits and pieces are falling apart - but that wasn't sufficient. A solution must be found out, but that isn't going to happen today.
The cat was protesting upstairs. Probably an "open this door now" -demand, but the door remained closed. It's six p.m. and I'm heading out to the cabin again. Sauna and swimming await. Kitty-cat, it is time to decide whether you wish to spend the night in- or outdoors. Here I come.
Thursday, the 16th
I took a break from reading Csikszentmihalyi and started with one of Julia Cameron's creative writing guides instead. She gives exercises and so I did one. Went out for a walk to observe things and my own moods and now I'm doing the second part - writing them down. Well, part of them. This is a modified exercise. I'll do the right one properly one day. Maybe. I did observe things. How the path looked bigger - surprisingly - than it did when I was a child, how the little stream had nearly disappeared under the vegetation, how I grew nervous as the road approached that one house, the one where the road goes directly through the yard, how freshly cut timber smelled and how butterflies danced on the road. I walked to the village, saw a woman on a stroll, just like me, compared her fleshy waist to my own and decided that I was properly the thinner of us, I saw the beautiful old houses with (mostly) well-kept gardens, roses blooming and a little decorative windmill standing proudly on one yard, almost exactly like the one on ours, except in better shape, I wonder if grandfather made that one too.
I saw an abandoned store and an abandoned repair shop and an abandoned grain silo and felt like writing the story of the village as it once used to be. With its Russian emigrants and shops and the fine dining at the restaurant parlour of the railway station. All gone now, nothing but memories in the minds of the old ones, stories, which are going to disappear in a generation or two. I felt the sun on my face, was happy and dreamed of this lasting forever - the warmth, the sun and the luxury of walking and reading and writing and just being. Of discovering new things, going through the village, which is a bit of ways from us, all alone in the middle of nowhere, with new things and roads and houses for me to find and explore. I left the village and took the old familiar road back, my mind turning to other things as there was no more new things for the eyes to marvel. I wondered how I could keep all of this when the summer turns to fall, when the sun won't keep me happy anymore and when I have to return to the concrete jungle. Two hours ride from here to work. It's too much, isn't it? Is it?
And even if it isn't, will it be the same? That's something I'm afraid of. When the sun no longer shines, when the garden turns brown and gray and then eventually white, will it be the same? Is it summer or is it this place that I love? And if it is this place what sacrifices am I ready to make for it. Because as I was rounding the last corners of the road a thought popped into my mind. Strongly, started singing there. "I want to give this to my child." This feeling, this peace, this place, this wonder that is life at its best. I do want a child. I think it is time to start the Operation Baby again. But of course the question is if that is fair. The psychologist said that a city is an alright place for the child to grow, an open-minded place, a liberal place, an accepting place. Countryside perhaps not. The issue here naturally being that I would have to have the child alone, me being the popular girl among the male kind. Or perhaps me not trusting men. Who knows. The fact nevertheless being that the children of the country, of the rural, hardworking, god-fearing ancestors might not react with full-hearted understanding and acceptance if my little toddler would explain with clear innocent eyes: "I don't have a father like you do. He's this nice man who wanted to help me be born and I get to know who he is when I'm big. My mother really wanted me and so the doctor ladies helped her to have me." In the city, in the concrete jungle they are more open to things like that, in the academic circles forced to look at things from new perspectives just out of professional habit. Although of course sometimes people surprise you: the ones who you didn't think would understand, do, and the understanding kind don't. One should not underestimate people, nor create problems where there are none. Anyways, oh Julia Cameron, that is what I got out of that exercise. I believe I shall go and read now what else she has to say.
Friday, the 17th
There's a saying something to the effect of Pride goes before the fall. I decided to do some garden work again and get rid of the overgrown flowers and saplings by the road. So I went and fetched the scythe from the shed, I've used that before, I was just having an imaginary conversation in my mind, some patronizing soul warning me to be careful, me thinking that I bloody well know how to do this, I don't need to be careful as I laid it down against the car, wrong way around and naturally, as I was raking the cut flowers together I accidentally pushed the scythe down and now I have a nice deep cut in my foot. Small, but deep. On the sole of my foot. The tip must have come down right on top of it. It hardly bleeds, it doesn't really hurt, but it looks kind of gross. It's deep and I can see some weird stuff. I put some antiseptic on it, I put bandages on it, but I don't really want to go and drag myself to see a doctor over it. It doesn't hurt and it doesn't bleed. It is going to leave a nice big scar on my foot. The thing that slightly worries me that the scythe may have been a bit rusty and it's been way too long since I've had my tetanus shots. Or any shots for that matter. And it's summer. Mätäkuu. Blood poisoning... I'm going to keep an eye on it. If it looks bad tomorrow or I start creating a fever or something, then I'll go to the doctors. If these are the famous last words, then know that laziness and pride killed me. And that right now I was happy and loved the world.
The cat is sulking too. She stayed outside last night and hasn't come back yet. I hope she is fine.
Yesterday in the sauna I was thinking about dating. Perhaps I should start again. I was thinking about it this morning too as I did another one of Cameron's exercises. Writing three pages of whatever comes to the mind, no thinking about it. I eventually got around to the "men in my life": the role-playing poem writing computer enthusiast, the left-wing musician, the dog guy, the Kurd refugee. The guys who liked me as opposed to the guys whom I've liked. Those two haven't really matched yet. But just because they haven't yet, doesn't mean that they never could. There have been some changes in me lately, in how I view men and so perhaps things could change. We'll see.
It is raining outside. Big fat drops of rain. A dark cloud passing us, next to a strip of beautiful blue sky. I think it stopped already, just wanted to leave a memory of itself.
The wind is getting a bit colder. Need to go and fetch something to wear.
Yep, the sun shines again. Water glistening on the leaves. It's pretty.
I'm a bit worried about the cat. I'm probably a bit worried about my foot too. Why else would I be writing. Talking to you guys. Comforting myself. Feeling connected to the world. I haven't closed my firefox-windows for that reason either. I like seeing my page. The hearts on it. I have 609 messages. Not bad for me. Especially as I deleted all the old ones one day in June last year. Well, saved first and then deleted. After the bachelorette party of my sister's. Didn't want to be misunderstood. How different things are now.
I want water. I want a servant to pamper me. I want oatmeal cookies.
The servant didn't show up, so I had to go fetch the water and cookies myself. I also found the program of the summer theatres. The premiere in Kouvola would be today. Should I go? I do intent to go see it, but I'm not sure I'll do it today. Or should I go to Kuusankoski? What are they playing? They are doing Minna Canth's Anna-Liisa in Kouvola, which is a bit stupid. Summer theatres usually do something fun and light, and if I remember correctly Anna-Liisa is the story of an unmarried girl who got pregnant, killed her baby and confessed, because she couldn't live with the guilt. Canth, so 19th century, so different morals. Let's see. Ooh, they are doing Piilomaan pikku Aasi this fall in Kuusankoski. It's a children's story, an animated version came on the TV in the 70's or the early 80's when I was a child and I was really scared of it. I can still remember that I went to hide in the children's room whenever they were showing it. Hmm, Kuusankoski is doing serious theatre for summer too: Teuvo Pakkala's Tukkijoella and only in August. Fine then.
I was thinking of going to Verla tomorrow. They have some kind of a Verla day there, so presumably extra activities. Which of course also means extra people and the question is will it be too crowded. I'm not a huge fan of big crowds. It would probably be a shame to miss it though. I enjoyed the Middle Age festival in Lund in June. There was this guy doing magic tricks and talking endlessly all the time. I liked his style. Nice old houses. It reminded me that I need to start doing things more. I can afford it. What's money good for, if you just sit inside bored to death.
I yelled for the cat again. Nothing. Earlier I walked the little triangle trip around the house and tried whistling for her. Nada, not a thing. Luckily no run-over bodies either.
They are playing that Eurovision Song Contest winner in the radio. Rybak's Fairy tale. "I'm in love with a fairy tale and I don't care if it hurts." I really like that song. I may have to buy his new album.
I glimpsed movement in the garden, but it was just butterflies. The stupid cat is starting to get me worried. Not that cats aren't sometimes gone for days, but this one usually lives indoors. It's not the smartest one of the bunch. There have been foxes around. And wolfs according to some of the locals. Well, not necessarily right now, but occasionally. But foxes yes. My sister saw them. Not that they most likely would pick a fight with a cat, but still. And cars there definitely are. It's three o'clock already and the lazy thing should be missing her food already.
Alright, let's see if I am able to write in the swing. I was sitting on the porch, but now I've moved the radio and I had to come lay on the swing, since it is so nice and warm out here. The dark clouds are long gone. Maybe the cat will hear the radio now too. It's a bit hard to see the screen in the sun, but not impossible. It's a bit like a mirror now actually. I can see myself. My hat, my bikini.
The bandages just opened on their own. It has been bleeding a bit. Not badly and it seems to have stopped, but the wound is like a wide open gaping hole. Actually I have to remember to write down how it really looks, so I can use it for some story later. I wont do it right now though, because it really looks gross and I don't want to worry myself. I'll clean it tonight and do it then.
Seeing the screen is a bit hard. Maybe I'll do some reading instead.
Alright, the day is over. I went to the theatre. Points for effort. It was some kind of a local youth theatre production. They had managed to get one boy to really take part, otherwise all the male roles were done by women/girls as well. It was a nice way to spend the evening, but one can't really say that it was in any way fabulous art. The foot didn't really like the driving there and here part. I've taken to limping (?) and have decided to hop around on one foot for the rest of the evening. It aches a little now and I'm not 100 % happy with the way it looks. I don't think I'll go to Verla tomorrow, if this is how the foot reacts.
The good news. The cat is back. I yelled for her a couple of times after I came back and heard a faint meow from somewhere. I almost thought I had imagined it as there was silence then afterwards, but then it came louder. From the old potato garden, where she usually comes from. She sounded a little strange and it took her forever to come closer so I got worried. Perhaps she was hurt and so I decided to go and get her. Yes, from that jungle full of nokkonen. Very smart. Of course I ended up coming back from there with burning ankles and the cat waiting for me on the other side. At least she is alive. I was already starting to feel sorry for S. I can well remember when Saku died. She was really my cat, I loved her. Tipsu was my cat too. She was a real wild cat, scratched my arms always, I still have a couple of scars from her. It was a bit scary to continue to pet her and to stop petting her, because you never knew how she would react. My parents decided to get rid of her. One summer - this was over twenty years ago - when we were on a holiday, she "disappeared". It was a lot later when I found out that she didn't actually disappear. That upset me. She was a wild one, but she was very important to me. Rationally thinking I can understand the decision. S must have been just a baby then and I would have probably wanted to protect my children too. In retrospect though I should have been told why. I was old enough. Or alternatively I should never have found out later. Deceiving about something so important is not a good thing.
The cat is very loud. Talking all the time and I don't understand what she wants. We've never really understood each other. She never became "my cat" in the three and a half years that I had her and so I'm very glad that she found a new home with Ä and S. All's well that ends' well. A stupid saying and not really true, but it seemed appropriate for this occasion.
I think I will go sleep now. Sleep is good.
Saturday, the 18th
It's really hot out there (by Finnish standards) and I've actually had to move to the shade to read. Which is pretty much all I've done today. Reading. Again. I decided against Verla. The foot was better this morning, but I thought it wasn't the wisest thing to do to take stupid chances. I still haven't decided whether sauna and swimming constitutes taking a stupid chance. Unfortunately perhaps. Maybe I ought to wait that the wound starts to close a little before sinking it into the muddy depths of our little lake. Annoying that. It does limit moving around a little, which is also annoying. Hmm, am I starting to get a little restless?
The cat is drinking water - so loudly that it sounds as if she's suffocating. She purrs and rubs herself against my leg. Washes herself, turns around on the floor. Her eyes are green and I tease her with grass that had got stuck in my sandals last night. Her tail whips the floor and I don't know if she is happy or mad. She doesn't always react like normal cats do.
I was getting restless, bored. So I decided to alleviate that by the best method available. Writing. Csikszentmihalyi and Cameron both keep saying that writers write best about the things that inspire them, so I decided to take the hint. What did I say were the two things that have got me obsessed? Yep, Rammstein and Knighthood. What are those two actually about? Love, lust, friendship, longing, being part of something, being accepted. So those - or the lack thereof - is what one must write about. For the thing I was writing today (fantasy) I just ripped off Knighthood. Which made it easy and fun, but I can probably never show it to anyone, since the events and people are a bit too recognizable. It is damn fun though, so I'll go back to it. To the carriage rattling onwards through the great plain towards the kingdom of Duluth. Me and the poor unconscious Stearnian boy behind the heavy bars. The day has been sweltering hot, but the sun is starting to set and I've heard that the plains get cold at night. I wasn't worried about that before, but I am now. I should probably curl up next to the boy, he is sick, feverish, but he frightens me. A Stearnian, An unconscious, very young Stearnian, but a Stearnian nevertheless. Enemies to my people, yet allies to my master...
Sunday, the 19th
A lovely day. A lovely evening yesterday too. I wrote some more, altogether almost five pages yesterday. I started getting ideas, which will distance the story from KH. And I have to change the first person singular to third person and the present tense to past. It feels somehow natural to start writing in the present tense when you imagine yourself somewhere, but I hate reading books in present tense. From a reader's perspective it sounds forced. I do intend to continue the story. Because writing it is fun. No matter how naive. Because, you see, my latest fictional reads consist of Yasmina Khadra's The Call of Baghdad (the aftermath of the war in Iraq from a civilian perspective) and Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns (40 years of Afghanistan's history from a mostly female perspective). After reading books like that writing fantasy feels a little naive. Unimportant. One gets reminded of all the real horrors in the world, The evil, ignorance and indifference people are capable of. They can be very overwhelming though, nearly incapacitating, the horrors of the world and that's why it is so much more easier to just close one's eyes and ears. Especially if it feels that there is nothing that can be done about them. Which of course isn't true. There are different ways of influencing things; some big, some small, some with nearly infinitesimal effects, some larger than life. Khadra's and Hosseini's way is one. Making people see and understand things from a different perspective. Opening eyes. It is not a direct method, but in a long run perhaps one of the most influential there is.
I was thinking of that too as I was clearing weeds from around the berry bushes. Which is mostly what has made the day so lovely so far - the work in the garden, I mean, not thinking of the darker side of life. Physical work makes the body feel damn fine. Not to mention seeing the results of your labour. It appears something may even come of the seeds I planted. Yep, yep.
---Day is almost over. I'm still sitting in front of the computer, the lake in front of my eyes, the tea lights burning on the table, Megaherz playing on iTunes. I will write just a bit more. I don't think the day in the carriage was sweltering hot after all. The Stearnian boy is sick after being hit on the head but I don't wish to kill him. I can't remember anymore what was the name of the guy who inspired him, I think he was a zombie, a nameless nobody, all I remember is that he was DVA, but I do believe I will make a real character out of the Stearnian. He's still unconscious so I don't know if he'll be a nice guy or a bastard. He is very, very young though, so I think he may be the ignorant, innocent character. You know, the one to whom you can explain things and events so that you don't have to write page long histories of the different countries.
Monday, the 20th
It's a bit rainy today. Gray and cold. I don't like gray and cold. Sunshine it must be. Gray and cold makes me wish that the Internet would work, that Skype would work even though I do not know how to use it. Or I know the technical side - sufficiently well anyway - but I do not know how one knows if one can contact someone. If they are busy, whether they will be pleased or annoyed. That's probably why I never call anyone either. I don't mind other people calling me, but I don't call others. Unless I really have something to say, something to ask. I hate the silences on the phone, when you have to come up with something to say even though you don't really have anything on your mind, I hate it that you can't see the other person's face. I used to be excited by phones, but then once - I was perhaps around five - my father took me and my sister to this cabin in the wilderness - Karhunpesä, Bear's nest. It was a great place, rented out by this hotel, which my father was the director of. It was the 70's and then the 80's and in those days it was still normal that we could use the place whenever there were no guests there. We spent there many a weekend, Easters hunting easter eggs, ate Reindeer and Cog-au-vin and the tiny parisian potatoes provided by the hotel kitchen, drank countless bottles of cola from the storage, ran around the house and climbed on top of the big drawers. A great place. But anyway, this time that I was telling about, we were in the kitchen playing with the cash register - great fun that too - when father suggested that I could call mother. Ooh, exciting that. I could use the phone and so I did. Called her. I said my name, said my name many many times, but mother didn't recognize me. Mother thought that I was some friend of mine looking for me and just kept saying that I wasn't home. I didn't like phones anymore after that. I still don't.
My aunt just arrived. Later.
Tuesday, the 21st
My Aunt's friend came yesterday evening too. The whole day yesterday was cold and rainy so we stayed at the house. H came after midnight, had gotten a bit lost on the way. She has an internet connection that works, even here. A bit scary that. I checked my mails and my wall posts this morning. I really dare not get a connection here myself. I'm a freaking addict and I could feel the pull just during those few minutes. Luckily the connection was terribly slow and it wasn't my money being spent, so I had to close the connection rather quickly. It took forever to load pages or otherwise I would have posted a few replies. But still, the love and attention on my wall warms my heart. I'm becoming a love-addict too. The interesting thing though is that I think it is more important to love than to be loved. Or you can't do one without the other, but I can be sure of my own feelings (if I feel them physically) whereas I can never be 100 % certain of other people's feelings. Which is why it must be really difficult to love me because I have such a difficult time trusting people, trusting their love. It's growing though, spreading. Feeling love as a physical emotion that is (by which I don't mean anything romantic or sexual, just...love).
I should put the computer away and go to sleep. It's already past midnight, but we ate very late and I'm still terribly full. I'm slowly getting quite tired though, E and H are still talking on the other side of the wall, my beautiful summer paradise around me. Life is good.
Wednesday, the 22nd
Again past midnight, the evening consisted again of sauna and plenty of good food followed by a few rounds of cards. I like playing cards. The nights are not light anymore the way they were a month ago. At midnight it was already dark enough to see a few stars, not yet really dark, but the brightest stars were nevertheless visible.
Today was another good day. I did some garden work and was happy to see that the seeds I planted are definitely growing. E called in a guy to fix the lawnmower and so tomorrow we'll get to prettify the garden. Bloody excellent. It is starting to look horribly overgrown. A young fellow brought the new swing (hammock?) that we bought - or E bought - from Kouvola yesterday. We spent a couple of hours putting it together, which is something I always very much enjoy. The stores yesterday were full of wonderful furniture, which made the interior designer in me drool. On the other hand I love buying stuff from Ikea, because one gets to actually assemble the things oneself. There's something terribly appealing in connecting A to D and watching something concrete take form in front of one's eyes.
Hmm, I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open again. Good night.
Thursday, the 23rd
How do you know it's vacation? When you look into the mirror and you're eyeballs are all white and clear instead of a playground for tiny red blood vessels, and you have lost the black bags under the eyes. That in addition to not looking like the pale ghost of long lost years is why one always looks the best during summertime. I'm starting to feel all girly too. I bought myself a nice new necklace on Tuesday and this year I've bought more new clothes than in ages. I've bought more during this summer alone than in ages. I even bought a pair of new shoes and - this is actually the surprising thing - I finally understood why some people are so obsessed about shoes. Shoes have been to me like cars, they take me from place A to B and during summer time I prefer to go without them whenever I can - that only applies to shoes, since I use the car mostly during the summer. Now however I noticed myself looking at all sorts of nice high heeled ones. Of course they only look good with skirts, but - da-daa - I've actually bought some for myself this year. Now I need to learn how to be comfortable in them. Skirts tend to make me feel all helpless and vulnerable and weak and all sorts of crap. However, there is a possibility that being all feminine is not a bad thing - yeah, right; no, fuck you, it IS possible, shut up - so I do hope to learn to enjoy all these girly things. Or enjoy is a wrong word. Be comfortable with them. Accept them. Because in many ways I am bloody girly and romantic and stuff. I just need to see those things from a different perspective and accept that they are not bad things.
The day is turning towards the end again. The sauna is on and I can hear the wood burning. The sun already disappeared behind the woods at the house, but here it will still stay with us for nearly two hours. Almost like a second start to the day it is. This day was spent in the garden, behind the lawnmower and the rake and the shovel. Mowing the lawn is something I really enjoy doing. The garden looks much tidier now. It will look even more tidier after I'm done with it. Too much ground to cover in one day. As a result my feet are now green. Very green. Nicely green. I'm-not-that-girly-green. That's what you get when you combine lawn mowing with going around bare footed.
This was also a day of people. J & M dropped Ä & S to the house on their way back to Helsinki. More life around again. S & M are probably coming on Tuesday, M & M perhaps also. Nice, nice.
Friday, the 24th
It's raining out there. Rain during the night is acceptable. More than acceptable. I like the sound of rain against the roof. I like it very much. I also liked it very much that the day was sunny and warm. Around 25 degrees. Lovely. The tan is a degree darker again and that does give me joy. Looking like a pale ghost is not pleasant, very ugly in fact.
The rain is gaining strength and because of the clouds it's quite dark already. I actually stepped on a toad - or a frog - out there when I couldn't see where I was going. Slimy and squishy. Didn't put my full weight on it, so there's one slightly scared and in the future hopefully more cautious toad out there somewhere.
I'm not very poetic today, am I? I finished Csikszentmihalyi's book. Finally, but there's more to do and less time to read with other people around. He gave some tips on how to be "more present" in everyday activities and live a more complex and creative life. How to avoid the risk of soothing the chaos of the mind by such practices as watching television or surfing the internet. I'm going to have to try and see if I am able to follow his advice. Would I be able to limit the internet time for instance to two hours per day and actually have a life instead? I want to have a real life. In a way I feel like I've never had a proper one, so the thought is a bit scary. I will try though. To live now, here, in the present instead of the day dream land. To do complex things, which I enjoy instead of just spending the hours so I don't have to think of negative things. Negative things, says C, threaten to overwhelm the mind when it doesn't have anything to occupy itself with and that's why people turn to television and internet and alcohol and drugs and mindless gossip and who knows what to keep themselves busy and the chaos at bay. (I'm simplifying what C says, but who cares, go read the book, it's a good one).
Yep, yep. We will see. Real life tends to disappoint me, but perhaps my expectations have been at fault. I have practiced so many times that maybe this time around I actually manage to start a new life. Fingers crossed.
Saturday, the 25th
Rain during the morning is not acceptable. I don't like it how much of a weather person I am. It's really not a good thing if one needs sun to be on a good mood. What difference does it make to reading a book whether it is rainy or sunny. It does, but why should it? All in the mind, all in the mind, just think differently.
It's been nearly a week since my last date with the Stearnian boy. I have still an hour and fifty minutes left in the computer and I have every intention to use most of it for writing. I have my cup of fake Latte Macchiato, the weather is still kind of crap even if it isn't raining anymore and I have the wisdom out of Csikszentmihalyi's other book as a guideline. "The ancient Greeks thought that slaves were not really human beings because they lacked the freedom of choice". That should get us to the right mood for some dungeon stories.
Ooh-la-laa. Have I mentioned that writing is good. I'm going to steal a couple of minutes to share that. Although I think I may have shared that before. What can I say. I'm not a complex person. I have few likes, but at least I know what I like. Well, actually I don't, but I do like writing. (And sunshine.) C approves of writing too. Complex activity as opposed to internet surfing. He is right about one thing. Writing is fun, internet surfing is addictive, but it is not always fun. In fact often it makes one feel very shitty, depressed. Click, click, click. It CAN be fun of course, but that usually requires active participation. Or a really interesting thread to read. But those are limited. At least 70 % of the threads on the forum are complete bollocks. Total complete bollocks. They make me annoyed, so as a result I don't read them, which as a result often leaves one clicking, clicking, clicking for a very long time waiting for someone to write something interesting. That waiting time could be put to much better use, writing for instance. Real life. A fantasized real life, but still real life. Writing and some exercise so my stupid back and shoulders would stop aching. I need to acquire enough muscles that I can sit straight. Time management. That's all that it needs.
And now E and H are back. And the lovely, beautiful Goddess, which is called Sun is back and I can take my book and go worship her again. I still have a few minutes left in the computer, but I still haven't gotten to the point where I would feel comfortable writing in public. "Write? You? What do you think you are? Mwahahahaha." Nope, it's better to write when no-one else is around.
Sunday, the 26th
I'm practicing writing (well, blogging) with my sister in the same room. Ä left S at the house and came to spend the night at the cabin. Cottage? Whatever this is called. Mökki. H left yesterday, E this morning. I did some more lawn mowing before we headed to Lidl to do some shopping. Working in the garden is possibly even better than reading and writing. My skills are still very limited, but I love all of it. I love sitting by my little round spot where those seeds are pushing out all sorts of interesting leaves. I love tending to the lawn and the flowers and the bushes and trees. It's all very very lovely.
I want a garden. I also want all sorts of other things. Today I was thinking that it would be lovely to live abroad and only spend the summers in Finland. Of course I've had the same fancy before but I thought that I had already abandoned that idea. Apparently not. I also had strange positive feelings about work, which is very rare. I'm quite looking forward to finding out if I can find joy in this job after the dissy is done. I'll give it a year - max - and if I haven't found joy in research by then I'll switch to something else. Or start looking anyway. That is the plan.
I'm also wondering if this writing in public - well, with Ä in the next bed - would constitute surprising myself. Or another person. C said something to the effect that in order to find more interests - or something - one was supposed to get surprised about something every day. And surprise someone else as well. Or something. I need to check that again. An exercise to teach one to be more alert? Anyways, it sounded sensible. Difficult, but sensible. I rarely get surprised by things. Surprising another person on a daily basis sounds nigh impossible. Or perhaps possible, but with my temperament it would be such a source of stress that I wouldn't survive two weeks. Perhaps I can surprise myself by attempting to surprise people by acts that they don't find surprising at all. Like that writing in public. It's probably just some weird block in my head. I've been thinking about it after I wrote that down yesterday. Why do I think that writing would be considered presumptuous? Why do I imagine that it would result in ridicule? In the need to justify and explain, in evasive mutters to the effect of "it's nothing, I'm just scribbling things". Where does that need to get defensive come from, the need to belittle something that is extremely important to me before someone else gets the chance to belittle it? Why do I expect belittling to be the most likely result instead of for instance support? Why the expectation of "what do you think you are" instead of "how nice, writing is a good hobby" -comments. Because I do expect those. Not just about writing, but everything that breaks the pattern of what I am, what I am expected to be, what I have always done. It makes doing new things, unexpected things very stressful. It's perhaps also why I feel such relief about making some decisions. Like leaving the church. It most certainly broke the pattern, but it brought me so much closer to who I really am and I haven't regretted it for a moment. Or things like taking the tattoo. It wasn't in anyway as important a decision but it also meant that I had and have the power to carve out who I am. Me. Myself. And I. I made the decision. Not to please anybody. Not to act according to what someone expected of me. No, if anything, in opposition to what I imagined was expected of me. It's an abstract figure my tramp stamp, but I think it gets to be the symbol of my power to make decisions regarding myself. It may take those twists and turns, because I always need time to make decisions, but I do possess the power. I do have it. Empowering that.