For a non-native writer like me all positive feedback on blog writing feels like fireworks. I feel fortunate that I have such good friends around the world who follow my blog and leave comments on my posts. There are professional writers and native English-speakers who encourage me in my writing and it feels really wonderful to be noticed by people like them. Just recently I was asked to contribute to a blog called ‘Under A Grey Sky‘ and today my first contribution ‘January in Finland‘ has been published there. It’s well worth taking a look at the author list on the About page and reading also other posts on that blog. No grey skies at the moment here though, just for the last days of January we’ve been enjoying glorious sunny weather with fantastic wintry scenes. So, no complaints on my part!
Originally I started this blog so that I would have a place to show my photos but it has now become more and it makes me really happy because I like writing a lot and I feel the urge to write almost every day. Still, every time it blows me away to see that people show up to read what I’ve written even though I’m not a native English-speaker and definitely not a professional writer. I remember someone (Annie Greenwood
?) once told me that writing is not about words, it’s about having something to say, and photography is not about taking photos, it is about seeing (did I get it right Annie?). I find so much to relate to in those phrases. The funny thing in my case is that I write in English, I could never do it in Finnish even though it is my mother tongue, it just does not provide me with tools to be creative, or to put it in another way English is the creative outlet for me, not Finnish. I’ve tried writing in Finnish but I can’t bend the language to fit my purposes so that it would give out the right impression, I quite often feel misunderstood in Finnish or I hear myself sounding too serious and I want there to be more lightness in my writing. I read a lot in Finnish, fiction and non-fiction, and there are many authors I admire and enjoy their writing, especially because I can’t do the same things with my mother tongue than they do.
Being fluent in many languages gives you the privilege of reading in the original language. I don’t know what it is like to read a Finnish novel in English, but I assume it is not the same thing as to read them in Finnish. When I was studying Nordic Languages at the university we had to read texts in Danish and Norwegian even though we hadn’t studied those languages because it was assumed that those languages are similar to Swedish, and they are. In fact it was a wonderful experience to read a book in Danish and realize that I can understand it. Take for example the book Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne by Peter Hoeg, in its original language the rhythm and the sounds of the language contribute to the story, and even though the people who translate books do a fantastic job, the original work of art is always the best one to read if you have a chance to do it and you understand the language.
Some weeks ago I participated in a televised Sports Gala
and sat next to a gentleman from the US who had just flown in and it was his first visit to Finland. Finnish athletes and their support groups were awarded prizes and there was a fantastic show that was synchronized with a similar gala that was going on in Stockholm at the same time. Explaining to the gentleman next to me who everyone was and what the jokes were about was a fantastic experience for me too. It really make me realize once again how much each culture has embedded in it, and the cross references need a lot of explaining for a foreigner but that is really the only way to learn something about that culture. In that sense it is always a pleasure for me to open up some of our culture to a foreigner and I suppose that is one of the things I try to do in this blog as well.
I have a few more days left here in Nilsiä and I’m hoping to catch up on my reading and go for a few more adventures in the freezing but beautiful weather. Getting to know new landscapes is fascinating, having the opportunity to get inside them and learn to see how they change is luxury.