A week ago, I didn’t know her or anything about her. I mean, I still don’t know her, and the only thing about Leena Krohn that I do know is that she is an elderly Finnish writer. But I read two of her books over the last week and was amazed by what she wrote. From the get-go, I could tell that what I was reading was special to me in a way that I haven’t experienced in many, many years. Every idea, every concept, every thought, every description, every observation in those books were like directly taken from my mind. I understood it completely, as I would understand my own feelings. I felt like what I was reading was an extension of my thoughts and emotions. Even her frugality with words — and perfect placement of the said words — were in the form and style of what I am trying to accomplish in my writing. There were no unnecessary words, phrases, sentences, or paragraphs. No pointless descriptions or drawn-out exposures. Every single word was in the right place, and every single word conveyed what was easily seen and understood by me. There was a poetic rhythm in every sentence and deep familiarity with the sentiment of her gentleness and sensitivity. I never felt more of an emotional connection to another person just by reading her words.
There must be something about Finnish women writers that speaks to me — I mean, I still re-read “The Moomins” books by Tove Jansson every year, going by seasonal changes. In winter, I start with Moominland Midwinter, in spring I go with Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll, in the summer of course there is Moominsummer Madness followed by The Moomins and the Great Flood and The Exploits of Moominpappa and then finally in the fall I read Moominpappa at Sea and Moominvalley in November before starting the cycle once again in the winter. EVERY SINGLE YEAR — for at least the last 10 years. There is a warm familiarity in those books, something that I crave so much. The deep humanity and sensitivity and gentleness that calms me down. And all that soothes my soul.
And all that helps me to remember that I am not the only one out there. If I already know about Leena Krohn and Tove Jansson, I am sure there are others. Not only the writers, but people who read their books and understand them in the same way I do. People who feel this intimate and uncommon gentleness of another person in a way I do.