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June 06 2017

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unboxingearth:

Yuanyang rice terraces, Yunnan, China

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“Selfie time”

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May 30 2017

Freedom

moomintrivia:

“Freedom is the most important thing.”

image

Tove Jansson wrote the above when she was very young, as an almost defiant statement. It is very clear that her whole life was defined by this very thought. She spent her entire life trying to define freedom, searching for freedom and making sacrifices to keep her freedom. This also shows in her writing. If one was forced to choose the most important theme in Moomin books, it would be freedom.

For Tove, being free often meant being able to pursue her dreams and goals as she chose for herself. This meant that she would be able to make art as she wanted. As a woman in the early 1900s, that was never easy. Women of the time were expected and encouraged to give up personal goals to support and nurture a family. Tove saw this first hand at her own home, where her mother dedicated everything she had to take care of her husband and children. Ham had very little free time and her career was mostly meant to support the family when her husband’s income as a sculptor was not enough. Ham took up tedious drawing assignments and would draw late into the night. Tove’s father Faffan was instead free to pursue his passion. Ham was emotionally available and always there for her children. It is clear she loved her role as a mother, but Tove was always worried her mother was giving too much of herself away.

image

It is understandable that Tove herself was very reluctant about marriage and family. Getting married would mean giving up her career and tying herself to the role of a mother. On the other hand, Tove was very emotional and yearned for romantic connection, so she often played with the thought. When Tove was in love, she had the habit of losing herself completely in it. Her mentor and lover Sam Vanni even warned her against this. He told Tove not to lose herself in anyone so she would no longer be able to create as herself. She played with the thought of marriage and becoming a “politicians little wife” when she fell in love with Atos Wirtanen and truly wanted to marry him. But as Atos was emotionally distant and valued people not getting too attached to each other or things, Tove was never able to commit the way she might have wanted to. Like Snufkin tells us: “You can never be free if you admire someone too much.”

Her yearning for freedom was also why Tove was very reluctant about motherhood. She saw having children as the biggest responsibility and commitment a person could ever do. Sometimes Tove yearned for children, sometimes she was terrified of the thought. Eventually she never had children of her own.

image

This is why her own atelier and home was so important to Tove. It was her own sanctuary where she was free to create, decorate and isolate herself when needed. No matter how deeply in love she fell, Tove was never ready to give up her home. When she was ready to marry Atos Wirtanen, she always pictured herself still keeping the apartment so she would have her own place. Having that option and autonomy was essential. When she fell in love with Tuulikki, they both still kept their separate apartments always. Their apartments were right next to each other though. Even today, Tove’s atelier is left untouched in Ullanlinna.

image

Tove would often share her thoughts and questions about freedom in an indirect way in her writing. Moomin books have characters who yearn for freedom, protect the freedom they have or are terrified of freedom. There are also many ways to be free and sometimes a character may not like the freedom they get. Almost completely restricted characters without freedom are often miserable. Characters like Fillyjonks and Hemulens lack freedom the most, often because of their own actions. Hemulens see freedom as a threat to the order they are trying to create. If people have freedom, they will stop doing things like Hemulens are telling them to! And if they do not do as Hemulens have told, they will do things all wrong. Fillyjonks also fear freedom, but not because of others; they fear what freedom will do to themselves. Fillyjonks want to organize everything neatly and live orderly, restricted lives. If life is resticted, it will not offer any scary surprises. In Moominvalley in November, both Hemulen and Fillyjonk need to let go of their restrictions to control others or themselves. When they let freedom in, they both become happier people.

On the other end, completely free characters without anything to bind them to anyone are not seen as truly happy or even that admirable. Hattifatteners represent pure freedom. They have no desires or regrets. They do not have families or enemies. When Moominpappa elopes with them in Secret of the Hattifatteners, he begins to doubt if Hattifatteners even have actual thoughts. They only live to pursue the endless horizon. They only form groups because it’s easier to sail away that way. Hattifatteners are so free that they do not even have a destination, only the journey. When Moominpappa realizes what kind of life this absolute freedom means, he immediately runs back home.

image

Moominpappa is actually a character who is torn between wanting freedom and wanting connections. His character is actually first introduced to us in The Moomins and the Great Flood as a father who has left his family to go adventuring. Despite yearning for freedom, Moominpappa does love his family and is actually very fond of his comfortable life. His anxiety about this is explored in that short story where he elopes with the Hattifatteners. He leaves without a warning because he simply wants to adventure and be free. But when he is faces with absolute freedom and all it means, he is simply terrified. In the end Moominpappa returns home to his porch, because that is the place where he can be just as free as a father needs to be.

Another character who is torn between freedom and his connections with others is actually Snufkin. At first it might appear that he is an independent person who has all the best things freedom can offer. In Finn Family Moomintroll, he simply jumps up one day and leaves just because being always in one valley with all these people around him is making him anxious. And just like that, he can also return whenever he feels like it. In Moominsummer Madness he is very late just because he had some business to take care of and in a short story, Spring Tune, he outright states that he does not have to return to Moominvalley at all. But despite his protests, Snufkin is not as free as he would like. He cannot make the spring tune because he keeps thinking about Moomintroll and how much Moomintroll must be missing him. Even his leaving each autumn eventually resembles a rebellion more than actual choice. Snufkin is essentially tied down by his pursue for freedom. In Moominvalley in November he finally realizes that he was free all the time even with the family there, because they always let him be free. That is when he lets go of his pursue and does not leave for that winter. He just does what he feels like, finally truly free.

image

Moomin family is all about letting others live as they please. Narrator even tells us that in Moomin family, everyone is free to do what they please because they have agreed not to worry about each other. Whenever someone wants to go on an adventure, they can go ahead and do just that. And trust that others will be there to welcome them back. Characters like Snufkin or Moominpappa just need to realize that freedom is not the same as leaving, it’s having the choice to leave or stay as you please. Once again, the character who seems to realize this the best is Little My. She is so independent that she can go by herself whenever she wants but also cares enough about others to happily stay. She never questions the grand philosophy behind freedom or actively pursues it until her shoes are filled with holes. She just does what she wants and that is her freedom.

“There are those who leave and  those who stay, it has always been like that. Everyone can make the choice by themselves, but you have to choose in time, and never give up.”

image
Reposted byhormezamaardhundciarkabrujanylony-z-baltonycytatacyta
Freedom

“Freedom is the most important thing.”

Tove Jansson wrote the above when she was very young, as an almost defiant statement. It is very clear that her whole life was defined by this very thought. She spent her entire life trying to define freedom, searching for freedom and making sacrifices to keep her freedom. This also shows in her writing. If one was forced to choose the most important theme in Moomin books, it would be freedom.

For Tove, being free often meant being able to pursue her dreams and goals as she chose for herself. This meant that she would be able to make art as she wanted. As a woman in the early 1900s, that was never easy. Women of the time were expected and encouraged to give up personal goals to support and nurture a family. Tove saw this first hand at her own home, where her mother dedicated everything she had to take care of her husband and children. Ham had very little free time and her career was mostly meant to support the family when her husband’s income as a sculptor was not enough. Ham took up tedious drawing assignments and would draw late into the night. Tove’s father Faffan was instead free to pursue his passion. Ham was emotionally available and always there for her children. It is clear she loved her role as a mother, but Tove was always worried her mother was giving too much of herself away.

It is understandable that Tove herself was very reluctant about marriage and family. Getting married would mean giving up her career and tying herself to the role of a mother. On the other hand, Tove was very emotional and yearned for romantic connection, so she often played with the thought. When Tove was in love, she had the habit of losing herself completely in it. Her mentor and lover Sam Vanni even warned her against this. He told Tove not to lose herself in anyone so she would no longer be able to create as herself. She played with the thought of marriage and becoming a “politicians little wife” when she fell in love with Atos Wirtanen and truly wanted to marry him. But as Atos was emotionally distant and valued people not getting too attached to each other or things, Tove was never able to commit the way she might have wanted to. Like Snufkin tells us: “You can never be free if you admire someone too much.”

Her yearning for freedom was also why Tove was very reluctant about motherhood. She saw having children as the biggest responsibility and commitment a person could ever do. Sometimes Tove yearned for children, sometimes she was terrified of the thought. Eventually she never had children of her own.

This is why her own atelier and home was so important to Tove. It was her own sanctuary where she was free to create, decorate and isolate herself when needed. No matter how deeply in love she fell, Tove was never ready to give up her home. When she was ready to marry Atos Wirtanen, she always pictured herself still keeping the apartment so she would have her own place. Having that option and autonomy was essential. When she fell in love with Tuulikki, they both still kept their separate apartments always. Their apartments were right next to each other though. Even today, Tove’s atelier is left untouched in Ullanlinna.

Tove would often share her thoughts and questions about freedom in an indirect way in her writing. Moomin books have characters who yearn for freedom, protect the freedom they have or are terrified of freedom. There are also many ways to be free and sometimes a character may not like the freedom they get. Almost completely restricted characters without freedom are often miserable. Characters like Fillyjonks and Hemulens lack freedom the most, often because of their own actions. Hemulens see freedom as a threat to the order they are trying to create. If people have freedom, they will stop doing things like Hemulens are telling them to! And if they do not do as Hemulens have told, they will do things all wrong. Fillyjonks also fear freedom, but not because of others; they fear what freedom will do to themselves. Fillyjonks want to organize everything neatly and live orderly, restricted lives. If life is resticted, it will not offer any scary surprises. In Moominvalley in November, both Hemulen and Fillyjonk need to let go of their restrictions to control others or themselves. When they let freedom in, they both become happier people.

On the other end, completely free characters without anything to bind them to anyone are not seen as truly happy or even that admirable. Hattifatteners represent pure freedom. They have no desires or regrets. They do not have families or enemies. When Moominpappa elopes with them in Secret of the Hattifatteners, he begins to doubt if Hattifatteners even have actual thoughts. They only live to pursue the endless horizon. They only form groups because it’s easier to sail away that way. Hattifatteners are so free that they do not even have a destination, only the journey. When Moominpappa realizes what kind of life this absolute freedom means, he immediately runs back home.

Moominpappa is actually a character who is torn between wanting freedom and wanting connections. His character is actually first introduced to us in The Moomins and the Great Flood as a father who has left his family to go adventuring. Despite yearning for freedom, Moominpappa does love his family and is actually very fond of his comfortable life. His anxiety about this is explored in that short story where he elopes with the Hattifatteners. He leaves without a warning because he simply wants to adventure and be free. But when he is faces with absolute freedom and all it means, he is simply terrified. In the end Moominpappa returns home to his porch, because that is the place where he can be just as free as a father needs to be.

Another character who is torn between freedom and his connections with others is actually Snufkin. At first it might appear that he is an independent person who has all the best things freedom can offer. In Finn Family Moomintroll, he simply jumps up one day and leaves just because being always in one valley with all these people around him is making him anxious. And just like that, he can also return whenever he feels like it. In Moominsummer Madness he is very late just because he had some business to take care of and in a short story, Spring Tune, he outright states that he does not have to return to Moominvalley at all. But despite his protests, Snufkin is not as free as he would like. He cannot make the spring tune because he keeps thinking about Moomintroll and how much Moomintroll must be missing him. Even his leaving each autumn eventually resembles a rebellion more than actual choice. Snufkin is essentially tied down by his pursue for freedom. In Moominvalley in November he finally realizes that he was free all the time even with the family there, because they always let him be free. That is when he lets go of his pursue and does not leave for that winter. He just does what he feels like, finally truly free.

Moomin family is all about letting others live as they please. Narrator even tells us that in Moomin family, everyone is free to do what they please because they have agreed not to worry about each other. Whenever someone wants to go on an adventure, they can go ahead and do just that. And trust that others will be there to welcome them back. Characters like Snufkin or Moominpappa just need to realize that freedom is not the same as leaving, it’s having the choice to leave or stay as you please. Once again, the character who seems to realize this the best is Little My. She is so independent that she can go by herself whenever she wants but also cares enough about others to happily stay. She never questions the grand philosophy behind freedom or actively pursues it until her shoes are filled with holes. She just does what she wants and that is her freedom.

“There are those who leave and  those who stay, it has always been like that. Everyone can make the choice by themselves, but you have to choose in time, and never give up.”

Loneliness

moomintrivia:

Loneliness is one of the key themes in Moomin books. Tove Jansson was very familiar with this experience. Her father had been emotionally damaged by the civil war when Tove was very young and because of this, she spent her entire childhood longing for his affection. In her adulthood Tove experienced another war and had to wait for her brother, lover and friends who were away fighting. All while her friends and family were also mourning and emotionally distant. After the war ended, Tove entered another relationship full of longing and waiting with Atos Wirtanen. Endless waiting only seemed to end when she met Tuulikki Pietilä, who was finally there when Tove needed her most.

Constant waiting is a lonely experience. But Tove was also aware of another kind of loneliness. This kind of loneliness is the kind we seek ourselves. Tove was a very private person even when she became famous and also a dedicated artist who needed peace to work. She spent years trying to find a place where she could isolate herself to work and enjoy her own company.

Loneliness appears as duality in Moomin books. The bad kind of loneliness is represented with various Fillyjonks and sometimes Moomintroll himself, especially when he longs for Snufkin. Fillyjonks are anxious and depressed people who often suffer from sudden feelings of doom. Their unstable minds and efforts to keep up respectable life often end up isolating them in large houses on the beach because their grandmother had supposedly lived there as a child or in neatly decorated parlors with only their own thoughts for company. Fillyjonks long to escape this loneliness. They will reach out for people but they often fail. It seems it’s impossible to be both polite and proper and speak up about your depression at the same time.

Moominvalley in November is a book where loneliness is the main theme. So it is no wonder that a Fillyjonk is among the main characters. This Fillyjonk is tired of being anxious and alone, so she comes to visit Moomin family in hopes of getting caught up in their spontaneous life. When Moomin family appears to be away, she tries to be spontaneous like Moominmamma herself and make people around her feel at home. She fails miserably, because a timid and orderly Fillyjonk cannot be Moominmamma. Her efforts isolate her further until she lets go and starts to be herself but with a happier attitude towards herself. In the end she manages to put together a work party and heads back home with more enthusiasm. She was able to overcome her loneliness when she accepted her limitations and embraced them and others.

Another lonely Fillyjonk appears in Tales from Moominvalley; Fillyjonk Who Believed in Disasters. This Fillyjonk ends up overcoming her loneliness without other people like the Fillyjonk mentioned above. Instead, she encounters the disaster she was afraid of and turns her loneliness from bad kind to the good kind. This good kind of loneliness means that you can be by yourself and it’s not scary or unpleasant. Snufkin basically lives for this kind of loneliness. He not only enjoys being by himself, he yearns for it and becomes anxious if he does not get to be alone. In a way, his good loneliness is the opposite from Fillyjonk’s bad loneliness. This good kind of loneliness nurtures and gives us strength to be social again. Though eventually even Snufkin realizes that maybe he did not really need to be so much alone, when he was always surrounder by people who understood him.

There is no way to talk about loneliness and healing without talking about the very personification of loneliness; The Groke. The Groke is so cold that everything she touches turns to ice. This isolates her from other people completely. So completely, that they would rather not even mention her name. Whenever she approached their light, they will turn it off and run away. She is almost defiant in her loneliness. “I’m the only Groke. There is no one like me and I will never warm up” she declares in Moominpappa and the Sea. She is bad loneliness given form. But eventually a single act of kindness, Moomintroll coming to see her on the beach, frees the Groke. Moomintroll’s company and caring drive away her loneliness and turn out to be the key to her freedom; The Groke becomes warm. Moomin books always show us characters either freeing themselves from bad loneliness or finding out that limitless amount of good loneliness is not actually a key to happiness.

The truest example of independent and good loneliness is actually Little My. She is capable of finding just the right balance between loneliness and sociality. She is with others when she feels like it and despite being sharp and brutally honest, she is willing to support and nurture them whenever they need it. But she is also capable of running away whenever she feels like it. Little My is free of sentimentality and will not miss people and company. She can enjoy both loneliness and company to equal measure, without ever getting bored or sad.

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May 29 2017

Lucky Knot Bridge, Changsa, China
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May 28 2017

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