Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Leevi Lehto, white knight

Of late, I've been thinking that I'm going to be forced to learn Finnish. Jukka has become involved in the local literary scene - how does he find the time to do so much? - & is editing a zine called FinStream. There's also an autogenerated version. Sound familiar?

& Karri Kokko. Not only has he started two new blogs in Finnish, but his posts to his main blog Muisti|kirja have of late been exclusively in his native language. Because that was one of my favourite ports of call in the days when I could read it - now I can only look at the occasional picture he posts - I dropped him an email the other day asking whether he had deliberately changed his policy.

He replied:
No, I haven't. Not consciously, anyway. I don't know what happened. There's a lot going on, and I guess the English dept. had to be the one to suffer. The two new blogs I have take a lot of time & energy. Uusia lauseita (New Sentences) is about random findings from the Finnish Blog Front. A "story", a comedy of written manners, or mannerisms, written blog-style from the bottom up. So far, it's become a small hit inside the Finnish blogosphere.... The name of my other blog, Varjofinlandia (Shadow Finlandia), refers to the biggest literary prize in Finland, the Finlandia Prize. To every prize and its winner there's always the real winner, the one that gets overlooked, the one that gets shadowed by all the hoopla. In Varjofinlandia, I give a voice to the vast amount of people expressing their negative feelings: depression, pain, weariness, fatigue, insomnia, addiction, sorrow. It's about the dark side of Finlandia, if you may. So there.
So here am I, knowing I'm missing out on something that I'm sure would be pretty good if I could understand it. & then Leevi Lehto comes in from left field, to use Karri's phrase, & out of the blue, on a white charger - I think those are the colours of the Finnish flag; had to work it in somehow - & publishes an "unauthorised" - & that, given the nature of the blogs, may or may not be an unintentional play on words - translation of the first 60 posts to varjofinlandia.

My guess was right. This is a marvellous piece of work. I hope both Karri & Leevi continue on, Karri daily, Leevi at regular intervals.

But I still think I'm going to have to learn Finnish. From what I can see of the local scene, there's too much activity happening to keep missing out on it.


KK said...

Your so kind, Mark. You make it sound like we are doing something important here. Is what makes me happy, makes me go on.

EILEEN said...

How funny, Mark! I'd been having the same thoughts -- to learn Finnish. But then I realized, I'm lousy at new languages; witness how I've barely learned English. I should just be silent....

....but that's the one lingo I'm most incompetent in: silence!

where was I going...?

KK said...

How funny, Eileen! To learn Finnish has been my dream, too, for 49 years now. Anyway, we'd be delighted to welcome you to the club, but try as I might I really can't see that happening. Finns are proverbially apt to keeping quiet, actually in two languages (Finnish and Swedish), and in your case, I don't think that's an option. You can't be shut down no matter how many languages there were -- and we thank you for that.