I just spent a week in Holland with my family. Our first stop was The Hague – or Den Haag as I prefer – where we rented a beach house near a large nature reserve. Not many people know that Den Haag is a great place for a beach holiday but it is! The weather was a bit chilly when we visited but that was fine – instead of swimming in the sea and barbecuing we spent our days cycling around the beautiful dunes and visiting the surf style beach restaurants nearby.
I wrote a few tanka poems just for fun, to get out of a word rut. I ended up quite liking them! Here is my attempt to translate them while maintaining the syllable count:
The two of us here,
in this world – once more,
It’s me, missing you my love,
when you are right next to me.
Towards the darkness
for so long I walked alone.
I hit the bottom.
And woke up. Light over there.
To it, I now surrender.
*I realized now reading these that I miscalculated the syllables in the last line of the second poem. Oh well.
I’m that type of a person who is used to (out)sourcing inspiration – a lot. I’ve always loved magazines, blogs and Pinterest, visual stuff that feeds my mind. I don’t think that’s such a good thing.
Looking at too many ‘inspirational’ photographs, artworks and objects tends to dilute my inner creativity and then eventually I start to feel like everything has been done already, and that can feel very discouraging.
I am tempted to have a break from it all. Turn off my iPad for a month and step away from the stuff that overfills my mind and robs away the time that I could spend creating rather than planning on doing so.
Let’s see what one uninspirational month brings along.
Above: Stuff that surrounds me
This is what I’ve noticed: to think that a creative outcome could be planned ahead is foolish. That is not how creative process works. It works like this: you pick up a pen/paintbrush/camera, and you start from somewhere, nowhere, anywhere. And then you watch the magic happen. The end-result: unknown.
I’ve let myself go loose, letting go of the control lately. Like this:
Here I am,
Easter feels like forever.
Sound of silence, sound of peace.
This feels like nonsense,
but I have to try.
This poem of mine,
poem of freedom.
It’s hard to accept that not everything is great,
that nonsense has its place,
and what a place that is.
When did I start taking life so seriously,
when did I lose that sense of play,
play that is a great joy.
Just like that, word after word. Embarrassing maybe – especially if you take yourself and your work too seriously – and definitely not what I intended when I started typing, but this so called poem opened a gate, and something else will come out of it. Perhaps this could be applied to most things in life.
Last year I became a mother to little Taiko. At 37 I was relatively old but it still happened pretty quickly. I used to think that I would be happy just working, traveling, experiencing life without children. And here we are, me and him, and in these past ten months we have become a great team.
Before Taiko was born, a friend of mine told me that life doesn’t change that much after having children. I have to disagree because life really does change – hello nappies, restless nights, and just generally looking after a little human being – but I somehow know what she means. I feel that I’m still the same me, even more so. With children there’s no space for faking. Becoming a mother has added a layer to my identity. I’m discovering a new, softer side of me.
Sometimes I’m exhausted but I’ve been more tired before. When I was younger I used to party too much, then work too much, or trying to achieve something with force that was just too much. I guess I’m one of those people who don’t always recognize their limits. Having a little baby staring at me has forced me to pause. This is probably the first time in my life that I don’t compare myself to others or feel inadequate.
I’m proud to be a working mama. Work feels more meaningful now. It feeds my little one and is another source of purpose for me, something that I don’t take for granted (anymore).
I never completely trusted that I could or would be a mother and life could have turned out differently. But I am a mother and I love it. Every day my heart melts a little bit more.
Above: Me and Taiko in September 2018
My man He spends hours each day photographing still lifes made of dolls, stuffed birds, half-dead flowers, oranges, and all sorts of ever day objects. I admire his endless imagination and uniqueness – he doesn’t source inspiration anywhere but inside his own head. The plan is to build a website and an Instagram account for him when our boy goes to daycare and we have a little more time. No rush.
My son He is now nearly 10 months old and super energetic and curious to the point of getting irritated when he doesn’t get what he wants or if there isn’t enough stimulation for his little brain. My life has changed a lot since becoming a mother and I just don’t have so much time to obsess over things that don’t even really matter.
Our home I’m inspired by what I see around me everyday. We are not Marie Kondo converts, we love stuff. Not for the sake of having stuff but because it’s interesting to look at it. And by it I mean paintings, books, colourful rugs, old furniture, plants, and obscure objects. I just bought a new painting, and we also purchased a deer’s skull and a stuffed dove. Our home is starting to reflect our inner worlds combined. And I have come to realize that great clothes can have a big impact on how I feel and I refuse to feel bad about that (loving clothes).
Spring The first time spring sun appeared I felt like newly born. Only after the winter was gone I realized how long and dark it was. Spring sun means better photos too.
Ink I used to paint with ink a lot when I was studying and then forgot about it for years. I’ve slowly started to practice my strokes again.
Old times I feel like everyone is so goodie good these days. Yoga, green juice, athleisure gear, good vibes only, blah blah blah. Yeah I’m into feeling good too but I miss old-times when people had the balls to show a little edge at least. Things just seems so polished (or boring?) now.
Art I feel that art is about the only thing (and journalism perhaps) that doesn’t have to please anyone – or so it should be. I’ve only now started to appreciate art for being unapologetic in that way. When I was younger I didn’t quite get it and I’m still learning. I’m learning to express myself and looking for ways to make myself heard and seen truly and I feel that art is the way. I’m actually happy to be a beginner.
Above: Practicing my strokes, 2019
I write by profession but I always write about other people. I almost find it strange to write about myself, I have become so unaccustomed to it. I just haven’t felt the urge – until now that is.
My name is Laura. I’m a mother of a little boy Taiko, who was born in 2018. I’m a partner to my man Esa and we all live in Helsinki with our two dogs, Lulu and Jekku. I’ve been drawing and writing since I was a kid and when I was old enough to think about studying something I was certain I wanted to be a fashion designer. I even learned English from reading fashion magazines – it was my fantasy, an escape from reality I suppose. And I did end up studying fashion and I loved parts of it. I especially enjoyed designing; drawing and making illustrations. But I sucked at pattern cutting and sewing. I just didn’t have the patience or skills to think three-dimensionally.
During my last year I had a super inspiring teacher who led me to believe that marketing was really fascinating and glamorous. And soon after I graduated I got a job in a PR agency in London specializing in art and design. I stayed there for three years and learned a lot. I would say that it formed a solid basis for what I’ve done ever since.
I’m going to jump forward a bit now and come back to present time. I still have a commercially orientated brain and it comes naturally for me to think about brands and campaigns and stuff. But my brain is full of other stuff too.
I paint, I draw and I photograph. I seem to be writing too. And the reason for this text is that I am going to start using this journal and this website to show some of the stuff that I make (but would normally hide and forget). And I’m going to continue writing about things that interest me.
Here I am with our two dogs as seen by Esa, the man I love: