marshtide: (Default)
First! Tomorrow is election day back home; I can't vote, which is a long story of bureaucratic horrors; I'm furious about it. Let's not talk about that. If you're a UK citizen, though, please just vote. (Me, terrified of Tory government? Why would I be... oh wait! Yes! Because they're biggoted bastards! Now I remember.)

Now for something... still kind of about Sweden, actually. I was going to talk about Virginia Woolf but that topic has too high a brain-requirement for this week. I'm going to talk about Stieg Larsson instead.

Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy (about sexism, murder, financial scandals, government corruption, right-wing extremism and investigative journalism, if you can imagine), is far from perfect. I do mean far. It's pretty heavy-handed in its message and the pacing is way off and the shopping-lists littered throughout need shooting. Much of the plot is utterly ridiculous, although in certain subsets of detective/thriller stories that might be considered a plus. It feels very journalistic sometimes, which is because it was written by a journalist, though whether this is a plus or a minus is entirely down to taste. But here is what I do like about it:

Possibly triggering contents, particularly relating to sexual assault. Err, and there are probably some spoilers too. )

But overall these books are a really fine balance for me. I really enjoy them, though they're ridiculous, but I can see how a fairly small shift in how they were put together would have rendered them unreadable and fury-inducing.

I'm not sure the Swedish film managed to get that right, entirely, and I don't even know what to expect from a hollywood remake, but I'm sort of quietly suspicious. Maybe they'll pull off something really interesting. Maybe! But uh...
marshtide: (Default)
(Weekends are fairly lost causes when it comes to the internet, because so much is going on on a logistical sort of level. So you just get one post.)

Sweden is one of those places, and I think I touched on this before, with a fairly small population concentrated in one particular part of the country. In this case the population is mostly in the South, especially around a few cities - Stockholm, Göteborg, Malmo. Stockholm is our nearest, though it's still some way away, and it's also the furthest north of those. This area (known variously as Stockholms län, Uppland, Roslagen, or by its kommun name, for varying values of actual practical application) has been described to me as one of the moderately crowded bits.

But I come from England. If you compare the local council area I grew up in to the roughly equivalent administrative area denoted by kommun, the local council area has almost twice the population of this kommun in less than half the space. The council area is a fairly sparsely populated one by UK standards. Overall, some adjustment of the way I think about space and isolation and crowdedness is needed.

In broader terms the UK is basically a crowded place; Sweden is basically a fairly sparsely populated one. So even in an area like this one can take the main road to Stockholm and hardly see a house between here and the outskirts of the city; in fact, one will hardly see anything but trees. This is partly an effect of better roads which bypass towns, but only partly. It's also just a much less busy landscape, and also a much less agricultural one; forest punctuated by occasional fields, where I grew up with fields punctuated by occasional trees. (Very occasional trees, given that home - Norfolk - is essentially drained marshland, but over the whole of the UK forests are really limited in size.) Further south there are more fields because more crops can be grown, and further north there are even more trees, but all the same: Uppland has a very different tree-to-person ratio than I'm used to, and I kind of like it.

What this part of Sweden does have in common with my part of Norfolk is that they're both coastal tourist destinations (largely domestic tourism), with a significantly bigger population in summer than in winter. In the UK people have holiday cottages in little villages, including the one I grew up in (in which I think maybe only two or three of the older & prettier houses are still lived in as first homes); there is some kind of little country cottage ideal, but it's not so much about being completely isolated as being in a smaller village with a (perceived or potential) slower pace of life. Of course, if you actually do want to be moderately alone in the UK you probably need to move to the Hebrides. (For example.)

Here, because there's more space, people are able to go a bit more all-out a bit more easily. Summer houses are common, because quite a lot of people apparently have the sort of mid-range income needed to afford one*, but I gather one doesn't really have them in a settlement if one can help it, if one is going to go with the stereotype of the Swedish Dream Home. The middle of the forest is good, and a tiny island is best if you can find one - the Stockholm archipelago runs past here, so there are a lot of islands, of varying size and accessibility. (Once you have acquired your isolated wooden house, make sure it is painted the correct shade of red. Then you're good to go.)

Much of Sweden seems to take the summer off - the local library, for example, is currently rushing to get modernisation work completed before the contractors take off on their holidays for a couple of months, and the summer holidays are also really long, with holidays at other times of year being shorter than in the UK, I guess so that one can get the most out of the warmth & light - and a lot of people do spend that time in summer homes, with this area being a pretty popular one for that sort of thing. Of course, so many people now have summer houses in this area in their quest for being left well alone that the area gets really crowded (Swedish definition, but edging back towards UK definition) in summer.

In short, this is an awful lot like the relationship between London and North Norfolk, but more so - partly because there just aren't as many coastal areas within a few hours' drive of Stockholm as there are near London. There's also possibly something to do with the way part of the Swedish population seems to feel about islands - maybe that it's a way of being (feeling) more alone, separating yourself from other people; I haven't quite figured out what's going on with that one yet, but I guess there's something romantic about the idea, from a certain perspective. All the same, even if one wanted to it'd be impractical to live all year 'round on an island for anyone working in Stockholm - from even the biggest and most landward islands in this area, which have ferries or bridges, it can take three or more hours to get there, depending on how you're connected to the mainland, so. Summer homes.

And that said, of course, here and the Norfolk coast are both places which people mostly come to in order to do the same things - be outdoors while the weather is good, sail, walk. They're both otherwise looked on as sort of dead-end places; small boring towns and possibly frequent jokes about inbreeding, not that many jobs except in the tourist industry and generally not much happening.

But pretty in summer.

* We'll maybe talk another time about the not-too-much-not-too-little thing that I've heard people talk about in relation to Sweden (lagom?), but basically, I'm told that the gap between rich and poor is a lot smaller than in the UK, and most people aren't at either extreme.
marshtide: (Mist)
I was going to make another detailed post about living in Sweden, specifically the fact that it's Valborgsmässoafton and maybe a bit about Swedish celebrations (hint: there is alcohol), but I'm battling an ant invasion today. It'll have to wait!

Instead I bring you really dubious translations of Kent songs, as a sort of testament to my limited ability to understand the Swedish language and example of the kind of crazy projects I get up to while trying to improve my fluency. In my defence, I do think that the other translations I've seen on the internet are actually more dubious, in that they vaguely resemble translations made with babelfish. If there are decent ones out there they've hidden from me! (Actually they're probably buried somewhere on the Kent forums.)

Be amazed, for I am talking about media which doesn't concern itself primarily with gender and sexuality. This happens fairly infrequently right now. (But actually my theme for this week seems to be Northern European Stuff, so maybe I'll just run with more about that until the weekend is done and then see what else I can come up with to post.)

Kent - Röd

Kent are a pretty big band up here in Sweden, but they're not exactly what one might call well-known outside. They released a couple of albums in both English and Swedish, but didn't make the breakthrough they were after, got worn out trying and stopped. I think they're pretty great. They're fairly political, fairly cynical, and know at least a million and one ways to talk about how sad they are and how covered in snow everything is. In the specific case of this album, Röd (Red), one can upgrade fairly to really. Also, this album is a further step in their departure from their very guitar-heavy sound which they're possibly more famous for; they've been moving in this direction for a while and I actually like it a lot, but if you're after something awesome in a more guitar-y way may I point you in the direction of their album Hagnesta Hill, also conveniently avaliable in English? (Sample track in English. I do actually prefer the Swedish versions at the moment but the English versions of Isola and Hagnesta Hill were my gateway, a year or two before I spoke a word of Swedish.)

I don't have clean translations of the whole album yet. I've got my rough note-covered translations for the last few songs, but these are the ones that I've at least walked through with a native speaker afterwards to see if I'm headed in the right direction. So here is the first half! Swedish lyrics and links to the songs provided too and corrections welcome.

1. 18:29-4
This is an intro track. I don't listen to it much. But the lyrics certainly set the tone.

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

2. Taxmannen (The Dachshund Man)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

3. Krossa allt (Destroy Everything)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

4. Hjärta (Heart)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

5. Sjukhus (Hospital)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

6. Vals för satan (din vän pessimisten) (Waltz for satan (your friend the pessimist))
1st of May is all about left-wing demonstrations in Sweden. For reference.

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

(& now I'm off to continue the ant-battle. Gah, was that really my idea of a quick alternative update?)
marshtide: (Default)
[personal profile] eggcrack wanted to know how I think the Moomin books compare to Tove Jansson's books for adults, if any comparison can be made. I certainly think it can be. Let's see how this goes. I'm going to have trouble citing sources for this at times because a lot of them have just been read out loud to me from books written in Swedish which are way above my current reading comprehension level.

Also, on the topic of Tove Jansson's books, if you haven't spotted it yet you may be interested to know that Travelling Light (Resa med lätt baggage, I think) is being released in English this summer. I'm looking forward to it, because while I can read texts in Swedish it's really laborious and sometimes you want to just experience the book.


Tove Jansson spent the earlier part of her career writing about and drawing the Moomins, who began their life as a happy family who could pretty much deal with anything cheerfully, in a way which probably contained a fairly strong element of escapism. Even the earlier ones are about disasters and danger, not always in a way entirely disconnected from the real world (there's an essay titled Tove Jansson's 'Comet in Moominland' as War Text by Kate McLoughlin, in Tove Jansson Rediscovered, which talks about the use of a flaming red comet from the east threatening to wipe everyone out when used in a book published in Finland in 1946 - look, do I really need to spell this one out?) - but it's about disasters that are survived, and in pretty good humour on the whole. People have grand adventures along the way, and there's always a good ending. Her books for adults are not about grand adventures; they're about people, and philosophy. So on the surface of it, they're very different - or at least, say, Comet in Moominvalley (Kometen kommer, originally Kometjakten, the second moomin book and the earliest widely avaliable in English), from the 40s, is very different from Fair Play (Rent spel), from 1989. But why wouldn't it be? Apart from the presence or absence of small happy trolls, there are 35 years of life between them.

What I actually feel happens is not that there's a disconnect between her writing which is marketed for children (not sure it really is so much For Children, in fact, but that's another argument) and her writing for adults so much as that there's a fairly logical progression. The idealised world of the happy family of Moomins breaks down over the course of the moomin series, and if the early books held up a fairly traditional family structure and made it look wonderful the later books almost seem to show that as having been largely an illusion - maybe even all along.

Moominpappa at Sea (Pappan och havet - 1965) is the obvious example, with Moominmamma withdrawing into herself and her art because she's unhappy with their situation and Moominpappa coming across as obsessive and insecure about his (perceived) role as the protector of the family. Moominvalley in November (Sent i november - 1970, and the very last novel to be written about Moominvalley) is also about this illusion of the Moomin family as opposed to the reality; people from all around gather at the moomins' home expecting the family to be there to provide whatever it is they feel they need, but what most of them are after, as far as I remember, is actually mostly fictitious. They cling to the bits that suit whatever it is they need, not the reality of the family, so that the family are more a symbol than anything. The tone of both books is melancholy and philosophical, and there aren't any particularly grand adventures; possibly Moominpappa tried to force one in Moominpappa at Sea by taking his whole family off to the lighthouse, but the character of the thing is very different.

Unsurprisingly, Tove talked about becoming unable to recapture the happiness of Moominvalley. To me it feels like something she probably needed at one time, and outgrew.

The first of her books for adults, Sculptor's Daughter (Bildhuggarens dotter) was published in 1968, so a couple of years before Moominvalley in November, and I think it has things in common with the Moomin books, actually. It's an at least semi autobiographical book, and in it one can feel pieces of the family structure of the Moomins - her father, the sculptor, comes across to me as rather like Moominpappa, the troubled writer, at times. I don't have a copy of this book - it's long out of print in English, and I got hold of it as a very old and battered library copy when I lived in the UK. I haven't read it in a while, though some of the essays I've read more recently have touched on it, so forgive me if I get this wrong.

It's a set of stories narrated by a child, who takes a kind of idealistic view of her family and their work and their relationships - but the adult Tove colours the text rather, and you can feel that there are problems there which are not being looked at straight on. It has an idealistic element to it, from the child, but possibly quiet cynicism in the background, from the adult. For example, the emphasis on the father's work and the father's sense of importance is emphasised, but it's actually the mother's hard work that keeps things together - I don't remember if it was actually spelled out in the book (I fancy it may be strongly implied), but it's certainly the way the Jansson family worked, with Tove's mother Signe providing most of their income with graphic design work. At this stage I'll just direct you to the book itself if you can find a copy, and to the essay Bohemia and Beyond: Creativity and the Artistic Lifestyle in 'Sculptor's Daughter' by Sonia Wichmann, again in Tove Jansson Rediscovered.

Basically, it feels like a real transition piece, and I'm actually tempted to argue that in some ways it doesn't have much more in common with other pieces of her adult fiction than, say, Moominvalley in November*, except for the coincidence of not containing Hemulen et al. Moominvalley in November is the more philosophical book, and although it's about the little creatures of Moominvalley it's actually an awful lot about people, while Sculptor's Daughter contains a less strongly questioned nostalgia for childhood but is a move towards the fairly unveiled autobiography that comes out in a number of her later books. This isn't to say that I don't think the Moomin books contain elements of Tove's actual life; see above. I think Tove was a number of the characters from the Moomin books at different times... one is even named after her, and two are named after people she was in love with or in a relationship with.**

Beyond this sort of transitory period, there are also themes that Tove kept playing with right through her life that tie the Moomin books together with her books for adults, though there are of course big areas in which they don't overlap. All the same: creativity is permanently present, in The Exploits of Moominpappa (Muminpappans memoarer) and in Moominsummer Madness (Farlig midsommar) when Moominpappa works on his memoirs and tries to write a play, respectively, and in Tales from Moominvalley when Snufkin struggles with the balance between creative freedom and responsibility to one's audience, and in others besides; I won't get into listing which of her later books count, because it's basically all of them, or at least every single one I've been able to get hold of and read.

Tove wrote, when it comes right down to it, about work, which for her was always creative work, and love. (The introduction by Ali Smith to the English edition of Fair Play says that a young Tove used Labora et amare as a moto in her personal bookplate design, and that "As she told an interviewer in 1994, 'The most important thing for me has been work. And then love.'") And I think that pretty much counts for the vast majority of her books, whatever the apparent target audience - although there's a shift in focus. While the Moomin books focus on relationships that centre in around the family unit of the Moomins themselves (whether they're present or not) her later books move towards relationships between women. This isn't universally the case (Sculptor's Daughter is still about the family as a whole, and while I haven't read Sun City I understand that it has a different focus, to name just a couple), but here are the books that I own of her later ones:

- Fair Play is about the relationship between two ageing women who live and work together
- The True Deceiver is about a young woman, Katri, and an elderly artist, Anna, and a kind of strange power struggle between them over the course of a winter in a remote Swedish village; it's a tense sort of book, where one feels that something terrible might happen at any moment, and it's the nuances of their relationship which do that
- A Winter Book is a collection of short stories, and the emphasis varies story by story, but there are, for example, stories composed entirely of letters between women.
- The Summer Book is about three people living on an island for the summer, but two of them take centre-stage, and those two are a child called Sophia her grandmother, who irritate each other and help each other understand things and much more.

(Which is to say, if anyone was feeling the need for books which pass the bechdel test with absolutely flying colours, here you go. Work and small animals and creativity and religion and money and friends and haiku and many other things are discussed. And sometimes men. But mostly other stuff, to be honest. Have at.)

There's also a move towards openly gay characters, for a varying value of optimistic representation (...again, I haven't actually read Sun City, but...). Fair Play is clearly the obvious choice to illustrate this point; see description above.

At first glance the moomin books are much more conventional when it comes to gender and sexuality than her later books. But you don't have to squint that hard to get hold of signs of other things, as proved by the essay Roses, Beads and Bones: Gender, Borders and Slippage in Tove Jansson's Moomin Comic-Strips by K.A. Laity (Guess which book of essays this is in! Go on! Guess! ...that's right! The only book of essays about Tove Jansson's work avaliable in the English language, as referenced several times already...), which basically talks about a series of comic strips which can be read as undermining expectations about gender, age and desire. There's also an essay about homoerotic themes in the Moomin books at large, but it's in Swedish only, and also I've lost the title, so you're going to have to take my word for it. I haven't read it, so I don't know what points it makes. But it exists! (Further information from People Who Know welcomed.)

Returning to more definitely common themes, though, is a kind of respect and love for nature which gets in everywhere. There is a kind of sentimentality to it, and an attachment to the dramatic extremes of storms, for example, but also a constant presence of practicality, grounding it just a little: that you can enjoy a storm but only if you're sure of the moorings on your boat and you haven't left your fishing nets in the water. Some of her characters get carried away in their sentimentality over nature - Moominpappa is one such - but many take a more grounded and practical approach even while loving it, and Snufkin the traveller is one of those. In her later books, characters try to balance the two feelings, and Tove often comes across as critical of people from the cities who come out to the islands for the summer without understanding how things work there; perhaps partly about snobbishness (in the way her child self was snobbish about people living less bohemian lives than her own in Sculptor's Daughter) but partly about the damage that people can do and have done to them when they only think of nature as something beautiful. This comes back a lot, in The Summer Book particularly, and in Moominvalley in November with the Hemulen who thinks he loves sailing and boats, and perhaps with Moominpappa's rather fumbling attempts to understand the sea around the lighthouse in Moominpappa at Sea. But there's a real love of the sea especially and the natural world in general that I got from all of her books, and the tone of it coincides happily with my feelings about the whole thing, actually.

I think my overall point is that I do think of Tove Jansson's works as a fairly coherent unit, actually, with a lot of common themes and what feels like a natural progression through the course of Tove's life, from young artist through to old age (she was in her 70s when she published Fair Play). There are changing concerns and changing needs but there's not such a giant disconnect between what people think of as the two bodies of (written) work she produced.

Or that's how I feel about it, anyway.

* Interestingly, I also almost feel as though Moominvalley in November is edging a little towards the structure used in Sculptor's Daughter as well as in many of her other books for adults, which is chapters which are fairly loosely connected but build together to form a story. In this case it's mostly a product of tracing the stories and concerns of individual characters, as opposed to the Moomins on an adventure style of earlier Moomin books.
** Those characters are: Tofslan for herself and Vifslan for... damn, I can't find the exact name. There was a woman she was in love with who had a name like Violet or Violetta or something. Can anyone help me? This info comes from the 2007 biography by Boel Westin, which I do not have on hand and cannot read properly anyway, but which seems excellent. Anyway, those are the characters who in English are Thingumy and Bob, the two mischievous ones who talk in their own nonsense-language only they understand. In English they switch the order of syllables around. In Swedish they add -sla or -slan onto the end of words. It is not uncommon for people in this household to spontaneously begin talking like that, which is what comes of there being a ten year old child and two adults who barely qualify for the term. Anyway, the final character named for someone in Tove's life that I'm aware of is Too-ticki/Too-ticky, for Finnish artist Tuulikki Pietilä, her long-term partner. Of these Too-ticki has the biggest role and is recognisable as a similar character to, say, Jonna in Fair Play.
marshtide: (Default)
[This was yesterday's post, and I fell asleep without submitting it. Er. Oops. And then I decided to go for a walk and take some photos before tidying it up, because it's a beautiful day, and then... no, I'm no good at daily posting.]

[personal profile] pulchritude asked if I would talk about Sweden, and how it compares with the UK. My first attempt got ridiculously long-winded and rambled all over the place, so I'll try to deal with it in little chunks. I guess the main disclaimer is that I haven't been here very long, and I don't feel like I can speak with any sort of authority about How Things Are Here. So it's How I Feel Here, with a little of how friends and family talk about things here.

Today: Seasons.

Right now, it's late April, and I'm living in what people keep calling central Sweden.* Last week it snowed, and we could reasonably expect more in the next month or so, although it would be very unlikely to settle; trees are only just getting buds; flowers are still looking kind of unsure about the whole thing, though they're getting there. The river has settled back to its normal level after the thaw, after a week when it was noticeably higher every day and beginning to flood paths. At the same time, it's a quarter to nine at night and it's not dark yet, and when the sun shines and I'm indoors the quality of the light sometimes makes me think it's almost summer, because the light here is not the same as the light in the UK, and it doesn't mean the same things.

Anyway, spring in Sweden isn't emphatic at the best of times, I think. It's not really a single big event, more like a series of hopeful moments punctuated by snow; and this year it was a long winter and a slower spring. We walked to the shops in the snow last week, and it was about 1 degree above freezing, and I muttered about it, and Val said, "but you're in Sweden now. People don't wait for spring here. They wait for signs of spring." And that seems like it. It's not officially spring yet. We just have signs of spring. But oh how people cling to those. I'm doing it too!

The first day the sun felt like it had any warmth at all, which I guess was some time in March, I was shopping with family, and we got out of the car, and went to pull on hats and gloves, and then realised it was almost warm. Everyone just kind of stopped and turned to face the light and didn't do anything for a while except have a near-religious sun experience. I gather this is completely normal. We certainly weren't the only ones.

Basically, seasons feel like a big deal here. To an extent they are in the UK too, and presumably in pretty much every other country far enough from the equator to know what they are, but all the same. I don't think it's even quite so much the shifts in temperature that do it (though they're extreme enough in themselves) as the shifts in light, because though we're fairly far south in actual northern European geographic terms the winters are still a lot darker and the summers are much lighter, to the extent that what people call darkness here in summer is more what I would recognise as late twilight, while what people call light in winter is more what I would recognise as early dusk. Maybe I need to get back to you with more detail on this one after a few years. At the moment it's a bit to do with the way people talk about it; and a bit to do with the number of songs which concern either how sad it is that everything is dark and dead and covered in snow or how everything is wonderful and sunny now but no-one can forget that it will soon be dark and dead and covered in snow; and a lot to do with the way that towards the end of winter, earlier than the experience I mentioned above, it felt as though I just woke up one day and the sun had come back, all at once, even though it was ten degrees below freezing out, and then it seemed like it would be OK. (In the south of the UK the weather changes fast but the light changes slowly. Spring itself arrives in more of a rush but the light kind of creeps back, and if I get surprised by it it's usually some time much later, maybe in May; it has to do with summer coming, not spring, or that's how it feels to me.)

It would be unfair to say that this stuff is uniquely Nordic, the emphasis on seasons and the slight melancholy associated with that, because actually, it exists in the UK as well, and you can see it in a lot of our stories and songs, and people get ridiculously excited about the first warm day and can't get out of bed in the winter and all the rest. But it's that bit more marked, further north. It's noticeable to me, just in the way I feel myself.

(But personally I think I could only have moved north from the UK, at least if we're talking within Europe. I wouldn't have wanted less seasonality, even if dark winter nights can be a drag; I have the sort of conflicted relationship with seasons that's probably more or less a prerequisite for living in the north. I complain about them but I wouldn't be without them.)

On a related note, today I went for a walk down to the lake and beyond into the forest.

The lake in February:

The lake in early April:

The lake now:

Things are coming alive, but we're basically not yet at the stage here that the UK was at when I visited in the middle of March.

First flowers:
DSC01273 DSC01268 DSC01274

Deeply appropriate quote for how I feel about spring in general and today in particular:

One calm and cloudless evening, towards the end of April, Snufkin found himself far enough to the north to see still-unmelted patches of snow on the northern slopes.

He had been walking all day through undisturbed landscapes, listening to the cries of the birds also on their way northwards, home from the south.

Walking had been easy, because his knapsack was nearly empty and he had no worries on his mind. He felt happy about the wood and the weather, and himself. Tomorrow and yesterday were both at a distance, and just at present the sun was shining brightly red between the birches, and the air was cool and soft.

"It's the right evening for a tune," Snufkin thought. A new tune, one part expectation, two parts spring sadness, and for the rest just the great delight of walking alone and liking it.

--Tove Jansson, The Spring Tune (in Tales from Moominvalley)

* It isn't, but the population distribution is such that from a certain squinting point of view it more or less works out. Which is to say, it's pretty far south still, but the number of people living further north is actually not that big. Not that the number of people living anywhere in Sweden is that big. The number of people in the whole country is possibly fairly similar to the number of people in Greater London.
marshtide: (The Moomin family depart)
This [community profile] three_weeks_for_dw business. I wonder! It would be great to do something, although as I don't mirror this journal in full or part anywhere else right now all content is exclusive by default - so the main thing for me to do would be to post more. Thoughts, begging, etc:

1. I have my doubts about this one because of the nature of my circle here, but just in case anyone has a bright idea: What kind of topics/entries would you like to see me posting about? Any particular questions you've always wanted to ask me but have resisted because the answer would be a huge essay? Ever want to wind me up and watch me go on a particular topic? Anything you've heard me say "I should write that entry about $foo I've been meaning to write" and have been patiently waiting for?

2. Possibly language-learning related posts, or, how I try to get by in Swedish while waiting to finally begin being formally taught (for which we have a start date now, by the way, which is the 19th of May). The trials etc. are many, and range from current slang among 10 year olds to not-very-current slang among the little old ladies who inhabit the swimming pool to my tendency to default back to English sentence structure and/or single panicked words in moments of stress, with baffling results. I'm sure there's something to be talked about in here. What do you mean, you don't actually care about the picture book aimed at six year olds and how proud I am that I've mastered it?

3. Maybe you'd prefer posts about books that are actually for people whose reading age is not in single figures? You wouldn't, you know, because I'll default to writing essays about Tove Jansson and her relationship with the sea and her relationship with relationships. People who have known me for longer than this journal has been in use are groaning as they read these words.

4. Crossdressing women in shojo? ...what do you mean, no?

Ha. I'll come up with something. I have time, if not brain.


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