Thursday, January 20, 2011

Moomintrolls and the art of keeping and discovering secrets

Two gorgeous secrets discovered today.

First up, this quote by Moomintroll author Tove Jansson - much needed as my children's novel nears completion. I have been reading other children's books (9-11 age group) to brush up on what makes a children's book really tick, and then I discovered this:
"Every children's book should have a path in it where the writer stops and the child goes on. A threat or a delight that can never be explained. A face never completely revealed." (Tove Jansson)
Yes, of course. Of course.  Oh I love those Moomins.

And the other secret is an artistic version of Jansson's statement - an artist who uses lines that hide as much as they reveal. I've known Helen Reynolds for a while (she and her husband bought our last house and we nod in the street), although I haven't properly engaged with her work until now.

I met Helen outside the dairy today and instead of nodding, we talked about how to be a creative person one needs to be a selfish person - something we (with five children between us) find hard to do.

I left vowing to check out her blog. And I did and well, wow. Helen Reynold's art uses topography and landscape to create works that are sensual and muscular and bounding with energy. That are as interior as they are exterior. One made me think immediately of my poem Notorious Veins with its knotted interior landscape, and this - the latest image up - seems to evoke the sensuous landscape in my Tuesday Poem this week: After Reading Auden.

I have put a link to Helen's blog in the sidebar to be alert to her daily images. It reminds me of the excitement I felt when I used to have a link to Nasa images.


Melissa Green said...

Oh, Mary, what a strengthening, empowering day you had. How wonderful that Janssen's lines 'clicked' like Yeats' box, that perfect snick when the beautifully made box fits its hinges and lock absolutely, and the sound of its closing indicates its perfection, like a sigh. Brava! xo

Raymond Huber said...

Hi Mary, Jansson's books are an inspiration to me too when trying to capture that perfect combination of threat and comfort for children in a story. I wrote an article about the Moomins on my site:

workbook : Helen Reynolds said...

I think I will never have another comment on my work that makes me as delighted as being mentioned in the same breath as the Moomins. The books are the touchstone of my life and every morning is made special when I drink my coffee from my Moomintroll cup
Thank you!