Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reason #8,972 I Love Him

I've spent the last week trying to get caught up with life (still not quite there since our Finland trip), and I was trying real hard to get an edit job done before my kids' school break so we could play. (Up for today: a "reading party." I'm good at tricking the kids into loving something good for them.)

Crazy busy-ness. Hence, a lack of blogging this week. I have several posts in mind that I plan to do soon, but today something happened truly blog-worthy.

See, one thing that happens when I travel (all what, three times I've done it . . . we're not exactly world travelers . . . or even continental U.S. travelers . . .) is a huge release of creative juices. Generally if we're traveling, if I've brought along my Neo to type on, I never actually get any writing done, because I'm too busy sight seeing (or sleeping off jet lag, or talking with family, or eating, or whatever). This time I just left it home.

But as usual, going somewhere new, with fresh sounds, sights, tastes, and more, woke up my creativity and filled up my writer bucket, so to speak. Visiting Turku Castle did that in a big way. So did several of the churches we visited, not to mention Ainola and some of local restaurants (especially the one inside an old cabin, complete with the original fireplace).

For many years I've thought I really need to read The Kalevala, the Finnish book of mythology. I know bits and pieces of the story, thanks to Dad teaching Finnish literature, Mom being a Finn, seeing the National Museum as a kid, and having collector plates on the wall of our living room depicting scenes from the book. (One had a naked woman on it. I always wondered if it scandalized any of my friends' parents . . . :-D)

This trip, something finally clicked in my head. I had to get the book, read it (the good English translation, of which there is ONE), and very likely write something (or several somethings) based on the stories.

I love adapted fairy tales and the like. In fact, the first novel I ever completed was co-written with a good high school buddy and was a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. (Way fun story, if I say so myself.)

Some of my favorite YA books are retellings of mythology and/or fairy tales: Robin McKinley's Beauty, Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, and (more recently), Jessica Day George's Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, and novels by Shannon Hale like Book of a Thousand Days and The Goose Girl.

After the trip, my sister and I scoured our parents' home, where Dad thought his copy of The Kalevala was still on a shelf somewhere. We couldn't find it. I figured that to use his copy (which is probably in a storage unit), I'd have to wait over a year until Mom and Dad get home. I'm not that patient.

I decided to look into borrowing a copy from one of Dad's colleagues. Or maybe the BYU library had one I could use. I couldn't very well buy one without doing a serious budget job for it: The Kalevala is pretty rare, and even USED, you're looking at about a hundred bucks. New? Don't even bother.

Today, a package arrived for my husband. As we do a lot of shopping online, I didn't think much of it and tossed it onto the kitchen table as I went about my day. But when he got home from work, he gave it to me to open.

You guessed it: Inside was a (very gently!) used copy of The Kalevala.

I could sing!

It's not my birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day, or our anniversary (it's not even a sort-of anniversary, like of our first date, first kiss or engagement). But he knew that book was something I really, really wanted.

Yeah. He pretty much rocks.


Kristina P. said...

What a thoughtful gift!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

What an amazing guy! And the book may be almost as amazing. I've read a handful of Finnish folktales and the like and as I remember they were simply enchanting. Captivating. Enjoy!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

p.s. Guess what arrived in the mail for me today from my bestest gal pal down there in Utah? A copy of House on a Hill! I'm so excited! Finding LDS fiction up here is no easy task so she surprised me with a book from one of my favourite authors. I can definitely understand the joy of opening an eagerly anticipated package today.

Josi said...

That is so sweet, thoughtfulness like that is truly priceless

Jami said...

I predict much smooching!

I love new takes on fairytales. Not the Disney/Barbie remakes, but the kind that you mention in your post. Happy creation.

Melanie Jacobson said...

Two days after we got married, my husband gave me an original copy of Huckleberry Finn for my birthday. He remembered me saying in one of our very first emails that it was my dream to own a first edition. It is not gently used but I love it, and I love him for knowing why books make me happy.

You have a keeper.

Heffalump said...

Wow...that is a great husband you have!
My husband is not into reading at all. He doesn't understand my needing to do it. Although he doesn't stop me from reading or from buying books, I don't think he would ever buy me a book out of the blue.

Cheryl said...

Your husband is the best! What a fabulous surprise. :)

Anonymous said...

How sweet! That is awesome! And thanks for the list of retold tales! I love that kind of story, too!

Karlene said...

What a great guy. And what a great idea. I love the retold fairy tales.

Anonymous said...

Wow, isn't he thoughtful! I didn'tr guess you would become so inpired in reading Kalevala and so quickly! Maube I should finally get started with my own edition... :)

Luisa Perkins said...

He DOES rock!

I heart The Kalevala

Luisa Perkins said...

PS--Is the John Martin Crawford translation not good?

Annette Lyon said...

I'm impressed you know enough to ask that, Luisa!

Friberg's is the first English translation that attempted to maintain in English the poetry and rhythm of the original Finnish.

Before him, many people thought such a translation was impossible, but according to my dad, who taught the Kalevala for years and has read most of the editions, Friberg's is hands down the best.

I've heard that there's a newer English translation than Friberg's that might be as good, but I haven't seen it or heard anything else about it. Dad's retired now, and being as he's "templing" he hasn't been following the current publishing, most likely. But I can ask him if he knows about a newer version.

Have you read the Crawford version?

Total side note for anyone who cares--Hiawatha was a largely a rip-off of parts of the Kalevala, transplanted to Native Americans. It sparked quite the plagriarism broo-haha when it came out because of that.

Annette Lyon said...

Kimberly--I thought I responded to your comment above. I made me smile.

YAY!!!! I hope you like it!!!

Larsens said...

You could have called me. I have an English translation on my shelf among the other Finnish versions, thanks to your dad's Finnish class at the Y. Yep, it was an easy "A" for me.

You have a very nice and thoughtful husband.

Next up: Seitsemän Veljestä?

Annette Lyon said...

SV--actually, that's very likely. I might have to borrow your copy if I do. :)


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