I've reread six of Tove Jansson's Moomintroll books now, the children's series for which she's best known. Once I've made my way through the final two, I'm planning an omnibus review in which I'll try to convey the magic that has me loving them even more as an adult than I did as a child. (Perhaps that should come as no surprise given that it was my recent forays into her extraordinary adult fiction that sent me off on this voyage of rediscovery⎯if you've not yet read Jansson's most recently translated adult novel, The True Deceiver, go and get yourself a copy immediately!) In the meantime, though, I wanted to share a bit of the Moomin universe with you, by way of a couple of paragraphs from "The Spring Tune," the first story in Tales From Moominvalley:
"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.
He had kept this tune under his hat for several days, but hadn't quite dared to take it out yet. It had to grow into a kind of happy conviction. Then he would simply have to put his lips to the mouth organ, and all the notes would jump instantly into their places.
If he released them too soon, they might get stuck crossways and make only a half-good tune, or he might lose them altogether and never be in the right mood to get hold of them again. Tunes are serious things, especially if they have to be jolly and sad at the same time.
But this evening Snufkin felt rather sure of his tune. It was there, waiting, nearly full-grown⎯and it was going to be the best he ever made.
Though it's about song writing rather than story writing, it's a depiction of the creative process, and the solitude within which it often best unfolds, that resonates with me. "The great delight of walking alone and liking it." How delightful is that? Is it any wonder that I love these books?