Musings and Snoozes

Have you ever met a Moomin?

on April 19, 2016

So I realised that in the four or so years that I’ve been writing here, I have never once shared the second most inspirational influence in my life, which seemed a little remiss of me. For those of you who know me, this won’t be anything new, but for those who don’t (or those that just need educating of course) – I present to you, The Moomins.

Moomin

I honestly can’t remember what age I was when I first discovered Moominvalley and its inhabitants, but to me they seem to have always been there – in book, TV, or cartoon form to begin with, and then latterly of course, all over the internet. They even have their own Buzzfeed Article which quite rightly states that “the magical Moominvalley of Tove Jansson’s imagination contains all you need to know for life”. Be it words of advice on how to look after others by Moominmamma, how to enjoy your own company and be at peace with yourself like Snufkin, or just how to be a loveable brat like Little My, there is a Moomin trait for everyone.

My own Moomin traits have very much changed over the years, as well they should. As a child I loved Moomintroll and Snork Maiden – they were, as far as I could tell, the main characters, not to mention so cute and cuddly looking that I just wanted to squeeze them tight and be their friends. They were carefree too, but not quite independent enough that they didn’t need to come home and be surrounded by family who would look after them. Plus Snork Maiden changed colour depending on her mood – maybe that explains my ever changing hair dye obsession! Snufkin, on the other hand, confused me with his strange, nomadic ways, and Moominmamma and Moominpapa were just parents like my own, so I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in them (in the nicest possible way to my own Moominmamma, who is reading this)! But as I’ve gotten older, re-read the books, and learned more about Tove Jansson and her life, it’s Snufkin and his half-sister Little My who have come to represent the two slightly conflicting sides to me.snuf

I continually have a lot to learn from Snufkin. He’s an introvert, like me, but much more at peace with the world than I have learned to be so far, although I’m getting there. Maybe more importantly he’s comfortable and confident in himself. He comes and goes as and when he pleases – being around others for too long makes him long for the silence of nothing but the forest and his own company. Not to mention that he only inhabits Moominvalley during Spring and Summer – Autumn and Winter are spent in warmer climes – a Mumrik after my own heart.

 

 

Snufkin free

I know this, I understand this, but I just haven’t quite managed to learn it yet. I admire and idolise a little too easily to be free just yet, but I’m working on it and I’m learning to admire myself instead of others sometimes. It’s not an easy feat for someone who naturally draws inspiration from others, but there’s a balance that I’m finding that allows me to be inspired , whilst not losing a part of myself. I continually battle with trying to work out if I admire someone and am therefore attracted to them, or if I just want to be them, and it’s Snufkin quotes I turn to when I need reminding of the difference!

little my determ

 

Aaaah Little My. I have less to learn from her, as I already have being a brat down to a fine art! There’s more to her though, despite first impressions, and actually she’s a determined, honest, and feisty little thing. If Shakespeare had known Little My, “though she be but little, she is fierce” would have been written especially for her!

 

 

 

Little My

She’s a mischievous soul, cheeky, and often downright rude, but she means well and if she’s your friend, she will be fiercely loyal. I couldn’t help but notice when I was looking for my favourite quotes this evening that she’s also described as “an unconventional debater who uses emotion and logic to win arguments”. I couldn’t possibly comment, but I think there are a fair few people who would point out the similarity there!

 

Rain

And then there’s the writing itself, which I’ve come to appreciate a lot more as I’ve read more of Jansson’s books. She has a way with words that just makes magic come to life, no matter how mundane the subject. When I read the words, I don’t just picture what she’s saying, I can feel it, hear it, almost touch it. It’s a hard thing to explain the power of someone’s writing, but it’s beautiful.

Nowadays I see that it’s more than just the characters that have influenced me throughout my 29 years, but Tove Jansson herself, through her slightly wild and unconventional life. I can’t help but admire those who are different, who dare to cross lines, to break society’s norms, and she certainly did that. But it will always be Moomintroll, Snufkin, Little My, Moominmamma et al who I return to again and again. Everyone needs something to guide them through life, and I think I could do a lot worse than a Moomin and his friends 🙂

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