Huvitus, the company
In my early twenties I found the Beatles. I had all their records and I also read many books about them. They had a record label of their own, Apple Records, and there was a picture of a Granny Smith on their records, on one side a whole apple, on the other a sliced one.
Obviously, the name of my company could not be ‘Apple’, but I wanted to use the Beatles’ idea in some manner. I did not like the Finnish equivalent ‘Omena’, but in a book of Finnish apple varieties, I found a variety called ‘Huvitus’ (Amusement). A perfect choice for the name of my company!
The character on the cover is not me, but a cartoon character of mine. As a child I used to draw comics and used characters that I invented myself as well as some comedians from the silent era of film. Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd were my heroes and I drew them into my stories. I had not heard of Buster Keaton at the time or else he would have been there, too. Jerry Lewis was a favourite of mine, but somehow did not fit my stories.
I think I was about four, when I started to draw comics. After a couple of years of drawing, I invented Jussi Hakanen. I have no idea where he came from, but the name, a plain Finnish name, just occurred to me. Originally, he had spiky sideburns and a moustache. The sideburns vanished, but the spiky hair above his ears grew. It is possible that Uncle Scrooge McDuck and Blondie’s husband Dagwood influenced my hand in drawing him.
About my fairy tales
As a young university student, I read a lot of classics – all the tales of Hans Christian Andersen, for instance. I especially liked the way Andersen personified objects. Sometime after reading his work, I noticed an old Finnish book of children’s stories on my Granny’s bookshelf. The book was nicely illustrated, but I was not very impressed by the stories. I decided mine were better.
I had written stories as a kid and I loved writing in school. As a teenager I thought my stories were childish and I destroyed them. At the university, I wrote jokes and small funny plays. You cannot run from your true vocation, it just keeps tagging along. So I continue writing my stories and hope you will enjoy them.
The English translation of my stories is by Eva Malkki.
What’s there in Finnish?
A great deal more than what I have written here in English! My fairy tales, some children’s rhymes, a novel and short stories, sci-fi and twisted versions of some classic fairy tales. And yes, they are all free. No charge. Only the fairy tales have been translated into other languages, English mostly. For economic reasons, you know.
The novel, Harri Potaska, is a parody of the Harry Potter series. I quite like the Harry Potter books, and after I had read a couple of them, I started to turn them into a frame for a satirical text. ‘Harry Potash’ is a direct translation of the title of the novel. I wrote the 197-page story during the fall of 2005. It was rejected by all the publishing companies in Finland. Sigh!
The twisted versions of classic tales like Sleeping Beauty and Princess and the Pea, are also parodies. Not especially naughty, so I’d rather call them satires.
My first 24-page long sci-fi story is called The Woman Parasite / The Matriarch. In 2006, I sent it to an annual sci-fi and fantasy short story competition of a Finnish sci-fi magazine, Portti (the gate). It did not win, but got an honorary award. It is a story of a matriarch who is frozen, but wakes up from time to time. ‘The Matriarch’ was the translation for the English summary by the jury of the competition. I prefer ‘The Woman Parasite’, since it is closer to the original Finnish title.
The one page long story ‘Omega and Alpha’ is the memoir of a religious scholar. I like it better than ‘The Woman Parasite’. What do you think?