“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars”
‘Helmikuu’ – Short Story published on Litro Online
I am thrilled to share the link for my short story ‘Helmikuu’ which is published today on Litro Online.
It was inspired by where I live (the ferry is loosely based on one I see sailing across our bay) and also by the month of February.
Someone told me that they thought February was a horrible month. I’ve never thought that. Here in Devon, we often see the first signs of spring in February – the bright yellow flowers of the daffodils and crocuses, the first delicate blossoms appearing on the trees. To me, February has always been a hopeful month – the start of something new.
I started researching February and I discovered that the Finnish word for February is helmikuu. It literally means ‘pearl month’ as in February the snow melts and freezes again, often producing pearls of ice. I loved the ephemeral nature of this – the first melt, the first hopeful sign of spring, being so tantalising close, but at any second could be snatched away, returned to winter. The story developed from there.
“A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader’s. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.”
“They wanted spring, of course they wanted it, more than anything. They longed for sun with every pore of their skin. But spring hurts. If spring can come, if things can be different, how can you bear what your existence has been?”
“The four of them ran like wild deer, leaping low bushes of lavender and thyme, whooping with panicky delight, lean and light and half-naked—or, more accurately, nine-tenths naked —through the pine trees and après-midi dappling. They ran on winged feet, and their laughter looped the air behind them like chains of bubbles in translucent water.
High up on the swimming pool terrace the little family, frozen together for a photographic instant, watched their flight open-mouthed, like the ghosts of summers past; or, indeed, of summers yet to come.”