In 1955, after hitting it off at a party in Helsinki, Tove Jansson and the artist Tuulikki Pietilä developed a romance that would last a lifetime. They spent some of the early days of summer 1956 together on the island of Bredskär, where the Jansson family had a summerhouse. The letter below, sent shortly after Pietilä left to teach at an artists’ colony, sees the Moomin creator exploring the dimensions of this new love, recounting the festivities of her uncle Harald’s birthday (“which has traditionally always been a big bash, celebrated at sea”), and drawing “a new little creature that isn’t quite sure if it’s allowed to come in.”
Now my adored relations have finally gone to sleep, strewn about in the most unlikely sleeping places, the chatter has died down, the storm too, and I can talk to you.
Thank you for your letter, which felt like a happy hug. Oh yes, my Tuulikki, you have never given me anything but warmth, love, and good cheer.
Isn’t it remarkable, and seriously wonderful, that there’s still not a single shadow between us? And you know what, the best thing of all is that I’m not afraid of the shadows. When they come (as I suppose they must, for all those who care for one another), I think we can maneuver our way through them. Read More