One is a CROWD – Satu Taskinen

Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist (with Finnish roots) in Vienna looks like, meet Satu Taskinen!

Do you see yourself as an author? Are you the originator and main authority of your text? And if not, who is, if anyone at all?

Yes I see myself as an author. But this means to me more to be like a filter, not so much like a creator. I don’t see myself inventing things from nothing. But as a tiny little part of “this all” – whatever it is – I hope to be able to sense, experience and feel something of what is going on, to catch bits and pieces, and to communicate my observations through a creative form. My position as an author is to look at things from inside. I don’t want to add anything to the world or universe. But I have a need to order and understand and try making conclusions, finding connections and solutions. I am interested in people – us – as species. In our tininess and limitations. And: what do all human beings share? What makes them similar?

Reading is writing is reading is writing …  – why, and if, how?

I could suggest: How I read,  is who I am as reading is interpretation and translation. And all understanding is reading. A reader uses the text for his/her own purposes. Always adds something and doesn’t see something else, misunderstands, forgets, misremembers, looks into the text like into a mirror. Yes, a reader is very unfair and selfish, but what can we do? The human consciousness seems to work like this… we don’t know the half of what it is doing with us… we just think we do. That is why it is very important to be aware, in which surroundings we marinate ourselves. Because that is where the focus comes from.

The human consciousness really is fascinating. It seems mostly to pick up things from the surroundings with an attitude of a need. When children do this, it is ok, they have to. With adults it is different. I wish adults had more of a responsible and mature attitude towards themselves and their surroundings. People who started to meditate had an urge to try to learn and teach an attitude of awareness. To see more and write less while reading. For those who like to learn a lot about reading – and of themselves as readers – I recommend Nabokov’s novel Pale Fire. I don’t think he left anything out of the theme “reader” in his novel. – And  about different attitudes: works of Levinas.

What is your favorite literary spot in …? (literary venue, bar, meeting spot etc.) Please give us a link to the website of the spot)

Libraries. They have a very special atmosphere and I often start to feel calm and happy and curious when I enter one. I live in Vienna, so here is a link to my home library.


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