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Janna Thorström has studied graphic design, clothing and glass design at the University of Industrial Art and Design (now Aalto University, MA) and has taken part in a variety of creative projects. Her documentary The Spaghetti Legs won an award for the best handicap related TV-program of the year in 1997. Janna is also a writer. But her greatest passion might be the inquiry into how the mind and the body are interconnected – in fact she started off studying biology at the University of Helsinki with the dream of becoming a medical researcher.

Janna has also been a columnist for a daily newspaper, designed clothes and run art classes for people with disabilities.

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Books

Skinny dipping

This short novel is both a love story and the story of the progression of an illness. When the  physical state of the body is dramatically altered also the senses are sharpened – both for love and for the smallest details in life.

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Ventriloquist

In Janna’s second novel the myths and fairy tales of India are intertwined with flash backs from the main character’s Finnish upbringing. The novel is spiced with colour, sensualism and reflection.

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Without

In this anthology about childlessness we hear those rage about their situation and those who have come to terms with it. Along with those who choose childlessness out of their own free wills.

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Possessed

Is there something wrong with passion and what happens if it takes over? In this anthology thirteen writers share their passions and fixations in life in a light and quirky way.

Link to Adlibris

Fuzzily disciplined

The upstairs neighbour was mowing his lawn. He glanced up at me from time to time, smiled, stood still for a while smoking his cigarette. He scraped clumps of grass from the lawnmower and raked together the wet short blades of grass that were spread over the newly mown lawn. The sun shone again after a short period of rain. Why didn’t I want what I was landing in? Because it looked different from what I had imagined?

Your hearing isn’t exactly the same every day, so repetition is very important claims Martin Kantola who constructs microphones and loudspeakers. He was chasing the perfect sound, the entire acoustics of the silent church before the organ begins to resonate. Measuring the sound from two different loudspeakers can result in identical curves, but they can still sound completely different. The secret to developing loudspeakers, according to Martin, is to listen to the music – not to the loudspeakers themselves. You have to be fuzzily systematic, to be able to discipline your ears. There are no magic cables, just a great many crossroads under construction that in the best of cases lead you to that perfect sound.

The evening before, a quiet moment doing the dishes. Uneasy about not wanting to any more, once I had let go. Not wanting to have a man, not wanting any of what I was filling my days with at the moment. Not wanting much at all. Just sitting staring out the window. Anxious that the contentment that had begun to seep in would destroy human needs that connected me to others.

I had been there before, many times. But hadn’t stayed, because the calm made me distraught and frightened. But this time I wasn’t going to give in, to simplify. I was going to wait until it all truly became calm. Each word crawled out slowly and showed me its true guise. My body leaned steadily against the backrest of my office chair. The neighbour and his cigarette had gone inside.

I stood on my landing for a while. Looked out into the garden and squinted at all the cherry trees I hadn’t remembered to mention when asked what grew in my garden. A pine and a cherry tree, I said, and launched into a description of berry bushes and perennials that didn’t interest all that many, I’m afraid. How many cherry trees were there, actually? Scrubby and wild, intertwined with each other and some maples, small ones and large ones, at least a dozen? I looked up at the crown of the largest tree, the one that barely managed to grow upwards right on the border of my neighbour’s garden. Shadowed by the surrounding vegetation, it didn’t get enough light and didn’t have many leaves. It stood there half hidden away. A great many of the branches looked dry and scrubby and it was taller than the tree I called my cherry tree. And I hadn’t noticed this before, imagine.

I tasted the words from the article about the loudspeakers once more until I was left with two distilled words. Fuzzily disciplined. Rarely have I come across such a good expression. Short and concise. But still, all-encompassing.

Ink and watercolour 2004

Etchings 2013