Whom shall I choose first? They are all equally thick and alluring. And I got them as birthday presents. Edith was born first so in all fairness or no fairness at all she will be first out. Even if we read about all three at school and I devoured any book by Astrid Lindgren as a child I actually do not know that much about these three women. Tove Jansson is the one I am most familiar with and I have actually had the great luck of meeting her once! But I never was much of a Moomin fan, I rather preferred Pippi Longstocking. Yet I know next to nothing about the life of the author behind all these books that I read in my childhood years as if my life depended on it.
Naturally the poems of Edith Södergran are familiar to me and yes I do have some very superficial knowledge about her background. But I was never much into poetry in my younger years, something that slowly has started to shift. The book about Edith’s life is about four hundred pages long so I guess I am in for a treat.
So where does Scarlett fit into all of this? In my early teens my Mum gave me ‘Gone with the wind’ as a Birthday present. That summer I was completely unreachable and when visiting my relatives during the summer holidays I showed up for meals with my head deeply buried between the pages. Before reading the book I had already seen the movie several times. An obsession had started. Suddenly the dolls in my doll´s house got a complete ‘Gone with the Wind’ wardrobe, as well as my paper dolls. As a grown up I bought a Scarlett O´Hara limited edition Barbie doll that now collects dust in a cupboard. And my book shelf have a selection of different ‘Gone with the Wind’ related books. There is even one in French! Every day when I log onto our home computer I am greeted by Rhett and Scarlett embracing each other in the scene where Scarlett is mourning her second husband (or was it third?) and Rhett has asked her to marry her. The desktop picture being a birthday gift from my daughter some years ago. An obsession indeed.
And what do all these four women have in common, one of which is actually fictional? They have all been heroines in their own lives and have been highly creative each one in their own special way. Sensitive, fierce, feisty, bold and more or less unconventional.
As a young child I wanted to change the world, to become a missionary and eradicate hunger. My goal was not not to spread Christianity but rather to work against poverty in Africa so the occupation I probably was aiming at was being a volunteer worker. The injustice of the world was completely uncomprehending to me and yet I loved a book that described those who were fighting against slavery as brutes. A book that was glamorizing a lifestyle upheld by these very slaves. But ‘Gone with the Wind’ has always been more about a heroine´s journey than the story of a system that never should have existed in the first place.
For some reason Scarlett has resonated deeply with me and now it´s time to find out how I am going to get along with Edith, Astrid and Tove.