Occasionally I also doodle

My two great passions in life are understanding the world through science and understanding the human condition through language. I like to test the limits of my imagination and learn to express myself in ways which may reach the minds of others.

I am in the process of writing a novel or two of metaphysical fantasy and intend soon to add my voice to the revolution of independent authors of our electronic era. To kindle your curiosity, here’s a blurb for you:

When I was Gwen

Have you ever wished to forget your troubles by immersing yourself in a story? The narrative spirit of this particular story is in for a surprise, when the tale of a magical girl, Laiven, and her reluctant saviour, Dan, becomes impossible for her to shake off, and the troubles the spirit had sought to forget begin manifesting themselves in the plot.

While the narrator finds that she may deliver the two characters from their human foes, she is powerless when a demon of her past, the Leviathan, turns up in the nightly visions Laiven writes in her notebook, and begins to seep its venom into her thoughts by day. The spirit’s innermost secrets are exposed when a poisoned arrow blurs the lines of what is real, allowing Laiven to look through the spirit’s eyes and into the realm of raw imagination – a wild and chaotic place, whose storms threaten to rip apart the world around them, unless they together find a story where to channel its force.

My story When I Was Gwen is stuff of fantasy, as far as wizards and mythical creatures are concerned. Inside this particular fantasy there’s a tale about the difficulty of being a person.

My novel is a fantasy quest, and an exploration of our need and ability to tell stories to ourselves. It may come as no surprise, then, that I was particularly fascinated when I learned about cognitive philosopher Daniel Dennett’s idea of the centre of narrative gravity. I like to summarise the concept like this: I is just a story we tell ourselves. The idea is better outlined in his paper The Origins of Selves, and in his book Consciousness Explained, Chapter 13:

Our human environment contains not just food and shelter, enemies to fight or flee and conspecifics with whom to mate, but words, words, words. These words are potent elements of our environment that we readily incorporate, ingesting and extruding them, weaving them like spiderwebs into self-protective strings of narrative. Our fundamental tactic of self-protection, self-control, and self-definition is not building dams or spinning webs, but telling stories–and more particularly concocting and controlling the story we tell others–and ourselves–about who we are.

[…] Our tales are spun, but for the most part we don’t spin them; they spin us. Our human consciousness, and our narrative selfhood, is their product, not their source.

Essays and short stories

logo basicI am also working on short stories or novelettes, and occasionally write essays on topics more literary than scientific, some of which have been published in the literary online journal, The Woolf, as well as here on my blog.

  • Adapting to happiness – Is happiness all it’s cracked up to be?
  • Shamelessly serendipitous – How I use my mother tongue (Finnish) to my advantage as a non-native English writer.
  • Some times – Time traveling through life. Short story. Reflections on floating on the current of now.

Comics: Kids and Concepts

Influential styles and authors

I greatly enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, weird fiction, magical realism, and literary (character-driven) fiction. Some of my favourite authors are Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula LeGuin, Neil Gaiman, China Miéville, Franz Kafka, JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jorge Luis Borges, and Mika Waltari. One of my newest favourites is Lev Gossman. If you are interested in discussing books, you can find me on Goodreads (for better or worse, I tend to be conservative with my ratings).