Tag Archives: books

The Pursuit Project

WebsiteThings are moving along nicely.

Saila and I have now started the English version of the succcessful Oman Elämänsä Prinssessa blog, under the titular The Princess of her own Existence. Rather dramatic name, but the story and journey of Saila are just that. Dramatic.

I cannot pretend I know anything about postnatal depression,
but I do know something about self-harm, depression and issues with eating – perhaps that is why I have always felt strongly about Saila’s experiences. And that is why I believe it is a journey worth sharing. Saila has very unashamedly shared deepest personal feelings and shown an insight to the world of a woman, a mother and a wife in the grips of depression. Something too many are still afraid to admit, to speak of and to express as openly as Saila does.

FatherWhat women endure in silence is exactly what Saila expressed loudly and proudly – together with her husband, Timo. They have been a team since the beginning, with Timo eventually becoming Saila’s photography partner. No one ever thinks about the father in these situations, sadly. Therefore, for the Pursuit Project it was clear from the beginning that we wanted to include the father’s perspective. In the sample book this was one spread, but in the plan for the full-length version the father’s contribution will be much more extensive, both in form of his own words and the photography.

At the moment, Saila and I are focusing in creating more space for the project in forms of social media and contacting publishers and potentially also agents. Although, honestly, I wouldn’t mind taking the role of agent here. This project, for Saila as well as for myself is very personal. For very different reasons, probably.

The next exciting part is that Saila is attending the Helsinki Book Fair 23–26th October, and will hopefully be able to reach a lot of people. Helsinki Book Fair10406956_10152820717569273_7258743995735808228_n is very different to the other book fairs that I have been lucky enough to be acquainted with. Another thing the Finnish publishing and Finnish literature are doing right, and the world fairs would have a thing or two to adopt from Helsinki Book Fair. The Helsinki Book Fair is an open doors event, meaning that it is not aimed just for the trade people but invites the public, which directly results into having more visitors, more acknowledgment and more spread. And finally, the Helsinki Book Fair has the policy of actually selling titles at the fair not just representing them, which has a direct correlation to the popularity and spread of the reputation and success of the Book Fair itself.

As the idea for the book begun as a graduate project for the University of Stirling, the final work was submitted as a sample of a book. It was always about creating something necessary, something for where there is an obvious market gap – and even bigger necessity of accessible, first-hand experience. Simple reason why Saila and I are working at creating this book, is to provide those suffering from postnatal depression with assurance that there is a way out, that it is not a taboo to speak out and you will not be stigmatised for admitting you need help. The first step to admitting and accept you cannot do it on your own anymore, is hearing it from someone who has been there before.

Saila’s openness, perseverance and current position as a spokesperson and mental health experience expert are an inspiration.

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Crying Therapy – retraining your emotional rollercoaster

A cry baby, difficult child, always whining and making a fuss, running about with no aim, singing and making up stories, screaming when unhappy, laughing when happy. Every emotion conceivable out on the open, like a one-child-full-circus performance. That was me. To certain extent still is. But it’s different now – less outward, more inward. I like to act up, be a little crazy, hyper and hype others around me.

Pursuit - Empowering Post-natal Depression by Saila Turkka and Aija Oksman

Pursuit – Empowering Post-natal Depression by Saila Turkka and Aija Oksman

But sometimes I do feel the pressure and sadness in me, struggling to get up some days, having trouble sleeping during others. In my previous post, I mentioned how working on Saila’s story had me facing up my own inner feelings, the hidden depressive episodes or trying to come to terms I don’t have to carry the world on my shoulders – just myself.

It was easy, as an emotional, uncontrollable child to just burst all the emotions out, make everyone aware I was having a feeling right then and there. But that caused a lot of trouble for me when growing up. I learned that not everyone wants to be part of my kaleidoscope of inner experiences. But at some point, somewhere around the time I was, oh, fifteen or so, I lost it. I wouldn’t, couldn’t cry, not in front of others. I was scared of that side of me.

And I taught myself not to. I trained myself to hold back, keep control. Instead of crying, I might get really angry. I would still experience the rollercoaster of emotions, but I would rather keep the negative in and let the positive out in massive bursts. It was, and I was, exhausting. But see, crying is good for you. It lets out pain, stress, fear, anger… It makes sure you won’t consume yourself in all those emotions.

I was just recently reminded by some good old friends how I shouldn’t pretend all is good when it’s not, I should tell them, reach out and let go. That there’s nothing wrong feeling bad, just as there’s nothing wrong feeling good. No one is omnipotent all the time.What with master thesis hand in day looming ever closer, once and a while a good cry is needed.

Secretly, over the past couple years, I’ve discovered what I call “the crying therapy”. There is a time and a place for showing your emotions, but not showing any isn’t healthy either. My therapy is simple; I deliberately read or watch something that I know will get me emotional. And I’ll keep watching and reading till I actually cry. I try to unblock a flood of stress, anxiety and fear that builds up as part of a normal ever-day experiences of being a student, of living far from your nearest and dearest or just being so damn tired that you need a good cry to balance yourself. See, I’ve always been extremely emotional, but a lot of the times I’ve been too afraid to go with it.

I’m trying to learn that if it makes you cry, cry. There’s a reason for it.

And sometimes, we just don’t get how much pets, our family, means to us; “I died today”, by Duke Roberts (http://www.robynarouty.com/)

Books;

The way I read and the way I think about what I’ve read is something I’ve grown up with my mother, who is an avid reader and a gentle soul (but she lets her emotions out even less than me, so maybe there’s a family tendency to get emotionally constipated till eventual burst of the carefully built dams). I have always loved the world books and stories bring you in, and quite often, unexpected, catapult you into completely unknown. For example;

The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom) always got me thinking…

Twelve Years a Slave (Solomon Northup) – and other slave narratives, which were my primary focus in African American literary studies in Salzburg – real stories, real people… You know?

The poetry of William Blake has many that I know well, and always gets to me;

When the stars threw down their spears 
And water’d heaven with their tears: 
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
– The Tyger

And more recently, I shed a good few tears over The Guillotine Choice (Michael Malone and Bashir Saoudi).

And films, my god the chimera of films! So many to mention… The Kid, The Elephant Man, Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, Sophie’s Choice, The Snowman, CInema Paradiso, The Boy in Striped Pajamas… I think the this clip is a good example; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtnrBEyVIwg

Music… This is harder to pick examples from. It gets you unexpectedly, anytime, anywhere and it can be a silly pop song you have memories with, or something that brings back bad memories, or other kinds of memories, confused thoughts, or brings you back to childhood fandom.

Random videos I’ve stumbled upon;




http://faithtap.com/410/you-are-my-sunshine-sang-by-elderly-couple/?a=1
http://faithtap.com/1326/birthday-video-for-rachel/?a=1
http://faithtap.com/1120/homeless-lottery-winner/?a=1
faithtap.com/962/a-homeless-dog-living-in-trash-pile-rescue/?a=1

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Martins the Printers

April 24th, 2014 | Posted in Blog by Aija Oksman
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How are books made? If you ask a publishing student, you are in for an earful on the wading through a pile of slush in the hopes of discovering the next Hunger Games-trilogy or the next Booker Prize winner – something that stirs either financially or inspirationally. After that you will get an in-depth description of the editing and the decision-making processes all the way from typesetting, cover design to the final version. You might hear about the printing but the emphasis definitely is in the processes pre- and post-printing. That is what we know. That is what we can do. A publisher would not explain the whole printing process not as much for the lack of knowledge than for the fact of it being very mechanical and very distant form the publisher’s actual job. Therefore, the class of 2014 was in for a treat when we got to visit Martins the Printers at Berwick-upon-Tweed and get that rare glimpse to the inner workings of the printers.

David Martin, the sales director at Martins the Printers, kindly welcomed our group and gave us some history to the printers (printing since 1892 with newspapers and since 1950s they have focused on books) before unleashing us in two smaller groups to the belly of printers. Our guide Paul Waugh took us through each of the specific processes required in making a book, showing us the function of each machine and explaining in detail the time frames, the order in which each step is made and the differences between litho and digital publishing. As David and Paul both emphasised that is good for us young publishing hopefuls to know: the biggest differences that have come up through developments in printing is the effective cuts in costs; no more warehousing and the whole process is becoming faster and cheaper, enabling publishers to keep up with times and move their stock much easier – and this is definitely where the future of publishing is steadily moving towards.

The best way to show the process of printing is to visualise it through the snapshots taken through our tour.

Paul showing a printing plate

Printingplate2

 

First of all we went to see the creation of the printing plates, and how the printing plate is then entered into the machine that in the offset printing (economic way of producing large quanitites in one go) prints on the large sheets of paper before those sheets are taken to the next step.

Folding1

Printingplate3

 

The next step is the folding. The machine actually folds the large print sheets into correct combinations of pages and spreads. The man standing there then stags the fold onto a gurney, ready to be wheeled to the next step.

 

SownAfter the folding the pages are then sown together, the binding and glueing ready to be made. After sewing the covers get glued on and a version of the paperback is done.

 

The boys at the glueing machine were over-zealous in their testing, ripping Gluedcovers2covers and pages apart, destroying perfectly well-made ready books for the sake of testing. Heartwrenching. As seen in the above picture of tossed pages and covers of Tim Burton’s book. Never thought I could make such girly shrieks.

 

 

FinalisingThere is one more machine to be mentioned, besides the amazing hand-made Warmbookwork that follows each procedure to ensure perfection – and that is the “finaliser”. It is a machine that rounds the corners and compacts a hardback, to give it that book-look. There is nothing better than having that fresh-from-the-oven book in your hand, warm like a roll on  Sunday morning.

 

Definitely a tour every publisher needs to make regularly to keep up with the changes happening in the developemnts, and to understand the actual process of printing. It is a process to be appreciated and respected. It takes knowledge and skill and is an integral part of book making. Insightful.

 

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