When Marja Kangas, 46, divorced her husband in 2009, she had to get used to a single life that was not on her wish list. First came depression, then the hope of a new relationship.
The Man Visible won the Story Taken Writing Competition, which included nearly 800 manuscripts.
- If you are not well with yourself, you can't find that prince either, Marja Kangas laughs.
Shokkiero gave such miserable situations to Marja Kanka, who teaches theater and writing, that she decided to try to write a novel on the subject. The Man in Visibility (WSOY) won the Take a Story competition in search of an entertaining novel.
- It was quite a shock, Marja says of her victory.
The writing competition organized by WSOY and the S Group received almost 800 manuscripts. Marja did not believe in victory, because those who had previously published the novel were also allowed to take part in the competition. But sometimes in life there are surprises.
The surprise for Marja was also the divorce, as was the protagonist of the book. Six years of living together ended in the man’s infidelity.
- My difference was chaotic and surprising. It was a total drop and I couldn’t see beyond my life. I was really depressed, and I even went to therapy, Marja says.
After recovering from the shock, Marja's season began. He took comfort in thinking that now he could train his life as he pleased. He went to a poetry writing course, a flamenco course and drum lessons.
- I also made my first trip abroad alone, it felt kind of exciting, Marja smiles.
-If you are not doing well with yourself, you can't find that prince either, Kangas knows.
Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS
He next went to a yoga retreat in Spain. He had been practicing yoga for a long time.
- There came a “who am I” stage. When I turned 40, I gave myself a gift for a summer vacation in Barcelona. Later, I studied theater and lived there between longer periods, Berry says.
Marja's “separation therapy” also included changing her job from the Turku Academy of Arts to high school to give her more time.
Turku is still a spiritual home for a first-time writer born in Kuopio, but now he lives in Helsinki. He will return to Barcelona in the fall - probably.
The main character of the novel, Sirkku, starts looking for a man immediately after his divorce. From the author himself, it didn’t work out.
- I focused on myself, I lost faith in love. Only in the last couple of years, I have dared to open my partner, Berry says.
Marja Kangas is lively and has a sense of humor, but it was not significantly useful in reviving the love life. He was miserable even in organizing dates.
- I was interested in one of my friends, but he didn't even realize it. Even at the gym I tried to flirt with one man, it didn't work out either, Marja laughs.
Tinder blew up the possibilities. When I was on a winter vacation in Barcelona in 2014, I went on a date every day.
That's what Marja thinks is important: you have to be able to laugh at yourself. He often sees himself as a comedy figure, even if there is material to the tragedy. His novel also has humor, it’s not a grim separation.
Marja later got the taste of dating in Barcelona. In a foreign culture, it was easier than in Turku, where he imagined he already knew everyone.
Marja Kangas knows she could be happy without a relationship. However, that was the case.
Photo: Seppo Solmela / IS
- Tinder blew up the possibilities. When I was on a winter vacation in Barcelona in 2014, I went on a date every day, Marja says.
Some dating led to heartache, some to a moment of fun, some to nothing at all.
- Finding a man became a kind of project, Marja says self-ironically.
Marja thinks that getting to know Spain is more depressing than in Finland, where going to coffee together feels like a real thing.
- When you look something in the eye here after a dark winter, it's like an invitation to bed - or marriage. In Spain, a female teacher of yoga retreat also struck an eye. As a Finn, I immediately thought that I guess I wouldn't try to strike, Marja laughs.
Marja is not surprised why Finnish women have romances abroad. When a man praises himself beautiful and still pays a restaurant bill, it can feel like I think I can be pretty lovely.
- In Spain, there is also more talk about sex, flirting is always present. But more openly there is also talk of digestion, Marja knows.
- But there is a kind of machocultural thinking where a woman is constantly the object of attention. However, flirting should be a common play, Marja adds.
In Spain, there is also more talk about sex, flirting is present all the time. But more openly there is also talk of digestion.
Like the protagonist of her book, Marja got tired of Tinder dating at some point. He began to think that one could be happy without a love life.
When he was finally quite alone, it so happened that he fell in love with a Spanish man. They have been dating for a year.
- The hardest part in finding a new relationship is to be honest with yourself. You also have to know how to give up your preconceived expectations, Marja thinks.
Marja would no longer be enthusiastic about Tinder's browsing precisely because she is looking for the embodiment of her own erroneous dream images there.
- It is ideal if you only meet first as friends, Marja thinks.
The story of the novel differs from the story of Marja in some respects. For example, the main character of the novel, Sirkku, starts looking for a man immediately after his divorce. From the author himself, it didn’t work out.
Photo: Seppo Solmela
Berry now knows that she could be happy without any kind of relationship, but when one now hits the spot, she doesn’t refuse.
He has not regretted that he was alone in the years when he might have been able to have children.
- There was pain with that too, but I came to the conclusion that it is better for me like this. Today, I also think of my resignation as an opportunity to find new life.
Today, I also think of my resignation as an opportunity to find new life.