Tallinn/Estonia, 14 August 2021

Dear Reader,

Four years ago, I wrote about working and the fact that I enjoy it. That is still true today, but I would like to make some amendments to my previous description about work. I do enjoy working because often my work has been connected to my hobbies. Writing is something enjoyable to me, it is part of my being in the world. Also working on my homepage for example, in order to make  the "letters-project" happen is something that I do like doing otherwise I would not have done it.

But there is also another side to liking working. What I have learned over the years is that I also use working as a strategy for coping with my anxieties. Because many fields of work described as above are familiar to me, I feel comfortable in and with them. So, when I encounter difficulties in my life, when I feel anxious, I would naturally choose to return to familiar working (e.g. writing or working on my homepage). It’s a good thing. But one should also be aware of that what one is doing is part of a coping strategy and therefore it's important to acknowledge it.

And yes, my working, me working sometimes too much, might affect and also has affected others, especially people close to me. It does not mean I need to blame myself for that, but I do need to take responsibility by acknowledging it. For the future, I just need to negotiate what is too much and what is needed… and knowing exactly what that is is not easy. Mine and the needs of people close to me are often not the same and they also vary in time. It’s a constant search for balance.

Take care and don’t work too hard all the time.

Tallinn, 14 August 2017

Dear Käbi!

I have a lot of work at the moment, and haven't been able to write to you as often as I would like. But even amidst the busyness I have been thinking about you, about what it means to be a concert pianist on the world's stages. Indeed, I am enchanted by how you write about the way you practise. It seems that today such concentrated and absorbed work is seen as out of fashion, if not taboo. I like to work, but for some reason I often find myself thinking why I should be ashamed of my love for it? Of course this is simple-minded, for in order to achieve anything one has to devote oneself to working steadily and over the long haul.

What else was it that I wanted to write to you about?

I wanted to write about composition. At the moment I am composing the manuscript of my teacher Tiina Kirss' collection of articles, and just a few months ago I finished composing my own article collection, which should be published at the end of this month. In the process, I have realised that composition is utterly important to me, whether it is texts or books.
I perceive composition happening when I lay the texts out in front of me. Even when I am reading I unfold the texts this way – physically, if at all possible. Maybe it is a cliché I've used, but this is what I need in order to find a new sequence for the texts or a new pattern for creating a whole. This is indeed how it is. For me, the composition of texts or the composition of a body of texts is crucial. I am not sure whether this has anything in common with composition in music. Perhaps. Even the word has its origin in music, or the musical word.

I will end here today, for now.
With greetings to you


The letters are part of a book published in Estonian in September 2019 entitled ”The Courage of Living. Letters to Käbi” (Elamise julgus. Kirjad Käbile, EKSA, 2019). The Estonian book is almost sold out (though some copies can still be found in a few book shops and on my home page). A translation into English by Tiina Ann Kirss will hopefully be published soon.

To find out more about the book in English, read the introduction in my “Essays and poetry” section under “Who was Käbi Laretei?" and “Why write letters to a person you have never known personally?”.

The original letters that later became part of a book began to be written in August 2017. I am publishing them in English in their original chronological sequence, four years later.