Photo: Jarmo Kontiainen
Erno Paasilinna once developed the concept of a “non-writer” to describe a literary odd-job man, who "writes, travels and gives statements ". In the 1980s and 1990s, Lehtola developed into a wordsmith who wrote causeries, newspaper articles and literary criticism, edited cultural magazines as well as thematic issues for periodicals and attended seminars to give talks on god-knows-what qualifications.
As a student, Lehtola called himself the microprofessor of the phraseology department, although he prosaically studied literature. The Sámi theme issue of the Kaltio periodical, published in 1982, brought summer work in the newspaper business, in Lapin Kansa and Pohjolan Sanomat, and as freelancer after graduation. Journalistic work was an important school for the subsequent writer’s career: it taught writing factual text, debating issues and persons, and getting things done.
Varied, but short-termed newspaper writing matured at the beginning of the 1990s – during the chief editorship in the Oulunsalo paper – into a decision to count on the Kanerva-Jaakonsaari grant. An earnings-related allowance gave a chance to delve deeper into research and writing. Social aspirations, such as chief editor posts in Lapland’s Pohjoistuuli and Northern Finnish Kaltio periodicals still reflected the non-writer participant role.