7 – 27 / 455 (Overpunctuated Autobiographical Sketch in 455 Words)

Happy birthday, Idle Ethnographer!


27 July 2012: 13 again

2008: TWENTY-SEVEN. Grown up… Not quite. PhD… Someday. Research. Teaching. Library. Doubts. Fallibility. Rise-ability. Responsibility. Conferences. Articles. Academic matrix. Tired, bored, fed up. Escapism. Creative writing workshops. Photography. Colours, angles, shapes. Snapsnapsnap. Images eat words. Books glue them back.

TWENTY-SIX. Assiduous MA=Mistress of arts. Martial arts. Aikido. Self-discovery, simplicity, perseverance. Discipline. Dis-discipline. PhD-student to be. Or not to be. Must be, I wanted it.

TWENTY-FIVE. Surrogate life: campus bubble. Ambitions. Papers. Seminars. Facebook. Blogs. Distraction. Inspiration, aspiration, overload, desperation. Disintegration… Dissertation. ‘English summer rain seems to last for ages.’  Moving country. Discovery. New old world. Exhilaration. Colours. Horizons. 2 suitcases: my world. My words. Impossible translation.

TWENTY-FOUR. Urban. East-European. Questioning. Searching. Alternative. Cynical. Lost. Rat-race. Black cat. Old bike. Two degrees+no job=Young professional. Job applications. No sleep.

TWENTY-TWO. Exams. Coffee. Results. Hangover. Coffee. Exams. Results. Hangover. Exams. Social science. Vocation. Or not. Political theory. Weary. Dreary. Disappointment, creativity, new rebellion. Painting. Gigs.

TWENTY. University. Parties. Lectures. Seminars. Monthly instalments. Student accommodation. Home: 300 miles, 7 hours away. Trains. Daily phone-calls. Miss the sea. Miss lectures, too.

NINETEEN Graduation. Carnations. Grown-up clothes. Bright futures, Freedom.

EIGHTEEN. Choices. Responsibility. Metaphors. Realisations. Avoidance. Exhaustion.

SIXTEEN. Friends on drugs. I am alive. Theatre. ‘She speaks!’. Nietzsche. The Beatles. Grunge rock. Playing truant. Smoking on the beach. Not tobacco. Beer. Poetry. Darkness. Searching. Idols. Daffodils. Apples and dates. Mates. Guitars. Black jeans, safety-pins, chains, leather boots. No roots. Mild calculated rebellion: original (like everyone else). Identity. Make-up.

FOURTEEN. Adolescence. Expression. Verbosity. Insecurity. Horizons, dreams, wings. Infatuation. Moonsets. Sunrises. Winter seas. Lonely walks. Reinvention of self. Thought you knew anything. English Language High School. Nevertheless (and other English words).

TWELVE. Best student. Pregnant classmate. Jeans. Boys. Trainers. Glances. Fascination. Diligence. Dreams. Dreams.

NINE. Crisis. Pocket-money. Hyperinflation: dollar hops like a frog. Cold. Mum plays Moonlight sonata. At candlelight. Electricity cuts. Bread queues: eat pancakes instead. Arithmetic. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Flea markets. Home-knit socks. Piano concerts in empty halls. Mozart. School. Grown-up sense of inevitability. Unsafeness. Grey cities: democracy, no time for flowerbeds. too.

I’m EIGHT. Autumn. Or Fall. Of communism. Politics breaks into homes. Family arguments over election candidates. Apprehension. Classmates divided by party colours. Why can’t we vote? ‘Call me Mrs, not comrade’. Computers and mice. Piano: staccato, crescendo, diminuendo. Non-rhythmic Beethoven. Rhythmic gymnastics. My time splits between splits and scales. Parental ambition. Autumn. School. Mesmerised by books, ignored by kids. Little sister’s first word: dog. Newborn sister. I chose her name. I smile with my front teeth missing.

July 1988: SEVEN. Little girl in blue wants a sister. The captain’s daughter doesn’t like her name. Too much reading. Birthday cake, candles, strawberries, shells. Salty tan. Black sea coast. Grapes, beaches, peaches: the taste of childhood.

Categories: The Idle Ethnographer

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