i like to go through the stuff i have done and thought and learned in the passed year – i guess I’m not old enough yet to get terrified by time passing. instead i find it exciting how many things have changed – mainly subconsciously, as a result of living and everyday choices. especially the decisions i haven’t been aware of at all, where i dont look for the results of my actions, and then dont feel responsible for whatever it causes further. like reading a book for instance, which sometimes just feels like spending time, an action you dont expect too much out of. it serves you something, but you dont actively think that a book powers future actions. i have been surprised how books, bot have managed to affect me and how I’ve been able to forget books i was so sure would have a greater impact on me (and maybe they did? the reason why i would be able to forget about a piece of work was because it was somehow internalized?).
i read the flamethrowers last spring, in may-june, a book that really changed things for me while reading (present actions, but also how i suddenly looked at me in my own past from a new angle). now, i can remember the feeling of reading it, having the book around, and i recall how much i liked it by reading through numerous notes where i reflect around the book and the characters. at the same time i cant really remember too much of the actual book. perhaps it was how occupied my life was with other stuff, that ended up being more evident memories. but are actually books just a way of observing, or is it a participatory side of reading? did i forget so much about what i read because it simply was reading several hundred pages, or did it have a greater impact? either would it have a greater impact on me if my present life wasn’t so full of actual incidents and changes, or the book itself did merge into my own actions and thoughts.
language has been a huge part of my life the last year. one thing is that i has a french exam, went to denmark several times and tried hard to understand what they said, moved to germany and got an english boyfriend. i still try to listen to peoples conversations at cafés, in lines, on the ubahn, but don’t understand as much it distracts me when i do something else. it is a nice place in between. another aspect of language is how i went through so many social phases, approached various social settings for the first time in years. i just got out of a relationship (simultaneously graduating), out of a safety zone i didn’t appreciate any more, but suddenly i didn’t know where to put myself. however, when i recently read lydia davis’ essay on learning norwegian, and her expression of enjoyment, i realized how much i enjoy language, picking up language in all its different forms, explore the subjectivity of each from of language – also the unique ways of socializing represented. learning a language is also a way to understand something beyond language, and can therefore be just as interesting and consuming as learning french or whatever. but i enjoy looking back on the year and try to see how my way of speaking, frequently used words and phrases, have changed, and therefore probably what i think and talk about.
is it coincidental that i read a really influential book simultaneously with graduating and going through a (deliberating) breakup – in other words, being completely free for the first time in my life? is it coincidental that i read and loved a book when i moved to berlin, which i had read before and hated? is it about how I’ve developed, or rather about time and place? leaning on something recognizable, therefore safe and easy to like, as everything around me was new and unpredictable.