Sunday, 5 February 2012
Ich habe noch keine Vergangenheit
The other week I found a letter my favourite boy, the son of close friends in Germany, wrote to me a couple of years ago. He wrote in English, describing what he'd been up to, and explaining the financial crisis looming in the world with a little diagram (he's exceedingly clever). Floating at the bottom of the letter is the sentence "Ich habe noch keine Vergangenheit!" - I have no past yet. Just for a moment I took it to mean I have no past yet because I am a child, which seemed to make perfect sense in terms of having had no part in bringing about the financial crisis or global warming, etc etc, but of course he meant that he had not yet learned to speak/write in English past tense. Or did he? That moment of mis-understanding (which had not happened when I first read the letter) felt like a kind of epiphany, as it ties in with my second generation project, and now I can't get the sentence out of my head. Nor can I think much beyond it, being very tired, and in any case formulating my thoughts has never felt more difficult. The work is growing, while I grope about for insight. Maybe the work will teach me.