Through the Decades...


2011
New mom of a kid who is way better in every way than I could have imagined. Every day E and I have ridiculous conversations about how cute and great she is. We are only allowed to talk this way to each other and no one else because we can't be those kind of parents (at least publicly). Newly returned to Seattle and living at my old commune. I'm not working, and missing the community of mentally ill peeps I'm usually around. Obsessed with the boxes and boxes of expired (but utterly edible) salted chocolate covered caramels my housemate got from work.

2001
Living in Seattle in my commune. Running around and going to large-scale demonstrations in the post-WTO protest world. Sick of tear gas and riot police. Finally over my post-college, 'what now?' malaise. Writing a book with E that is a fantasy epic based on the Paris Commune. Almost breaking up with E over said book. Having a summer of sandwich obsession with crusty french bread, marinated tofu, fried sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and all kinds of greens. Discovered that mayonnaise is delicious.

1991
Junior in high school, living at home in a suburb of Seattle and dreaming of going to college. Spending my summer as a camp counselor on Orcas Island and having a mad crush on the camp boy I would later date my senior year. Moody teenage angst. Founded an environmental group. Acted in a play where I was the older Jewish sister (I'm in five plays in high school, and in four of them I play a Jew. In my uber-white high school, I'm the closest thing to Jewish, and, uh, my lineage is lapsed Protestant.) I'm newly vegetarian and don't know how to do it right. Hungry all the time and sprouting lots of gray hairs, which later went away when I learned about veg-protein. Eating a lot of brownies.


1981
Living with my mom and sister in Capitol Hill. All the neighborhood kids stay out late in the long days of a Seattle summer, playing Red Light/Green Light, Simon Says, Red Rover, and Capture the Flag. Have extremely vague and wrong ideas about procreation and sex. My best friend and I are going to open a french restaurant when we grow up called the "Bonjour Restaurant" (ooh la la!) Dealing with divorce and feeling like there is a sad part inside of me that never goes away.

1971
My older sister is born and my folks are still together. When I show up a bit later in the decade, she is not pleased and suggests my crib be put in the unfinished basement.

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Mixed tapes


I've had a loaner car all summer--since going carless in Santa Cruz, people keep giving us their cars for a couple of months at a time. I guess somehow, someway, we strike people as trustworthy. Weird.
Anyway, the car has a tape deck so it has made me dig out all my old mix tapes, because those are the only cassettes I have left. How could anyone ever throw out a mixed tape, you know? They're decorated with glitter pens and taped on quotes, and each one is like a time capsule from my past that makes me remember myself in a whole new kind of way. I've never been a music nerd, so most the music I know has been given or passed along to me, and I've listened to it all a million times.
So I'm in the car and a song will come on that I don't even remember, but I know all the lyrics to it and I'm singing along, and then I'm swapping in the filthy lyrics my friends and I made up way before any of us had had sex, and then I'm remembering not anything in particular but just a feeling that isn't the kind of emotion I have now. Like feeling really overwhelmed just because a song has good lyrics. Or feeling like I want to keep on driving because home isn't anywhere that feels like home right now. It reminds me that life has always been hard and beautiful, but in really different ways. I feel like an archaeologist discovering the lost tribe of myself.

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ktsparrow
Katherine Sparrow
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