18 11 2007

A few weeks ago, I was tagged by Angela Erisman with a particular internet meme, the recipients of which must relate that which they were doing thirty, twenty and ten years ago. As I was not in existence thirty years ago (or, if I was, I constituted a microscopic and predominantly liquid form in the separate bodies of my recently married parents), I have decided to tackle this question as though it were “20-10-5”. As a brief disclaimer, I should say that I have a Latin exam tomorrow and that this post is thoroughly an exercise in procrastination.

Twenty years ago, I had just turned eight. I lived in Rose Bay (in a room directly beneath where I currently sleep), attended a Jewish day-school, had about three friends, and liked to read. My aspirations were to be an astronaut and I had an uncle (now an electrical engineer) who encouraged me in that regard. He used to buy me books about our solar system, gave me a subscription to a children’s astronomy magazine (named Odyssey, if I remember correctly), and there were happy nights when he, my father and I would star-gaze through a simple telescope that I once owned. They don’t make telescopes like that one anymore. My favourite part of the day was night, and my favourite night of the week was Friday, when our extended family would join us for Shabbat dinner and we could light candles.

My favourite book was The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I had a crush on Jennifer Connelly from The Labyrinth.

Ten years ago, I had just turned eighteen. My astronomical aspirations had been shattered by the realisation that astronauts were also mathematicians, and I had grown my hair and decided to be a poet instead. I filled several folders (I liked to think of them as “books”) with my angst-ridden verse, idolised Kurt Cobain, made a religion of sorts out of my obsession with John Lennon, smoked cigarettes because I didn’t care, and slouched. I still only had about three friends, but they were good friends by that stage at least. I attended a Jewish youth group where weekly meetings were held and I got to let my hair down (which was quite long already) on their yearly camps. I went to Israel for a year with that youth group and discovered religiosity, although it was really just another form of rebellion. The wearing of a skullcap and fringes was offset nicely by the sixteen body piercings that I also wore over the years. I was not keen on consistency.

My favourite book at the time was The Lord of the Rings and my favourite poet was T.S. Eliot. I thought that bell-bottoms made me sexually attractive and that culture was what grew in my yoghurt.

Five years ago, I was getting ready to return from my second visit to Israel, aged twenty-three. A degree in Communication had taught me absolutely nothing except what I did not want to do with my life and, rediscovering religion in a more serious manner, I returned to Israel to pursue studies in a yeshiva. That lasted all of fourteen months before I decided that, try as I might, I could not accept the community amongst which I lived as being the timeless bearers of a timeless tradition that they claimed to be. Disillusioned with the manner in which they “studied” texts, I left. I left both the yeshiva and Israel, and I returned to Australia and to university. My aspirations were to be a scholar (with some cathartic versification on the side) and have remained that way ever since. Originally I wanted to focus on the Talmudic literature but, picking up Biblical Studies (in order to do some serious un-learning) and three relevant languages, I soon came to discover what my real passions were. It was hardly a surprise to me that I loved the Bible so, but I was definitely surprised at how readily I took to studying grammar.

My favourite book was The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Literary Introduction (although it shortly came to be Gesenius’ Hebrew grammar) and my favourite band was probably Pink Floyd. I kept in touch with some of the people with whom I had travelled or studied in Israel, and slotted back into the social group that I had been a part of in Sydney before I left. There were only about three people in that group, so it wasn’t hard.


Now, the tradition with memes seems to be to tag people directly. I would like to tag Conrad Roth, erratio and Joel Nothman.




6 responses

19 11 2007

> this post is thoroughly an exercise in procrastination.

I’m proud of you.

19 11 2007

I don’t know the book “The Hebrew Bible: A Socio-Linguistic Introduction” and for some reason, I can’t successfully find it on Google. Who is the author?

19 11 2007
Simon Holloway

Whoops, it’s actually subtitled, A Socio-Literary Introduction. My apologies; I have updated the post. It is by Norman K. Gottwald, and it really is an excellent introductory text.

30 11 2007
in delicto

Your parents only got married recently? You bastard! :)

P.S. Guess what freerice threw at me?

” 1. ruddy means:
2. victorious
3. red
4. fundamental
5. actual”

RUDDY! hahahahah

30 11 2007
Simon Holloway

Ha, you are a political fellow, aren’t you. I bet you even deliberately got that “wrong”.

As for your observations regarding my syntactically ambiguous clause, I thank you. Not for the aspersions that you cast on my ‘natal legitimacy’, of course, but because I am a big fan of all things ambiguous. I shall have to try to think of an example of this type of ambiguity from the Tanakh now…

30 11 2007
in delicto


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