Tuesday, September 19, 2006

my autobiography in a 500-word sentence

The Mad Hatter and Bubandpie have both written fantastic 500-word third-person autobiographies in a single sentence and having mulled this one over for 24 hours, I just had to try it myself. What a challenge! Reading the others' and writing my own have taught me:
  • that I depend on periods (.) to give me a mental breather and without them I tend to rush to the end when I'm reading;
  • that I really had to puzzle about this one, even getting out of bed early in the morning to write it once I figured out where to start;
  • that using one sentence to go on and on with generates a sort of stream of consciousness that is pretty cool;
  • that the semi-colons felt like cheating but I had to use two.
So here it is:

Kate is the youngest of three children born to a nurse who, although she wanted to be a fashion designer, was told by her high school guidance counselor that she could only become a nurse, teacher or secretary so she chose nurse, and a chemist who worked his entire career for one huge, multinational chemical company, which moved the family twice, finally ending up living on a farm outside a tiny town whose claims to fame include having the town hall that was used for the assassination scene in the movie Dead Zone and other scenes in other movies, being Toronto without the t's (and a few million souls), neighbouring the Jungle Cat World, which was also called the Exotic Cat World and whose sign Kate's brother always dreamed of vandalizing to make the Erotic Cat World, a town that was also home to children who teased Kate, causing her to go home crying every day for the first three months but eventually (like ten years later) making her stronger and more appreciative of the real friends she met three years later who were all passionate about horses too and whose support helped Kate become a fairly accomplished rider until she stopped to go to university and sadly sold the horse she'd planned to have until he grew old, not to mention the support they all provided going through the hell-hole called high school, where they learned how to drink and smoke together, mostly in a fantastic cabin in the woods that one of Kate's friends built with her boyfriend, with their bare hands, a cabin that also welcomed Kate's first boyfriend, a tall skinny runner with the knobbliest knees she'd ever seen and a beak nose who moved to Pennsylvania to learn how to train racehorses, which caused many tears and later fights over the phone, a boy for whom, although he broke up with Kate before Christmas in her final year at high school, she carried a torch for years and so did both Kate's and the boy's mothers who would have loved to be their respective in-laws; Kate thought she wanted to be a vet but changed her mind after her first year at the U of Guelph, switching to study English because she couldn't imagine spending so many hours in science classes that mostly bored her, an academic career mostly focused on avoiding classes before noon, spending as little money on food as possible, drinking and playing pool until she got sick and stressed out and took a year off during which she bought her first SLR and explored photography, worked three or four part-time jobs, eventually getting on full-time at Black's where she hated the new manager ([edited to clarify the manager] was 22, lived with her dad, sold tupperware, wore sweatshirts with teddy bears and flowers, and owned her own minivan – at 22!!), realized that she really did want to finish her degree, and met her future husband three days before the end of her Black's career (but that really is another story altogether), a man who she thought at first was a sunny, outgoing surfer boy type who chats up girls in stores with his sexy South African accent but who she learned over the years was actually shy and gentle with a bit of a dark side, a man whose gentleness supported her as she worked towards wellness, finished her degree, and stuffed cheques into envelopes for three days, a temp job that led to more contracts and two years later a job writing (yay!) as a civil servant; their relationship was punctuated by a beautiful wedding ceremony on Kate's parents' farm, an amazing trip to South Africa to meet his family, a decision to bring someone else into this world and this family, promptly followed by the arrival of Ezra, a baby who smiles a lot, is wonderfully curious about everything, likes to sleep in his parents' arms or their bed, who appears easy-going but who is already a master at making sure his needs are met, and whose parents continually find themselves exclaiming, “He is just SO cute/amazing/beautiful [insert adjective here].”

3 comments:

mad_hatter said...

Good job, Kate! Sorry to hear about the teddy bear sweatshirts. We all have a teddy bear sweatshirt of some sort or other hiding in our closets.

cinnamon gurl said...

oops... I meant the manager I hated. I haven't worn teddy bear sweatshirts since I was 8.

bubandpie said...

I know what you mean about the semi-colons - I think I used two AND a dash, and all of them felt like cheating. Mad Hatter followed up a semi-colon with "consequently" which I thought helped neutralize it a fair bit - made it seem like a natural semi-colon rather than an evasion of the spirit of the one-sentence form.

I too referred to my high-school, not so fondly, as "the hell hole."

South Africa, patient, with a dark side - that's an intriguing description of your hubby!