As a child I observed my civilised teachers flutter around the classroom, and I watched politicians diplomatically meandering their way out of blame on the TV. I watched the grey sea of suit-wearing professionals sitting glumly on the tube ready to take on the ferocious world of London with its media and its banking and its bars. In other words, I watched civility, maturity and responsibility and I linked them to adulthood. However, I also grew up watching my parents occasionally dance naked in the garden to Dido in an oddly paganistic frenzy of drunken madness and on many occasions, listened to my much older cousins describe the questionable sexual experiences they had on lad tours to Bangkok. In a disturbing twist on conventional social custom, I can safely say that nudity defined my pre-teens. Reader do not report this, it was unproblematic. Anyway, I was confused, though not as confused as my cousin was on that Thai massage table, but confusion, yes, that sums it up. You see I was given two entirely different images of what adulthood could be and as a child I thought that the richness of life would only come from being “formed”, so to speak. I really used to believe that the ultimate achievement of life was knowing exactly who one is and what one wants and who one loves, that one would enter adulthood with one’s own polished hardback narrative consisting of a beginning, middle and an end. Alas, reader, I am 20 years old and I can quite frankly say that as a young adult I haven’t got a flying clue about who I am but that does not detract from what I have learnt from my 20 years of existence. When I told a very good friend of mine that I was planning to write this series they said; “oh don’t write a bloody memoir, you haven’t lived long enough”. It is true, and honestly, I would hope to have at least another 60 years on this planet provided that my liver maintains its miraculous strength. However, I also think that there is so much beauty in being 20 and seeing the world as a 20 year old, of sitting on that fragile brink between moody adolescence spent in sex-infused university halls and growing into one’s own person that will go out into the complex Saharan plane that is the big, wide world of genuine adulthood. Although a wealth of experience awaits me, I have had such fabulous joy in the ever-evolving-process of finding out gradually what I like, love and want. Without sounding too much like a self-prophesising twat, I think there is something so special about the way we hook moments in our mind like coat pegs of memory for the coats of our present selves. Do excuse the occasional literary flamboyance, I’m an English Literature student - let’s just class it as ‘forgivable poetic license’. Though in all seriousness, I do think the way we attach emotion and thought to the smallest of things is a genuine triumph of the human condition and I humbly believe that it is this ability to give meaning to the minutia that has converted my life from one that is impoverished in terms of longevity into a life that is somehow incredibly rich in terms of emotional experience. I am perhaps yet to fully harness my experiences into a galvanised life story but what a marvellous montage of moments I have had. I am always amazed and inspired by the voracious kindness and strength shown to me by the strangers I have come across; I am always slightly winded and overwhelmed by the love I have felt from friends and family, the regret and wonder I have felt from romance and the hatred I have felt for myself at certain points in my life. So, in these letters I simply aim to celebrate life for all its ups and its downs and for the plethora of people, substances, places, phases, stories and objects that have enriched and contributed to my wild 20 years on this planet. More than anything these letters are a celebration of people whose narratives, lives and stories have become part of my own story and my own way of thinking. To give them voice and credibility is the least I can do. Thus, my dear reader, I hope to show you that a simple year’s worth of letters has the power to capture more than an average life’s worth of feeling, thought, wisdom and idiocy where lives and moments coincide to form a whole. I do hope you enjoy and yes, worry not, nudity will obviously feature….
Best wishes and do write back,
(Had an idea for a book and just thought it would be fun to serialise it instead - can't promise 365 letters (i.e 1 every day for the next year, perhaps one every week) but they're fun to write and nice for memory docking. This is very much just trying out a concept!)