"Show me a child at seven, and I will give you the man."
I’m knocked out by this piece, Adam. It asks to be read over and over, so lush it is with detail and points of contemplation. What a pleasure to be discovering your work. I feel like I’ve been given a key to a magical, changing garden.
You’ve done justice to seven. Who can do that? Miraculous.
I keep starting to write a comment, but nothing is adequate. You've captured something I didn't know could be captured, and I'm left stunned.
You've opened up a remarkable tableau for us to notice, Adam - 7 years old, and we can see and feel that magical promise of music, that girl, that imaginary play space you describe. Beautifully done...
Are you familiar with the “7 Up” series of movies, which follows a group of British children from age 7 to their 60’s, with a new movie every 7 years? I highly recommend it. That quotation (“give me the child at 7...”) starts every episode of the series. I can’t say enough good things about these films.
And I loved your essay and look forward to the next installment.
This is so good!! I remember that exact same childhood feeling of loving music.
Adam, this is a stunning piece of writing. You have a real gift for transporting yourself back into moments of your life and sharing it in a way that makes me feel like I've touched my own childhood.
This was riveting. I admire your attention to detail, like the three hairs of grass at the sign post - yes! And this line -- “It was a dream world, but a dream world that existed.” -- absolutely recognize that from my own dreamy childhood. I might have gasped when you wrote that the surgery must be done with the patient awake. That’s exactly how it feels.
Different age, but do you know the Billy Collins poem, “On Turning Ten”? It never fails to move me, mostly as a mother of a son, now 21.
Gorgeous writing, Adam. Sucked and transported into that world and sense of being, of what is to be and what has not been.
I could quote all of it, but I shall quote this line (from an entire paragraph) that struck me: "The metamorphosis bothered me, like a trick I would have to live for years to understand because that was the only way to get beneath that riddle, one time-lapse year at a time."
I remember all of this. Probably, or maybe not. It was different but the same. Wonderfully written, and that’s a compliment. But more than compliments, thank you for my own memories, different, but the same; reflected...
So glad to have found you. I need more writing like this in my life. Just a stunningly (sur)real depiction of a moment in time. As an aside, that quote, "Give me a child at seven..." is the intro to the original British Seven Up! series where the producer tries to prove the quote. However, I'm not sure if he's trying to prove it right or wrong. Looking forward to the next installment of the series, Seventy Up! in 2026. And very much looking forward to the next installment of this piece. Ciao.