Miodrag, decades ago
My Childhood, If One Can Call It That
by Miodrag Kojadinović

She was a teacher of literature, so my mom’s
library was huge for the small satellite town
of the only genuine metropolis in then-country
of my residence, which I hated. Books were
my friends. Not the only ones, but definitely
the closest, most reliable, unbetraying friends
you could have in that lonely house at the edge
of that sad town, in that country where being
manly, which I didn’t know how, was the only
acceptable thing you could possibly do. Unless
you were a scholar at heart, that is, or — worse
yet — an artist, and I was some of both, though
over time I shifted further to the less awarding,
but certainly more genuine, to me more natural,
more beautiful, rôle of the friend of the Muses.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This photo was taken in the front yard of my mother’s ancestral home, where the borders of Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania meet. I was probably about 5-5½ years of age — i.e., well over a quarter, but not a full half century ago.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Miodrag Kojadinović is a middle-aged binational university lecturer and author published in 22 counties in 13 languages, learning to cope with the fact that some of the simplest, yet most fundamental, desires of his life — just being allowed to live where he felt he belonged — have never been fulfilled, and now it is too late for it to have any meaning even if they were. Which they most likely will not be, anyway. No globetrotting to continents unwished for, no recognitions for art and scholarly work, or even large prizes won in sweepstakes, and he has had quite a bit of all these, can offset the feeling of being exiled.