After the pretty meaningful birthdays of 18 and 21 (at which points my tobacco- and alcohol-related habits were legalized), I’m beginning to realize how much you start to forget about your own birthdays. For instance, mine just snuck up on me. I hadn’t really thought about it that much, apart from wondering if some people should get together or something; but that’s not what I’m talking about. More the sense of anticipation, that pre-Christmas excitement that used to attend the days and weeks before a birthday…that sense was completely and finally gone this year. It’s now September 26 and there is no elation, no feeling of the specialness of the day. It’s sad, I guess, but part of the whole thing is that I don’t really care that it’s sad. Last year may have been the same, except we had a hurricane on my birthday so that made things exciting anyhow.

So while September 26 is no longer a cause for unbridled joy and wondering if I may have some good presents waiting, it is of course a good excuse to do things like take a midnight shot of sub-30-degree vodka. Mmmm.

Somewhat randomly and incidentally, yesterday and today were the first days I’ve taken any time in the last few years to work on Enaselvai, my constructed language. Many people do not know I have a constructed language, and for their sake, I prefer to keep it that way. I find that people cannot handle this knowledge gracefully. Anyway, things have remained largely static over the last few years, but for some reason I felt emotionally compelled to work on it a bit.

Everyone knows that artists create art as an emotional/intellectual response to things they are going through. I do this with music quite often, and understandably, as many artists are musicians. I also have this tendency to create linguistic art–not art with words, but words themselves as art. So cracking open the Enaselvai dictionary and going on a word-creation spree is no doubt my artistic response to something that is happening right now or moving me in some way; not sure what.

But anyway I thought I’d give you all, hobbit-fashion, a birthday present on this day; a fresh, brand-new sentence in Enaselvai, never before existing! It’s always exciting to write these sentences, like fresh tracks in a new linguistic snowfall…but I’ve catalogued this feeling elsewhere.

It’s actually a translation of a Bible verse, though which one I’m not going to say. It’s not a particularly meaningful verse anyway, but I wanted a translation project, and I wanted something that I am in some ways or in some senses hoping will characterize the upcoming year for me. Here it is:

Ecó nai le’potényue se’elódum, lea’beréleose, ter vi vánlea berélec io lairévarse.

Kudos to anyone who can guess what verse it is. I followed the Greek syntax pretty nearly, but that’s not a very good clue. Also, don’t guess out loud.

Here’s a better clue; a veritable Rosetta stone and a marvelously alliterative sentence in Enaselvai–possibly the first one-line poem in the history of the language!

Vi van vódca.

Which of course means, “Vodka is good.” Slainte!

In other news, my theme song has officially changed. For the year following my 22nd birthday, it was the rather in-hindsight-unappropriately-but-hopefully-named “Fell In Love At 22”, by Starflyer 59. Now, it is the more numeric but more appropriately-named “23”, from the recent Jimmy Eat World album. I think it’s going to be a good theme song, and while there’s not quite the optimism in the title, I think I can live with that.

By Jonathan Lipps

Jonathan worked as a programmer in tech startups for several decades, but is also passionate about all kinds of creative pursuits and academic discussion. Jonathan has master’s degrees in philosophy and linguistics, from Stanford and Oxford respectively, and is working on another in theology. An American-Canadian, he lives in Vancouver, BC and has way too many hobbies.

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