Moederland, Part Two: Memorable Humiliations, by Johannes Klabbers

Johannes Klabbers is a Dutch/Australian writer and posthumanist therapist, currently living in Europe. He is the author of I Am Here: Stories From A Cancer Ward (Scribe Aus/UK 2016), which tells the story of an academic in the Australian outback who takes a voluntary redundancy and reinvents himself as a secular pastoral worker in the largest cancer hospital in the southern hemisphere. The Australian described it as “wonderfully insightful”. His website is johannesk.com and he tweets @johklab, is on Facebook @johkla and blogs on Medium @johannesk.

Johannes Klabbers is thinking through what it could mean to write postfiction. This is the second of four postfiction pieces to be published in Tincture in 2017 (the first is available here). See also postfiction.space. Please consider subscribing to Tincture to support our work.

Of all the exotic and unusual cities in the world that I could have moved to, I find myself in a place with which I am intimately familiar while at the same time being disconcertingly strange.

It is strange because it ought to be familiar—and then it can be suddenly and unexpectedly familiar when it should be strange. It is familiar because I was born here, almost sixty years ago, and I lived here until I was fourteen. Since then I have visited briefly a few times while learning how to be an adult in England and then Australia. It is strange because half the town is no longer there. It was demolished and rebuilt and now it is being partially demolished again and refurbished to make it look more like every other big shopping mall in the world instead of some dreamy Dutch architect’s imperfectly executed vision from the sixties when town planners predicted that no one in the twenty-first century would be riding bicycles.

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Moederland, Part One: I’m Not From Around Here, by Johannes Klabbers

Johannes Klabbers is a Dutch/Australian writer and posthumanist therapist, currently living in Europe. He is the author of I Am Here: Stories From A Cancer Ward (Scribe Aus/UK 2016), which tells the story of an academic in the Australian outback who takes a voluntary redundancy and reinvents himself as a secular pastoral worker in the largest cancer hospital in the southern hemisphere. The Australian described it as “wonderfully insightful”. His website is johannesk.com and he tweets @johklab, is on Facebook @johkla and blogs on Medium @johannesk.

Johannes Klabbers is thinking through what it could mean to write postfiction. This is the first of four postfiction pieces to be published in Tincture in 2017. See also postfiction.space. Please consider subscribing to Tincture to support our work.

I

Belonging can be fleeting. I feel it for the first time briefly, six months after moving back to Europe, in the baker’s on Christmas Eve queueing for a tulband cake—as especially requested by Moeder who never asks for anything, almost always refuses everything, and only ever gives you what you mostly don’t want.

I’ll bring a stol too, I tell Moeder on the phone.

—Oh no, I already have two.

Yes but this one is from the best baker in town. Yours are from the LIDL, two for the price of one? And no extra charge for the E202.

—What’s E202?

It stops mould growing.

—Oh I should get some for the bathroom!

That deserves an audible giggle. I dutifully oblige.

Maybe you should keep your stol from the LIDL there!

I can tell she’s smiling from her voice.

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