Monday, July 11, 2011

Nostalgia




Warning: The Following is not funny!


I want to see the world 
through an old lens,
when theives and
enemies were trusted friends,
a filter to distort everything new
and soften all the colours put in view.
memory has a way of being kind
to thoughts that we rewind,
it's all film grain and missing frames,
deleted anger and absent names.


Real life car accidents are nothing like they are in the movies. In a movie everything is slowed down so you can experience each moment. Every scream of panic, every tire screech and groan of twisted metal is introduced to your eye in systematic flashes so that you can process the importance and severity of the incident. In real life there is no time for a reaction. In an instant you either instinctively make the right choice and swerve safely out of the way or you don't. In real life, there is not even time to yelp "oh shiiiiittt!" It won't be until several seconds later that you are able to discern whether you are dead. In real life, it will take you  minutes, hours, days or years to fully understand that single moment.

As an observer, other people's lives seem to have divisions. When we are young we watch our elders grow old and die. When we are old we see new babies born into our world and monitor their growth through various rites of passage. What we rarely see however is the evolution and change within our own lives. Every day if we get fatter, thinner, older, balder we don't really notice. Of course we've all had those moments where we look in the mirror and exclaim "holy crap, I'm fat" or "holy crap, I'm old" but this is usually after years of "business as usual." Sometimes When you are too close to something you can't fully see it.




J.D. Salinger the author of Catcher in the Rye died a little while ago. The book was an important part of my adolescent development so after he passed I read several articles about his life from various publications. One article that I found interesting noted that he spent the greater part of his reclusive years watching old black and white movies. It was as though he didn't like the world he was living in so he surrounded himself with the world he grew up in. Perhaps, it was the only world he truly felt alive in.


In many ways (obviously) I feel the same about the feelings that I am foisting upon ol' Mr. Salinger. During my formative years I was obsessed with movies, music and books. I felt energized and inspired by almost everything that I consumed with my eyes. As a youth I was hungry for the things that nurtured my creative spirit but unfortunately that all changed one day. 




At some point in my early 20's I was nearing the zenith of my awareness as a human being. I'm certain that many good books, movies and cd's have been released since that time but none have really grabbed or transformed me since. All of my favorite bands have either sold out, died or become a shadow of their former selves. I have grown through the extent of the lessons that all of their art could teach me but now there exists a hole that cannot be pacified. Science and mathematics are interesting fields but they do not move me on an organic level like art has in the past. Because of this, I never find myself quite connecting with anything new that is being created. 


I'm not suggesting that what was created in the past is superior to what is being created these days. I am not a fan of The Hangover part 1 or 2 yet I think Dumb and Dumber is laugh out loud hilarious. However, if Dumb and Dumber was released today, I probably would not like it very much, if at all. The reason I liked Dumb and Dumber is because it was attached to my youth. All the gags and fart jokes were new to me. As a youngster, I inflated its overall worth because it was in some way subconsciously meaningful to me.



As a child I was aware that other people died every day. It took me a long time however to truly realize that one day I would meet the same fate. Also, that same fate could at anytime be thrust upon me as quickly and as carelessly as it was on the people who came before me. This thought made me take pause and realize that often hugely important parts our lives go by without indication or notice. We get attached to the anger, love, judgement or confusion of a moment for so long that we fail to see the impact and consequences of our actions. We don't learn lessons as quickly and as readily as they do in the movies. 


I once thought that nostalgia was a happy sentimental feeling that was peppered with grief but it isn't. Nostalgia is simply sadness in its purest form. It is your body and soul now dead of feeling trying to claw its way back through a closed door. It is the wisdom that only comes with the loss of never being able to touch something ever again. It is a part of you, or perhaps the whole you that has died and fallen away, while you continue living.

10 comments:

  1. I have those 'holy crap' moments every day.

    And I am nostalgic for thin, young me.
    Yeah you're right.

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  2. someone commented on my grey hair the other day ... i made an appointment with the hairstylist ... i'm not nostalgic about the little grey spindles that are coming out of my flesh

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  3. what a lovely post. i think that many of us experience these moments as a part of our adult rites of passage. things we long for we no longer do. things which irritated us and we ignored, now interest us.
    this is nothing new.
    although there is a certain romanticism in the world of nostalgia, it is a feigned attempt at reaching into a world which no longer exists. tempting, sure, but futile.
    i lived in this patchy fog off and on since i was a kid, and recently, decided that i would rather look into the now for the juicy bits i will relish in the future.
    i earned every single silver hair i now proudly flaunt. i laughed alot for these lines, and cried more tears for the other lines, but all said and done- the most precious moments i hold dear are the ones i can touch- the now moments.
    these small and poetic exchanges with strangers online, the silly conversation with the random woman in the movie theatre, and the fact that i too- like our dear pal j.d. salinger, can turn on netflix, and watch a classic old movie, and drift off to dreamland.
    thanks for sharing. you have a fantastic blog. keep it up!

    p.s. fun fact: j.d. salinger was first on line when he went to a monthly pancake dinner at the church in his old new england town. he refused to sign autographs, and made sure the townies treated him as they would anyone else... [he went until he died.]

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  4. Moving post Drone. Written from your yellow soul.
    Your words resonate and stirs similar sentiments. I do have these moments and sometimes it takes longer to get out of it makes for very uncomfortable days when you have to meet other people and work outside. J.D. Salinger passed at 91, I am sure he lived a full life. Hopefully when I go, I can look back and say I did not hold back on living.

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  5. I thought about this post for several days now. It is extremely well written (as always, you are a gifted writer). I wonder, was it written in a fit of melancholy? Or do you always feel this way? Or am I the anomaly? I look back on the past fondly, and the future with some hope. That being said, I enjoy thinking, so keep writing and I'll keep reading.

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  6. @paul IRL I'm a debby downer. beyond that I suspect that you are an anomaly. you are probably one of those people who are happy or content. to be aware of yourself and be happy is rare indeed. I too look toward the future hopefully though I do not know why. perhaps if I had kids and a rewarding career i'd think differently. i'm not there yet.

    @all: thank you for your replies and thank you for entertaining a more direct and SERIOUS entry.

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  7. Great post by someone who is rapidly becoming my favorite writer!

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  8. Wonderful post. It is deep and well written, but more than well written, you well expressed what you were trying to communicate. Something can be well written and seriously fail in that aspect.

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  9. Nice post. When I was younger I was always looking forward, imagining life further up the years would be somehow brighter.

    That younger me was always reaching up towards my present-self, but here I am, reaching back down in nostalgia, and still never our hands meet.

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