I have a friend who basically thinks that nostalgia is for losers. While in some respects I agree that dwelling on the past is not a way forward, I also think that there are moments when our personal history should be softened back into remembering good things. After all, we are seldom nostalgic about misery – which is why in many cases families have more than one child…
But this morning’s musing is nostalgia of a different source, and does, to some degree involve misery. As a person who has written since I could write, I have been one of those people who has written in a fast paced world with wonders of technology rising around me. I have rolled with most of them, embracing them with passion as they have made it so much easier for me to capture the quicksilver of thought. I can almost type as fast as I think – or I can record what I am thinking directly into a program that will type it for me. I rarely do that because it just seems too disconnected – if I ever get really rich and famous, I think another living being to take down my musings would be a better choice….but that is something else.
Anyway, as a person who writes I am of an age where I was able to quite honestly develop a pat set of gestures that usually worked this way: (type, type, type, slap, return, type, type) expletive, another expletive, grab paper, frrph! Tear paper from typewriter, expletive, heavy sigh, crumple, toss vaguely at the trash can. Miss. Watch cat turn an hour’s work into a toy. Grab fresh sheet of paper, insert, trrf, trrf, trrf, (type, type, type, slap, return.) And oh yes, my first typewriter was an Underwood. Additions to the above scenario included running to the end of the typing ribbon, getting 7 or more keys actually tangled inside the machine (slamming down on the keyboard in disgust was usually greeted this way – action/consequence – instant karma.)
The upshot of new technology is a much greener set of similar actions and fewer cat toys. While this is good, there are moments when the act of crumpling paper and tossing it were cathartic and creative. You can’t imagine how good it felt to crumple up last nights spoiled report… Nostalgia has a place.