The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Midway Through the Month of Remembrance

by Melissa Bell

The moments can come at you from anywhere, and out of the deep, dark blue from nowhere, and you are powerless to do anything but let the memories and the vast wave of space between then and now crash into you, and then hope that it pulls away quickly.

It is the longing for the remembered joy that sticks its pointy little knife into the brain and jabs away, jabbity-jab, reminding you that life goes on, and that time is a bitch, and no matter who you are or how much money you have, or how successful you have become, you can never, ever, ever go back to what once was. I would like to suggest that you are able to look this fact in the eye and stare it down if you are attempting memoir.

Nostalgia. As a word desconstructed, it is the pain of returning home. Although home doesn't always have anything to do with it.

Last week I was driving around, running some errands, when that song by The Proclaimers, the one about walking 500 hundred miles, the one that drove me and my friends to murderous distraction with its frequent airplay, came on the radio. I hadn't heard that song in years. But there I was, instantly, somewhere back in time in a bar (a bar!) with Christine and Milo and Bob and Eric and it wasn't the specifics that the song evoked, stinging the back of my eyeballs with tears, and making me want to laugh and tear my heart out by the roots. I could not tell you at all what I wanted in the moment that it came on the radio. It wasn't a desire to return to that time for real. It was something vaporous and sad-making and I wanted it to go away, and yet I had to smile as I turned up the volume and tried not to miss what I hadn't noticed had been missing until I was just then reminded that what was once so good was now so gone. And now so gone for good.

Oh my.
This human experience is such a challenge sometimes, isn't it?


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Beautiful, Mel. I've had the feeling you describe so well. For me there's a bit of regret mixed in -- a sense I might have squandered those good old days, not savoured every moment in my rush to get on with life.

Sun Nov 18, 02:12:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger T. Lee said...

Lovely post.

I find nostalgia is especially pointed when I'm already working on a piece that's reflective; suddenly everything is poignant, stuff I'd forgotten I felt strongly about suddenly has new meaning.

Sun Nov 18, 06:55:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Antonios Maltezos said...

I love your post too, Mel. Without that heartache, the understanding that time is meant to slip away from us, what reason would we have to write. Know you're not alone, Mel.

Sun Nov 18, 07:49:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger Anne said...

If I say that this post makes me sad, please take it as a compliment.

Sun Nov 18, 07:56:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger MelBell said...

You're all so nice.
Thank you all for your kind words.

Mon Nov 19, 04:52:00 pm GMT-5  

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