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Choose The Blogging Adventure (a seemingly contuining series)

Another day, another morning busy over at Command Post, another cryptic dream about writing.

In this morning's dream I opened my Moveable Type and wrote in the title box:

Nostalgia v. Memory.

It's an interesting title for a blog post, no?

Ideas? Thoughts? Where would you go with that title?


Memory would be based on real events. It would be personal, grounded in sense-memory, and, often, somewhat fragmented and incomplete. Only a few memories are very detailed and complete, often the more traumatic ones. Therefore, memories are seldom those rosy, sentimental, HAPPY ones that are referred to in the Hallmark commercials.

Nostalgia, on the other hand, refers to an impression of a former time. It may not access real memories, but, rather manufactured memories (from watching TV, listening to radio, reading a book). It's more about the frame of mind that thinking about a generalized past brings one to. It isn't a personal recollection, it's a feeling that it would be so nice to return to a former time; that time may further away than one's own lifetime.

Nostalgia is that feeling that it would be great to live like the Amish and raise a large family. Reality is that no one who feels like that was raised Amish. They remember the work that lies beneath the sentimentality.

I got a manuscript for a play stuck in a file cabinet along that line. The main character is having an argument with himself over what parts of his memories are real events, and what parts are just made up constructions, and what things have been consciously buried.

Write down things as you remember them and then revist them and observe the actuality.

Memories are things we think happened to us. Nostalgia is what we think happened to others.

Memory is data: What happened when, who was where. Nostalgia is a warm, subtle longing for something you'll never have in quite the same way again: A sniff of daffodils and you're that ten-year-od kid on a dewy morning with the entire summer stretching out forever in front of you.

What would I write about? The first thing that comes to mind is my first cat. I have all sorts of memories about Murphy: the day his mother showed up unannounced on our doorstep and had her kittens under the bush by the front door when we wouldn't let her come in the house; the time Murf fell asleep on the stove with his tail draped across the burner and I had to rush over and save him when I smelled burning hair (the idiot never noticed his tail was on fire); the mice he insisted on giving his favorite people by depositing the tiny carcasses on bed pillows. I can recount the tales, but what I feel when I remember him is how it was when he crawled into my lap and fell asleep and I didn't want to move for fear of breaking the spell. I remember the stories, but I'm nostalgic for the feel of warm cat fur and the throbbing pulse of purr under my hands.

Nostalgia would be sitting back and wistfully remembering what it was like to see Zappa, on Halloween, at the old palladium on 14th St. Glossy visions of the glitter and excitement of standing in line watching the spectacle of a Halloween in lower Manhattan and the vague impression that Bozzio was tighter than he ever had been before.

Memory would be the drag queen that puked on my leg, the guy who burnt me (just give me the money, I'll be right back... we were all young and stupid once) and the fact that Bozzio was in no fit condition to play and would have been lucky to find his kit with a searchlight and seeing eye dog.

I'd far rather immerse myself in nostalgia than memory.

AL! You were at that show? Were all the he/she working the Ralph Patrol that night, or what!?! I had to toss my dungaree jacket off the side of the ferry on my way home.

I went to a couple of them... unfortunately, I'm a little vague on the specific years. Actually, I'm a little vague on the whole thing :)

Nostalgia admits it's a lie, and memory pretends it is not.