Writing and nostalgia

Finally, a day to relax and write.

My wife and I have been taking it easy all day, resting our poor legs. She’s still recovering from a punctured foot (from an errant garden rake… like Sideshow Bob in The Simpsons, but not nearly as funny), and I’m still hobbling around with sciatica. Between us we still have two good legs. We’d be no good in a three-legged race as they’re our left legs so we’d be running in circles. Again, cue The Simpsons.

I’ve been working on two different novels. I’ve never successfully worked on two simultaneously, but both ideas arrived at the same time. One of them is a ghost story, a tale of revenge: a woman being haunted by the husband she murdered. I’ve always wanted to write a purely supernatural story. (Ordinary Handsome has elements of haunting and ghosts, but isn’t a supernatural tale.)

The other project is more personal. It’s far from autobiographical, but I’ve been drawing on a lot of memories of what it means to be a kid. I think that everyone is shaped and affected by their childhood, good or bad, and it’s something they always carry around. Being an adult requires following rules. Being a child is learning the rules, usually breaking them, and testing the boundaries of courage, trying to find a deeper sense of self. And growing up means the rules aren’t always well established. That’s an over-simplification, of course.

Digging back sometimes yields unexpected nostalgia. Penny candy, for instance. I remember it well, but I didn’t remember the sheer variety of it. Waxed bottles with the liquid inside? Wrapped chocolate coins? Licorice pipes? I Googled penny candy, and a rush of memories came back. Oh, and they ain’t selling for pennies these days.

People like Evel Kneival, a personal hero growing up and who was probably responsible for most of my childhood injuries.Okay, he didn’t make me ride my bike up ramps, each one progressively longer and set at a higher incline.  But man, I made one hell of a jump back in ’76… I wish I could remember it, but….

Sciatica? When did I become such a wimp? Oh, right, I grew up. Became an adult. I miss the penny candies that aren’t pennies anymore. I don’t miss the concussions or pulling gravel out of my arms.

That’s the joy of writing. It’s a chance  to relive the sensations without the pain and expense. But of course, there’s always pain and expense if it’s real.

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20 thoughts on “Writing and nostalgia

  1. Isn’t that the best part of writing? The chance to relive, to own the moment and finally be free of its endless loop running in your head for years.
    A day to relax and write – sounds too good 🙂
    The snippets about Jeremiah and his wife- are they from the ghost novel you are writing?
    Hope you and your wife recover soon but till that time, don’t move about much and do write a lot 🙂

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    1. Yes, the bits about Jeremiah and his wife are from the ghost novel. It’s my first attempt at writing from a female point of view, so it’s quite different and challenging, in a good way.
      Thank you for your well wishes… we’re getting there. A good excuse to write, as if we needed any. 🙂

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  2. I’m doing the ‘two books at one time’ thing as well at the moment – I hope it’s all going well for you, and I’m sorry to hear about your poor legs – get well soon! And isn’t that one of the joys of writing (and reading) – the chance to experience all the thrill of a moment without leaving the comfort of your chair 🙂

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  3. It’s a challenge working on two at a time. At least they’re different enough that I don’t confuse the two. We’re slowly recovering, but it’s been a long month with so much outside work being neglected. But we’re getting there. I’m happy to be reliving some of these experiences, and equally happy that I don’t have to physically endure some of them again. 🙂

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  4. Oh god, yes, penny candy! I remember those wax bottles. Even then, I didn’t really like the taste of the liquid, or of the wax on my teeth, but I couldn’t resist the tiny bottles, the mix of colors. I sometimes think of that store and wonder how they kept the glass front of the counter so clean, because we were always pressed up against it.

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  5. I know it. I’m not sure what we were supposed to do with the wax bottles. I always chewed them like gum, and then ate something sweet to get the taste out of my mouth. Clever marketing, I guess. Who doesn’t like brightly colored liquid? They could have been filled with dish soap and we would have slurped ’em down.

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    1. I think they were filled with dish soap.

      I tried chewing up the wax once. It was worse than the liquid. After that I hung onto them a while (that justified whatever I’d spent on them; I can’t remember how much it was but more than most of the candy), then when they got nasty wondered why I’d bothered and threw them out. Unless my mother found them first, in which case I didn’t have to.

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  6. Checking online, I see you can still buy them in the bulk. Five pounds (2.267 kg) for almost $25. I hope they improved the taste… I don’t see where they’re now filled with liquor to justify the price. I’m so glad I’m more discerning with my sweets.

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