Let’s Talk About Nostalgia

It’s getting harder and harder to remember what day of the week it is. I keep thinking it’s the weekend on a day on which I don’t have work, which I suppose means that I need to find more ways to stay busy, but I don’t think it’s that simple. Part of me still wants lots of time to sit around and do nothing. Yes, I have largely put that shitty experience in Queens behind me, but that doesn’t mean I’m over it completely, nor does it mean that I’m ready to start working full-time so that I can start pinching pennies and find my own place. This would be easier if I had somebody to share all of this with, but I’m alone most of the time, and that’s how it’s been for most of my life. So for the time being, I will focus on getting more reading, writing, exercising, and TV and movie viewing done than hard labor. I’m not ready for more labor, although I might be fairly soon.

Something occurred to me the other day: When I move back to New York, how will I work out the logistics? Looking for an apartment from the other side of the country might prove difficult. I could always find a place to stay for a little while while I look, but there are only so many friends in that area who would be willing to let me crash on their couch (there should be at least a couple, I think) and staying in a hostel gets expensive if you do it for more than a couple days. Then there’s the problem of job-hunting. If I’m lucky, I might be able to have one lined up before I move out there, but if not, I’m going to need at least a couple thousand saved up to cover my expenses until I get established (in addition to what I’ll need to cover moving and housing costs, of course). That is a fairly substantial sum of money. And I’m not sure if I’ll be able to have all that saved up by the winter. If I liked the place I were staying at currently, maybe I wouldn’t have to worry as much about expenses. But I don’t like my current situation. I grow less and less enamored of it by the day.

I went by my old college town yesterday to see The Wind Rises. It was a pretty good movie, maybe not Miyazaki’s best, but not his worst, either. (Ponyo was cute, but it barely even had a conflict, let alone a story.) Miyazaki generally seems less interested in giving each story a villain and a linear storyline than most American filmmakers. Film people used to debate whether Pixar or Ghibli was the better animation studio, and while I think comparisons between artists are always something of an apples-and-oranges thing, I’m definitely leaning towards Ghibli. Pixar hasn’t made a great film since, I don’t know, actually, and these days, they seem way more interested in churning out sequels and prequels to stuff that didn’t even need it to begin with than producing good original work. (And yes, I am excited for The Incredibles 2, but I actually found Toy Story 3 a bit rote. My eyes kind of glazed over during the action scenes, as if there was little in them that I hadn’t seen a million times before. Miyazaki likes his villains to be reasonable people who are just misunderstood. Pixar makes them evil right to the core. The truth is somewhere in between.) On a side note, I wasn’t too big on Porco Rosso when I first saw it, but looking back, I think it might be growing on me.

I didn't start reading Discworld until I was older. Funny stuff.

I didn’t start reading Discworld until I was older. Funny stuff.

I stopped by a used bookstore and picked up a bunch of Piers Antony’s Xanth books. I read a lot of shitty fantasy when I was a kid. Piers Anthony was just before my time. (Redwall was good, but repetitive. The ghost of Martin the Warrior was always menacing the villains in their dreams and materializing to help the heroes out of a tight spot. The Dragonlance books featured some reasonably well-developed characters and strong world-building. I’m just not sure if I’d want to revisit them now. And Terry Brooks basically just ripped off LoTR, then, once he’d done that, he started ripping himself off. A lot. That will give you a taste of what I was into in those days.) The Xanth series, from what I’ve heard, is absolutely godawful—poorly written, juvenile, and incredibly misogynistic. So why did I decide to start reading it even though its time as cheap escapism for preteens in the mid-80s is long gone? I have no idea. I read the first two chapters of A Spell for Chameleon, and let me tell you, they sucked pretty hard. So naturally, I’m going to keep reading. Honestly, I don’t know why I’m doing this. It’s not like I don’t have a lot of good shit to get into.

I don’t know why a lot of the shit that I liked as a kid appealed to me. I’m sure I’m not the only kid who read the first Harry Potter book when they were about the same age as Harry and kinda sorta wished Hagrid would burst through the door and hand them an acceptance letter to Hogwarts or went around opening closets in hopes of finding the gateway to Narnia. When you read that shit, you get into a “grass is greener” mentality, and part of the reason I like LoTR so much is that it digs into the gritty reality of life in Middle Earth. Yeah, the Shire seems rather pleasant, but that grueling slog to Mount Doom hardly makes the whole thing seem like a paradise. Readers shouldn’t want to crawl through the page and experience life in the world of the novel; they should see the ways that life on the other side mirrors their own, and hopefully use that to reimagine their own situation. At least, that’s the idea.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make lunch.



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