I had an interesting experience the other evening. A cousin of mine, very much into genealogy, stopped by to visit my mother and talk to her about our family history. Neither of us had been back to our old home town in more than forty years.
My cousin talked at length about the hometown, places that still were, places that no longer existed, and of course, graveyards. What would genealogy be without graveyards?
For a short time it was nice to reminisce, to think about the old days, but I’ve never been one to dwell too long in the past. Nostalgia just doesn’t work for me.
I heard once that nostalgia was originally diagnosed as a psychological malady in Swiss soldiers stationed far from their home regions. The soldiers would remember their home lives as idyllic and longed to return. When they did return, however, they discovered that things were not the ideal they remembered. That jolt of reality caused a particular form of depression that psychologists called nostalgia. (More on nostalgia, here.)
Nostalgia has negative consequences for writers also. Spending too much time thinking about past success (or failures) can lead to being anchored in the past, never moving forward, and never expanding the limits of what you can achieve. Keep facing forward, learn from the past, but don’t get mired in it. The next piece you write is always a step ahead from the last.
© Copyright 2017 by Kevin Fraleigh.