A Reflection on Nostalgia and the Writer

Writers enjoy romanticizing things. It’s usually one of the reasons we become writers, to make up stories that provide feelings of experience. It doesn’t have to be entirely the truth or entirely a lie. Sometimes stories become a happy medium between the two, a little bit of exaggeration in order to portray one’s feelings instead of what bluntly happened.

Nostalgia takes memories that you’ve had and then paints it over with rose (or gold, depending on your preference) colored lenses. You see certain things, maybe an old pasta dish at your once-favorite restaurant, or a board game you played on family night, and that location/food/object/person you’re remembering becomes something that you really ought to have again. You deserve to have it again.

The trouble is, you’re not actually nostalgic for the object. You’re remembering the happiness you felt, not the object itself. That’s the goal of writers when we write. We try to express the feelings of something in order to get a point across. That’s why, instead of simply saying: “this person was sad”, we describe their eyes as being filled with dark clouds, or their faces becoming drawn out and sallow.

So, if you’re a writer and you’re feeling a bit nostalgic, then allow yourself the chance to experience all those emotions again to better portray it within your writing. But remember to also be able to distinguish your imagination from your surroundings. The real world has its responsibilities, but so does the task of becoming a better writer, a motivated writer with goals and plans and dreams that will come true with enough hard work.

Now, all there’s left to do is write.

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