The Dangers of Nostalgia.

My last album, Best Dead Masterpiece, treats nostalgia as a largely positive thing. A thing that is prized and hoarded. A shard of personal history, of individuality, stubbornly preserved. A robust and colorful way of seeing, the absence of which makes someone appear small-minded and dull.

As is typical of me, I am now beginning to counterbalance myself. I’m in the early phases of writing for the next full-length, continuing to peel layers off my old experiences and the resulting takeaways, and I am reminded more and more how certain varieties of nostalgia are also linked to maladaptive rigidity, to staid ritual, to antiquated gender tropes as well as pernicious nationalism.

What’s weird about my memory is that it’s sort of a swinging pendulum. Yes, there are times I pine for an over-romanticized vision of something, but there are just as many times my recollections are almost excessively uncharitable. Obviously this aids me in healing from loss, but going so far to a negative extreme sometimes means that evidence to the contrary can trigger buried affections to come roaring back, even to the point of blindsiding me and causing a temporary funk, a restlessness.

That’s another danger: comparison of sun-suffused past to unfiltered present, and the discontent it risks breeding.

Surely nostalgia is a thing that is fine in moderation. But I wonder if, like those who cannot drink, smoke, or eat in moderation, I cannot indulge in nostalgia moderately.

Or perhaps I am quite understandably craving some connection to a time and place that was formative for me, but that is thoroughly foreign to anyone I currently know.

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