Part of moving to another continent requires violently attacking your nostalgia, because you (read: I) don’t want to pay cash money to ship a dirty Cabbage Patch Kid with no shoes to another country so it can continue to sit at the bottom of a box in the back of your closet.
After all, I am now old,* old enough that I have things in boxes that I’ve blindly moved from apartment to apartment for 20 actual years; cardboard-bounded black holes of memory that I haven’t opened in as long. I don’t think the past 20 years would have been measurably different had I displayed my stuffed blue penguin or the sheet music for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” so I can probably do without them.
While I was sorting through my boxed life experience, I found a cache of essays written for Advanced Placement English** in my senior year of high school. It was taught by Dr. Delaney, who had an auburn Alex Trebek-style mustache and an unnatural love of Moby Dick,*** but was a great teacher in spite of those things. At the end of one essay on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings — I got a B+ — I found this note:
You should have kept the original wording of the intro paragraph, because you have earned the right to write in fragments. Your writing has begun to show confidence, which breeds risk-taking, resulting in your developing a style unique to you. Keep it going.
– Dr. D.
It made me feel feelings. I think I have kept it going; more importantly, I still love it.
Thanks for the push, Doc.
*A bajillion years old.
**If you would like to read my thirty-page final paper, “Negative Utopias and the Human Spirit,” I will happily send it to you. I’m sure it’s full of profound insights of the kind that only a 16-year-old can generate.
***And I say this as a person who actually enjoyed Moby Dick.
Update! The dog has claimed the stuffed blue penguin as his own, and I find an odd sense of comfort in that. Since it has now become useful again, it can stay.