Long ago, far away

In coffee, Film, Food, Hautvoir, humeurs, Local projects, proto drafts, Sanford Meisner, Theater on January 27, 2016 at 9:21 am

Emotions. You find scads of little figures now, designed to signal the state of your current hormonal combo. Being who I am, I still add an old-fashioned smiley to some electronic messages, on occasion – a practice that must seem as dated to the younger ones as typing lol. Most of the time, I try to convey emotions through words or gestures, or silences.

Nostalgia, for instance. How can anyone design an icon for it? You read someone else’s words. They set off an evocation – possibly, far removed from the writer’s intent – but there you are. They conjure up sights, sounds, smells from a faraway place. You watch the swish of roasting coffee beans and inhale their scent in a shop called La Vieille Europe in Montreal, for instance.  Or you feel the pickling cold seeping into your slush-drenched winter boots, while you stand in line outside the Fairmount Bagel Bakery. Ahead of you some New Yorkers are stocking up on twelve dozen bagels – half white seed, half black. (Scenes redrawn straight from life, some forty years ago, or thereabouts.)

La Vieille Europe. That’s where I live now – on the continent, not in the shop. Writing. Each scene, something like a leaded ball the characters ride to some conclusion or further mishap.

Watched a brief video on Buster Keaton yesterday. At the local level, listened to an off-stage actor. On first contact, I’d labelled him a bit hastily as flippant. Last night, he talked  about his companion’s ongoing struggle with pancreatic cancer, and how he dealt with his own emotions and those of his two children. Sometimes, things are as they seem. More often, they’re layered in unpredictable ways.

I liked what Buster Keaton demonstrated in the vid – each fall, off a ledge, a ladder, the curb of a sidewalk, a different experience. Same with nostalgia, unless you settle for a combo of emoticons (or maybe I like my own scribbles too much to adopt a bunch of emojis. I just looked up a few… mehhhh, let’s hear it for word-based communications.)

However. The real question, for whatever new scene awaits in the wings: how is this bit of nostalgia different from every other? What’s the dominant emotional flavor to it? The secondary notes? The overall impression? Where might it lead next?


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