Five Things Friday: November 8, 2013

(I’m late! Oooo, I’m telling on you…) For personal reasons, this date is usually a day for memory. So this week, here are some thoughts from (or rather, about) my youth.

1) I regret being into pop music as a kid. I don’t hold myself fully responsible for my taste back then–the music you like, until you know better, is largely based on what you’re used to, and the influences of peers and radio were not easy to shake off then. Pop music is catchy, designed to please your brain in a certain way without paying any attention to whether the music is good. I admit I’ve always been a sucker for a more-or-less pleasant melody I can sing along to… but of course, that’s oversimplifying it. That’s not to say that ALL pop music is bad. Some of it I do enjoy now. I’m totally in love with Marina and the Diamonds, whom I only discovered recently. And sometimes I don’t even know how to categorize the music I listen to. “That’s pop? No, that can’t be pop, it’s good.” That’s usually how my brain works.

What it comes down to, though, is this: while I’ve always been good at singing and I found very basic music theory easy to understand, it took me a long time to actually be good at music–that is, to really hear it and be able to recognize whether a song is in fact good, or just catchy. Although I was one among many, I find it embarrassing that I spend my early years listening to boy bands and Britney Spears, instead of actually becoming familiar with Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Garbage, and Jeff Buckley.  And Brahms. Brahms is awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1trE3ms3AGo.

2) Once, someone shared a secret with me and only a few minutes later I ended up telling the person it was about. I have no idea why I did that. But it’s just one of many, many times I’ve said something I shouldn’t have. I’m much better about that now, having learned that you can’t just tell anything to anyone at any time.

I have not gotten over saying stupid things, though. I do it frequently. And I often look back at things I’ve said and feel uncomfortable with how stupid it was.

3) I know a lot of people grow up and still like fast food, and continue to eat McDonald’s. I have slightly higher standards for my fast food now. I haven’t eaten at McDonald’s for at least three years now. But I remember how much I used to love it. My senior year of high school, or maybe my junior year, I spent so much of my time driving down the street and getting an order of chicken selects for dinner. I LOVED those things–I was never into the chicken nuggets so much, and at this point I probably couldn’t eat them without getting queasy, but the chicken selects were whole, white meat. That was my lifeblood. I still love chicken, but no longer go to McDonald’s.

4) I think I actually had a better attention span when I was a kid than I do now. That seems strange, doesn’t it? If I really try, I can focus on things, but most of the time I get too distracted, and I can’t really just do one thing. I find this frustrating and perhaps that’s why I’ve had a strange nostalgia for my teenage years lately–I knew what was happening, I didn’t have to pay bills, and I could actually sit down and read a damn book.

5) In the house we lived in when I was very little (the one that burned down shortly after I turned 8), my enormous bedroom had a walk-in closet. My brother’s room has this little secret room, a door that opened outward or upward or something, into a little private cave. I was jealous of this nook even though I had a nice big closet that was, at times, my cave. I can’t remember what was kept in this little secret room. Was there a chair? Were there pillows? Books? Stuffed animals? Was there a light? I don’t know. However, I do know one thing… I kind of wish I had one of those now.

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Nostalgia: Backward

I saw the Daily Prompt weekly challenge for this week, to start with the last line of a story, or the final action, or something like that, and then give everything leading up to it, and I thought, what a cool prompt. I bet I could write something good. I’ll try it for a week.

Unfortunately, I have finally gotten the time to write and I still haven’t managed to come up with a good last line. I like the idea of this prompt very much, and I am certainly likely to write a story this way in the future, but I think I would have to have that lightbulb of the last line first. I can’t just pull a last line out of thin air. Thin brain. Something like that?

This is where people who just have a notebook full of good lines have an advantage. I don’t have one. (Then you’re not a writer! Go home!)

You go home, internet. You’re drunk.

But the name of the prompt, “Backward,” is reminding me of how I’ve been thinking about earlier times in my life so much these days.

I was even feeling a longing for my teenage years. I don’t want to go into detail here, but, when I’m missing being a teenager, something is clearly wrong. (I did not have a good time.)

Mostly, I miss the version of me that had time to think about the things I really wanted in the future. Too bad I wasn’t smart enough to try to take steps to get there at the time. Maybe I would be closer now.

***I’m not considering this an entry to their challenge, but I figured someone else might have a stab at it, so here is the link below:

Daily Prompt Weekly Challenge, September 9: Backward.

Nostalgia*: Little Italian Towns

For no reason at all, I started thinking about my 2008 trip to Italy the other day. It happened during my semester abroad, which I spend at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. My mom and I headed off to one of the lands of our ancestors (we’re both mutts) during the long study period between the end of classes and the start of exams. We were there for nine days, eight nights, I believe.

What came to mind? What was the aspect of that long-desired journey that popped up unbidden by any conscious process?

Part of our trip was spent in the small Tuscan town of Montespertoli, about an hour or two outside of Florence. It was rather secluded and quite beautiful around our lodgings, the house of a friend, but that is not what I remembered either. I thought instead of the few minutes we spent in the town, picking up a freshly baked loaf of bread that we would dress with salt and olive oil, sitting on a bench in the piazza with a small cup of gelato (the flavor escapes me. Stracciatella? bacio? Perhaps it was something with cherries and dark chocolate). The memory flashes in my mind, such a fleeting snapshot that I could never really describe what it looked like. I remember it being small. Not many people there, very different from the time we spent in the cities.

Is the feeling you get in a small town in a foreign country due to the place itself, or is it because you’re in a new place, unfamiliar and quieter than what you’re used to?

What would it be like to live in a place like that? Would you know everyone in town? Would you meet an attractive stranger and share a bacio on a patch of grass (either the gelato, or in the other sense)?

All I can think now is how much more I’m sure I could have appreciated what was around me at the time.

 

 

*I was going to call it a “Throwback thursday” post, but “Nostalgia” just sounds so much better. It sounds like either a flowering vine or one of those nebulous diseases that are so hard to diagnose. You decide… In fact, vote! In the comments!

That’s The Thing…

I subscribe to a blog, get all into it, and then they don’t post for weeks at a time. It’s so frustrating! I want to read!

That must be how you guys feel about me. Sorry 😦

If you follow any good, interesting blogs that post pretty consistently, send me a link so I can check it out.

I was having oddly nostalgic flashbacks to my teen years during my commute the other day. I largely hated my teen years – that is, school and my social life in connection with it, which is a large part of life for your average kid – so I don’t usually long for anything from that time. There’s always both good and bad, though, and every so often I find myself wishing for some moment of my youth, whether or not it was a particularly good one at the time. Now that I’ve been at work a few hours, I can’t remember specifically what had come to mind.

I wonder if it’s simply a “grass is greener” effect – only my current perspective makes me think that I would want any part of my experiences from years ago. Maybe there were other things surrounding those desired moments, things I would give anything never to have lived at all, that I can’t remember now because I can’t see them from where I’m standing.

When we’re younger we want to grow up so badly. When we become adults we want to slow down time, to give ourselves longer to make a name for ourselves at an early age, to be the youngest _____ ever or be the first person to turn into a unicorn or whatever. And I assume there are even some people that just want to skip right to retirement, because then the “hard part” is over.

*Spoiler:* It’s all the hard part.