Nostalgia as a Creative Tool Kit


Transient Nostalgia

Volume 8, Issue 01
September 23, 2022

When I think of nostalgia, the analytical side of my brain takes a back seat, I begin to observe a conglomeration of feelings manifesting in my consciousness. Every feeling is then jumbled together, forming a pallet of vivid experiences, casting visions of idealistic life. I believe nostalgia is not necessarily the act of reminiscing on happy memories of a cozy past, but instead I find nostalgia manifests future experiences from “nostalgic” segments of happy memories. We often wonder why great ideas and creations come to exist, not realizing that these creations are artfully crafted and fueled by the light of nostalgic visions.

Though a drawing of an olive tree may not show nostalgia, its purpose solely draws on nostalgic emotions. It exists to trigger a specific set of feelings that replicates experiences which I can reuse in other creative endeavors. Its lines and ink symbolize a specific moment in my teenage years at the end of summer, harvesting olives with my family in Wadi al-Nasara in Syria. The drawing also evokes the feeling of a specific place and time where I experienced a vivid belonging to the region’s nature. The olive tree conjures these strong experiences all over again: the sunny warmth and dry sensations on my skin, the texture of dry and grainy olive leaves, the voices of my father and distant family. It brings me to an amalgamation of sentiments from childhood; the loud songs of mediterranean cicadas, the blue skies touching the ancient stepped mountains around me, and the excitement of waiting for the transition from day to night, all signaling a reenactment of another social summer night roaming the busy town.