Interesting word, isn’t it? Anemoia. According to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (I love that too!) it means ‘nostalgia for a time you’ve never known’.
Anemoia. I have an ex-wife and several former partners from over the years and I tell them that this is a one-word condition I suffer from and which explains a lot: anemoia. They’re kind of dismissive, though. Cruelly so, in my opinion. They tell me that the condition I suffer from is being a sandwich short of a picnic basket, of having an escalator that doesn’t go quite to the top. I tell them that’s more than word, so they’re wrong. Hah!
Anyway, one time I’m nostalgic for is roughly around perhaps 1933 to 1936. And the place is specifically Cross Plains, Texas. Because I would love to have met the writer Robert E. Howard, who lived and died there.
Failing that, I’ve always fantasized about being in one of those very early audiences – very early, mind you; turn-of-the-19th-century early -- who were the first to witness the birth of a new art form in the shape of the moving silent image. Can you imagine what an experience that would have been? Knowing what we know now and looking at the awed faces as a large white screen showed a factory letting its workers out or a train coming into the station. Or maybe a gun-toting cowboy aiming at the camera and pulling the trigger, causing the audience to duck.
Of course, this feeling of nostalgia for a time I never knew comes with a caveat from me: despite being in the past I would want to have access to clean hospitals and lots of anesthetic in the case of surgery; and there would also have to be painless dental care. And maybe hot-and-cold running water and flush toilets everywhere. I’ve just checked and we’ve had showers since 1767, hand-pump operated affairs, so that’s OK.
Yeah… when I get right down to it, this is a bit like my South Seas desert island fantasy. In other words, I would have no objection to being shipwrecked just as long as I had a Monica Bellucci or a Lily James lookalike with me. And if I had a projector and a library of my favourite movies. And books. And electricity.
I wonder if there’s a word for nostalgia for a time you’ve never known but which has all the modern, comfortable amenities.
What a rambling senior moment of a posting this has turned into! And what has it all to do with silent era comedy writer Clyde Adolf Bruckman, I hear you ask? I promise: all will be revealed next time. I hope.
TO BE CONCLUDED