Tag Archives: nostalgia

WANA Friday: Figure Skating Memories

It’s time for another edition of WANA Friday! This week’s common topic:

Tell us about something you used to be into but aren’t anymore — a hobby, an activity, a band, a TV show, etc.

Earlier this evening I happened to catch a bit of figure skating on TV and it reminded me…back in the ’90s I was a huge fan.

(Here’s another thing I used to be into: power ballads!)

More videos below the cut…

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WANA Friday: Childhood Home

Welcome to another edition of WANA Saturday, er, Friday, where you’re invited to join us in blogging on a common topic and going on a blog-hop to read everyone’s takes.

This week’s prompt is:

Tatiana de Rosnay has written a book called The House I Loved about Rose Bazelet in France in the 1860s when her house was to be destroyed in the reconstruction of Paris into a modern city. This book made me think of the houses that I have lived in and loved. What house, or place, have you lived in that you loved? Tell us about it.

I grew up in suburbia, so I can’t say I loved my childhood house exactly. Yes, it was home, but my heart belongs to old houses, like my grandmother’s house in Vancouver or the house I’m lucky enough to live in now.

And I don’t miss the suburban lifestyle — my current home has a good balance of public transit accessibility, nearby amenities, and backyard and other green space.

But I did move across Canada when I left home.

I miss Alberta.

(If you’re not Canadian, think “American midwest” and you won’t be far off.)

The Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, Alberta.

The Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, Alberta.

I miss the huge prairie skies, with their ever-changing clouds, their pure deep blue, and their spectacular sunsets.

I miss the fields of wheat and oat and barley, the sparse rows of trees set up as windbreaks, the big red barns all made in a particular style.

I miss the Rocky Mountains — but that’s a post for another day.

I even miss winter. Sure, it’s longer and colder and darker than winter in Toronto, where I live now. But it’s a lot sunnier — in fact, the colder it is, the more likely it is to be sunny. It’s drier and less windy. And the snow stays crisp and frozen, rather than turning into ankle-deep slush that must be waded through. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of the -30 C weather Alberta gets in the winter, but I really hate slush.

When I was growing up in Alberta, we used to pretend we were Arctic explorers (thank you, Arthur Ransome). We built forts and made snow paths with our toboggans (one benefit of having a big suburban backyard!) and slid down hills and went cross-country skiing and skating outdoors and climbed snow mountains. Even shovelling was fun…for a while!

Other WANA Friday participants this week

Janice Heck shares memories of her childhood home

Your turn! If you’ve moved from one climate to another, what do you miss?

Movie Nostalgia: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV coverYep, it’s time to talk about the one with the whales. Welcome to our latest installment of the Nostalgia series.

I was a big Star Trek fan throughout my teens, and I saw all the movies, but Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was the only one I watched over and over. Knowing this, I picked it up for a recent re-watch with some hesitation. Would Leonard Nimoy’s clunky directing from Star Trek III carry over? Would the comedy hold up? Would the mid-1980s just be too dated as a time-travel destination?

(Spoilers ahoy!)

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Movie Nostalgia: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for SpockIn this installment of our Nostalgia series, we’re looking at Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Klingons, the return of the Genesis Project, some poignant moments for the Enterprise, and Spock, oh my…

When I first saw this film, in my early teens and at the height of my Trek-mania, I thought it was the best thing ever. After all, it all revolved around Spock! I read the novel adaptation, too, which fleshed out character relationships and motivations more than the film version allowed. But I never went back and watched it again until just recently…and now I remember why.

(Spoilers follow, of course.)

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Book Nostalgia: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur RansomeQuick anthology update: I was recently over at author Shay Fabbro’s blog talking about how we created the shared world for the anthology. And that’s it for promo today.

In this week’s installment of my Nostalgia series, I’m looking at the first of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons books. (More to come in a future Nostalgia post!) Sailing, camping, pirates, and treasure…what’s not to love?

In case it’s been a while, here’s a quick summary to jog your memory. Swallows and Amazons features two groups of preteen siblings, each crewing a small sailboat on a large lake. The four Swallows, exploring the lake for the first time, are thrilled to be allowed to camp alone on an island…until the two Amazons arrive, and war ensues. There are night raids, an attack on a pirate houseboat, and the discovery of a treasure chest.

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Book Nostalgia: Trixie Belden

Trixie Belden and the Secret of the MansionToday in our Nostalgia series, we’re talking about a girl sleuth. No, not Nancy Drew. My detective alter ego was a sandy-haired farm girl from small-town New York, a girl with three brothers and a poor little rich girl as a best friend. I discovered her at just the right age, as a preteen dreaming of adventure. If you were a fan of Trixie Belden or one of the other ongoing mystery series, come on in and let’s reminisce…

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Book Nostalgia: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

In this week’s installment of our Nostalgia series, I’m tackling a book whose very language has inscribed itself in my heart and mind.Anne of Green Gables cover

A child of about eleven, garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish gray wincey. She wore a faded brown sailor hat and beneath the hat, extending down her back, were two braids of very thick, decidedly red hair. Her face was small, white and thin, also much freckled; her mouth was large and so were her eyes, that looked green in some lights and moods and gray in others.

Yes, it’s L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. If you love this book as I do — or even if you don’t — come on in and let’s talk about it…

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Movie Nostalgia: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

In this installment of the Nostalgia series, we’re looking at a classic science fiction movie — Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (or TWOK).

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan cover, 2009 reissueI will admit up front that I’m biased. Star Trek is not something I can be objective about — I have too long a history with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, as well as the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But hey, that’s why it made the Nostalgia list.

Still, it’s been a very long time since I saw TWOK. I’d been worried about whether it would hold up over time, but on watching it again this weekend, I was surprised. True, I got a certain amount of warm fuzzies from seeing the familiar characters and the Star Trek universe again. Okay, maybe a lot of warm fuzzies. But all that aside…turns out it’s an excellent movie. What exactly makes it good? Read on…

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Book Nostalgia: The Time Quartet by Madeleine L’Engle

Like many of us, I devoured a lot of books when I was young. More than a few of them have become books that I can’t look at with any sort of objectivity now, books whose words are still lodged deep in my brain. A reread might show that they’ve been visited by the Suck Fairy. Yet they might still hold some of the emotional power that grabbed me so strongly back then. This post is the first in a series that looks back at some of my favourites.

First up is Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quartet – A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. (I haven’t read any of her books about the next generation of Murry-O’Keefes, or the fifth book that made the original series into the Time Quintet.) I reread the original four, and was struck by what I remembered and how it shifted.

The first two are Meg’s books, and they’ve become my favourites. Meg, the awkward, bespectacled girl, was someone I identified with very strongly. I was fascinated by the subgenre of science fantasy, in which ~magic, space travel, science, and classical evil are juxtaposed – one reason why I loved Diane Duane‘s Young Wizards series as well. While I generally prefer antagonists with believable, human reasons for doing what they do, the Echthroi are damn creepy, and Meg’s standing up to them in each of these two stories (to save Charles Wallace in both, plus her father in the first and her hated school principal in the second) rings of fairy-tale heroism in the best way.

I’m going to skip to Many Waters, which I remember being confused by, and my recent reread confirms that impression. The pre-Flood world, with its seraphim, nephilim, and miniature mammoths, is a strange place, and what little we see of it doesn’t convey the level of evil I would have expected to make the Flood necessary. There’s also not a lot of plot or character development; Sandy and Dennys spend most of the book waiting around or gardening or worrying about the flood, and they return to their world in much the same state as when they left it. (Tip of the hat to Narnia here, in which the Pevensies spend years as kings and queens and then go back to being children – something that was pretty much left out of the books, much as I love them, but explored very nicely in the recent films.)

A Swiftly Tilting Planet coverA Swiftly Tilting Planet [ASTP] is the one I have the most complicated relationship with. When I first read it, it was hands-down my favourite – time travel, destinies, exotic locales, wordplay with names, and unicorns, oh my! (Lloyd Alexander’s The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha tickled my fancy in the same way. It was my favourite of his until the Westmark trilogy took over – I was also a sucker for princesses posing as beggars.) But in my recent reread, I was highly disappointed to find a passive protagonist who’s just along for the ride – which I realize is the point, but it doesn’t make for gripping reading – plus some uncomfortable hints of racism and the “Noble Savage”. The Suck Fairy was at work.

At the same time, ASTP still holds seriously powerful writing. L’Engle’s lyrical prose, in this book particularly but also in the preceding two, made such a huge impression on me as a child that rereading it felt like unearthing hidden corners of my brain. (It’s in there so deeply that I have to assume my own prose has been influenced by it. Or at least I can hope!) Same goes for some of the sequences – the Murrys holding hands and singing “Dona Nobis Pacem” as a desperate prayer for peace, the sections where Charles Wallace is trapped in the brain-damaged Chuck, the gradual redemption of “Beezie”, and of course the wonderful rune. There are some things that the Suck Fairy just can’t touch.

 

For another take on rereading the Time Quartet and L’Engle’s other books, see The Madeleine L’Engle Reread on Tor.com.

 

Have you reread any of these books or another childhood favourite as an adult? How did it hold up? If the Suck Fairy visited, which parts did she leave untouched?