And so it begins. We all brace ourselves with coffee so strong it will probably cause brain damage and enough coloured pens to recreate a Monet painting, and collectively descend into revision hell. I’ll be honest, I have not descended quite as deeply as I should have at this point, but such is the consequence of being a chronic procrastinator.But even when you procrastinate, the stress and panic of preparing for exams, no matter what age you are, can be overwhelming at times.
I’ve always found that around this time of year, and around any difficult or stressful time, I find myself becoming increasingly nostalgic.
Nostalgia can be an awful thing. I have certainly found that dwelling in my past, and most likely remembering it to be much more golden than it actually was, creates an almost heart-breaking sense of discontent with my present. The future itself becomes insignificant, and living day to day feels pointless, as no matter how hard you work you can never get those effervescent days back. This form of nostalgia is in many ways toxic, eating away at your sense of purpose and self-esteem. And typically it perpetuates itself, as you become more discontent with your present you rely more on happy memories of your past, and so become more dis-engaged with what is happening right now. It’s a noxious circle of self-destruction.
Now I know that the dictionary defines nostalgia as ‘a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past’, but I believe that it is far more complex concept than that. Nostalgia, for me at least, is a form of escapism. And escapism doesn’t necessarily need to perpetuate the negativity that motivates your need for escape. We should try to be ‘nostalgic’ for our future, rather than for our past. I find it easiest to do this on my bus journeys, listening to music and looking above the towns to the hills in the distance. The stress of work becomes less of a dead weight when you remind yourself that is there is something beyond it. And no mater what it’s going to be, it’s certainly going to be different, which should be exciting! The past can never provide that kind of potential.
Good luck to everyone studying at the moment, I hope you maintain your sanity, whatever way you choose to do that! And never forget that there are hills on the horizon.
See you soon,
Some say that there are only eight stories, eight tales that repeat themselves throughout history and throughout cultures, changing slightly, but are essentially the same. Now I’m no expert on these things, I haven’t studied nearly enough History or Literature to give a valid judgement as to whether this is true, but the issue of originality is something that I think about constantly.
When I was younger it was my dream to be an author, and as I got older I considered going into film-making. But the one thing that always held me back (other than my habit of procrastinating EVERYTHING) was the fear that I wasn’t creating something original. If something I wrote in any way resembled something I knew existed in media I would abandon the project to the wolves. This meant that I have to yet to actually ever finish even a short story. I kept subconsciously drawing from other books I have read and films I have seen, and so considered myself a terrible creator, and threw in the towel. Now the speed at which I will give up on something deserves a blog-post of it’s own (and will probably get one at some point in the future) but that looming fear that I simply wasn’t an original writer meant I practically gave up writing altogether.
Over the past year or so I have considered what makes an idea original probably far too deeply. But the conclusion I’ve come to is that honestly? It doesn’t matter. I’m not saying you should steal from other people! Respecting other writers and artists is very important! But if you spend all your time fretting over whether what you make is fresh and new you’ll never get anything done. I know it’s a cliché, but there’s a lot to be said for just making things that you enjoy making. If your short story ends up being just like every other sci-fi book you’ve ever read, or your short film accidentally turns out to be the plot of an Adventure Time episode, don’t sweat it. It is better to have something unoriginal created than having crated noting at all. And keep in mind that early human communities invented farming at around the same time, in separate unconnected parts of the globe. So we’ve always been subconsciously unoriginal.
Thanks for reading, now go forth and create!
See you soon,
Netflix seems to have this magical ability to never create anything bad. Even when the scripts are poor, the quality of Netflix original films and series are undeniable. Now I’m the kind of person who takes any chance to put off doing actually productive things, as I mentioned in my last post, so the incredible amount of decent content on Netflix is something I am remarkably familiar with. Towards the end of last year, an adaptation of the well-known and well-loved Dirk Gently books appeared, and has since dominated my life.
Now, if you’re a fan of the original books (which, to my shame, I haven’t actually read yet) this show barely follows the plot, or contains many of the original characters. But the essence of Douglas Adams is at it’s very heart, and as a huge Hitchhiker’s fan I loved seeing the joyous, random logic on screen again. (Plus Elijah Wood is in it, so you know it’s going to be gold). However, the thing that I loved the most about this series (though if you asked me in person my answer would probably change every time) is the philosophy – if you can even call it that – that drives the plot. That is, the ‘holistic’ part of the ‘holistic detective agency’. The concept that everything is intangibly connected, and that the universe has a plan for us I find oddly comforting. The speech Bart gives about being ‘a leaf on the stream of creation’, although perhaps not an original concept (a similar idea has existed in Buddhism for centuries), is something that during a particularly stressful time in my life is very reassuring.
It’s very likely that I am reading too much into this. I do have a bad habit of attaching significance to things unnecessarily, I guess it’s the English Literature student in me. But regardless, I heartily recommend Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, just in case you too needed something to distract yourself from the overwhelming fear of existence!
If you have watched it, let me know what you think! I am always down for a ridiculously in depth discussion about a TV show.
And now my true level of nerd has been revealed, I’ll bid y’all adieu.
Until next time,