Essay: On Nostalgia

Overview

Learn of Wilmeth’s suicide, see her only child standing before the wooden rocking chair, and you could deduce an unending trajectory to that bullet. A son’s psyche destroyed, a trust betrayed, an exit wound that never healed. It would have been understandable, acceptable even, if my father had detached from the world after finding his mother. Or a few years later, when his father, devastated by his wife’s violent death, medicated himself into an early grave. My father could have raised my brother and me with a vice grip, skittish of the unknown and vigilant against the encroachment of foreign influence. The neighbor with differing political views. The wrong suitor. He could have become calcified, xenophobic, letting private horror transmute into public intolerance.  But instead of looking into the faces of his newborn son and daughter and fearing the vast, open space of a human life, instead of closing off, my father took the great risk of allowing himself to love us. How did he do that?

My essay “On Nostalgia” won the 2015 Hrushka Memorial Nonfiction Prize and published in Issue 37 of Passages North. You can read the full essay online.You can also read about my writing of this essay in this interview with the editors.

Date

March 14, 2016