My thoughts are thus: Nostalgia fuels memories. Memories fuel creativity. The reaction to the memory creates an action in the creative mind. Not the numbing sad mind, not the depressed mind but the whole mind. Paul King (computational neuroscientist) writes on Quora: Most likely, creativity is a whole-brain process, and creativity is maximized when information, knowledge, skills, and cognitive styles from all parts of the brain work in coordination to explore and organize as many divergent paths of thinking and feeling as possible.
The nostalgia train pulled out of the station a few weeks ago. Momma left behind a wicker basket filled with photos and letters. My mother always signed her cards and letters to me as “Momma”. That must be Cincinnati “momma” because she was not southern and it sure ain’t mama. The wicker basket’s been in my closet since she died (at 93) in 2009.
My first inkling that the basket existed came in 2003. Ruth (momma) was in our backyard under a huge pecan tree, cutting up letters. Whoa, there, little missy, I think, what’s this about? Turns out, she was shredding Daddy’s love letters from WWII, written while he was in Ithaca NY and New Orleans at OCS. He wasn’t apart from her for more than a few months, total, as they both moved to Norfolk, VA during the war. He an Army Lieutenant and she worked in the civilian personnel office, hiring ship and dock workers.
Nostalgia fueled creativity. And then action, as she did not need to share with us how much Daddy loved her — did not need to leave those particulars behind in her wicker picnic basket of memories. She told me some years later, that Daddy was quite explicit lower voice, embarrassed 87 year old woman voice, sexually explicit , and it was wonderful, thrilling, loving in 1942 but not so much in 2003. When I started reading what she left behind, the edited history with notes, photos and letters, I began a new journey with my assemblages.
There’s another discussion pushing around this thought – I worked for Archives Management, trained in state history department, graduate school and on – about how people edit their memories, choose their archives when they get older. Which fuels another thought, no one writes letters any more, there is no paper trail to follow. This is the saddest fact of the Internet Age and bemoaned by more than just me. More on that to come … I was a microfilm archivist, trusting only in one media method.
Creativity. Here’s where I’m headed – after 28 years of antidepressants, Lyrica, Oxycontin, Tramadol, lumbar fusion, basal thumb reconstruction, metal toe joints, nerve damage to C2-T1 squeezing off my arms and shoulders from feeling, – taking the medications prescribed for what renders me disabled – robbed me of creativity a little chunk at a time. Each little pill you take, each little swallow you make, they’ll be watching you, taking away your bits of neurons, the SSRI SSI disruptors, antagonists, good neural pathways, bad neural pathways, all diverted from medications that pharmaceutical companies can’t really explain “how they work but they do”. Then they want you to take medicines to counter-act the harm the medicines you currently take render your new dysfunction. OIC – yeah, Opioid Induced Constipation is created to counter-act the ill Oxycontin does to your bowels. We’ll discuss OIC more fully, believe you me, as my dance with pain meds ended when the reality of an injection in the stomach to make my intestines work correctly – enter Resistor and the most god-awful moment any oxycontin “taker” can experience.
Take your meds. Do not interpret the paragraph above as a stop taking your meds post. Don’t stop believing. It’s okay to trust your doctor, your pain management clinic. I’m here to tell my story. Not yours.
I weaned myself off of 8 years of prescription Oxycontin. Never abused, never mis-used. Simply prescribed to relieve pain that my wonderful internist used to refer to me as “you’re one of the people we don’t know how to deal with, how to help, so we throw medications at you, hoping something will stick, something will help you function.” My degenerative bone disease confounded every neurologist, internist, physical therapist, pain clinic, orthopedist and psychiatrist. My lumber spine aged out at 30 instead of 80. My neck started its dysfunction when I hit 40, so pain meds and antidepressants, NSAIDs and steroids have been a major part of my life since 1988, when my first big time surgery, lumbar fusion, occurred. It’s still good, that fusion, by god. Titanium rods and screws all still in place, put there by the competent hands of the best back surgeon in the US, Dr. Stephen Grubb, then of the NC Spine Center in Chapel Hill, NC.