Thursday, August 12, 2004

Digging Up Ghosts

"All writing of the narrative kind, and perhaps all writing, is motivated, deep down, by a fear of and a fascination with mortality--by a desire to make the risky trip to the Underworld and to bring something or someone back from the dead."

Margaret Atwood--Negotiating With the Dead: A Writer on Writing

So last night I'm sitting in Wendy's having dinner, reading an interview with Margaret Atwood in Writer's Digest. All of a sudden it occurs to me, this Wendy's is situated on the spot where once was an A & W. The very same A & W where, over 20 years ago, I used to sit and hang out with a friend who once told me she might be related to Margaret Atwood. A friendship long dead.

I started having an imaginary conversation with the friend's "ghost":

"I wonder what it's like being a published author. You know, that would be the pinnacle of success for me--to be a published author and have my book made into a movie like Margaret Atwood or Stephen King."

"What would you write about?"

"I'd write about us. About growing up during the 70s and 80s, hanging out in coffee shops and fast food places. It would be like an 80s version of 'Grease'."

"Somebody already made that movie--"Fast Times at Ridgemont High'."

"Yeah, but the trouble with 'Ridgmont' is it was done pretty much as it was happening. The beauty of movies like 'Grease' and 'American Grafitti' is that they are filtered through the perspective of 20 - 30 years later--they had nostalgia going for them."

Then I started thinking, what with the internet and the 80s being trotted out as a fad every two years, do we have the ability to be nostalgic about things in that way any more?

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