Zine creator Katie Haegele is author of the found-poetry publication Word Math and The La-La Theory and has been a contributing writer for Bitch, Adbusters, Venus, and a number of major newspapers. She discussed her witty wordplay for a previous installment of Zine Scene, and now the language-centric writer is back to pen this guest column.
Rummaging through Nostalgia
by Katie Haegele
I’ve been thinking a lot about nostalgia lately. Actually, I’ve thought about it in one way or another for years, since I was old enough to want to buy my own clothing but didn’t have any money and started hunting the Salvation Army for the grandma jewelry and waitress uniforms I turned into outfits.
I love old things, especially kitschy, outmoded, and obsolete ones, and I spend a fair amount of time digging for them at rummage sales and thrift stores, even in the trash. These things call to me, and I have spent a lot of time trying to understand and articulate exactly why that is, but it’s hard to grasp the feeling. There’s something about the sadness of castoff things that touches me, for sure, but it’s not only that. It’s also the feeling that each object has a story, a history that’s not my own. That history is both loaded and freeing at once. For next to no money, you can buy the thing and take it home. That coffee canister or wicker handbag or owl figurine will be yours, but it will never feel like it’s only yours.
More than an owner, you’re like a caretaker. In exchange, you get to borrow the thing’s history and have a piece of its ready-made comfort — a comfort like the feeling you had in the cozy living room in your grandparents’ house, or the kitchen of a friend from grade school who’s grown fuzzy in your mind over time. You can, in fact, feel nostalgic for something you don’t even remember.