The title of this entry is a line that I borrowed from the song Today, which appears on the Smashing Pumpkins album Siamese Dream. Though I was too young to understand the context and meaning of that lyric, there was something about the languid tone of its delivery that always stirred emotion in me even as an elementary aged boy. I have not listened to that album in a very long time, so I found it to be pretty ironic to see it riding high on a wave of internet nostalgia (click here) after performing some sentimental searches for this entry. So what does this 1993 alternative rock album have to do with an experimental novel that is set in the four quadrants of my hometown? I’ll give you a vague tie-in.
A conversation awhile back with a childhood friend that was very thick with nostalgia – and possibly tears- oddly left us appending some sort of symbolism to that album and our childhood. With its airy, grungy, dream-pop tracks and the soft, bright, and golden cover image of two young children in the absolute prime of suburban playtime, this album really is one of an array of objects that encapsulates my youth growing up in north Edmonton.
Obviously one would need more than a blog entry to try to tell the story of their childhood. What I can provide is a Google earth’s-eye view of where my childhood played out (see Outward from North East Edmonton). There you will find the borders of the realm of that very siamese dreamlike state. Contemplating the beauty of it is a bit maddening especially when realizing that we were free of any mobile technology to disrupt us, including parental check-ins. Because of this, we might as well have stepped into Narnia the moment a closing screen door cut off the words “Bye Mom.”
Luckily, that whole side of the river valley remains intact as that particular slice of suburbia’s spread waned decades ago. Time and its line make a shift and I’ve realized that things are now more the same than ever, but also different. I’ve always called Edmonton home, but it’s just recently that it feels like one. I think that this has something to do with the happiness that I have rekindled from those days of youth. The source of this bliss must have something to do with cycling and the seemingly endless hours spent in a void similar to that of childhood. I mean, I’m on a bike with friends spending hours of my day essentially at play in the river valley- how could those feelings not resurface? Perhaps it’s also watching friends make a home here in their adult lives, whether that includes a family of their own or a sense of pride on display from those who choose to go it alone. Whatever it is, I know that the next few chapters of my story will fall under the section with the unapologetically sappy title “The Good Years.”
For me an entry like this is a little too self-indulgent, something I would not even flirt within even a few years ago. But, I’m pretty content these days and have accepted my experiences, whether jarring or joyous and because of that, I’m happy to share them. So please, I encourage you to be just a little more vulnerable and share yours too. Bounce your experiences off the souls that reside north, south, east, and west in this town. You might find some magic when experiences align and you realize that someone else came from the same place.
See you tonight,
Articles & Reviews
- The Edmonton Journal
- PRISM international
- The Gateway
- Vue Weekly
- Monto Books’ Jason Lee Norman and his short story dispenser.
Screen grabs of four perspectives.