I wonder if summer would mean as much to me if I lived somewhere more temperate all year round. Like Singapore, or Kentucky. There are other markers of summer besides the weather, of course. Children are out of school. Vacations. My birthday (July 13, in case you’d like to send me a card). All those things would happen in Southern California just as they did in Alberta, where I spent my formative years.
Still, I think the nostalgia that summer inevitably breeds is deeper for people like us, who understand with a chilling poignancy how brief the season is. Summer love is deeper, more rash and wild. Weekend getaways are more vibrant and bittersweet. And summer movies…well, when summer movies work, and hit you at the right age, they loom large in your memory; they become essential.
I was 10 when Jurassic Park came out. I’m convinced that movie was made for 10-year-olds. At that age, dinosaurs are living monsters that prove that magic, at one point, must have existed, and that the world is as crazy as any dragon tale. Jurassic Park was the scariest movie a kid could survive without permanent scarring, because after all, the threat of raptors hiding under your bed is minimal. I think I saw that movie at least three times in the theatre. It consumed my imagination and, thanks to a clever McDonald’s tie-in, my diet, too. It was epic, and it’s only grown in importance. That’s nostalgia.
Aside from watching Chris Pratt be as charming as Chris Pratt always is—so charming he wins over a group of raptors, apparently—what I’m most excited about this month’s Jurassic World is the thought that some new batch of 10-year-olds are about to have seeds of nostalgia planted in their soon-to-be blown minds.
Of course, movies aren’t the only thing that gets the summer nostalgia boost. I like this quote from Michael Chabon’s Mysteries of Pittsburgh, one that, in fact, always reminds me of a specific summer before I started university, as I was just learning to love reading. “When I remember that dizzy summer,” the post-adolescent narrator writes, “that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another’s skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness—and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumour and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything.”
It’s not for nothing that I quote one of my favourite authors. In our June/July issue, we hope to use a bit of the power of summer, and maybe add to it. There are stories in here—barstool tales from some of our other favourite authors. Stories that are nostalgic and magical, and will hopefully only grow in magnitude as the summer ends. Like, I hope, the issue itself.