July’s theme is Sentimental. Sentimental, as in watching one hundred romantic movies, doing some pensive reflection, and scrapbooking/journaling all of your feelings. All of them. When I think of sentimental, I think of Margot Tenenbaums’s face as she steps off the bus in The Royal Tenenbaums to Nico’s ‘These Days’. I think of Anna Karina in Pierrot Le Fou as she says, “I’m just a sentimental girl, that’s all. Only a fool would make a big mystery out of that.” I think of Harry Dean Stanton watching old home videos of him and his wife in Paris, Texas. I think of Lady Bird driving for the first time, feeling emotional looking out into her Sacramento. I think of the look Sam and Suzy give each other at the end of Moonrise Kingdom, with the strange yet beautiful song, “Cuckoo!” by Benjamin Britten playing in the back. I think of Mia and Sebastian, looking at each other only as lovers would, giving each other a smile and a nod at the end of La La Land.
Everyone is sentimental at times. Whether it’s a mother looking at her high school yearbook or a teenager reflecting on their childhood. This month we want to embrace that and explore all of the intimacy, reflection, and emotions that come with being sentimental. We want to lean into our teenage-heightened-emotions and reflect on our pasts and present—coming back with more understanding and gratitude than before. We want to celebrate being sad and being happy and being heartfelt and being disappointed and being loved and being lost and being honest. We want to be really, truly sentimental.
Durga Chew Bose’s book, Too Much and Not the Mood, contains an essay called ‘Heart Museum’. She spends 90 pages reflecting on her past and present, going off into tangents about films she’s seen, things she’s experienced. It’s an epic of her subconscious, of her life, the things that mean something to her. In the end, as Bose approaches the hospital she was riding to, her driver announces “Museum.” Bose is confused to say the least, and after questioning him, he says “Heart museum.” She knows he means hospital, but she nods. The final words read,
“Even though this was a hospital and in visiting family I was only doing daughterly duty, his characterization of ‘Heart Museum’ recuperated in me what I was so longing for: a sense of arrival. The words ‘Heart Museum,’ like a figurative place; a vault where memories shimmer, fall dark, are cut loose, and unexpectedly flare up when you most need them to. The words ‘Heart Museum,’ like an experiment; twitchy, sad, parceled, soulful, like Arthur Russell. The words ‘Heart Museum’: a meaning archive; a parent’s medicine cabinet with expired sunscreen and old Bain-Aids; the contents of a care package; a hideout for mind and spirit; mausoleum-like. The words ‘Heart Museum,’ like the essence of a word from another language for which English has no word. Because is there anything better, more truthful and sublime than what cannot be communicated? The marvelous, hard-to-spell out convenience of what’s indefinite.”
This month we’re taking a walk in our Heart Museum. Were experiencing things and allowing them to penetrate us—bringing us backwards and forwards, feeling things as we should: fully. We’re taking a tour of our Heart Museum, and we’re hanging new things up as we do. Adding our senior year class picture on the wall, hanging the photo we took with our friends in the gallery. This month, our Heart Museum is the setting. It’s going to get pretty Sentimental.
-Vivian Chambers, Editor-in-Chief
Forever Young, being young forever, often makes one sentimental. For last month’s editor’s letter, I wrote about youthful endlessness— “the unwarranted expectation that a summer night could lead anywhere. This immensity does not end with simply feeling infinite, but that emotions and moments will indeed be felt for an infinity. As if names carved into trees and across the room glances suddenly belong to us and mark our place- signaling that we were here and we felt something. The thought that every moment can last for an eternity, or even if it doesn’t, it will stay with us for that long.” But what exactly are these emotions we cherish so dearly?
Sentimental in words: tenderness, nostalgia, caring, reminiscence, vulnerability.
Sentimental in music: “17” by Youth Lagoon, “Do Not Wait” by Wallows, “Willis” by Sea of Bees.
Sentimental in books: Any coming of age story that somehow leaves me reminiscing of times I have not directly experienced.
There’s sentimentality in music, reading, being. I know I’m not the only one who feels something when they listen to the soundtrack of their favorite movie, or who spends worlds away with characters in books. However, it would be irresponsible and remiss to glorify media and culture, as sentimentality can and is often birthed outside of the pages of novels, movies, and record players we buy to qualify our individual, though progressively homogeneous, existences. I am sentimental when listening to a song or watching a movie that I cannot for the life of me relate to. I am sentimental when I am present. There is tenderness, nostalgia, and vulnerability in being. Feeling sentimental is an inherently unique, personal endeavor.
I am sentimental in the backseat, watching my friends grow up without me, before me, beside me. They come of age, fall in love, find themselves, and I watch. Sentimentality reveals itself to me in anticipation, observance, wondering what could I be, what will I be, and when the good part of growing really starts. Sentimentality is experienced in the records that are released and dictate the anthem of my short-lived infinity. I am sentimental through the books I read, shows, films, all of it, the characters I loved but could never be. The melodrama of it all, starting out, the brief inquiries, and how nothing really happens. Being sentimental is riotous, tempestuous, embarrassing, and a rollercoaster of everything, nothing, and everything all over again.
Sentimentality does not always equate to gloomy feelings. It’s enlightening, inspiring, and nauseatingly exciting to be alive and to know that you are living and to not be afraid of it.
I am really grateful for every moment that I have stopped to look around, rather than run from my feelings.
I rather feel everything than nothing, even if the allegedly fundamental, though often cliché moments of youth fail— or in less professional prose— don’t live up to the hype. Not because I need the bad days to appreciate the good or I have to go through the rain for the rainbow to appear, but because I enjoy feeling sentimental: maybe you do too.
Uniquely Aligned readers, this is your formal invitation to feel all the feels this month, and document it, write about it, take pictures of it, draw it, perform it, and share it with us.
Whether it’s a conversation under the stars, a wild adventure, or even a backseat, I would really like to see what makes you feel joyful, gloomy, nostalgic, romantic- or sentimental in any form.
-Savanna Chada, Managing Editor
Sentimental. Sentimental feels like the perfect issue title for an online zine made by teens, for teens. As we come of age, there seems to be an ever present yearning to reflect on the memories of our youth, and it can take various forms.
It can be a happy feeling. It can be crying in Toy Story 4 because you felt that you had grown up alongside Woody and Buzz. It’s that melancholy feeling in your chest when you hear a Disney song (‘You’ll Be in My Heart’ from Tarzan does it every time). It’s the hours you spend talking to your friends about the old TV shows and movies you watched as a child. It’s lying in your bedroom, listening to the Bowie and Coldplay albums your parents put on repeat when you were young. It’s rereading Harry Potter and Matilda and finally realizing the enormous impact literature has had on your life.
We can feel sentimental for things that haven’t happened yet. Our future wedding, our future children, our future in general. There is a feeling of love and tenderness somewhere in all of us for the things yet to come.
It can also take a more melancholy form: wishing you could be young again, when your greatest worry was what show would be on when you got home from school. It can be reminiscing on friendships that have faded, or love and people that we’ve lost. But those are things that have resulted in our growth, so in a way it’s bittersweet.
Sentimental is what being a human is. It’s everything, and nothing.