#036 Nostalgia With Svetlana Boym and Not Your Average Cotton

The founders of Not Your Average Cotton and Monica McCarthy // Photography by Phillip Van Nostrand

The founders of Not Your Average Cotton and Monica McCarthy // Photography by Phillip Van Nostrand

At first glance, nostalgia is a longing for a place, but actually it is a yearning for a different time - the time of our childhood, the slower rhythms of our dreams. In a broader sense, nostalgia is a rebellion against the modern idea of time, the time of history and progress.
— Svetlana Boym

Can nostalgia help us be happier? In this episode you’ll learn the difference between good and bad nostalgia according to Russian philosopher Svetlana Boym, and how a toy cotton candy machine became a side hustle for the founders of Not Your Average Cotton. #thehappierhour


Svetlana Boym

When the term nostalgia was first coined in the 17th century by  medical student, Johannes Hofer, to describe a crippling brain disorder afflicting Swiss mercenary soldiers, it was thought of as a disabling condition. Svetlana argues that there are two types of nostalgia within the single term. Nostos (the first half of the term) is about returning home and and a patching of memory gaps. This is what she calls restorative nostalgia.  The second half of the word algia is a sense of longing and loss, and the imperfect process of remembrance. This is reflective nostalgia.

Not Your Average Cotton

All My Friends Are Planets

(pssst! Use The code HAPPIERHOUR for 10% off any order from both Not Your Average Cotton and All My Friends Are Planets!)


The Future of Nostalgia

The Off-Modern

Another Freedom: An Alternative History Of An Idea

What is something that makes you feel immediately nostalgic when you encounter it:, a movie, a game, a person, a smell, a taste and what might that inform you about your life today?


Alisha Vimawala, a native Midwesterner turned NYC denizen, and Margaret Taormina, a native Brooklynite recently turned SF explorer, both daylight as tech product managers while moonlighting as whimsical cotton candy confectioners (Not Your Average Cotton) and dance-based storytellers (Octothorp Productions). When they’re not working on their joint ventures, they fill their time with other creative pursuits. Alisha’s many accomplishments include authoring and publishing the delightful children’s book, All My Friends Are Planets, and Margaret has performed as a vocalist, flutist, dancer, and actor. In all of their creations, they aim to bring more wonder, curiosity, and joy into the world.