There are those times, those rare occasions that seem to bubble with a sense of limitless possibility, like you could do just about anything. Maybe it's a special night, a trip, doing something you've always wanted to. Or maybe you didn't even see it coming until you were in it and found yourself suddenly riding a wave of excitement, ready for something - anything - to happen. It seems... like magic. Like it's changed you. Like things will never be quite the same again.
There are movies that capture this perfectly - 80s teen movie master John Hughes was a master of this lightning-in-a-bottle feeling. It's exactly what made Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off into instant favourites of countless people. Sometimes the movies are goofier, heavier on comedy, but still create that bonding moment - think Hot Tub Time Machine, for example, or pretty much any road trip movie ever made.
I had the same feeling from a couple of books I was reading for this summer - like the one that landed on the list to exemplify this, The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life. It's one night, and it's supposed to be amazing. Mary has a vision of how it should go in her head, and a fantasy of how triumphing over a school rival is going to feel soooooo good, it will change everything. Things of course don't quite go according to this plan of hers because, life. Still, even as things fall apart, other things come together, and by the end of the night, Mary has had a night to remember, it just wasn't the one that she expected. And most of all, she's been forced to examine some of her hopes for that night, and whether they really meant what she thought they did in the first place.
Tag Along is kind of like this, too - and also happens at the end of the school year, when everyone is celebrating and summer feels ripe with possibility. In this case, though, three kids whose prom plans fell through and one who is just out on her own meet up and spend time in various different combinations over the course of the night, forging unlikely friendships, pushing boundaries, learning about each other and themselves, and in the end, turning a total disappointing disaster of a night into something they'll remember for years.
I think my very favourite example of this, though, has to be the fantastic Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. A night that started out not that exciting, not that important, turned into a series of adventures, up and downs, and steps toward falling in love in a way that is bound to change both Nick and Norah. Romantic, music-filled, and beating with the rhythm of New York's Village, it's a great read. They even managed to make a movie of it that does a surprisingly good job of keeping the same spirit, despite my real worries about them ruining it!
I think it's no accident that these are often set in and around summer, as summer can feel like just the sort of little golden bubble of time that incubates otherwise impossible things. I hope you enjoyed your summer here with us, and that maybe it's transformed you a little, made you think a bit, or given you a little something special to consider as you go back to real life, back to the rhythms of school. I know I've had a fun time writing and sharing conversation in comments, so I hope you all have, too. Thanks for coming around and being part of Word Out this summer, everyone, and I hope your school year is a great one!