The word is “saudade,” a Portuguese word that has so many subtle layers of meaning, I’ll let you look at the link to Wikipedia to get the full flavor. Be warned. You might be swept away with saudade just by reading about saudade.
Put simply, it’s a feeling of longing for the unattainable. A yearning for time, people, places you’ve lost. These objects of saudade might be in the past (like a homeland you left or person no longer in your life), or simply may never have existed (the homeland you never had or the idealized person of your dreams). It’s the type of word that only those of a romantic (or Romantic) bent could dream up. What a great word.
Saudade brought to mind Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (also known as Remembrance of Things Past), a several volume, several-thousand-page ‘novel’ that I ambitiously (foolishly?) attempted to read (waste my time on?) one summer.
I read enough of it to get that saudade can be brought on by something as simple as the taste of a familiar, loved cookie (a Madeleine) dipped in tea. That feeling of nostalgia, of loss, of the passing of time, in In Search of Lost Time was really exquisite and I would need several more lifetimes to delve into the entire novel, which would be worth it. If I had the time. But so much saudade could leave a person in need of serious medical attention. Or more cookies.
I realized that I have at least one cure for saudade is writing my novel series. In writing Washed Up, my overriding goal was to invent characters that I really cared about in order to make readers really care about them. Well, once you invent characters you like, it’s hard to leave them behind. Thank goodness for the series.
My goal with book two is to make it even better than book one. I hope I achieve that goal. We’ll all just have to wait and find out when it’s done. Until then, saudade!