melancholy. what a nice word. perfect for gloomily lit rooms that have exactly the wrong amount of sunlight in them. exactly the right sound for the feeling you get after walking for fifteen minutes and feeling completely, totally alone. it's not sadness. sadness is too broad, too vague. melancholy is the recognition of sadness, and loneliness.
it is also the feeling of defeat. melancholic describes a grey drizzly afternoon, when only the important things have gone wrong for you, when only the interesting things have not worked out. melancholy is just enough to keep you going, but not enough to keep you smiling. it's a friend being optimistic when you are convinced it's really not worth it. a bluish grey, a sad smile, a light rain, these are the things that the word melancholy evokes. it is a perfect emotion for poetry, of which I shall attempt none. of all the things that poetry is best suited for, it is melancholy that comes at the top of the list. it should only be tried by masters. apprentices like me have very little chance of capturing that fine balance, of creating that moment of joy in the midst of gloom.
two parts sadness, one part regret, a couple of memories of happier days, a pinch of despondency, a few spoons of desolation, a perfectly wistful smile, and a dash of simply being out of place and you're in the same zip code as melancholy, the most beautiful emotion of them all.