The Magic of Ghibli

Last week I had a massive FAIL by not posting anything on here, I wasn’t feeling to well and was in no way inspired so I just did what I do best, become a real sloth. It was terrible. But while I was slowly recovering from feeling poorly I decided to have a massive Studio Ghibli binge.

While I have always been a massive fan of animated films, with all the Disney classics making my top list, none have touched me the way Disney’s Studio Ghibli does. I feel that if I had watched them when I was younger I would not have fully been able to grasp the stories and the beauty behind each of them. Maybe I am still a kid inside, because they never fail to make me smile and cry at the same time.

Japanese theatrical poster designed and illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki

“From Up on Poppy Hill” – Japanese theatrical poster designed and illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki

As a true romantic my two favourites are From Up on Poppy Hill and Howl’s Moving Castle, both creations of the truly amazing master Hayao Miyazaki, who is retiring after so many wonderful years of producing beautiful stories and art. He is one of my all-time favourite director/writer/producer in the business, as each one of his works hold a very special place in my heart. He is in my opinion, the King of storytelling. Once when talking about love and friendship he said:

I’ve become skeptical of the unwritten rule that just because a boy and girl appear in the same feature, a romance must ensue. Rather, I want to portray a slightly different relationship, one where the two mutually inspire each other to live – if I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.

And this I believe is what makes his stories so special and unique. There is none of the obvious attraction and expression of attraction most movies do, to show the growing and developing relationships of the hero and heroine. Rather, it is much more subtle and there is an emphasis on the importance of the discovery of one’s true self. While both these movies showcases such wonderful love stories, they are only this because they are not hidden behind the usual clichés, but rather like he says, by finding themselves, they find each other.

And this is where the true magic lies. In a world of beautiful and artistic animation, there is depth and substance that cannot be found in just any animation. There is a sense of reality in the story telling which makes the characters so endearing and memorable. I truly believe that even when I am fifty, I will want to sit and have a massive marathon of Studio Ghibli movies and enjoy them as much as I do now. They are timeless, and ageless in my opinion.

My Life in Books

Being originally from Colombia, Spanish is my native tongue, but somehow I don’t consider it that. I came to England when I was 10 years old and I did not know any English at all, school helped me a lot with the basics, but I had a very intense studying schedule when I got home every day as well. I would read for two hours everyday and at first I hated reading, it seems crazy to me now but the struggle with the language those first few months really irritated me. But I grew to love it, so much so that the pages of Harry Potter became my source of entertainment. My mum would sometimes struggled with punishing me, because I loved reading so much she wanted to take my books away; but she could not bring herself to take away something that was helping to nourish my mind.  And when I began to grasp the language better I stopped using my school library books because I would finish them to quickly and moved on to my mum’s books. And boy was it different! My mum’s book collection consisted of Encyclopaedias, Dan Brown, and John Grisham mostly. I remember reading Dan Brown’s Digital Fortress when I was 11 and being completely hooked by the complexity of his writing, which it was for my 11-year-old mind, but wanting to learn everything the novel explored. I would consequently spend hours learning about cryptography and the NSA, and I would do this pretty much for everything else I read. I took me more or less a year to be able to speak English fluently, and I thank my mum for that. She opened me to worlds that were better than any I had every seen on a television or in a cinema. And that is how my unhealthy obsession with books began.

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I guess that is mainly why I consider English to be more my native tongue. Even though Spanish is a Romantic language, and everything evoked in the tongue flows beautifully, I don’t find that beauty in the books I do read in Spanish the way I find it in English literature. One book that I instantly feel in love with was  Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, I had never read anything like it. His spontaneous style of writing was so refreshing, that everything truly came to life, and most books i read achieve this, none have been so vibrant and alive. It makes me want to take-off with only a small backpack and see where the road will take me. There is sadness, beauty, and hardship everything that life is about, but without the fantastical sometimes added to the language of a prose to express something. The simplicity in the language is amplified by the beauty of the style which brings out such beautiful poetic expression:

“And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotuslands falling open in the magic mothswarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn’t in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of the wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn’t die…” - On The Road, Jack Kerouac

And in those lines he grasped what we should all strive to be as humans. And whenever I doubt everything and everyone I come back to these lines and remember that we are in constant change, constant rebirth.

That is what books should make you feel like. They should inspire you and bring life and colour to your sometimes dull and simple life. I guess I will always be obsessed with books, but then who can blame me right?

Blogging

A year ago I decided to start this blog as a way of releasing my creative juices into the world. I love to rant and to talk about life and what is exciting to me to my friends, that they kept telling me that I should be putting it down on paper. Whether it was going to be read or not, I wanted to try it and failed miserably! I recently looked back at my first post and it has been over a year and I have only published three blog post, well the last one was more a quote than a blog, but the point is that in all this time I have been filling up with ideas and thoughts that I wanted to express and I have not utilised this platform that I myself created to express them. So I have decided to stop being lazy and try to post something every week, whether it is good or bad, I’ll let you be the judge.

I feel like I’m at a crossroads in my life right now, not knowing which direction I am going . Yet at the same time there is so much I need to do, and yet I’m in a funk which is very demotivating. The lack of a  job limits my abilities to evolve my plans and ideas into something physical and full of promise. I know that the first step to success is getting my mind in the right place to be able to motivate myself to go out into the world and get it. But I have been receiving so much rejection, that I feel like I am now wondering if half of my life that I spend studying and working hard was worth that at all. I hope and pray that my lucky break will come soon and I will finally find some success in my life.

I know I have a lot of heart and passion in so many things that the world is my oyster, the way it is for every human being out there that strive for something big in their lives and have the will to go out there and get it. I just need to stop feeling sorry for myself and go out there and get it. Because I refuse to be behind my computer for another month looking for jobs and getting rejection after rejection. I need to choose the road that will not only lead me to some kind of financial stability, but also give me fulfillment and happiness.

Anyways, that is enough ranting for today. I like this idea because I guess I can come back and read this if I feel in the dumps and pick myself up. I want to try to post every week. Whether it is a post, a video or a quote that has touched me that week, I want to post things regularly here because it is an outsource for me to get rid of not only frustrations, but also in sharing something that makes me happy.

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We are Infinite…

There are people who forget what it’s like to be 16 when they turn 17; I know these will all be stories someday, and our pictures will become old photographs. We’ll all become somebody’s mom or dad.

But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening, I am here and I am looking at her. And she is so beautiful. I can see it. This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story. You are alive, and you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you’re listening to that song and that drive with the people you love most in this world. And in this moment I swear, we are infinite.

Charlie – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Silver Linings

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I had decided that when I started this page I was going to post every Monday, last week was a massive FAIL as I did not feel inspired. I had been cooped up in my flat all week and had no form of inspiration. It was also snowing, and I could have talked about the hilarity of how everything in England goes to a stand-still after a little snow. I find it really funny that a city such as London, which is vast and modern, is incapable of adjusting to a little snow. However, having said this I can appreciate the perks of a little snow. I remember when I was in school; waking up to the sight of snow and being so happy because I knew it meant no school. When I see all the kids playing in the snow it makes me want to be 11 again. But apart from the snow, my week was very uneventful and left my creativity stifled.

 

I am still unsure on what exactly it is I wish to post on this page but I guess I’m just going to go with the flow and see where my thoughts wish to take me. I have been really unwell in the last couple of days and spent most of my Saturday in bed. As I lay there feeling sorry for myself ‘Happy’ by Leona Lewis came on and I started to think of what makes a person truly happy; wealth, success, popularity, love? I then started to try and find if I had any of these in my own life, I realised that I have not achieved any of these goals yet. However, right now in my life I’m content, I am coping with the trials and tribulations of life but then you do most of your life. I would love to meet the man or woman who proclaims to be the happiest person alive; I would love to know what their secret is.

 

Anyway, when you are ill you are left with so much time that all you can really do is think, and I started to see that I am not happy because of my self-image. I am allowing things and people around me to dictate my happiness! This revelation made me mad, it made me mad that a person’s attitude could turn my smile into a frown, that I have this need to make everyone around me happy but yet I do not return the favour to myself. I am full of self-doubt. The reinforcement of these doubts are by the people I encounter, and prevents me from finding true happiness. This realisation was prompted when I watched Silver Lining Playbook with Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Bradley Cooper’s character says a line which has stayed with me, “You have to do everything you can and if you stay positive you have a shot at a silver lining.” What is a Silver Lining? I don’t think Bradley’s character Pat realises the true meaning of this philosophy until the end of the movie. He has an optimistic aim of getting back with his cheating wife throughout the movie; this is driven by the human necessity of staying with the familiar. But only when Pat opened himself to the unfamiliar, the character Tiffany, did he truly find his silver lining: “The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier. Thank you. I love you. I knew it from the moment I saw you. I’m sorry it took me so long to catch up.”

 

This taught me that life is about risks, about reaching out for the opportunities life puts in front of you and grabbing them with both hand. So far I have done the best I can, and even though I have always let them slip through my fingers, I can at least say that I have taken a risk and taken the plunge. I guess I’m just going to have to wait for someone to catch me. I think in the end the philosophy behind true happiness is reached through your state of mind. The will to see the positive in everything, being grateful for everything you have and striving to achieve. If you can have someone to share this with then this is an additional bonus that creates the silver lining in your life. I guess like Pat, I’m going to stay positive and wait for life to present me with something that is worth plunging into the unknown for. 

Down the Rabbit Hole

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The beginning of things, always feels like going to down the rabbit hole. What you might encounter through the journey can be chaotic and unexpected, it is a mirror to life; you don’t know what you will discovery at the end of it. Like in Lewis Carroll’s novel this first post is the beginning of my adventure, where it will take me, I don’t know. All I know is that like Alice I am beginning to ponder my interaction with the world and people around me, and testing them looking for the meaning of everything.

At 21 I feel like I am finally going down the rabbit hole in search of wonderland and my journey to adulthood has begun; my looking-glass has changed and I find myself thinking of the most curious of things and wanting to write them down; and I believe I have found my outlet. Here I plan to write the ‘Curiouser and curiouser’ things in life and see in which side of Wonderland I land.