personal

Indulging our lowbrow influences — Little Witch Academia

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When I was younger, I consumed books. Every Saturday morning was spent pouring through another story after breakfast until I was kicked outside by my parents to do yardwork. When I fell ill — this happened fairly regularly — books would pile up underneath my pillow. I slept flat, without a pillow or on my arm, because the pillow concealed books from my parents. After they checked in on me before going to bed themselves, I would turn my nightlight on, curl up, and continue reading.

To this day, I don’t sleep on a pillow. To this day, my parents still believe that I was afraid of the dark until I was well into high school.

In fifth grade, I was inspired to play the piano after seeing the Boston Symphony Orchestra play Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” A renowned, and generally well-liked work, there’s no shame in saying that “Pictures at an Exhibition” was an inspiration. It makes for a cute anecdote— one where an elusive sense of so-called good taste is implied.

There’s far more shame in saying that you were inspired to become a writer from Ann M Martin’s Baby-Sitter’s Club series, RL Stine’s Goosebumps series, or Michael Stackpole’s Rogue Squadron — the latter of which skirts fanfiction territory, inviting even more derision. Inspiration is something that’s deeply personal, regardless if your impetus for picking up writing comes from Stephenie Meyer’s twilight or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

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[Eight] Time Flies So Fast — Yuri!!! On Ice

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One of my close friends was a professional athlete. He hasn’t competed in five years and is, by all accounts, retired. I rarely see him anymore, but the few times I have visited in the past five years, there are still trappings of his career — tucked away in corners of the apartment, shoved behind his brother’s discarded motorcycle in the garage, photographs in his father’s living room.

He began when he was three, coaxed and coached by his father. He retired at 25, already older than his more successful counterparts.

Perhaps this is why, for me personally, Yuri!!! On Ice is a story about time, and has been since I first saw the series’ ending sequence — a series of instagram posts that only linger for a few seconds before scrolling down to the next.

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Flip Flappers — Pure Illusion and the Painter

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“The weather’s so nice today, I can’t get any work done. Though, I can’t get anything done on rainy days either. Not many days come along that are just right.”

-Iroha Irodori to Cocona, Flip Flappers, Episode 4

Art club upperclassman Iroha Irodori has always been visible in Cocona’s periphery. She is the plein air painter in the shade of a tree as Cocona walks past in Flip Flappers‘ first episode, encounters Cocona in front of a large painting at their school in the second, and progressively grows closer to Cocona throughout the series. Come Episode 6, Iroha has an entire Pure Illusion adventure where Papika and Cocona explore Iroha’s past from Iroha’s childhood perspective.

Titled “Pure Play,” the episode tells a sad story of Iroha’s relationship with an elderly neighbor and how it shaped her life and art up to the point where Cocona meets her — the slightly-eccentric art club upperclassman who offers tea and a friendly ear. Not only does it offer a different perspective of Iroha herself, but it brings to the forefront a few more of Flip Flappers‘ thoughts on art and the human psyche. This is a series with many visual and named references — Cocona’s pet presumably named for Jakob von Uexküll is one of the more interesting ones — dealing with illusion, art, and human psychology. Iroha’s episode offers a bit more insight into these references, allowing her to step forward from the periphery and become a key component in the series’ narrative.

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