I’ve been rewatching some Studio Ghibli films recently. I only own a few: Spirited Away, The Cat Returns, Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, and, my newest purchase, Kiki’s Delivery Service.
I couldn’t even tell you which of them is my favorite. I actually had to take all of them out to my mom and turn my back so she could pick one for me. It was Spirited Away.
I cuddled up in my fuzzy housecoat in bed with some cake and chocolate milk (I know, the most adult of adulting) to watch it. It was a lovely evening where I got to recharge my introvert batteries. In reference to last week’s post, I wish I could watch it out in the living room on the big tv but that’s a first world problem at its first worldliest. It was nice to just unwind and not having to worry about getting up the next morning (which set to bring a massive snowstorm into the area too).
And then I started thinking. A bad sign all around.
No, hear me out. I’m a student. I mean, I’m currently a graduated student (Hey! Goal #1 of 19 achieved!) but I like to think I will always be a student for the rest of my life. I’m used to thinking about things in a little more depth. Sometimes it can ruin the enjoyableness of something, especially if my little academic heart is picking out the problematic issues with said media.
However, sometimes I just start enjoying the thing more. And that’s how the Studio Ghibli films have been going for me. Sitting in bed the other night watching Spirited Away I got to thinking about the mirroring aspect happening throughout the movie. How Sen ends up mirroring off Haku and how that leads other characters to mirror off Sen at her best and worst. I literally started writing an essay in my head as I was watching and it was actually kind of fun!
I think I found it really fun because it reminded me of doing something similar while I was still in my B.A. For the last two years of my Bachelor’s degree I was living in an apartment with one of my best friends. Often times we liked to introvert hang out; aka, she and I would enjoy a movie together, or play on our computers in the same room, or read and sew, basically anything where we were just quiet together.
Usually though, after enough quiet time we would get talking. And not like small talk, talking. Like actually talking in depth because we are friends and were both doing our degrees. And the topics could vary wildly from books were reading in class, things that had just discussed in class during the day, or something we found on the internet. Five Nights at Freddy’s because who needs sleep. Or events coming up.
Or a movie we had been watching. That time around it had been Castle in the Sky. My roommate had never seen it and so we lounged in our living room of our second apartment with snacks and watched it on a Friday night.
We spent two hours after the movie talking over the movie and how it reflected some texts we had been discussing in our shared class over the passed month and the passed few years.
It was a fascinating discussion and I miss moments like that. During my MA I was on my own. It was a very small class (of five students including myself) from very different areas of thought and interests. The only other girl in the class had absolutely no interest in literature or media of any sort. She asked me what I was writing before one class one day and I told her that I was writing a series of novels based off of King Arthur. She had no idea who that was and when I began to explain she told me to stop because she just didn’t care.
I felt winded. I was used to talking about the crossover between literature (including movies, television, and music) and its philosophy, its connects to other texts, and its connections to the world and its history.
I was hoping for a discussion like those I used to have.
But I was in a different situation. I wasn’t hanging out with my friends any more discussing whether or not lantern light could be seen through Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. I wanted discussions about bad fanfiction and bad philosophers and trying to be better writers and thinkers and people.
Instead I got told off because I was trying to engage the lady in a conversation about anything other than politics. Ah, yes, because random conversations about politics never go astray. I learned pretty quickly in that particular class that out of class conversations were going to be limited to small talk quality with everyone except the 70ish year old gentleman working to finish the MA he had started way back in his 20s.
Now adays I use my YouTube and this blog to talk about more and more of this stuff because I miss these discussions that I used to have. I might not be living in the same city as my best friends but we still have some fascinating discussions across text, video, and messenger. And I write papers as I watch movies and have doing it.