"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Everyday Magic

Sometimes I fall into a rut of thinking that I've seen all there is to see. I open a book hoping that it will make me feel something, but what I'm actually hoping for are the normal feelings, the quickening heart beat countered by the knowledge that it will work out in the end. And then something comes a long that completely cracks open my world view. It makes me feel something I didn't even know it was possible to feel. It makes me see the world just a little bit differently.

Last night I had one of the most intense movie-watching experiences of my life. My friend and I watched the latest Studio Ghibli film, The Tale of Princess Kaguya. This movie will lift you up and break your heart. It will will make you feel peaceful and anxious, bitter and and full of wonder. It made me cry big, ugly tears.

The film is based on a Japanese folk tale, and the animation style reflects its origins. The colors are subdued, and the figures are less defined than they are in other Ghibli films. It contains some of the most beautifully animated sequences I've ever seen. It baffles me why it didn't win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature (and lost to Big Hero 6, for that matter).

A friend and I were talking recently about how we usually feel a stronger connection to books than we do to films. I think about my favorite books on a daily basis, but I rarely contemplate movies I watched a long time ago. I have a feeling this film will be different. I feel different for having seen it.

Before watching this film I was so used to stories making me feel the same way that I had begun to take them for granted. I was certainly not expecting to end up in a puddle of tears, or to still be thinking about Princess Kaguya when I woke up this morning. Sometimes it's hard to believe that the things I love - my favorite books, films, and poems - were created by another human being. They feel too much like a gift from the universe, sent to me right when I need it most. I think Charles de Lint said it best with this quote:

"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic - the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art, and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone."

I'm not sure if what I've learned from Princess Kaguya has to do with the film itself or that I happened to see it at this point in time, but I do know that I'm not going to take stories for granted anymore. I've learned to always seek out the things that make you feel vulnerable, the things that lift you up and tear you down and ultimately change your perspective. This is the everyday magic, and it doesn't matter where you find it as long as you don't fall into the trap of forgetting that it's there.

ps. If you noticed that I didn't give you a film synopsis, it's because I went into this movie not knowing anything about it, and I really think it's better that way.

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