Last week, I justified not posting an article due to the overwhelming stress and nerves I was feeling from the election. There was too much on my mind to sit down and construct a thoughtful, eloquent blog post. But, here I sit, unable to think of a topic to write on besides—you guessed it—the election.

It’s because the intersection of my previous studies in creative writing and my current degree in public administration boils down to this year’s election, or really any contest between two parties that garners such intense media attention. I definitely didn’t pay as much mind to previous presidential elections or have the knowledge I do now to dissect what’s going on. It’s what I’ve mentioned before on here, and what I will never hesitate to bring up: the importance and power of narratives.

Continue Reading Politics, the election, narratives—and why you should read a book

What genre of books have you been reading during the past few months to keep you sane? Have you noticed a general theme around the media you’re consuming?

Personally, I’ve been reading and watching a lot of Japanese literature/films. The last real trip I took was September 2019 to Tokyo. I miss that sense of normalcy—walking through unknown towns, taking trains, stopping in cafes—without any real stressors. Since then, life has been relentlessly overwhelming, whether that’s due to school, track, work, or the unknowns that the pandemic has presented.

Continue Reading Stories as an escape: reflecting on the media you’re consuming

This weekend, in an effort to make the most of my HBO Max free trial, I watched The Wind Rises by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki. I’ve always been a fan of Studio Ghibli and the fantastical world of magical realism it creates that often feature talking animals, witches, and other un-earthly events. This film was different though, and while it’s not a piece of literature it inspired me to consider the intersections of historical and contemporary fiction—and just talk about the film more because it was that good. 

Without spoiling much, The Wind Rises is a beautiful and heart-wrenching fictional depiction of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, an aeronautical engineer. Horikoshi is best known for designing military aircrafts—most notably the Zero, which was used in World War II by the Japanese and even in the attack on Pearl Harbor. As The Wind Rises demonstrates, Horikoshi was not interested in war, but he was captivated by designing planes.

Continue Reading The Wind Rises as an illustration of historical & contemporary fictions’ goals

Contemporary or realistic fiction is simply a fictional story set in modern/contemporary times—pretty self-explanatory. You’ve probably read a lot of “contemporary” fiction without even realizing it. It’s a story that is entirely made up, but could take place in the world as we know it today. There’s no fantastical, magical elements, characters are usually simple and relatable, and the plot—again—is believable. It typically highlights its characters, focusing on their growth and development.

Sometimes, you need an escape, maybe to a world that bears no resemblance to your own. Personally, I wouldn’t necessarily want to be reading Stephen King’s The Stand right now. But for me—at least, most of the time—I find that I most enjoy stories I can relate to. It holds a deeper meaning when I read a book and can imagine it transpiring in real life. Somehow, the characters feel more real that way, more relatable, and everything that occurs in the story has more of an impact. Taking an in-depth look into a character’s growth and evolution or following him/her through everyday life has that sense of normalcy combined with an engaging plot (well, when it’s written well).

Continue Reading The importance and relevance of contemporary fiction