Thoughts From the Kitchen (#4 – I Want to be a Hero, Too.)

Superheroes.

This word inspires a variety of responses from those who read it, the two most common being “OMG YES SUPERHEROOOOEESSS!!” and “Oh my god when is this trend going to die?”

I am a proud member of the former category, so I apologize to any who might belong in the latter.  I understand why you might be frustrated, but I also don’t empathize, so take that as you will.

Spider-Man: Homecoming recently released in theaters, and I loved it.  It did not blow my mind or change the world, but it was a wonderful, quirky, adventure full of heart, in spite of it’s many (tiny) flaws.  The humor was on point, the camera direction was good (for a superhero film), the villain was a breath of fresh air, and watching the fledgling hero fumble through his new responsibilities provided a different take from everything else present in the MCU. I appreciated the film for all of these things.

But most of all, just because it was Spider-Man.

Spider-Man has always been and continues to be my favorite superhero.  He is easy to relate to, deeply flawed, possesses a curious dichotomy between his two personas, is wildly creative with his powers, and most of all, best personifies an accurate representation of what a raw superhero should be, without all the political junk weighing them down.

Also prominent in the superhero arena right now is the ongoing manga/anime My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia).  This is a franchise of rapidly growing intrigue, a distinguished character cast, and simplicity done right.  The music is amazing, the animation is spectacular, and the storytelling is superior (see what I did there?) Though if we’re being honest, its largest appeal is probably just that it has a neatly observable beginning and trajectory, without a billion timelines and spin-offs to convolute the universe.

And surprise, surprise, the author has been cited on his deep love of the Spider-Man comics from a young age.

Needless to say, I have had a recent surge of inspiration from both of these resources. They’ve each encouraged me in turn to continue pursuing my goals, and have done so with their own specialized contributions.  I might not be a hero like them, but someday I hope to be a hero, too.  So until then I will immerse myself in their inspiration and passion.

If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll absorb some of their mentality and do something worthy with it.

 

Thoughts From the Kitchen – (#3 Ten-Thousand Voices)

I once heard a story from a musician, in which he was telling a story he heard through a musician buddy, about another musician that likely neither of them knew (assuming the subject of the story is real at all).

In this story, the front man of a popular band was looking over the crowd which gathered for that night’s show.  He was exhausted from months on the road, bitter to the state of the music industry, and overall weary of singing the same songs time and again.  Yet, when he called upon his stage persona, he did so with enthusiasm and purpose. When he presented himself to the thousands of people before him, jumping and hollering along with the words he sang, he did not let his bitterness influence his performance, and for quite a simple reason:

He believed in the message of his song, and every single one of the ten-thousand voices in that sea of faces were singing for a different reason.  A unique and personal reason.

I like this story, because it acknowledges how we internalize narratives and meanings independently from one another.  Even if the overall narrative leaves little to the realm of subjectivity, the experiences we bring to the table will be rife with our own specific purposes and struggles.

“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world.”

The sole identifying emotional word in that famous Journey intro is ‘lonely.’  If you fulfill the ‘small town girl’ aspect and feel lonely, this automatically applies to you.  Yet, you could be a small town girl, and be lonely for a completely different reason from the first person who identifies with the track.  Even more, you don’t need to identify as anything, and can simply appreciate the somber tone of the song on the mere grounds of acknowledging that yes, the world is lonely.  So on, ad infinitum, until near-most everyone has a different purpose for lifting their voices in harmony.

Writers have a similar power (yet, entirely different, as music is it’s own beast).  When we write, it’s in the ultimate hope of submerging the head-space of the reader into our world, our rhythm, our timeline.  If we are successful, especially in characterization, then we create a similar effect to the singer on the stage.

Think of your favorite character. The reason they’re your favorite is likely different from why they’re someone else’s favorite. Even if your surface-level reasons are the same, the nuance and personal element behind them can vary infinitely.

This is why we we sing, write, and create. Because art is the only thing capable of this, this relationship between expression and perception.