Category Archives: Eureka Seven

10-Word Story: Revelation

“You don’t like your mama ’cause she looks like this?”

Woman

Thank you to “Irina” — the beautiful woman who made this photo possible and who was one of my inspirations for this post.

Thank you to Love Alchemy, for always making me think.

And: The words in this piece of writing come from my favorite scene in my favorite episode of my favorite series: Eureka Seven.

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I Have Found It — A Short Story

“I Have Found It”

Around Eureka, people rise to leave.*

Her head bowed in prayer, Eureka ignored them.

She heard the voices coming from the foyer begin to fade. She heard the priest close the foyer’s doors. She heard nothing from the priest as he returned to his changing room behind the altar. She saw the church’s lights shut off.

Rising, Eureka left the pew, walking to the foyer’s double doors. Opening the door on the right, she took a right across the foyer, to the bathroom. Seeing that the bathroom door was partially open, she opened it farther before slipping inside, turning on the light, and closing it behind her.

Closing the toilet, Eureka undressed. In her underwear, as she was folding her pants, she remembered the paper. Pausing to see if the folded piece of paper was still in her right pocket, she resumed folding her pants. Finishing undressing, she went to the door.

Opening the door an inch in order to make sure that there was no one in the foyer, Eureka opened the door all the way once she saw that the coast was clear. Turning off the bathroom light before crossing the foyer once again, opening the door on the right once again, and entering the church once again.

Naked and alone, Eureka walked down the aisle.

Her bare feet on marble was the only sound.

Shaking as much from fear as from the cold, Eureka took slow, deep breaths in order to calm herself.

She could just make out the painting, illuminated by candles, above the altar. A painting of the three aspects of God. Eureka imagined they were speaking to her.

The Father: “How dare you!”

The Mother: “Whore!”

The Child: “Why?”

Not slowing, stopping, or turning around, Eureka made it to the pew closest to the altar.

Gingerly easing herself into the pew in order to not touch a surface with her butt, Eureka put her elbows on the low wooden wall that separated the altar from the congregation, knelt, bowed her head, and clasped her hands in prayer.

“God…” she whispered. “See me. Just. See me. I know you must not like this, but… I wanted to do this. I felt I needed to do this. Even if you hated me, I needed you to see me. And I… I needed to see you.”

***

Eureka sat in a booth, enjoying the bar food that was her father’s gift on her 21st birthday.

Giving her a moment to think about it as she took a drink of her water, he asked a question.

“Are you ready for your last final?”

Eureka answered. “As ready as I can be. Now I feel like all I can do is roll the dice.”

Her father smiled. “You’ll do great. Your mother and I are proud of you.”

“Thanks. I’m glad for this opportunity — to be here. I’ve learned a lot about myself.”

“Like what?”

“Being an editor is hard. It’s nothing like I thought it would be.”

Her father took a drink of his beer, steeling himself for the question he dreaded.

“You have a back-up plan?”

“I’m working on it.”

Putting his left hand on the table, Eureka grasped it.

She was looking him in the eye when he said: “Your mother and I are thankful you waited. I know it must not have been easy living at home while your brother finished school.”

Eureka shook her head, appalled. “No. I knew you and mom could only do so much. I didn’t want to put pressure on you. Plus, I needed time. I wasn’t ready to make the leap from high school to college yet.”

“Thank you for thinking of us.”

“Yeah. You’ve done so much for me, and I want to do what I can for you.”

“No matter what, Eureka, you’ll always be our miracle child.”

She withdrew her hand.

“Dad–”

“Really. The doctors told us you wouldn’t make it. For the longest time, we couldn’t decide on a name. But when the doctors found that you would make it, as the saying goes: ‘The rest is history.’”

“‘You’ve been given a second chance,’ you’d say when I was younger. And I want to be worthy of that second chance.”

Eureka’s father could see that his daughter still had a habit of absentmindedly rubbing the inside of her forearms.

“Eureka–”

“I know you and mom say I have nothing to prove. But I wouldn’t be much of a ‘miracle child’ if I disappointed you, would I?”

“Eureka… I have to ask: How do you think you did this semester?”

***

The first awake that day in her on-campus apartment, Eureka sat on the floor in her pajamas just outside her open bedroom door with her arms wrapped around her legs and her head against her knees….

***

Eureka sat at her desk in her bedroom, her eyes widening in shock when she realized that the letter she had received was from her academic adviser….

***

Not looking him in the eye, Eureka answered her father’s question.

“Not good.”

***

Eureka sat at the dinner table, frowning at her laptop.

On the laptop’s screen was the Employment page on the public library’s website. This summer, there were no positions currently available.

Next to Eureka stood her mother, reading a letter. A letter from Eureka’s college.

“Seven thousand dollars, Eureka! How do you expect to pay this? Because there’s only so much your father and I can do now.”

Despite a gesture at her laptop, Eureka refused to blame technology. “I’m doing everything I can! You know that!”

Not wanting to hear any more, with a shake of her head, Eureka’s mother walked away.

In shock at seeing her so upset, Eureka reached into her right pants pocket and pulled out her cell phone.

Scrolling through her contact list, Eureka abruptly stopped as she came to a name: Theo.

“…it must not have been easy living at home while your brother finished school.”

She resumed scrolling.

She called a number.

“Lyra? It’s Eureka.”

***

Eureka raised her bowed head, trying to see, through her tears, the painted faces of the Father, Mother, and Child.

“I want to know that I’m enough,” she whispered. “I want to know that I was worth it to you. That I was worth saving.”

Sniffling, Eureka unclasped her hands and looked at the scars on the inside of her forearms.

***

Nude, Eureka sat in a chair.

Across from her, on a couch, clothed, sat Lyra. Drawing.**

Tightening her grip on the chair’s armrests, Eureka fought the urge to flinch.

Eureka imagined that every time Lyra’s pencil made contact with paper, she was being cut with a knife. The knife exposing Eureka’s regret and fear as it lay her bare.

Glancing down at her front, Eureka imagined herself covered in bleeding cuts.

The blood turning her white skin red, Eureka remembered her father’s words to her.

“Miracle child.”

The blood running down her skin made Eureka of worms.*** Worms crawling out of an open grave.

Eureka imagined worms crawling out of her cuts and, in horror, drew in her breath sharply.

“Eureka, please don’t move.”

“Sorry.”

Eureka re-focused on Lyra, who continued drawing.

***

Narrowing her eyes, putting the pencil’s eraser to her lips and holding her sketchbook in front of her at arm’s length, Lyra was silent as Eureka sat still.

A moment later, she lowered her pencil and sketchbook.

“All done,” Lyra said with a smile.

Eureka sighed with relief.

“Thank you.”

“Thank you for allowing me to draw you. My Best Friend. That’s what I’m calling it. I think it turned out good.”

“Can I see it?”

Lyra nodded.

***

Tears drying on her cheeks, Eureka stood, in order to try and see God’s faces more clearly.

Feeling exposed, she took a step backward and, with the wood of the pew against her skin, was comforted by the knowledge that there was something solid at her back.

Suddenly, Eureka felt lips close around her right nipple.

Looking down, Eureka saw a naked little girl standing on her tiptoes, suckling. Her hands on Eureka’s breast for balance.****

Their eyes meeting, the girl pulled away. She burped and giggled.

Staring at the girl licking her lips, then at her wet breast, Eureka uttered the first word that came to mind: “What…?”

Bright eyes set in a blushing face found Eureka’s once again.

“Go- goo- good,” the girl said, as if she had just learned to speak.

Recoiling, Eureka pointed to herself. “M-me?”

The girl nodded.

***

Eureka got up from the chair to come and see Lyra’s drawing of her.

“One look at you today and I thought I’ve found it! And now you can keep ‘it.’”

Bending over, Eureka looked at the drawing.

She was speechless.

The drawing’s face radiated an inner peace Eureka did not believe that she herself had. On the drawing’s face was an expression that said “This will all be over soon.”

“What do you think?”

“It’s me…. It’s just not my life.”*****

“What do you mean?” said Lyra, concerned.

Eureka tapped the paper and looked at her.

“I haven’t found what you saw.”

***

Wanting to say more to her, Eureka got on her knees so that she could be closer to the girl.

Before she could say anything, the girl lie on her stomach, resting her head on Eureka’s thighs as if they were pillows.

Eureka felt a peace that she had never felt before. It emanated from the girl like body heat.

The girl blinked sleepily.

A single word was spoken as, reminded of Lyra’s drawing, Eureka watched the Child close her eyes.

“Good.”

The End

*One of the inspirations for Eureka was the character of the same name in my favorite anime series: Eureka Seven.

**The character of Lyra was inspired by Ursula from Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

***The words “The blood running down her skin made Eureka of worms. Worms crawling out of an open grave,” were inspired by these words during the Red Wedding in George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords:

“Slow red worms crawled along her arms and under her clothes.”

****The Child drinking milk from Eureka’s breast was inspired by Saint Anthony of Padua holding the baby Jesus.

*****The words “It’s me…. It’s just not my life,” were inspired by these words in my favorite novel: Armor, by John Steakley:

“It was her. It just wasn’t her life.”

A few final things:

Thank you to fellow blogger sunshine lou. She inspired me to write “I Have Found It” and was one of the inspirations for the character of Eureka, too. The final two influences being myself — Eureka’s experiences are partly based on my own — and Kiki, from the 1989 film Kiki’s Delivery Service. Lou also inspired my poem “The Wild Witch” and the still-being-written short story “Wild Child.” (The reason the woman in the poem is a witch is because, just before I wrote it, I had been talking to a woman who is a witch, and so had witches on my mind. I’m thankful for the insight into Paganism that she gave me.)

I’ve realized lately that I can be a chatterbox. I tend to talk even after, judging by their silence, others are just done. And so, even though “I Have Found It” was posted days ago, I was hesitant to thank Lou because I didn’t want to do to her what I imagine I have done to others: Cause them to think Ugh. This guy again? I don’t say this in order to criticize Lou in any way. She’s a good person, and she should do what is best for herself regardless of how it might make me feel. I say this just to express my thoughts on my tendency to talk and talk and talk.

I am thanking Lou now in order to give her the credit she deserves for making this story possible.

And:

Thank you to the beautiful woman whose picture I used in this post.

And:

Months ago, I wrote a series of posts with the title “I Have Found It.” Those posts, for the time being, have been privated. The reason why is: I’m currently figuring out what to do with them. If those posts were “I Have Found It, 1.0,” this post is “I Have Found It, 2.0.”

And:

The creation story of Eureka’s faith.

And:

Naked and Nude: What’s the Difference?

Finally:

Thank you for reading my story. I hope you liked it.

Feedback is always appreciated.

Everything Great About “Life is Strange”

Contains spoilers for Life is Strange.

Everything great about Life is Strange (in no particular order):

A Protagonist Who Isn’t Ellen Page

Ellen Page accuses ‘The Last of Us’ developers of ‘ripping off’ her likeness

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The Last of Us (2014)
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Beyond: Two Souls (2013)

I have nothing against Ellen Page. I think she’s a good actress.

But: She seems to be the go-to woman when making movie-esque video games.

Which is why: I’m glad Life is Strange is blazing its own trail by — as far as I know — having a protagonist not based on a real person.

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Max Caulfield

Choices That Matter

Whenever I heard this…

…a chill went down my spine. Even when (I thought) I’d made the most compassionate choice possible. I didn’t know how my choice could come back to haunt me. But it just might! Anything was possible when I saw that butterfly.

Not every action has consequences…

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…but the ones that do caused existential panic.

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Thank you, Life is Strange, for making me ask myself What am I doing with my life?

The Setting

Living on the west coast, the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, made me see my home in a new light, and appreciate it more.

As someone who is currently itching to put home in their rearview mirror and go out into the wide world…

…it did me good to realize that there is more to my home than I had previously thought.

On a related note: Against the Cult of Travel, or What Everyone Gets Wrong About the Hobbit

Lately, just sitting back and listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack reminds me that, currently, I’m exactly where I need to be.

That’s another thing that’s great about Life is Strange: The chances the game gives Max — and, thus, you — to just stop, sit, and think.

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Complexity

There is a lot of grey in Life is Strange.

Choices that I thought were right, and made with the best of intentions, came back to haunt me.

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Choices that I didn’t think much of at the time had consequences I didn’t imagine.

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And characters who, at first glance, I thought I had all figured out, revealed sides to themselves that made me go “Wait. What?”

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I believe in good and evil.

But good and evil isn’t always as easy to tell apart as black and white. And I’m glad that Life is Strange acknowledges that reality.

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Love

I’m glad that Max’s and Chloe’s relationship isn’t romantic.

Unless you allow it to be:

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The reason I say that is: There is no shortage of stories about romantic love between two people. The first story that comes to mind is Titanic (1997).

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And so I’m glad Life is Strange‘s story can revolve around a platonic — i.e., non-sexual –relationship between two people: Former best friends Max and Chloe.

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Because: I feel like not a lot of love stories do that — explore love from a non-sexual perspective.

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Tough Love

Near the end of Chapter 3, Chloe and Max get into a fight after a revelation about Chloe’s missing friend Rachel Amber.

I’m glad Life is Strange gave me the option to tell Chloe “Grow up. You’re not the only one with problems.”

This is why: I’ve run across a lot of people saying Chloe isn’t a good person. And such a view is justified. For example: Chloe asks Max to steal money from a fund for handicapped students so that she can pay off a debt to a drug dealer.

But the reason actions like that ultimately don’t bother me is: I don’t have to stand for it.

I can put my foot down and basically say “Chloe, you’re out of control.” Whether or not Chloe will listen to me is another matter. But at least I can make it crystal clear where I stand on her life choices.

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Max’s Nightmare

Max’s nightmare in Chapter 5 is one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen.

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Part of me is too scared to play through it again. At night, at least.

But another part of me wants to play it again purely for the sake of playing the Stranger Things theme as I navigate the endless hallway:

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This Scene

The Soundtrack

The more I listen to it, the more the Life is Strange soundtrack becomes one of my favorites.

For example:

Twists And Turns

“Predictable” is not the word I would to describe Life is Strange.

It’s the kind of story that made me think I’ve been playing for almost 4 hours, but this chapter isn’t going to finish itself!

It’s one of the few series I’ve binge-watched/played. (The others are: Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Eureka Seven.)

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And lastly:

The Ending

Chloe’s realization at the end of Chapter 5 is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen.

0:00 — 3:26:

It’s one of the reasons that I don’t believe the world needs more “Christian movies”…

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…the world just needs more goodness, truth, and beauty. No matter where that goodness, truth, and beauty comes from.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
~Philippians 4:8

A man’s thoughts on “A Day Without a Woman”

On International Women’s Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equality, justice and the human rights of women and all gender-oppressed people, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity.

In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, we join together in making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system — while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.
~  Women’s March website

Having recently learned about A Day Without a Woman, I have to say:

I’m disappointed.

This is why:

Women and minorities fear for their safety in a Christian-majority nation.

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Christianity — the religion that says:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
~ Matthew 11:28

‘Whatever you did to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me.’
~ Matthew 25:40

Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner…
~ Exodus 22:21

Why?

Why, in a nation that, judging by demographics, is supposed to exemplify Christian values, do people feel the need to remind themselves that their lives matter?

Because:

Many Christians aren’t acting in the image of Christ like they’re supposed to.

Christ — the man who said:

“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
~ John 8:7

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I support the women who march for the acknowledgement of their inherent dignity.

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I just wish a march wasn’t necessary to acknowledge that which is obvious:

Women are awesome.

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How Can I Forgive Myself?

How can I forgive myself?

That’s the question I’m asking myself as I research college classes to take.

I hope to be returning to college this fall to study screenwriting.

And yet I can’t stop thinking about my previous experience at college…

During my second semester, I took classes that, I realized too late, I wasn’t prepared to take. In addition, for at least a week, I was as sick as I have ever been. (With what, and for what reason, I don’t know.)

As the semester ended, as it became clear that college, for the time being, wasn’t the place for me, and that there was nothing I could do to salvage my grades, the worst aspect of myself reared its ugly head — my anger.

I’ve struggled with anger since I was in Kindergarten. It’s just in my nature to, when stressed, instead of breaking down crying, get pissed.

I lashed out at people who were only trying to help — treated people like disposable objects: means to an end.

Then I came home and have been able to get my head on straight.

I couldn’t say exactly how, but I feel I am a different person now than I was when I came home almost 3 years ago.

There is more I wish I had done during my nearly 3 years home. But, as a whole, I feel that my time home has been good for me.

For example: I was able to accomplish a dream of mine: Establish a presence online.

This blog.

A place where, I hope, people always feel that their voice is heard. And if their voice isn’t heard — if I refuse to speak to them or refuse to allow them to speak by deleting their comment(s) — at the very least they know why. (If they want to know why.)

As corny as it might sound, I want my blog to be a Safe Space: An imperfect light in the darkness that is this imperfect world.

But:

For all that I feel I have accomplished and all the growth as a person that I feel I have gone through, I still find it hard to forgive myself for having to drop out of college, and for the way I treated people who were only trying to help: People who, circumstances being what they are, I am unable to reach.

I’ve accepted that me dropping out of college is something I’m never going to be OK with — it’s like Frodo’s wound from the Morgul blade in The Lord of the Rings: It’s a wound that will never fully heal.

I feel like Eureka:

Renton: “That’s enough.”

Eureka: “It is not! It is not enough…”

1:43 — 1:50:

One more thought:

Readers of this blog know that I write about nudity a lot.

The reason why is because I see the act of getting naked as more than the act of taking off clothes.

When I undress, I feel that I am doing more than taking off my clothes. I am “taking off” my doubt, fear, and regret, too. I am returning to the state of being that, as a Catholic, I believe God meant for not just me, but for every person: Naked without shame. (Genesis 2:15)

I’m not saying that getting naked is the be-all and end-all solution to my struggle to forgive myself. It’s not. And I never thought it was. But: I do believe that it is a step in the right direction.

Clothes always, eventually, have to come back on. But: When I’m naked, I feel that I am more able to be the person God wants me to be. Whoever that may be.

Which is why I always liked the below scene in Sword Art Online. I don’t want to consider it fanservice, because I consider it more than that. In Suguha, I see myself. A person struggling to know, and do, what is right. A person who sees taking off their clothes as a means of stripping away the negative aspects of themselves — their doubt, their fear — in order to say to themselves “___ is who I am. And ___ is who I am meant to be.”

Those are just some thoughts that had been bouncing around in my head, wanting to get out.

Thank you for reading.

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Celebrating the March For Life

On January 27th is the annual March For Life. A celebration of the humanity of those in the womb.

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I won’t be able to go to any of the rallies happening around the country. But since I’m in the mood right now, I’m going to point out examples, in popular culture, of the dignity of life.

Here I go:

“…there is honor in facing an enemy on the battlefield, but none in killing him in his mother’s womb.”
~Barristan Selmy, A Game of Thrones, page 353

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“Human beings are really amazing. I mean, you can actually carry a whole new life inside of you.”
~Eureka, Eureka Seven

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

LOL!!! :)

(Why include this scene from Battlestar Galactica? Because: The future of two races is hanging in the balance.)

“Giving All” And “Getting Some”: How Anime Appeals To The Best – And Worst – In Men

Months ago, I wrote a post defending kawaii — cuteness in the context of Japanese popular culture.

Today, I would like to expand on that.

In Appreciating The Impossible Beauty of Anime Women, I said:

Anime characters, with their big eyes, soft voices, and long, colorful hair, are trying to make a person go “Cute!”

On the other hand:

Anime characters, with their big breasts, perfectly-shaped butts, and slim waists, are trying to get a person aroused.

The reason why I said this is because I believe that anime is trying to appeal to a man’s two strongest desires at the same time. Anime is trying to appeal to a man’s desire to “get some,” and a man’s desire to “give all.”

One reason to enjoy a film like Despicable Me (2010) — which, just for the record, isn’t an anime — is because, in Gru, we see a man “giving all.” We see a man giving up the comfortable, bachelor-esque life of villainhood in order to pursue a higher calling: Fatherhood.

Far from being something that drags him down and breaks him, fatherhood is what allows Gru to live up to his full potential — to be more than he ever imagined.

In anime characters, with their big eyes, soft voices, and youthful bodies…

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…we men see beings that, like Gru’s girls, we instinctively want to protect and respect — beings we instinctively want to “give all” for.

What man wouldn’t want to be Renton, flying off in a giant fighting mecha in order to save the life of the woman he loves?

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What man wouldn’t want to live in peace with the woman he loves, in the house the two of them bought?

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Gru’s love for his girls is a different kind of love than Renton’s love for Eureka or Kirito’s love for Asuna, but the principle is the same: Love is driving a man to do more, and be more, than he ever imagined.

On a side note:

Another, non-anime example of how love drives a man (0:58 — 1:08):

Regarding how anime tries to appeal to a man’s desire to “get some”:

One example:

Shots, like this one from Sword Art Online, can make a man want to find out what is underneath a certain piece of clothing:

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Concealment creates secrecy. “A secret,” a man’s body says, “that must be revealed.”

The desire to “reveal the secret” — to find out what is underneath a certain piece of clothing — can drive a man to do horrible things.

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In conclusion:

Is kawaii ultimately a good thing or bad thing?

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I would say: “It depends.”

On the one hand:

Kawaii can inspire a person to be more than they ever thought possible.

On the other hand:

Kawaii can cause a person to treat others as less than they are.