Category Archives: Kiki’s Delivery Service

The College Dropout Survival Guide

Note: Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix. Her post Self-Care Isn’t Selfish is what inspired me to write this post.

It’s now been 3 years since I made the choice to come home after my second semester of university.

Bad grades, combined with not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, made me realize I need time to get my head on straight.

Coming home was a choice that almost killed me.

So, in this post, I want to share with you what I have done in order to keep myself motivated to get out of bed in the morning:

Get a job. I initially balked at the prospect of getting a job. But I knew I had to do it — I knew that I didn’t want to spend my life on the couch, living off the charity of others. So, despite the grumbling of that lazy, entitled, refuse-to-take-responsibility part of myself, when a job opportunity presented itself I jumped at it. And I am so glad I did. Sure, my work could use improvement. More than once, my boss has expressed disappointment at my performance. But, I keep at it. And I figure that as long as the paychecks keep coming, than I must be doing something right.

I’m not at Kiki levels of productivity…

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Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

…but I’m getting there.

Plus, if nothing else: My job allowed me to have enough money to get an Xbox One after my Xbox 360 got the Red Ring of Death.

Have a spiritual life. If you’re spiritual/religious than, if you don’t already, get in the habit of praying at least twice a day — a prayer before you go to sleep and a prayer right after you wake up.

Even if it’s only 5 seconds long and consists of two words — “Hi, (insert name of higher power here).” — praying will do you good.

As the name of my blog implies, I’m a Catholic. I was raised in the Catholic faith and, so far, my faith hasn’t let me down.

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Star Wars (1977)

Realize that you aren’t alone. Chances are that if you’re reading this post, you’re in a similar position: You’re not in college and are wondering What the deuce do I do now?

Well, one of the ways to not despair is to know that you aren’t struggling alone. There are people who have gone through, or are going through, what you are, and either they need you to help them, you need their help, or both.

After all: In order to slay the Kaiju that is Despair, you can’t do it alone…

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Pacific Rim (2013)

(I picked Crimson Typhoon because, even though it does get destroyed, I think it’s the coolest Jaeger.)

Surround yourself with beautiful things. I don’t know about you, but: The 24-hour news cycle of terrorist attacks, natural disasters, presidential incompetence, rapes, and murders depresses me. It makes me ask the one question I never want to find myself asking: Should I keep on living?

So, what do I do? I focus on the good in life instead.

For example:

Instead of scratching my head over Donald Trump’s latest tweet…

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…I listen to my favorite song instead:

It’s much more relaxing.

Do what you love. I’m currently teaching myself how to write screenplays.

I’m doing this because I discovered that, in my free time, I would frequently read film reviews. There was just something about the reviews by Steven Greydanus and Jeffrey Overstreet that hooked me. That kindled within me a passion for film. A passion to not just critique art, but create it. Because anyone can criticize. But not everyone can create.

Lately that passion to create has, unfortunately, been fueled by anger at the incompetence of fellow Christian film enthusiasts…

…reviewers are sadly out of touch with ticket buyers. In fact, they are so far out of touch that most of them pick only one blockbuster movie, and many mediocre “independent” movies and boring foreign language movies that appeal to only a few moviegoers.
~WAR ROOM’s A+ cinemascore tells the story

…but still: I’m glad to be doing something I love. Even if it can be hard.

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And:

Love yourself.

You’re not perfect.

You’ve failed before, and you’re going to fail again.

But is that going to be the end of you?

No.

Why?

Because: You love yourself, flaws and all.

You know that what you have to offer the universe is unique.

And you know that it’ll be a cold day in Hell before you let life get away with sucker-punching you.

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Boundless Challenge: Week #11

OriginalPhoenix, I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the Boundless Challenge.

Boundless

My last entry in the challenge was almost a month ago.

The point of the challenge is to write about how I “lived boundless” this week — to write about one example every week of me doing more than I thought I was capable of.

And, I really do hate to say it, but: Lately, my neighbor’s cat has been more boundless than me.

Since I used to have two dogs — they died after living long, happy lives — my neighbor’s calico cat — that hangs out around my house because I give her food — has, for the longest time, resisted actually coming into the house. She must still be able to smell the dogs. But, over the weeks she’s made progress.

Yesterday she jumped on my couch and stayed there for 10 minutes before running to the door and meow-ing to be let out.

The light is bad, but here she is:

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I call her “Kiki,”  thanks to Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

Why?

Because: Instead of delivering bread, Kiki the calico delivers “Aww!” Whenever I see her, I can’t help but go “Aww!” She always makes me do this:

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To get back on subject:

This week, I do have something to be Boundless about:

I finished the screenplay for my short film.

There will, undeniably, be more edits as I show it to people more knowledgeable about screenwriting than I. But, I’ve hit a wall: I feel like I’ve done everything for this screenplay that I, with my current knowledge of writing, can do. Hence why I consider it “finished.”

Have you ever felt like that? You write, and write, and write, and you get to a point where you look at what you’ve written and think I’ve done everything I can.

For weeks, my life has been relatively unexciting.

Just been trying to get more used to my job stocking shelves, since it’s the first job I’ve had in over 3 years. (School, family obligations, and soul-searching kept me busy during that time.)

When I’m not working, I’ve been listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack while I try and think of more ideas for screenplays…

…and spending time with my best friend. We hang out more frequently now, which I’m glad for. In my quest for awesomeness, I don’t want to neglect relationships.

What else has happened recently?

Well, thanks to Wild Woman Sisterhood

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…and some editing, I found a picture that captures what my short film is about:

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Regarding my short film:

I’ll write more on that later…

Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix for inspiring me to get back to doing the Boundless Challenge.

Her fiery, phoenix-y awesomeness is just what I needed today.

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Pagan Prayer: Dancing Naked In The Forest

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All of creation is inherently good:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
~ Genesis 1:31

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Because of Adam’s and Eve’s sin, we aren’t as able to see and appreciate the inherent goodness of God’s creation…

Then the eyes of both of them were open and saw that they were naked.
~ Genesis 3:7

…but that goodness does not go away.

An example of how “that goodness does not go away”:

Nude art. Like The Birth of Venus.

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Because of this imperfect world — because my eyes are “opened” and I see that Venus is naked — I can’t see Venus in a completely pure way. There’s always that inner tug-of-war with lust.

But: That doesn’t mean that Venus herself is less inherently good. That just means that I am not perfectly able to see her goodness.

On another note:

To quote George R.R. Martin:

The gods give each of us our little gifts and talents, and it is meant for us to use them, my aunt always says. Any act can be a prayer, if done as well as we are able. Isn’t that a lovely thought?
~ Lady Smallwood, A Storm of Swords, “A Song of Ice and Fire”

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And to quote Chariots of Fire (1981):

You can glorify God by peeling a potato, if you peel it to perfection.
~ J.D. Liddell

My point is:

Any act — even dancing naked in a forest — can be a prayer if it is done as well as we are able to do it.

Because all things — like a forest, a person’s naked body, and a desire to dance — ultimately come from God. And it is up to us to use them for the well-being of others and ourselves…

Typing those words, I am reminded of Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989):

We fly with our spirit.

That’s what I’m talking about! Trusting your spirit. The spirit that drives your friend to bake, me to paint, and you to fly, is the same spirit. Maybe the spirit comes from God.

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So:

To anyone who is out in nature, naked and moving, while I’m indoors, clothed and kneeling:

Thank you.

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Donald Trump: At War With Art

So, I recently learned that Donald Trump is killing art:

Donald Trump moving forward with plans to kill National Endowment for the Arts, PBS and NPR

In response to this news:

Excerpts from Saint John Paul II’s Letter to Artists:

None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands.

Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet… all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece.

Those who perceive in themselves… the artistic vocation—as poet, writer, sculptor, architect, musician, actor and so on—feel at the same time the obligation not to waste this talent but to develop it, in order to put it at the service of their neighbor and of humanity as a whole.

Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny.

Society needs artists, just as it needs scientists, technicians, workers, professional people, witnesses of the faith, teachers, fathers and mothers, who ensure the growth of the person and the development of the community…

Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality’s surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one’s own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things. All artists experience the unbridgeable gap which lies between the work of their hands, however successful it may be, and the dazzling perfection of the beauty glimpsed in the ardour of the creative moment: what they manage to express in their painting, their sculpting, their creating is no more than a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit.

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May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude.

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Why Christians Should Give “Kiki’s Delivery Service” A Chance

Note: I watched the movie in Japanese with English subtitles.

Reasons why I believe Christians should give Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) a chance. (Contains spoilers.)

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It is a positive portrayal of family

You don’t have to go far to find examples of Christians lamenting the state of the family in popular culture — lamenting how positive portrayals of an intact family consisting of father, mother, and child are, compared to decades ago, few and far between.

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Frozen (2013)

Christians going “Where are all the good families?” will surely be relieved by Kiki’s Delivery Service, with its positive portrayal of Kiki’s family…

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…as well as the positive portrayal of the family that gives Kiki a place to live when, following tradition, she leaves home for a year in order to find her purpose in life.

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It celebrates hard work and discerning one’s vocation

In Kiki’s Delivery Service, hard work is something to embrace, not avoid at all costs.

And discerning a vocation is something to commit oneself to.

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People who don’t discern…

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…are seen as snobs.

And people who don’t work…

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…are seen as stuck-up and ungrateful.

It is a positive portrayal of the elderly, and Christian living

Let’s compare Madame from Kiki’s Delivery Service to another old woman. An old woman from an explicitly Christian movie: Miss Clara from War Room (2015).

Miss Clara talks the talk…

…but does she walk the walk?

Compared to Madame, I would say “No.”

Madame has qualities that I don’t see in Miss Clara:

Madame makes up for her mistakes. She insists on paying the delivery girl even though there is no delivery to make.

In contrast: I don’t recall Miss Clara making a mistake — having a moment where she realizes “I messed up.”

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Madame has a passion. She likes to cook. Her specialty is herring and pumpkin pot pie.

In contrast: Miss Clara’s only passion seems to be her prayer life. Praying, of course, isn’t a bad thing. But: Miss Clara seems to do nothing but pray. And God did not create us to exist only on our knees: He also wants us to be creating, exploring, and learning too.

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Madame is willing to take others’ advice. She listens to Kiki when Kiki suggests using her old oven to bake her daughter’s present.

In contrast: Miss Clara gives advice but is never taught anything by Elizabeth Jordan, the woman she is trying to help. Miss Clara is the same at the end of the movie as she was at the beginning: she hasn’t grown as a person. The most growth that Miss Clara could be said to have is that, because of Elizabeth, she buys a smartphone.

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Madame uses her skills and passion for the benefit of others. To show Kiki her thanks for all that she has done for her, Madame bakes her cake.

Not everyone can bake a cake.

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Despite Miss Clara’s prayers and exhortations, Madame strikes me as the more Christian of the two women. Even though her religious beliefs are never known.

It’s beautiful

If excellence declares the glory of God, than Kiki’s Delivery Service is singing God’s glory.

Every shot in the movie looks like it’s from a painting:

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And the music… sigh

If I had to choose between living in a room at the top of a bakery in the fictional city of Koriko…

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…or living in the Jordans’ house…

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…I know which one I would pick.

It is explicitly spiritual

You don’t have to go far to find Christians lamenting the secularization of society. Which is why Christians should appreciate the spirituality evident in Kiki’s Delivery Service:

“We fly with our spirit.”

“That’s what I’m talking about! Trusting your spirit. The spirit that drives your friend to bake, me to paint, and you to fly, is the same spirit. Maybe the spirit comes from God.”

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When I was little, God was there and wonderfully granted my dream.
On mornings when I wake up with kindly feelings, even though I’ve grown up, miracles happen!
Opening the curtain, tranquil sunlight filtering through the trees.
If it envelopes me in tenderness, surely everything reflected in my eyes will be a message.
When I was little, God was there and every day he delivered love.
Inside my heart, I had forgotten my precious box of good memories.
The time to open it is now.
~An English translation of “If I’ve Been Enveloped In Tenderness”

In the world of Kiki’s Delivery Service, witches’ powers come from God, not Satan.

What’s wrong with taking something and reimagining it? Christians do it all the time.

For example: When it comes to Rock music, Christians went from this…

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…to this:

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And: C.S. Lewis frequently reimagined Pagan spirituality. For example: River gods (like the one in Prince Caspian) were ultimately subservient to Aslan.

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Why can’t the same be done with witches?

In conclusion:

If you’re a Christian who is lamenting that there is very little you feel comfortable showing to your kids, show them Kiki’s Delivery Service.

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.)

Celebrating Beauty: Day 4 – Kiki’s Delivery Service

Inspired by TheOriginalPhoenixThimblerig’s Ark, and Sunshine Lou, every day until Christmas, I’m going to write about one example of beauty that I have found, in order to counter the darkness that I see when I turn on the news.

Day 4, I am celebrating:

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

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The story of a 13-year-old witch who, following tradition, leaves home for a year to go out into the world and find her calling in life, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a film that never fails to make me smile.

This isn’t a review.

This is a rave.

I can’t think of anything I dislike about this film.

From the plot, the characters, the setting, the animation, the soundtrack — it’s all excellent. (I watch the film in Japanese with English subtitles.)

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If you’re an artist of any kind — a baker, a painter, a writer. etc. — than watch this film. The characters will have you going “I know exactly how you feel.”

Even if you’re not an artist, Kiki’s Delivery Service is still a film that will have you doing this throughout it:

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Kiki’s Delivery Service doesn’t shy away from the more unpleasant realities of life.

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But: The film refuses to settle for horrors. It refuses to throw up its hands go “Why?! Oh the humanity!”

If the 24-hour news cycle is a poison, Kiki is a cure.

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Question:

What film always puts you in a good mood?