“Doesn’t look lonely at all, does it? It has friends. Cares for the Hitaki nests, too. It won’t die.”

And today’s writing takeaway, from Castle in the Sky (because there just might be a Miyazaki festival going on at our local theater):

Making someone care about a whole world–even a floating world, shrouded in the most beautiful clouds ever drawn, even a world that can fly–is hard.

But make me care about one character living in your world–say, a giant gardening robot who cares about protecting birds’ nests and is a friend to fox squirrels–and I’ll care about your world too, utterly and completely, because what happens to the world, happens to that one character, too.

Secondary takeaway: Flying is awesome. We should all do it as often as possible.

“Too much fire gives birth to nothing. Fire can reduce a forest to ashes in a day, while it takes the water and the wind a hundred years to grow one anew.”

After watching Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind on the big screen last night, I found myself thinking, as I left the theater, that we could do worse than to ask ourselves two questions when working on, well, anything:

Where’s the heart?
and
Where’s the awesome?

If a story–or any other creative or crafted thing–has both heart and things that are awesome (that make us go, “ooooooh!”), it seems to me that while it still needs other fundamentals of craft, the odds that it’ll resonate go way, way up. And if it lacks these two things, all the craft in the world can’t make up for it.

Nausicaa has both, and for me, at least, this makes for a movie whose wonderfulness shines through–more than shines through–its imperfectness.

Which is a good thing to remember, given how low the odds are that any of us is ever going to create a perfect work.

But we can do this: never stop seeking the heart and the awesome in the imperfect works we do create, instead.

Quote of the day

“When I say ‘hero’ do not picture someone with the strength to fight and conquer evil–because evil is not something that can ever be conquered or defeated. Evil is natural–it is innate in all humans. But while it can’t be defeated … it can be controlled. In order to control it, and live the life of a true hero, you must learn to see with eyes unclouded by hate. See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two.” –Hayao Miyazaki