IMG (c) Myself - 2016
Day 6 of Staying Inside.
During this time of personal and global panic, it appears that a part of my brain I have not met yet has jostled it's way to the front and taken control of the wheel. I don't want to insult your intelligence, but I'll go ahead and clarify that that metaphor was not informed by any sort of expert opinion. I have no clue what's going on in my brain. However, what I mean is that despite having my usual cauldron of anxiety bubbling beneath the surface, I've stopped catastrophising and my autopilot is keeping me occupied. My family and I are in a very privileged position in that we can all work from/stay at home so as time goes on and nobody is showing symptoms, I have been able to calm down a tiny bit. I'm still extremely anxious about my partner and extended family, but for now I am able to focus on tasks at home without too much dramatic pacing and fretting.
My days have mainly consisted of working on some online teaching, playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, watching Supernatural for the first time and a bit of crochet and clay modelling here and there. Getting used to this home routine has been really strange. I spent a very long period mostly at home a few years ago when my migraines were a lot worse and I was in a slightly different place in life. However, since then I've been much more active; I have a full-time job and I've been much more nomadic since meeting my partner. In case you're wondering, we do not like being apart but we are coping by sending each other daily gifts on Animal Crossing.
The image above is a self-portrait from 2016. I am wearing a hoodie that I still own, some cool jeans that sadly became too faded and shrunken to wear, and some unicorn slippers which also sadly fell apart (I loved them too much). I also had my bright red hair and side shave which I kept for a really long time, but I am now back to my untamed brown hair. Most of the time you can find me wandering the house in unicorn pyjamas, buried in a fluffy, grey housecoat, lugging an enormous mug of tea around with me at any hour of the day. However, one things remains the same. I am always carrying a little fire around with me. The self-portrait depicts Calcifer, a fire demon from one of my most beloved films, Howl's Moving Castle. I was inspired to draw it not only because it's one of my favourites, but because ever since I was quite young I've imagined fire in my hands. I can understand at this point you're thinking, what?. It's not as edgy and superhero-esque as you think.
I just have really cold hands.
For some reason, my hands are always freezing and one day they were so cold and they hurt so much that I was Googling how on earth I could warm them up. I saw a random post which described how imagining a little fire burning in your hands like magic would actually help them to feel warmer. So, Google had spoken and I was ready to give this a go. Long story short, I've been doing it ever since.
On the topic of Howl's Moving Castle, a friend recently asked me why it's one of my favourites, because theirs is Spirited Away (an excellent choice). I know why, but up until this point I never considered trying to articulate it any more than half-screaming at people to watch it. After she asked me, I've been really thinking about it and I think I've come to a conclusion. Howl's Moving Castle is special because it's familiarly unfamiliar.
In one scene, Howl and Sophie prepare eggs and bacon for breakfast and sit at the table to eat it with Markl. These seemingly normal events are interrupted firstly by Calcifer loudly eating the eggshells, then by the lack of clean cutlery in such a large castle, and the sudden appearance of a curse, burning itself into the table. Even Howl, an irritatingly lovable character who plays what appears to be a love interest at first, is punctuated with quite serious political significance, childish reversion, and mysterious legends of heart-eating and star-swallowing. There's no all-encompassing way to describe why the film is so important. However, it's important to me for many personal reasons.
- The scene where Howl takes Sophie's hand and they walk through the sky.
- The unbelievable soundtrack which, when it builds, is phenomenal.
- The immersive way that you feel aged alongside Sophie.
- Howl's grey and salmon coat.
- Howl's bedroom.
- When the castle opens it's mouth and the tongue sticks out.
- Turnip head.
- The perfect casting for the voices.
- The way Sophie eats the block of cheese from her little hankerchief hammock.
- The ever-so-slight character progression. You could argue that both Howl and Sophie are the same person they were when the film started, but after watching it a few times, the subtle ways their characters are tested and forced to grow is inspiring.
- The very idea of the flower shop.
- Howl's gooey tantrum.
I'm hoping in the future that I can write more extensively about Howl's Moving Castle. I read the book last year, and they are very much seperate entities, but I highly recommend both. I don't want to rush writing about it, but I am also eager to go to bed, knowing that we are going to lose an hour in the night.
Another thing I've been doing a lot the last few days is listening to music so I will leave you with my Lockdown Playlist, which is really just a bunch of songs I've been listening to a lot during my time Staying Inside.
Take care saplings x