Evey so often, I look back at my life and ask, “Josh, why are you doing this?” I stop and realize I’ve been watching cartoons from another country, in a language I don’t understand. I make it a priority, even over sleep sometimes! I devote so much time and energy into something that means nothing. It’s pathetic really. But then I laugh it off, and go back to another episode of Ultraman.
Like many others of my generation, anime on TV was what got me started. I had a trampoline in the backyard where my friends and I would jump around and play the last thing we saw on Dragonball Z; then someone would go home crying. When I was 12 I got my first issue of Viz’s Shonen Jump. It was the one with Yoh on the cover; you got a free Goku card inside. That was probably when I started looking for more.
But there comes a point in fandom where rabid consumption isn’t enough. Sooner or later you start to give back – the only question is the value of what you’re giving back. I originally tried to start a video game podcast, but only managed three episodes when the realization hit me that I couldn’t support that lifestyle. I wonder if that’s still floating out there somewhere… But that smoldering was still too strong to ignore, naturally I went to the next best thing.
I think Trigun was one of the first things I marathon watched, then burnt my ideas and feelings into a recording before shipping it off to internet-land. ‘Hey, this is easy’ I said to myself, ‘I can do this.’ So that was what I did. Rush a through a show in a week, 12 or 24 episodes, it didn’t matter, so I could blab about it on Friday. I kept up with Naruto and Bleach, One Piece eventually, making sure I was on top of the wave. I was obnoxious, still am to some degree.
I got a lot of help along the way from a lot of people. I got put down by just as many. I was never some underdog who was going to make it by true grit along, Just a kid who loved what he did and did what he loved. Somewhere I caught the vision that there was more to the game than just me, the show, and the microphone. Somewhere I started to take things more seriously. Might have just been age.
So I step back and look at the my role models. They’re all people who have accomplished something. And when I do this, I start to feel insecure; that creeping question ‘What have I done? What do I amount to?’ whispers in my ear. Then it dawns on me; these people all expressed something amazing, conveyed emotion, a thought, an idea. Then I answer the whisper, ‘I can do that too.’ My passion has always been my strength, so I make sure to use it to my advantage. This blog is a product of that.
One of my role models once wrote:
“We live in a box of space and time. Movies are windows in its walls. They allow us to enter other minds – not simply in the sense of identifying with the characters, although that is an important part of it, but by seeing the world as another person see it. François Truffaut said that for a director is was an inspiring sight to walk to the front of a movie theater, turn around, and look back at the faces of the audience, turned up to the light from the screen. If the film is any good, those faces reflect an out-of-body experience: The audience for a brief time is somewhere else, sometime else, concerned with the lives that are not its own. Of all the arts, movies are the most powerful aid to empathy, and good ones make us into better people.”
~ Ebert, Roger. The Great Movies. Introduction pg xv
Some windows are worth going back to look though. And I do believe they can make us better people. I’m reminded of that when I understand a thought I never had, when i feel an emotion I hadn’t come to grips with, or when I see an idea come into full bloom. These experiences make us better, we just have to look for them, and see them for what they truly are.
~ February 7th, 2015