Miyazaki Fridays: Loser of the Pack

by Davis Ketterer

I’ve gotten into the habit of putting on a Studio Ghibli movie to end the week on a beautiful reminiscing kinda note. Today’s feature film will be Howl’s Moving Castle.

Joe Ketterer has actually read the book on which Howl is based but I never got around to it. According to him, there’s alot more family involvement, or rather negligence, in the story.

I used to wonder, when I was small, how families could break apart, grow apart, not talk or even like each other for years. As I move along in age I realize how it might happen: no longer forced together by close quarters, people stop caring about one another, if they ever cared much at all.

It occurs to me that I have always been the loser of the pack in my family. In fact, I could probably say whatever I wanted to say, frankly, about anybody in my family online, name names, and dates, and none of them would ever know. They don’t have a clue what I’m up to online, or writing, or anything (except for one, on occasion). None of my friends do either. I was always that weird girl that was into weirds things and created little weird stories but no one knew much of the details of my mind. As far as they were concerned there were no details, I was a nonentity.

You see, it’s all good and well to be a creative person, writing and drawing little stories, if you are successful. Then everyone will want to meet you, talk to you, know every little thing about you. But to be that creative person writing and drawing and not successful–well, no one even wants to admit that they know you.

So I watch myself in Howl’s Castle, a very competent Sophie sitting in a back room making dazzling hat creations that no one will ever wear. And there I am, Sophie still, shocked out of my little hat world by marriage and children, and no one sees me as anything past a little old lady who cooks and cleans.

My former family no longer recognizes me as one of their own and stopped telling people that they had a young creative person in their family. Only my husband, Howl, sees the real worth in me, and only my children, shown in the small boy Markl, revel and cheer in my small competencies and share their excitement for life with me. However,myhusbandhasn’thadhis heartstolenbyademonandIhaven’tbefriendedthewickedwitchofthewastewhoturnedmeold. Details, details.

Creativity is a lonely activity and I will think on that a little as I sit and pine for Sophie’s youth, when she seemed to matter more to everybody.