Monthly Archives: August 2014

Manga – A Growing Trend

It’s no surprise that so many people have become attached to many fictional characters in manga. Not only can they see the character in picture form, but they get a much deeper sense of who they are, their actions, how they react in different situations, etc.

Today, there are many different types of conventions (“cons” for short) that people get the opportunities to dress up (cosplay) as their favorite characters to the best of their abilities, as well as what their wallets will allow. Some cons are Anime Boston, Comic Con, Anime Expo, and more, including outside of the U.S.

There are many genres in manga, just as their are in regular books: romance, sci-fi, ecchi, harem, paranormal, horror, school life, shoujo/shonen-ai (girl/girl love; boy/boy love), and more. Some manga (most, really) are series that can stretch on for over 40 volumes, and then there are some that span just one or two volumes.

Why is it so big? The characters, the art style, the stories, all come together to create something that is visually stimulating for a lot of people, where regular word books just don’t cut it. Not only that, but many manga get turned into anime (think Pokemon), which bring those characters to life on screen in 2-D animation.

It’s been a growing trend in the U.S. for over twenty to thirty years, especially with series such as Dragonball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam, Naruto, and Bleach, to name a few. Each series produces characters that kids and adults alike feel connected to and want to learn more about them while enjoying the fun, dramatic, scary, and weird antics that they get themselves into.

Some of my personal favorite manga are Fushigi Yuugi, Ayashi no Ceres, Hot Gimmick, Ouran Host Club, Kaichou wa Maid-sama!, Kashimashi, and others.

To read some manga online, check out MangaFox or Manga Reader, or any free site, to see some great books.

Have you read manga? What are some of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

Make Good Art

I wanted to take a moment to write about Neil Gaiman’s “Make Good Art” speech at the University of Arts, Philadelphia in 2012.

I’ve heard this speech before, probably when it first came out, or maybe in a classroom, but I didn’t really get it then. I mean, I understood what he was saying, but I didn’t fully grasp the concept that Gaiman was talking about.

As I listened to the speech again, I realized something: everything he said is true.

As someone who recently graduated with a Bachelor of Science in English Studies, my options for jobs in my field are limited. Many jobs, in many fields, require you to have previous experience before you can get experience, or they require something else of you before you can really start. It’s a tough world right now for certain degree majors, but it’s not impossible.

Gaiman’s speech was one to inspire, for sure, but it hit something within me that rings truest of all: Make. Good. Art.

It doesn’t matter if the work doesn’t get published or never leaves home, it doesn’t matter if you make money or not from what you do, but what does matter is that you make it and that you enjoy it.

Reflecting back on my college career I went through three majors before landing on English: biology, earth science, pre-major (no major), and then English. I was thinking of going into education to have a more solid foundation for which I could lay my work, but I didn’t want to be in school the rest of my life, so I went for the next best thing, something I knew I was really good at: English.

I love to write; I have since I was a child and since I started writing stories as part of classroom assignments or for fun. I once wrote over 100 pages on the computer when I was just eleven or twelve, something that many people may not even fathom to do when they’re twenty or thirty. I was immersed in story and I had such a vivid imagination that it always came naturally to me.

But I still wanted to be a veterinarian. I still wanted to study dinosaurs. Don’t get me wrong, those pursuits are amazing and if I had had the ambition and drive to continue my studies, I would have, but as someone who struggles majorly in math (minus a few select subjects), I couldn’t do it. I was constantly disappointed in myself, and I knew my parents were, too, even if they didn’t want to admit it.

When I started pursuing English Studies with a focus on Professional Writing, and then later adding Art as my minor, I knew that it should have been my first choice going into college. I had found the passion that had been dormant for so long in me spark once again, I found the will and drive to be creative again. When it came to my writing classes (not the ones that focused on literature) I told stories that moved, confused, astounded, and amazed my fellow peers and professors.

I had found where I belonged.

Now, as a graduate, that passion is dwindling yet again. I started writing my first novel, just two sections of it: the end and a middle-to-end section, but two sections nonetheless. I have ideas written down of several other novels and I realized something: I have so many passions, but I am so afraid of what might happen, or not happen, next.

I am worried about helping to support my fiance and I as we come closer to our marriage date and his return to school, I am worried about not being able to find a job in my field that I will enjoy, I am afraid of the future, of what’s to come. I am just afraid.

But listening to Neil Gaiman’s speech sparked something in me that I should have never let go of: just keep writing.

I have put this blog on the back burner because life keeps happening, and I don’t want to do that because I enjoy seeing people actually enjoying my voice and opinions. I have stopped writing because I am afraid and worried that I won’t get anything published eventually or, even more presently, unable to finish a single story. I have put what I love on hold because of “life.”

Well, life can suck it.

I love to write, I love to read, I love to be creative to the point where I am more passionate about it than anything in the world.

So why not just keep making good art?

Monthly Writing Challenge – August

Yeah, I know I’ve missed a couple of these, but I still have a little while left before it’s midnight my time (EST)!

It’s the last month of summer break and you have just a few weeks left before school starts. You can already feel the anticipation growing inside of you and you have no idea if it’s dread or excitement. But you don’t focus on that, rather you focus on the fact that you can still make it the best month possible before school starts up again.

What do you do for the first and last weeks of school break? Do you hang out with friends? Go to the beach? Find summer romance?

Respond to the prompt in no less than 150 words and keep it rated PG-13 or under.