Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Who doesn't like stories

What can one say to an audience of 21,000+ people without coming off as cliché and dull? Should I talk about the experiences of moving to a new country as a child; or about some meaningful experience that just cannot be put to words; or about my postcard collecting hobby; or about how I’m stuck at a crossroads, unsure of my future directions?

I want to talk about story telling. I’m not a story teller by any means; I am horrible at timing my stories, choosing the right words, or building up the suspension (so bare with me). Nevertheless I love stories. I love movies, television series, short stories, you name it. Transporting myself from the problems of the real world and into a world of possibilities, where I can be the princess from the Valley of the Wind whose courageous actions saves the earth from the destruction of man or the witty companion to a mad man with a blue box. In the world of stories, I can be whoever and wherever I want; where the only restriction is my mind.

Stories are powerful. They produce emotion and thought; and bring magic to the world. Let me share with you some of the stories that I love.

First of all, I grew up with Miyazaki and Disney films, bedtime stories, and cartoons. Even now, I love Miyazaki films with all my heart. They’re not black and white in the sense that the world is portrayed in strict dualities. There are no beautiful heroines and twisted corrupted stepmothers; no heroic princes and evil witches. Like our world, in the world of Miyazaki, the characters are as dynamic and as hard to categorize as real people like you and me. They provoke deep senses of emotion that are hard to describe. They feature strong female characters that are flawed but are also representative of the innate human strength. They are worlds of possibilities that incorporate the impossible with the real. But above all, intricately tied with these stories are the memories of my childhood which makes them so very important to me. I strongly urge you to watch them; perhaps start with the classic “Totoro” to get your toes dipped in the pool of Miyazaki magic.

With so many great stories out there in so many different forms and about so many things, I can’t imagine what you will enjoy but here is what I recommend if you want to walk a few steps in the shoes of a stranger.

Amélie: This is a film that is fun to watch and the characters are so rich, there is not one dull moment.

Paperman: This is a Disney short that just came out on YouTube. It’s fantastically done. The artwork is just gorgeous and the little expressions really take your breath away.

Life is Beautiful: An Italian film about a father’s courageous love for his son and wife in the WWII era. This film was superb in portraying the lengths that love can carry an individual.

And with that, I end my tale. I leave you with no final moral to take away from or some cliché line about the beauty of the universe. Thanks for sticking with me up until here. I would love it if you would send an email to share with me some of your favorite stories or want to exchange postcards.

Michelle Huang
Berkeley, CA

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