I’ve re-watched Storm In The Room a bunch of times already and I will probably do so a lot more for the rest of my existence but I just wanted to write down my feelings on how it highlights once again one of my favorite things in Steven Universe’s storytelling: patience.
As creators, it’s always difficult to regulate how you show information to your audience. You know a lot more than they do about your story and you’re most likely eager to tell them everything, so choosing how to present it and when is very important for the flow of the narrative as well as to generate whatever effects you’re looking for in your audience. I always looked up to Steven Universe because it’s one of the most patient shows I’ve ever seen, when it comes to exposition and narrative flow, especially for a kids’ show. It’s not slow, because the plot moves perfectly and information is released at all times, but it’s done in such small amounts that, when you reach an important point, you realize how much you needed to know to get there and how much you’ve already learned without even noticing. That shows great respect to an audience, from those who create, and great trust in the show, from those who distribute; especially when we live surrounded by content that is incredibly fast-paced and immediate, and even more so in kids’ shows (this is why I’m upset by irregular releases and how in some countries it’s aired out of order, that’s disrespectful toward the show and the audience, but that’s another matter).
Steven Universe uses this patience with clear narrative intentions. For example, I’ve always found brilliant how Garnet was introduced as an individual character first (and for 51 episodes, at that) and an experience of Ruby’s and Sapphire’s love second, so people (especially kids, the true audience of this) get to know their love before they know them individually, before any sort of prejudice they might be carrying could influence their perspective. And by the time that arrives, denying their love would be denying Garnet’s existence, and who would dare do that?
But the reason why I end up praising this again now is because this show is, ultimately, a coming of age story. It’s Steven’s story. That’s why the balance between human issues and gem issues is so important, that’s why every episode adds something. One of the issues I come across in storytelling (especially for kids) when a parent figure is missing is the simplification of the relationship that character has with the idea of the parent, especially when the parent/s are regarded as heroes by whoever is around the character. Steven’s relationship with Rose is never simplified and it’s detailed in breadcrumbs of information throughout the show, since the very beginning. When I imagined an episode like this back in season 1, I would have never known it would advance to such emotional complexity and moral dilemmas, but it all resulted from the sum of parts that where carefully placed in our way. I saw from afar the fandom itself going from seeing Rose as a distant and mysterious figure to intense moral arguments on what she had done and what point in the good/evil spectrum she was on. Because not only we learn things at Steven’s pace, we see how things affect him directly, not in a detached manner but in a close perspective. This is also influenced by the fact that Steven is a main character which people really like in general, which is something that doesn’t happen as often as it should. A lot of writers struggle when creating lead characters, they tend to end up with bland or simplified characters people aren’t as interested to read as the flamboyant side kick or the cool mysterious partner. Steven’s character development, the treatment of him as a complex individual and the way in which we see information as it’s presented to him, whether he interprets it the way we do at the time or not, is a winning combination. It allows us to be more than observers, to get involved.
That is storytelling at its finest, that transformation of people’s perspectives, the moment in which you question what you thought and wonder and ask questions and don’t stand still. When you’re not just entertained but you’re actively participating in what you’re witnessing. And this would have not happened if we had known all this in seasons 1 or 2. If Steven had known from seasons 1 or 2. This crew is patient because it trusts its show and its audience and it has a handle on information that I admire as a creator and as a part of the audience. Their patience allows this level of complexity with an organic flow in narrative, taking subjects as heavy as war, political turmoil, social rights, equality, grief, identity and love and breaking them down to small pieces, which add up to a very complex scenario and pushes you to question your perspective and analyse everything you thought you knew or learn it for the first time. I just admire this show so much.
a couple taakos, mostly based on other taakos i’ve seen around. neither of these is quite perfect. i’m sure the way i draw him will ebb and flow. it’s not a big deal. i’m really enjoying the adventure zone. i’m on the train arc. choo choo.
but really I don’t see enough people talking about how luke skywalker defies so many aspects of toxic masculinity and is a prime example of how kindness and compassion can be so powerful. he literally defeats darth vader by asserting again and again that vader is his father, that he doesn’t want to hurt him, that it’s not too late for him. this boy is facing death and yet he finds it in himself to understand and empathize with the man trying to kill him. he saves himself- and ultimately vader- by being forgiving, and compassionate, and kind. luke gets shitted on for being “whiny” when in reality he’s one of the few male protagonists I’ve ever seen act emotional and openly and unashamedly express his affection/feelings for others. it’s just so important to me that people realize that luke skywalker, perhaps the most iconic character to emerge over the past hundred years, is a hero BECAUSE he is kind, because he isn’t afraid to care about others, because he feels things deeply and is ultimately guided by his extraordinary heart.
You see a sentence
written in cyrillic. Some of the letters are familiar. You see the
meaning shimmering underneath the surface. You almost grasp it, but it slips away. The letters on the page mock you silently.
You know this Czech word. You’ve already learnt it in Polish. It is not the same word. It is a grave insult. Your slavic friends are shocked and embarassed for you when they hear you speak it.
There is a sentence in
Croatian. There is a sentence in Serbian. There is a sentence in
Bosnian. They are all the same sentence.
You have to write about your day in Slovak. You spend the night polishing the draft. You fail your assigment. It’s written in Czech. You don’t know Czech.
P is not what it seems. You have to remember that.
The Croatian sentence
does not mean what the Bosnian sentence means. They both mean the same in Serbian.
That word has a diminutive. The diminutive has its own diminutive. The diminutive of the diminutive also has a diminutive. Nobody knows what the final diminutive of a word is. Some say the knowledge had been lost in centuries past and matrioshkas are the echo, the tangible warning left for us to remember. No living creature should hold the means of diminishing something into nonexistence. Others say you may still find some of them in old soviet textbooks, if you dare to look in abandoned schools of Chernobyl.
Someone is speaking to you. Is that a he or a she? You aren’t sure. It’s an abstract concept. Why does it have gender.
You see a word in a
dictionary. It has seventeen letters and only one vowel. You close the dictionary very carefully not
looking at the phonetic transcription. The shape of it haunts you in
your sleep. You wake
up face damp with tears, a bitter taste on your tongue. The clock blinks 3:03AM. You do not dare look up that word again.
This word means the
same thing in the five slavic languages you’re familiar with. You use
it in the sixth one. That word does not exist in this language. It never
did. There is now a word-shaped void in the fabric of this language.
The natives look at you uneasily. There is a new quality to the silence and your palms start to sweat.
H is not H. H is not H. H is not H. H is not H.
One day you flip through your dictionary. A page is missing. What was the word? You can’t remember. There is pressure building at the back of your head. The clock blinks 3:03AM.
You write my name
is in cyrillic. There are shadows dancing on the walls. They grow
longer with each letter you write down. It is not cyrillic you’re
using. You keep writing my name is. The shadows now bleed from
the tip of your pen. It’s irrelevant. You need to remember the right
N is not N is not N is
not N is not N is not N is not N is not N is not N is not N is not N
is not… If only you could remember the letters. The letters are important. What was it, that wasn’t N?
There are nine different prefixes
you can add to a verb to change its meaning. There are fifty three different suffixes you have to add to a verb to make it
work. In the end the only thing left of the original is a vague shape
of one of its middle consonants.
You can feel the anguish radiating from the verb’s mutialted form. A desperate sob escapes through your clenched teeth.
You’re so, so sorry, you didn’t meant to. You didn’t. It doesn’t matter.
You now read a text in
Russian. You’ve never learnt Russian. Why are you reading that text? The words burn your eyes,
the meaning searing your mind.
There’s a shot of vodka in front of
you. You don’t drink alcohol. You don’t care. All existence is
meaningless, your soul’s in eternal pain. A broken matrioshka lays at your feet. There is no salvation, she says boring into your eyes. You open your mouth to answer, but there is only a burst of harsh rustle. It dies in whispering echoes a moment later. Your glass is empty again.
I’ve found that a lot of people feel like they don’t relate to their rising signs as much as the rest of their chart. I feel like the rising is kind of hard to relate to because it’s traits that others see and know you as. It can be hard to see those traits in yourself when it’s supposed to be for others.
It also could be the aspects of the rising. I’ve noticed that aspects to the rising sign affect it quite a lot, and there is usually more than one! It can be especially tricky for people who have a square aspect on their ascendant, or more than one square or inconjunct aspect.