East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Night thougths and story ideas


Last night I was going through a bout of insomnia, so I wrapped myself in a stack of blankets and I watched me something. I chose a Japanese animated series, one I liked a lot when I was a kid. A spin off of the original, 12 20-minutes episodes that came out in the mid-’90s and that I had missed at the time.

I watched and enjoyed it a lot more than I expected. I liked the storytelling, the characters and their dynamics, and OK, there was a certain amount of fluff and adolescent angst but what the heck, it was a Japanese anime, it’s supposed to have those.

And while I was between episodes, a strange sensation hit me…

It was, I think, a personal perception of time.
This thing I was watching, and enjoying, came out twenty years ago, when I was thirty, and it was clearly aimed at fifteen years old. I am fifty – I am closer now to the fated number 60 and old age than I am at my thirties, forget about my teenage years. And yet…

On one hand, I really don’t feel old.
Tired? Granted – make that exhausted. But it’s not the years, it’s the mileage (thank you Dr Jones), really.
I can still enjoy a kid’s show, and relate to the characters, and while I am in I sort of forget the years.
I guess it says something about the power of storytelling, but also about my mind – and while I think it a good thing, I cannot but see around me people a lot younger than me that are really a lot older, mentally. And I wonder who’s getting the best life.

Not that there’s much I can do about it – remember what we learned from the Stoics and all that. But it’s weird – it brings up questions, about life choices, and circumstances, and all that. Trains missed and trains caught.

And more importantly, it made me feel almost physically the passage of time in a way that I had never experienced. It was only a moment, while I went and made myself another cup of tea, but it was striking.

This is getting rambling, just like when someone tells us of a dream he had, and he thinks it’s so significant, and it’s just incomprehensible nonsense to us.

But this whole thing left me with that weird feeling, that I would like to put in a story, and with a single phrase that’s been running in my head, and that I know it’s the seed of a story. The inciting incident, or a part of it.
And I know it will be a story I will write, even if I don’t know when, or how. The phrase is:

“Have you ever considered the possibility that we are not, in fact, the good guys?”

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

7 thoughts on “Night thougths and story ideas

  1. I often feel like one of those ‘younger’ but mentally older people. Something to do with marrying someone 13 years my senior, and working with old people I guess. I do crave youth and being around younger people some days. I suppose we need to hold onto the saying “you’re only as young as you think you are”…
    Maybe this is why I’m such an avid video game fan; only young people play video games 😁


  2. Feeling young is a choice, sometimes. Day by day confrontations with a 11 years old, who’s getting smarter by the minute, it is something that helps. Because if you don’t stay up and running, the youngster will stomp all over you and go away laughing. 🙂

    I consider myself lucky to be born in 1968. I enjoyed the life in a country much smarter than today, with people raised to ask questions and to think with their heads. I can be slower than a 20 or 30 years old, no doubt, but I have a mind much better oriented to stay on focus. The current generation has been sacrificed on the altar of economics and the next will have to be very lucky to escape such a fate.


    • I agree about being born back then – in ’67 in my case. We were the last generation, probably, to be given the best education possible without strings attached. Things started getting ugly in the ’70s/’80s – and yes, economics became the focus.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.