The Fresh Committee. Where Street Culture Meets Pop Culture

TFC Presents: ‘Heart & Soul:’ A Pokémon Journey

Over four years ago, I embarked on a literary journey. Since I was little, stories always spoke volumes to me. As a young pup I was a big-time dreamer. I lived in my head more than in reality. Honestly, I’m still guilty of that today. Whether it was Beanie Babies, Power Rangers, or Digimon, my imagination remixed them all. Yet of all the classic TV shows, cartoons and trading card games from my childhood, Pokémon reigned supreme. Ash Ketchum annoyed me growing up. He has a special place in my heart by default. However, it was the dark side of the Pokémon franchise that intrigued me most. Ash and friends, due to the natural state of children’s television programs, bored me with their cheesy presentation. That’s why I loved Ash’s Charizard so much. He refused to battle if the challenge in front of him didn’t match his skill level.

Dude knew his worth, and therefore was way ahead of his time. Mewtwo from the movies was another character that resonated with me. Its discovery of self was revelatory for me, considering I spent most of my youth identifying myself through the actions of others. It took me 23 years to find out that I had no idea who I was. And now at 27 I still don’t really have a clue. Perhaps, though, I’m beginning to find my calling. ‘Heart & Soul’ is my fan-fiction interpretation of the Pokémon world if it were modern-day America. Of course, there are stark differences between what we call reality and the fictional world of Pokémon. Parallels exist nevertheless. When I was alone as a kid, I would act out battles between Ash Ketchum and a Trainer I called Damion Harrison. He was cool, talented, and most importantly, he just didn’t care.

As the years passed, this Damion character revealed more of himself to me. I wanted more black representation in Pokémon. It’s such an influential franchise worldwide. So I desperately wanted to feel like I belonged in that world. Damion became the ambassador of who I wish I was, a level-headed prodigy who knew what to say and when to say it. Stories reflect existence. And I wanted to tell a story that shed light on the dual nature of life, that the world is not inherently good or inherently evil. It simply is. Yet the older we get the less time we have to make things simple. That is why sometimes kid’s stories feature the biggest aha moments. However, it’s difficult to engage an adult through the lens of a child. This is why I decided to write a fan-fiction novel. I wanted to find the middle ground between age groups.

Although ‘Heart & Soul’ is not for small children, it uses the world of Pokémon to convey slightly more mature themes of suffering, political corruption, and suicidal thoughts. The human psyche fascinates me. Psychiatry and physics experts such as Carl Jung and Alan Watts inspired me to dig deeper into what makes us as humans feel whole, while also uncovering what made me feel so empty day to day. There is so much more to life than work, bills, and retirement. Despite losing my religion in my early twenties, later on I found my own personal spirituality. Explaining what I believe in to people has proven rather laborious. As a result, I prefer to express my mind through story so as to relay exactly how I feel without the need of a precise definition, if you will. Art is beautiful in that way.

So, if you’re looking for something to do whilst cooped up in your home, I’d like to offer you my quarantine distraction. ‘Heart & Soul’ was written over a span of 50 months, and is a story near and dear to my heart (obviously). I did my best to pay homage to the Pokémon core video game franchise as well as some of the Pokémon Adventures manga series. I recommend only reading if you are 15 years of age or older, as some parts get a little graphic towards the end. Without any further adieu, I present to you: Heart & Soul. Click below for the link to, and as always, thank you for your time.