Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga
My air-conditioned bedroom, South Florida, 2008

In South Florida, the weather is an eternal hotpot, but air-conditioning can make you forget that.

My bedroom always got colder after 12 am. Even if the old lamp-nightstand ignited its crimson walls, I curled my toes into the carpet and froze at the thought of doing homework. Shaking my head of sleep, I sought a pick-me-up from three-year-old YouTube. I liked watching AMVs – anime music videos – especially those of magical girl anime.

These cartoons use vivid colours and sparkles in transformation sequences. More romantic anime can add roses or wind for romantic moments. Those who compile sequences from those types of anime in music videos use techno songs to enhance their dreamlike effect. The compilation of sequences plus the fast-paced music made this 12-year-old dreamer feel alive. Headphones wrapped me inside a beating universe racing towards infinity, keeping me awake on nights when I did or didn’t complete my homework.

Homework neglected, I typed fantasy stories. I was still sleepy, so I needed my techno choices to inspire me. These choices had to fit fight scenes, magical descriptions, embody the feel of the work, or reflect one of my characters.

Following a trail of recommended videos, I clicked on one that used DJ Satomi’s Waves. It spoke of a long held love through poetic lyrics that pulled me into its tide. Playing the next title, Castle In The Sky, my heart stopped at the opening lines:

There’s a place in my mind
No one knows where it hides
And my fantasy is flying
It’s a castle in the sky…

Those words are mine, I thought. They spoke to me on such a deep level that the song became my writer’s anthem against the cold night, my own manifesto. No matter how sleepy I was, it always revived me.

It’s part of the reason why fairy tales live in me, why I keep dreaming awake.

© Aline-Mwezi Niyonsenga. Visit Aline-Mwezi’s blog.


Aline-Mwezi is currently studying Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide. She writes articles for Quantumrun and has two short stories published in