Another Local Yokai

This is the ごみのスプライト Gomi no supuraito (“litter sprite” in Japanese, according to Google Translate):

9 Craiyon AI interpretations of the prompt "a small sprite created from litter left on the side of the road in the style of ukiyo-e".

So the AI gave me some ideas (even though it completely missed the “in the style of” bit). I thought the trash should be more identifiable (you wouldn’t BELIEVE the crap I find in my hedges) and that the sprites should have wings and a more nonchalant attitude, so this is what I drew:

A pencil drawing of litter sprites in the corner of a parking lot: a crushed can standing, a half-full fountain drink with straw lying back with arms behind "head" and legs crossed, and a crumpled cigarette box sitting.  They are surrounded by a plastic bag, dead leaves, a flattened plastic water bottle, crumpled papers, an apple core and a cigarette butt.

Pencil drawing by Annelies Kamran

If you’ve ever been to Long Island, NY you know that there’s trash everywhere you go on the sides of the roads, in the trees and bushes, and along the shorelines. There is even a literal mountain of trash (also known as the Town of Brookhaven Landfill). Gomi no supuraito are created when non-decomposable litter is tossed and then left out too long. Look in a storm drain or in the corner of a parking lot, and you’ll see arms and legs and wings starting to poke out.

So what makes these things monsters? They are tangible evidence of other people’s lack of care for the environment around them – which includes other people! They can fly, spreading to new areas and breeding more litter. As they embody callous indifference, they can infect people by biting. Infection can cause either exasperated repulsion of other people or wistful hopelessness in improvement. Only rarely does infection cause galvanizing outrage that takes action against the sprites and their ultimate cause (too much stuff).

January 19th, 2023 11:31am

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