A confession to my readers

A man is thinking about how to fit a puzzle piece into his head.
A man is thinking about how to fit a puzzle piece into his head.
Image from chronicle.com

The thoughts that I will share with you, my dear reader, may shock and upset you. They may cause you to dislike me. But I am willing to accept that risk because I need to to confess. Writing allows me to exit my own thoughts for a while.

Judge me as you will, but at least you will know. At least someone will know.

I will warn you that I do not have the thoughts of a “proper lady.” I am a recluse living on the edge of society. You would not know it from just looking at me.

I…


I asked him to break my heart

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Image for post
Image from n-lightenment.com

It seems odd to me that life is, in many ways, so predictable; that certain actions are almost never positive.

It is never a good idea to dwell for too long on unrequited love, for example.

Why? Because it is better for us to live in the real world, to interact with other people on a daily basis, to try, fail, and try again. It is better for our longevity, for our overall state of mind.

And yet, why couldn’t it ever be the case that someone loves unconditionally, does all the “wrong things”, becomes so vulnerable that everyone else…


A sunrise
A sunrise
Image from abc.net.au

A poem written by 15 year old me


My brother’s oldie-but-goodie deserves a close reading

The amusement park Storybook Land in Oregon.
The amusement park Storybook Land in Oregon.
The Enchanted Forest in Turner, Oregon (artist’s own image).

Storybookland

Plastic castles six feet tall.

The animatronic band playing music in the hall.

Reality crept up oh so suddenly

It was enough to startle me

In the mirror house

At the carnival.

I took a photo from nowhere

I tried to see from no perspective.

I took two steps back so that I could be objective.

I’m the only one I’ve ever known

But my mind is not my own

I’m a forest.

I’m a field of corn.

I was bored but I couldn’t sleep.

I can’t feel the wind but I feel the heat.

I was reading fairytales…


The angst is palpable in my brother’s latest single

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Image for post
Toronto 2015. Artist’s own image.

Starved of everything you needed,

The sacrificial lamb was in your bed.

Those sounds I hear from your apartment,

You can tune it out but you can’t replace your head.

I did not forget the name I lost the number.

But you wrote it out into the ledge.

You thought it was something sacred,

Something to pray to at your shrine.

You can’t keep what you don’t own.

You spit it out but you cannot cleanse your mind.

I did not forget…

She just jumped straight into the future.

From the fire to the infirmary.

Hold out!

You’ll find a…


A short lesson on the virtue of patience

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Image for post
Image from simplehuman.com

Today I received a trash can in the mail from Amazon. Yes, that is correct. I told Amazon to send me a trash can via the U.S. Postal System.

When I first opened the box, I noticed a little piece of paper flutter out of it. That was the warranty.

I soon realized, to my frustration, that I was required to attach the lid to the trash can myself.

I studied the little diagram. The first part was easy. Put the hook into the hole into the plastic at the back. That, I could accomplish.

But then I looked at…


Alain Resnais’ dialectical unity of contrasts

Elle pets a white kitten while Lui tries to talk to her.
Elle pets a white kitten while Lui tries to talk to her.
Image from doubleexposurejournal.com

In the synopsis of her screenplay for Hiroshima, mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959), Marguerite Duras explains the decision to film a love story in Hiroshima.

Why choose Hiroshima over any other place in the world?

The question might well have remained rhetorical, but Duras offers the following justification for the film’s setting:

Between two people as dissimilar geographically, philosophically, historically, economically, racially, etc. as it is possible to be, Hiroshima will be the common ground…where the universal factors of eroticism, love, and unhappiness will appear in an implacable light.

Duras’ answer to this question, at least in the context of…


Does watching a movie ever cause you to question reality?

Surrealism in film.
Surrealism in film.
Image from torontofilmsociety.com

In the second volume of What is Cinema?, French New Wave critic André Bazin remarks that cinema is compelling insofar as it maintains a delicate balance between realism and artifice.

Bazin goes a step further, arguing that artifice engenders realism in cinema.

Though this may sound like a contradiction at first, the idea is intuitive: without direction, cinema is not art; without realism, cinema may not reach an audience on an emotional level.

Unlike Bazin, cultural critic Theodor Adorno views cinema in negative terms: as part of the larger specter of the “culture industry”. …


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Image for post
Image from ft.com

As colleges and universities prepare themselves for the fall semester, everyone is holding their breath.

We are currently at the height of the pandemic with no end in sight.

What will happen when students return to campus? Should professors have to risk their lives and health in order to teach? Will online learning prove more effective than it did in the spring?

It seems likely that a train wreck is on the horizon.

This month we asked our writers to share their opinions on the current state of affairs — and on the fate of universities overall. All of our articles are written by professors and scholars who are at the forefront of these changes.

Stay tuned throughout the month of August.


A life or death decision

An empty lecture hall from the pre-COVID era in the humanities.
An empty lecture hall from the pre-COVID era in the humanities.
Does this room look adequately ventilated to you? (Image from bridgemi.com)

No one should have to choose between staying healthy and having a job.

No matter who you are, you shouldn’t have to decide between your livelihood and your life. This is the unfortunate choice that most essential workers must face every single day.

Now, many of us who teach in higher education are being faced with the same choice.

One of my close friends was recently hired as a Visiting Assistant Professor at a private college in the South. When she told me the news, I congratulated her. I even (admittedly) felt a pang of envy.

After graduate school, like…

Flannery Wilson

Flannery has a PhD in Comparative Literature. She teaches French, Italian, and visual media. Her book on Taiwanese cinema can be found on Amazon.

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