From Blog

Anatomy of Absence 

There was a hole at the table where her son used to be. Once he had sat across from her and made reluctant single-syllable conversation, his mouth full of food. When his father left, he stopped speaking. Then he stopped coming all together. After the divorce papers were finalized, she enrolled herself in a cooking…

We Sail These Seas

Long ago, they set fire to their homes. At the end of winter, when the snowdrifts began to deflate and the dead trees began to breathe in the changing air for the first time, they would all stand outside their homes and start a fire in the middle of the village. The homes were so close to one another; a family of homes that kept each other warm, that it never took long for the fire to spread. And while the homes fell into it shouting with glee at the spectacle, everyone stood outside and watched as breath floated into…

Zora Neale Hurston on Racial Identity, Ninety Years Later

Commencement season at Barnard College this year will mark the ninetieth anniversary of Zora Neale Hurston’s graduation with a BA in anthropology. As a graduate of Barnard’s sister institution, Columbia University, I feel the time is more than ripe to reflect on some of Hurston’s contributions. As it happens, I have a second—and third—connection to Hurston, apart from my status as a Columbia alumnus. Her hometown, Eatonville, Florida, lies not far from Gainesville, Florida, where I received my BA in anthropology. I first encountered Hurston, in the company of fellow anthropology undergrads, at Eatonville’s annual “ZORA!” festival. Hurton’s literary and…

On Twenty One Pilots

I can plot the course of my maturation in Twenty One Pilots concerts. Twenty One Pilots: a rock band that sounds like it would live in the same cage as Blink 182 or Matchbox Twenty, if only because they all have numbers in their names. The band’s lead singer, Tyler Joseph, is small, plays the…

Listening to Stories

Listening to Stories In 2012, John Colapinto wrote an article for the New Yorker entitled, “The Pleasures of Being Read To,” in which he countered literary critic Harold Bloom’s claim that in order to fully appreciate a book, “you need to have the text in front of you”. Colapinto argued that audiobooks are brilliant mediums…

On Hanging Poetry In Your Dorm Room

My freshman year dorm wall was, as most tend to be, a collage of magazine clippings and postcards and poems. The effort that went into the placement was haphazard, but the curation itself was meticulous. I had spent months beforehand filing the scraps away in a bright yellow folder emblazoned with my name in red marker that still sits (filled with rejected wall hangings) in my desk today. How do we choose what art we hang? The act of curating one’s dorm decor is complex. The dorm wall is intimate enough that it can only be inspected by those invited…

Finding a Room of One’s Own in the Modern Day

As both an English major and a woman, Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own is considered in my respective circles to be something of a starter Feminist Bible. In it, Woolf suggests that a woman who wishes to write must have a room of her own, which is just a way of saying that she needs a personal physical space and the financial independence to obtain it. Because majoring in English means I’m also a frequenter of libraries and coffee shops, I find the literal idea of a room of one’s own to be increasingly attractive: there is a sense…

Vespers

Ah-AH ch. Oh come onnn. For two weeks now I haven’t been able to sneeze. To complete a sneeze. Complete a sneeze? Sinus impotence—the inability to consummate the act of sneezing. Wonder if that was sinful, just a minute ago. Pretending, as I flicked water off my toothbrush, to be a priest sprinkling holy water on the congregation. That knobbed, metallic instrument. What’s it called? Yeah, no problem! Strange how I hold doors open—moving my feet forward while an arm lingers awkwardly behind. Creates violent torsion of my midsection. Perhaps it’s admirable? Removing my face and body from the deed.…

Discovering Richard Feynman

I spent three of my four high school summers, in between pre-college programs and summer swim team, shelving books at my local library. I envisioned it as romantic, glamorous, the kind of thing quirky and intelligent girls who roll their hair into ponytails around uncapped highlighters (in a strange imitation of the more culturally offensive trend of chopstick-like hair décor) do for a summer volunteer position. I thought I would be able to read the volumes as I shelved and stocked, and I certainly thought I would be allowed to sit down sometime in my four-hour shift. I was wrong…