April 25, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. When I was around 10 or 11 I had a strict 9:30pm weekend bedtime, in a household that watched The X-Files from 9 to 10. As you can imagine, this meant I had my fair share of nightmares, because I’d watch the set-up for the weekly horror concept, but never stick around for the resolution. Now, I suspect my parents were of the opinion that I’d eventually learn my lesson and just… not watch the… Read more

April 21, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. It’s Resurrection Sunday in Medellín, and for the last week I’ve experienced the profound difference of living in a culture with no separation of church and state. On Palm Sunday, processions marking Christ on the Road to Calvary blocked Metro bus lines in my neighbourhood. On Maundy Thursday, the evening air was filled by church processions blasting solemn orchestral music interspersed with sermons–an event, I’m told, that fills the air all the city over. I… Read more

April 18, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I have a temper, which disappoints me from time to time. It disappointed me twice this week, when I sat in an internet café prepping class materials and accidentally overhearing a Southern Baptist missionary Skyping with his mother. The first time, he was discussing the case of a missionary who got sent home, for reasons that weren’t entirely clear but seemed to have to do with “insufficient training” and an encounter with a local. That… Read more

April 12, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I think about this one often. On March 11, 2017, a landslide in the only trash dump for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, swept dark earth and detritus over 115 human beings, smothering them to death. Most were women and children. Most made their livings picking through the trash that they lived in–and through that labour, many had painstakingly upgraded from fragile shacks to sturdier homes, brick by brick. One of the dead was a sixteen-year-old boy… Read more

April 7, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I recently submitted a book review for Anne Tambour’s The Road to Neozon, but didn’t have occasion to talk about a line that tugged at me hard in the reading. In “None So Seeing as Those Who’ve Seen”, a conversation between two artists arrives at this exchange (NB: this is from an ARC, so the awkward grammar might since have been fixed): Kvak slides off his chair onto the floor glittering with fish-scale sequins, blackened with the… Read more

April 2, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This one comes from a religious family member, but I am going to scrape most every specific detail from it out of respect for their different religious beliefs. What matters more is the feeling involved, and the relationship. This family member recently lost a dear pet, and was understandably grieving the loss. Their religious beliefs are so strictly adherent to the original Hebrew in Old-Testament text that I suspected the idea of a “pet heaven”… Read more

March 31, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This one comes from Humans of Bombay, a website inspired by Humans of New York, but actually taking place in–wait for it!–Mumbai, or as many of the locals have known it for most of their lives, Bombay. There are a lot of differences in the stories posted on Humans of New York and Humans of Bombay. I think we’re all more or less familiar with the range on the former–the stories of addiction and poverty… Read more

March 25, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. I’m partaking in a proud new tradition among digital-era viewers: binge-watching shows after their original air date, and catching up on all the grousing everyone else did when they first launched. Right now the show I’m watching is Star Trek: Discovery, which wasn’t available to me when it first aired, and which I was reluctant to watch after hearing how far from canon it had moved. New Klingons? Why? A new ward of Sarek? Why? New tech out of… Read more

March 22, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. This is the story I’m telling myself right now, about how my work situation will affect my writing. I was informed last Friday that I’d need to accept a great deal more teaching time-slots in order to keep my position, which is necessary for the visa critical to my longterm life in Colombia. The new schedule involves morning-through-evening availability six days a week, with at least five hours of transit daily between work sites, and… Read more

March 17, 2019

Let’s begin with a story. In the last few weeks I’ve posted a few essays circling around the theme of “white culture”–white culture as it manifests in touristic excess, white culture as it relates to histories of white supremacy, and tacitly, in my last, white culture as it relates to a particular brand of Western atheism that mocks persons of faith without class consciousness. And I was, in part, leading up to this essay when I wrote those pieces. But I… Read more

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