“these ghosts, those ghosts, our ghosts”

The second volume of @thedepressedwaitress arrived in my mailbox alongside Easter blessings from the Servants of Mary, a religious order somewhere in Illinois; they’ve been sending me seasonal greetings ever since I asked for their prayers & relic fragments in a wild attempt at doing something, anything—come on, feel the Illinoise—in the totalizing face of medical certainty. I didn’t start reading this volume until today, the same day I learned about Donna Haraway’s shared Eucharistic devotion & spiritual kinship with Bruno Latour in an endnote to an essay about spiders and tentacles and corvids and lichen, the same day I took the … Continue reading ““these ghosts, those ghosts, our ghosts””

Shot A + Shot B

“The only way to understand storiessuch as that of the Annunciationis to repeat them, that is, to utter againa Word which producesinto the listener the same effect… I am hailing tonight, with the same gift,the same present of renewed presence. Tonight, I am your Gabriel!” (Bruno Latour) x Do you remember how, in Fight Club, one of the backstories we’re given for “Tyler Durden” is that of a movie theatre projectionist? How he would splice subliminal frames of lewd imagery into family films to mess with normies’ sense of reality, and how the film itself had frames of Tyler’s face … Continue reading “Shot A + Shot B”

Interludes of the Imagination

I read my last entry out loud to Christine, and she said: “I didn’t know that you’d been thinking about these topics,” and I said: “I didn’t know I was either. It just came together.” Lines converging at the center of two circles—poeisis and ecstasy. What makes for significance? Why this story and not that? I’ve struggled with these questions like milk pails over rocky ground. I’ve hesitated. I’ve stopped. This is a memory that sauntered through my brain as I sipped my coffee this morning. There was no reason for it being there other than circumstance and how circumstances … Continue reading “Interludes of the Imagination”

Bad Like I Feel: Empathy as Solidarity

The institution that I’ve been dedicating myself to is embroiled in an online controversy, and this is valid and good, but I don’t want to discuss the specifics, as I would be doing so in ignorance of much. I prefer to avoid joining the cacophony of voices talking past and over each other. I do want to discuss some of these voices, though, because if I have skills in anything, it’s in listening for the words that people trip over in the thick of the awful din. I believe that, for most people, the human capacity to imagine worlds at … Continue reading “Bad Like I Feel: Empathy as Solidarity”

#AdventWord 2020, Week 1

#Tender I’m not ready for Advent this year. Maybe it’s this prolonged pandemic, this extended Ash Wednesday bleeding through page after calendar page—in which case, I’d be somewhat relieved—or maybe it’s my growing familiarity with what goes on behind the curtains as the audience lines up for their caramel popcorn—a very real possibility I must contend with—either way, this year feels a little off, a little “gently out of time,” as one of Blur’s lesser-knowns goes. Today’s word is “tender” but unlike 2 or 3 years ago, this year, I know that today’s word is not tender—I understand the logic … Continue reading “#AdventWord 2020, Week 1”

#StayHome: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 13

Part 1: Livestreamed Concert This week had been planned for months to be a special one at work, with the official launch of a pet project of mine on the occasion of The Feast of the Annunciation. Circumstances have complicated all plans, and yet, have also made this particular one even more relevant than I could have imagined. To express this strange transvaluation of all things in these self-isolating times, I want to share some of my favorite creative responses to COVID-19. I’ll say more about how that connects to what I’d been planning later. First up: Dubioza Kolektiv, an … Continue reading “#StayHome: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 13”

Creed & Culture: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 11

Part 1: Grandpa’s Hymn This is a hymn written by my grandpa, a poet and gentle soul who always spoke like he was from another dimension, and now, is struggling to cling to the last tendrils of connection to this world. He’s been hospitalized after a bad fall and his mental state is deteriorating rapidly—my mother says that he’s not recognizing anyone in the room, though he’s talking about me by name. At first, I was stunned by that particular detail; I’ve been a terrible grandson, rarely around or in touch. But then I stopped to think about why he’d … Continue reading “Creed & Culture: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 11”

Syria: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 9

Part 1: The Citadel Al a’aqel zeena. “The mind is decoration”—or the mind is what makes one beautiful. I didn’t know it at the time, but those words on that shirt referencing a wartime radio play by the Lebanese artist I was about to see performing at the Damascus Citadel would perfectly summarize my sense of Syria for years to come. I’ve only ever had pleasant feelings in Syria, a place so close yet so distant, so foreign. I grew up in a country where you learned very quickly to stiffen up when a Syrian soldier was addressing you. My … Continue reading “Syria: 20 Weeks of Gratitude, Week 9”