Berlioz’s Song: A Brief Dialogue on Love and Wanting

Berlioz’s Song: A Brief Dialogue on Love and Wanting Persons: François-the Cynic, and composer Hector Berlioz-the Romantic The Scene: The deck of a ferry, crossing the English Channel to Britain. January, 1831. THE CYNIC. Pardon me, sir, I don’t mean to interrupt your writing, but are you Hector Berlioz? THE ROMANTIC. Ah, yes, I am. Always a pleasure to meet an admirer, please sit down! … Continue reading Berlioz’s Song: A Brief Dialogue on Love and Wanting

The Surrender of Plot: Uncovering the Divinity of Storytelling

I stood in the bookstore, gaping at the vibrant colors and whimsical text scrawled across hardcover book jackets. Each book made a pretty picture on the shelf, but after years of book store prowling, I knew that few, if any, offered much beyond aesthetic. I wandered into the classics section and ran my hand along the spines of compendiums, comprehensive volumes, and special editions. What … Continue reading The Surrender of Plot: Uncovering the Divinity of Storytelling

To Conquer a Virus and Unweave a Rainbow

When the recent coronavirus shut-in hit, and the Michigan governor’s stay-at-home order forced its way through my phone by emergency text message, I took one last fleeting look at my campus office bookshelf for any last-minute tome I might bring with me as I escaped to the safety of my country estate. For a moment that old copy of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy looked like … Continue reading To Conquer a Virus and Unweave a Rainbow

Something in Nothing: My Summer of Silence

One evening this last summer, I went to an ice cream shop in St. Paul. I went with a good, longtime friend with a long list of things to talk about. We got our ice cream, then sat down outside to enjoy the evening. My summer leading up to this point, however, had not been so peaceful. I had been working a monotonous delivery job … Continue reading Something in Nothing: My Summer of Silence

The World Is Fair, in Spite of the Old Fall

This past July on a warm summer afternoon, I attended a family friends’ poetry night—a classy little shindig with hors d’oeuvres, heels, sophisticated people, and, of course, poetry. A few months later, one of these poems unexpectedly resurfaced in a conversation with a friend. It was a poem entitled “A Fair World Tho’ a Fallen” by Christina Georgina Rossetti: You tell me that the world … Continue reading The World Is Fair, in Spite of the Old Fall

The Rage of Caliban: Millennials and the New Aestheticism

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style. —Oscar Wilde, Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray The video opens with a typical vlog set-up: A woman sits centered in front of the camera, her pristine background out of focus. The Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic is enough to make any 22-year-old vaguely covetous. Her platinum blonde hair … Continue reading The Rage of Caliban: Millennials and the New Aestheticism