Category Archives: essay

The Myth of the Violent, Dirty Mexican

In Quartz, Pablo Piccato goes on at some length, analyzing the ways in which fake President Trump perpetuates the myth of the violent Mexican. And while that’s all great, all you really need to do is trace the history of … Continue reading

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The Narrative Topology of Resistance in the Fiction of Joanna Russ

This essay was originally published in On Joanna Russ (edited by Farah Mendelsohn, published by Wesylan, 2009) Introduction Narrative is both a kind of engine and a kind of friction, creating a tension that both drives and prescribes story. The … Continue reading

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Hypatia of Alexandria

Hypatia, daughter of Theon, comes down to us as much a myth as a reality. In the hands of writers of various ideological persuasions, she was a Christian martyr, the last philosopher of Hellenism, or a pagan who deserved what … Continue reading

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With Mouth to Ear: Assaying the Essay

Why define something positive in terms of what it is not? “Non” fiction: I have no idea how this term came to be applied to writing what is, in intent, a “true” story. David Byrne, of Talking Heads fame, titled … Continue reading

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A Tapestry of Metaphor

In this essay I speculate on a possible relationship between “word,” “writing,” “weaving,” and “work.” While the essay is speculative in its etymology, I think it does show a definite intertwining of the histories of metaphors that underpin the changes … Continue reading

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The Power of Naming

“Onomatopoeia / I don’t want to see ya / speakin’ in a foreign tongue,” John Prine once sang—or wheezed, depending on your taste in music. We do it all the time. We growl and mewl at our lovers, bark and … Continue reading

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Thresholding

What does a debutante mean when she says, “Simply sublime, dahling”? And what does that have to do with subliminal messages? Why does “sublime” mean “elevated,” while “subliminal” implies “beneath”? “Sub” means “under, below, beneath, down” [AHD]. To “sub lime” … Continue reading

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River Run Requiem

Since his death I’ve been trying to discover who killed my brother. Is it a crime to kill a man who longs for death? If a man yearns for death so profoundly that he kills himself, has he committed a … Continue reading

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