In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.
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The principal announces that you’re expelled. “But wait,” you say. “Security didn’t find no gun.” He shakes his head. “But wait,” you say, and petition once more for him to reconsider. “Okay, okay,” you say, and, having seen other expelled students allowed to return, ask what’s the length of your expulsion. You appeal for the principal to call your mother, which he does, but he can’t reach her. You request he call your oldest brother, which he refuses because you’ve implicated him in the clash. A school cop appears at the door to escort you off the premises. You bound out of your seat and smash your back against a wall. “Nah, nah,” you say. “I ain’t goin’ to jail!” The cop frowns. “Please, son, don’t make this worse,” he says. You accuse the coach of lying again, reiterate the fact no one found a gun, appeal once more for someone to call your mom. “I can’t go to jail,” you screech, duck, and dodge around the office, squeeze your eyes against tears, and feel your pulse dancing a Super Bowl shuffle. You skirt school security and the officer till struck still by the futility of actual escape. You let the cop cuff you.
Art Director Jenn Boggs
Excerpt from “Survivor Files” in VQR by Mitchell S. Jackson
The self forms at the edge of desire, and a science of self arises in the effort to leave that self behind. But more than one response is possible to the acute awareness of self that ensues from the reach of desire. Neville conceives it is a “contraction” of the self upon itself and finds it merely strange. “How curiously one is changed,” he muses. He does not appear to hate the change, not to relish it. Nietzsche, on the other hand, is delighted: “One seems to oneself transfigured, stronger, richer, more complete; one is more complete….It is not merely that it changes the feeling of values; the lover is worth more” (1967, 426). It is not uncommon in love to experience this heightened sense of one’s own personality (‘I am more myself than ever before!’ the lover feels) and to rejoice in it, as Nietzsche does. The Greek lyric poets do not so rejoice.
Social Media Intern Sydney Bradley
Excerpt from “Losing the Edge” in Eros the Bittersweet by Anne Carson
While I let myself into my apartment I thought about Nick entering the room while everyone applauded. This now felt perfect to me, so perfect that I was glad he had missed the performance. Maybe having him witness how much others approved of me, without taking any of the risks necessary to earn Nick’s personal approval, made me feel capable of speaking to him again, as if I also was an important person with lots of admirers like he was, as if there was nothing inferior about me. But the acclaim also felt like part of the performance itself, the best part, and the most pure expression of what I was trying to do, which was make myself into this kind of person: someone worthy of praise, worthy of love.
Editorial Intern Bel Banta
Excerpt from Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney