Skip to main content

Essays

Recent Issue

The Post That Stays [private]

Traveling in Italy and Greenland in my teens and early twenties with a fitful and rudimentary cell phone, an impatience with the sweaty, masculine funk of internet cafés, and only the haziest notion of planning, I adored and relied on the magic of the general-delivery mail system—also known as the poste restante.

Photo by Kathryn Savage

Looking

A sheet of ground glass is useful for manual focusing in photography. With a ground-glass viewer inserted at the back of some large cameras, the image appears upside down, in vivid detail.

VQR Online

Attending

December 3, 2020

I can’t tell you why I rented the theater downtown, other than that it was inevitable, like the notes of a song. Facing the rows of empty velvet seats, I felt the thrust of potential. At night, doctors stood on stage telling stories—not of helicopter rides and loss of blood, but of waffling, of wanting, of grappling with themselves. The audience arrived like spirits, craving not entertainment but something more fundamental and urgent. I sat backstage, eyes closed, living and dying in every pause, every ripple of laughter. This—a live storytelling event by those in health care, for those in health care—was the first thing I had ever originated, one that came from the roiling place inside of me and not a script.

 

Photo by Sonnet Mondal

In the Underwater World of 2050

December 3, 2020

 1.In Kolkata, on Banamali Sarkar Street, I am a bewildered and ignorant tourist, just as I have been throughout my life, eavesdropping on people’s lives and conversations, jotting down notes, folding thoughts into whatever pattern I can make [...]

Notes on a Ghost Town

December 3, 2020

 1.I made plans to move to Southern Illinois from Chicago in the summer, when people told me it would be drippingly humid, figuring I’d get the worst season of the year out of the way first. Baptism by summer. In the more temperate fall, I’d [...]