empathy Archive

Stories Strangely Told: One Particular Stroller on the Road of Muslim Migration

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It starts with a stroller: pink beams, brown fabric; the whole architecture collapsed into branches and leaf-rot and gritty snow. Five of the six wheels—two dual rears and a single front one—point up like the legs of a submissive dog. The sixth is snug in the dirt.

A Writer’s Ode to Seeing

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Bearing witness to each other and the planet is a solemn act. If we stop and truly observe our surroundings the way Thoreau did, we might be more inclined to save our planet. If we took the time to really see one another, we might appreciate better the value

All the Lives I Marched For: Alana Massey’s Second Stories

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I learned I am a Winona in a world made for Gwyneths. From the onset, Massey probes how society shapes or punishes women based on how we talk about or dismiss them. She writes with as much empathy about the women we mock as she does the women we

Obama & GILEAD: Lessons on Loving Thy Neighbor

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Recently, an interview that Barack Obama gave in 1995—which was republished in The New Yorker just before the Presidential Inauguration in 2009—made the rounds on social media again.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Space of Things” by Jacinta Escudos

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It’s often said that writers must be willing to be cruel to their characters, lest the story they tell lack drama or stakes. In “The Space of Things” (The Cossack Review), Jacinta Escudas (Translated by Samantha Memi) offers a different take on the cold realities of the writer/protagonist relationship.

The Best Short Story I Read in a Lit Mag This Week: “The Storm” by Maria Kuznetsova

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Despite humanity’s ever-expanding realms of knowledge and increasing mastery over planet earth and its inhabitants, there is still so much beyond our grasp, so much of which we’re ignorant. In “The Storm” (Ninth Letter) by Maria Kuznetsova, a young narrator Sashie must reckon with a world that is becoming more

The Autobiography of the Imagination: Toward a Definition

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The autobiography of the imagination writes itself, one could say. It writes every time we write, every time we dream or daydream. It is its own captain’s log, the transaction and receipt. It reveals the self to make the self into a stranger, twisting the I to wring out

Is International Fiction Relatable?

Not too long ago, as a writer who was based in India, once a colony of the British, and who had once been a “citizen of the world” living in the United States, I wondered, with apprehension, whether my stories would resonate with American and global readers and editors.

What Happens When We Read: The Mind’s Eye and How it Works

Reading is a cognitive experience and written language can elicit in the brain an array of sensory perceptions. A description of an apple pie once made me put the book down so I could bask in its warm smell. But what the brain does most readily is see. It’s

Writing the Mind: Nicole Krauss, W.G. Sebald, & Paul Harding

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How does one apply the adage show don’t tell to the interior of the mind—a vast expanse one inhabits daily, but never sees? While Pixar’s Inside Out turns the subconscious into a playful and sometimes dark adventure, literature must rely on language—pacing, syntax, and form matching function. In the early