The Orris: A Cultural Journal

The Thesauri Crisii

It happened on the campaign trail of the presidential election of 2000. Five years before conspiracy theorists concluded that Dick Cheney brought explosives to the levees of New Orleans, major news organizations trumpeted that he “brought gravitas to the ticket.” No less than 16 different news commentators touted the same word-for-word hyperbolic revelation.

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November 4, 2012

Motivation

I was so far back from the starting line I couldn’t hear the starter gun. As I crossed the starting line, I started my stopwatch, hearing the beep that had become all too familiar the past two months. It was hard to move, one step too fast and I was running over somebody…

August 31, 2012

The Planet is Creative and So Must We Be

Ecologists, rooted mostly in scientific disciplines are woefully ill-equipped to communicate their systemic ideas to the mechanically trained minds of Western Industrialized citizens. Support and initiation of this cultural shift must originate from the arts.

July 24, 2012 · 1 Comment

From Black Thumb to Secret Garden

I am not a gardener. Before living in urban Massachusetts I grew up in New York City. The red clay that passed as soil in our yard was not only impossible to dig through; it was all but impermeable. Flowers and plants grew, but only with a lot of hard work and persistence.

June 8, 2012

New Maps to American Hell: Dystopian Warnings Then and Now

I’m half filled with optimism as I witness the potential for a great collective change that I believe is only at its beginning. But there’s another part of me that is sunk with a real sense of dread and fear.

April 3, 2012 · 4 Comments

Memories Within the Stone: Texas’s Enchanted Rock

I think what’s most striking about reaching the top of Enchanted Rock in the winter is the sense of loneliness. On the gray day that I climbed the rock for the first time, I sat down on the cold pink stone and stared into the wind at the surrounding Texas Hill Country.

March 23, 2012

Big Brows

In fashion, there is no middle ground. You respond to the world around you—to the trends or the fashion shows or the news—or you don’t. … Erasing your eyebrows is an expression of modernity as much as it is an exercise in transferring the ephemeral styles of the catwalk to modern life.

March 13, 2012 · 5 Comments

A Dream Deferred

When I was six, I told my parents I wanted to be a writer. They responded with the quintessential “follow your dreams” parental response and encouraged my obsession with writing poems and stories, and having more literary friends than real ones. That was 1993.

March 9, 2012 · 2 Comments

The American Dream

This dream we have been taught to strive toward has failed him, yet he hasn’t given up on the dreaming part. Kay’s enthusiasm for his country wasn’t about his own economic well-being anymore. It involved governmental reform, and a better society.

March 2, 2012 · 2 Comments

What Do You Do If The Spirit Is Willing But The Flesh Is Weak? Telling Life Narratives About Addiction

I am sitting in a Church Basement. The room is stifling hot and very crowded. Right after I enter, the session leader shuts off the lights. The soft glow of a few tea light candles emanates from the table,

October 14, 2011

Visions and Nightmares: Art and Mental Illness

“And it is easy to slip into a parallel universe. There are so many of them: worlds of the insane, the criminal, the crippled, the dying, perhaps of the dead … Continue reading

October 14, 2011 · 2 Comments

American Way: A Series on Main Street America

The myth of Main Street is useful, but only if we recognize it as a story we tell ourselves about ourselves in the present.

August 15, 2011

Private Lives, Public Personas

The lines between privacy and publicity became destabilized, and the more we can offer a “convincing account” or our private lives, the greater prestige we can gain from our audiences.

August 9, 2011

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