By Annie Mark-Westfall — LETTERS FROM BERLIN

As this global pandemic continues to draw out, it is becoming increasingly more uncomfortable, not unlike a pregnancy. I keep wishing life would go back to normal, while having a vague, intangible understanding that life will never be the same again. I am beginning to hate everyone around me, and the questions they ask — though not really, and I know this is temporary and circumstantial. I recognize that this “pregnant” period of staying safe at home, eating constant snacks and growing my waistline, is an enormous privilege that not everyone has. …

By Mike Hembury — SOAPBOX

In these days of pandemics and pandemonium, as our horizons shrink and our communities fragment, it can be hard to keep a grip on the real, hard to hold a bearing on the lodestar of transformative change that this world so desperately needs.

How easy it is just to sink into the daily grind of just surviving, to let lockdown and corona fatigue limit our vision to just getting by. Think yourself lucky that you have some kind of income, bring home the vegan bacon and just let the world wash over you. …


I was looking around various news sites on the internet last week when I came across a picture of Congressperson Lauren Bobert (Republican, Colorado). She was asking to be called Congressman Lauren Bobert, just to show Nancy Pelosi and her gang of jackbooted, cancel culture thugs that she wasn’t going to be pushed around by the enactment of the unusually robust and egalitarian Equality Act. To make her case she was packing heat, in the form of an enormous handgun holstered at her side, waiting for the next Democrat who was stupid enough…


The other morning I woke to the news that Donald Trump had called Mitch McConnell “a dour, sullen and unsmiling political hack.” It was only days after McConnell accused Trump of a “disgraceful dereliction of duty,” and said Trump was “practically and morally responsible for” the attack on the capitol.

As I had my morning coffee I couldn’t help but wonder what looking glass we had gone through. The two most prominent politicians in the Grand Old Party were publicly and shamelessly swinging their purses at each other. They used to seem so…

By Ryan M. Moser — FROM THE INSIDE

The silence on the other end of the speaker phone is surreal. My biggest fear is realized as I breathe deep and tap my foot on the tiled floor of the chapel office. “Dad,” I say. “l know you can hear me. There are some things I want to tell you… “

My father can’t respond, but l want to believe he can. He’s lying unconscious, brain activity dormant, wires and electrodes connected to his temple and cranium, hair combed just right by my grieving step-mom, gown smoothed across his broad chest…

By Irena Ioannou — GAZE

In an ideal world there would be no child or spousal abuse, no weekend dads, and no fights over alimony or visitation rights. The state would interfere instantly in the suspicion of foul play, and justice would be served without delay.

We are not living in an ideal world. People divorce and often ex-spouses resent their former partners with an all-consuming hatred. Children get abused, and women’s much fought-for rights are constantly threatened by men who wonder if things were not much better in the good old days (for them).

The latest stealthy effort to…

By Ryan M. Moser — FROM THE INSIDE

Thirty inches long. Twenty-two inches wide. Eighteen inches high. Stainless steel with two hinges and seven cubic feet of storage space. Rusted. My prison footlocker holds every possession I now own, but nothing from my past. When it dawns on me that I can fit my entire life into this metal box, I get depressed. I open the lid to see my dull reality many times a day: Ramen noodles, the Tao-te Ching, a picture of Jennifer Lawrence, books of stamps, my tablet and headphones, state-issued t-shirts, Playboys, packages of refried beans…

By Annie Mark-Westfall — LETTERS FROM BERLIN

It is a new year, and my American optimism has me programmed to have high hopes for the next 365 days. That sentence reads easier after Joe Biden’s inauguration. We have finally emerged from the darkness of the Trump administration, stepping gloriously into the light that Amanda Gorman so eloquently reminded us how to see, and to be. Biden’s first act of his presidency-both inherently through his vice president and Cabinet picks, and explicitly, in words — was to denounce white supremacy; something Donald Trump so disturbingly refused to do.

I first drafted…

By Caroline Donahue — THE BOOK DOCTOR

Ah, the start of a new year. I don’t know about you, but I spend the second half of December every year dying to tear open my brand new planner and other stationery that’s been sitting in my cupboard ready for the new year to begin.

Along with this process comes an elaborate ritual of dreaming up new goals and ideas for the coming year. This has involved giant post-its stuck to the wall and bright colored pens, but this year… I just couldn’t.

Many of the plans I’ve gotten excited about in…

By Irena Ioannou — GAZE

Recently, a Greek sailing champion, Sofia Bekatorou, aged 43, went public and in a heart-breaking account revealed that at the age of 22 a powerful man in her field raped her. A lump settled in every woman’s throat in the country. They could easily empathize. The accused, the press found out, was a prominent member of the governing party, still in office after all those years and only gaining power within both the Hellenic Sailing Federation and the Olympic Committee.

An all-too-familiar concern took hold that after the dust settled, the Olympic gold medalist’s name…

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