When I first read George Saunders’ fable-like tale, Fox 8, I initially felt amused, then sad, and finally outraged. I also felt a blog brewing – not of the book review variety but of the teaching tool/creativity corner variety. For starters, Fox 8 is less of a charming bedtime story for children – who will no doubt enjoy it – and more of a darkly comic cautionary tale for adults. The titular first-person narrator takes the readers on a journey through his life as a fox who lives and forages with his fellow foxes in the forest. Fox forest life is running smoothly until Fox 8 has his first confusing encounter with humans, which results in conflicting feelings.
Like every year, Christmas always sneaks up and suddenly you’re confronted with one of the most important tasks of the season: gift shopping.
The shopping malls are crowded, everything seems to be on sale, and above all, you feel that the gift should be sustainable. Finding something that benefits your wallet and the environment is hard. But fear not! This year, I’ve created a checklist to make finding the right present easier for you.
Vignettes are wonderful! Sometimes described as a slice of life, vignettes can be so short that they take away the fear of ending up with a white page. Unlike a short story, there’s no defined beginning, middle, or end with a cast of characters, multiple conflicts, and the ultimate resolution phase. Instead, the vignette’s impressionistic scenes focus on one moment or give a particular insight into one character, idea, or setting.
The Mexican American author Sandra Cisneros is the unchallenged queen of vignette writing, and her collection of 44 vignettes, (1984) is a must read.
Setting the scene: Gray November skies, seasonal blues at full volume. This Friday: Black. There’s no escaping the loud advertisements in the shop windows, at bus stations, in every mailbox and inbox. They all proclaim that this Friday, the one after Thanksgiving, is the time to start shopping. Even if your country, like Germany, doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Black Friday, consumer culture’s biggest holiday, is one very successful American export. Yet, how we currently view success might not be in tune with the successful continuance of humanity or even a habitable planet earth.
Beyond a severely limited immigration quota kept to a bare minimum, fewer than a thousand Jewish refugees from Europe were admitted into the U.S. during World War II. In August 1944, they were brought on a single U.S. Liberty ship, then interned behind barbed wire on an old U.S. Army camp upstate New York until after the war had ended. That small lucky group included my father Ivo, his sister Mira, and their parents Otto and Ruza.
This article has been started and scrapped time and time again. An American studies blog should run Native American stories regularly and most definitely for Native American Heritage Month this November. But then I, the author, am just another white European trying to share somebody else’s stories. So here’s what I decided to do: I’ll use this platform as a reminder to listen elsewhere, all year around.