We Need a Break or We’ll Break or Why to Vignette

By Kai-Arne Zimny

 

”Lose your mind and come to your senses.” Fritz Perls

 

In an age of never-ending parallel conversations, screens and second screens, and an even more interesting story just one swift move away from your fingertips, the most natural and humanly intuitive things suddenly don’t come easy anymore. It’s not easy to just go for a walk. To feel the earth give way under your feet. To listen to the wind whispering cold gibberish into your ears. To feel the sun on your skin, that warm yellow massage of light. To smell the green of the trees, to gratefully breathe in what they so lovingly breathe out.

Since our feet are already in ‘vignetty’ waters, let’s go for a dive!

Read more »

Findians: A Journey to Distant Cousins

By Dagmar Mißfeldt

In their 2016 book, Fintiaanien Mailla, three Finnish women take readers on a journey into unknown territory. Meeri Koutaniemi (photo journalist), Maria Seppälä (journalist and documentary filmmaker), and Katja Kettu (bestselling author) introduce us to Findians, a group of people who practically nobody has heard of, at least until now.

Between 1860 and 1940, approximately 400,000 Finnish emigrants left their homeland for North America in search of a better life. They mainly settled in Minnesota, Michigan, and Ontario. 400,000 is an amazingly high number, especially when one considers that Finland only had a population of about three million people in 1900. In their new homeland, the Finnish came in contact with the Ojibwa people. Relatively quickly, the indigenous people and the Finns noticed that they had much in common:

Read more »

An Interview with Award-Winning Author Jayne Anne Phillips

By Sabrina Völz

Photo credit: Elena Seibert

After participating in an inspiring writing workshop with Jayne Anne Phillips as part of The 15th International Conference on the Short Story in English in Lisbon this past June, Jayne Anne kindly agreed to answer a few questions for the ASB. The resulting email interview gives our readers a glimpse into the many roles that Jayne Anne plays and her take on creative writing in a post-literate society.

 

Sabrina: Please use three adjectives to describe yourself.

Jayne Anne: Three words: these might change day to day, but today I’d say: Determined. Questioning. Hyper-sensory aware.

Read more »

Improving Robert Frost’s poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening”

By Maria Moss

f course the title is facetious: I certainly don’t want to – even if I could, which I can’t – improve one of the best and most anthologized poems in the English language written by one of the greatest lyrical voices of all times. What I ‘do’ want to do, however, is write about a teaching tool that initially sends shivers up every student’s back: continuing a poem, using the same rhyme scheme and meter. Once they’ve mastered the task, however, they’re quite proud of themselves – and rightfully so.
Read more »

Thoughts of a Digital Alternative

By Maria Moss

Since tomorrow is the National Day of Unplugging, we thought it only made sense to relaunch the “Thoughts of a Digital Alternative.” Here’s our advice: Use your phone today and “tell a friend.” If you still need assistance, download the unplugging kit: www.nationaldayofunplugging.com.

 

Photo credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr

Believe it or not, I’ve never owned a cell phone. This sentence coming from a toddler might not be that astounding, but coming from a middle-aged woman who tremendously enjoys the company of friends, colleagues, and students, is rather surprising. Why wouldn’t anyone – with the exception of hermits and strict techno refuseniks – want to enjoy being and staying in touch all the time. Well, maybe it is exactly the “all the time” that I find disturbing. Of course, people tell me that you could just turn your phone off, that you don’t need to be online continuously, that it’s o.k. to be unavailable at times. And apparently, I’m not alone.
Read more »

Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Louvre: A Timely Reminder of Art Museums’ Racist Past

By Wiebke Kartheus

Beyoncé and Jay-Z posing in front of the Mona Lisa

The Louvre is the most famous and most visited museum in the world. Arguably, it is also the most prestigious one. So what does it mean when two of the biggest cultural icons of the 21st century shoot a music video there? What does it mean when Beyoncé and Jay-Z, under the name “The Carters,” present themselves in the Louvre in their “Apesh*t” video released in June 2018?

Read more »