Confession time: I like country music. And no, I’m not being facetious. And no, not just the alternative kind. Gimme a steel guitar, a banjo, and a slow southern drawl, and I’m jammin’. When I put on the New Boots playlist, however, I do get looks ranging from disbelief to slightly annoyed to amused. Not that the reaction surprises me. As is the nature of stereotypes, there is some truth to them, but they also don’t cover all of the vast cornfield called country music. And honestly, you don’t have to strain your ears (pun intended) to pick up on all there is to hear.
Anyone can write free verse – or so the saying goes. Free verse poems are free from limitations of meter, rhythm, or rhyme – all aspects that sometimes cause grief to creative writing students. Most of my students are happy if, for once, they are free to follow their own ideas without having to pay attention to what many perceive as the artificiality of traditional rhymed and metered poetry. However, even free verse poems are not void of artistic expression.
Dave Eggers’s bestselling tech dystopia, The Circle (2013), has finally received a sequel. While The Circle described the rise of a fictitious tech and social media company and its protagonist’s steady descent into the maelstrom of surveillance culture, The Every now picks up a couple of years later, after the Circle has acquired a big online retailer “named after a South American jungle.” The resulting mega corporation, called the Every, is pretty much the monopolist in all things digital tech – from apps to online shopping to cutting edge hardware. Of course, it’s every bit as scary and unlikeable as one would imagine it to be.
New Year’s Eve is practically upon us once again. Do you always feel guilty for being lazy and not ‘having fun’ on all the ‘important’ occasions? If so, then instead of cursing yourself or the universe for your loneliness, you can choose to be at peace. Instead of scrolling through the Instagram feeds of your friends, you can scroll through your own life history. Here is a recipe that will make the night one to remember, even if you’re all alone:
Let’s just stop for a minute and reflect on a political, philosophical, or moral issue you’re wrong about. It ain’t that easy, right? But why not? The chance that you’re right on every topic you think and argue about is basically zero. Of course, if you knew you were wrong about something you wouldn’t hold that belief or even preach it. Whenever somebody utters an opinion we don’t agree with, our minds go: How dare you believe that? Of course, you can shield yourself from such thoughts by avoiding opinions that differ from yours. However, that’s a bad idea. It’s important to talk to people, so let me give you some practical advice on how to do it. Especially since the holidays are upon us, you’ll likely meet family members you haven’t seen in a while. So here comes an instruction manual on how to deal with that crazy aunt of yours who worships conspiracy theories.
Have you ever wondered, between decorating your Christmas tree and looking for presents, what for God’s sake you’re doing? Theoretically, you’re supposed to be preparing for Jesus’s birthday, but do you actually do it? Maybe you’re not even a Christian.
I don’t know why, but I have this strong feeling that most Christians have forgotten ‘the reason for the season’. Of course, we still celebrate the birth of Christ, maybe even louder than before. Definitely earlier than before. Shop owners so much love to celebrate Jesus’s birthday that they start their marketing campaigns and promote Christmas products at the beginning of September already. I think God would be proud. There are, however, more inconsistencies.