The following flash fiction/script originated from a nightmare that left the writer in a panic. How does the act of creation serve to transform negative experiences into positive ones? Is art the defining feature of humanity — the primary difference between us and all other animals? Though art has the potential to be dark and disturbing, it often exalts features of our human condition unlike any other act. What can we learn about ourselves through the art we create from confusion and suffering?
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the United States in a way that leaves US citizens wondering how this great nation could be affected so severely. On top of facing a pandemic, US citizens have been met with increasing polarization both in the media and in politics, leading to mass confusion and ignorance — how are we to solve a problem we can’t fully understand?
Whatever side of the political spectrum one falls on, we can all commonly agree that it’s problematic when a child is indoctrinated into the ‘wrong’ thought patterns, that they have been turned from the truth of the world. But, can we as a society, collectively come to a consensus regarding a few basic truths? There are commonalities that run through us all, uniting us as the human race — so why can’t we see them? Is living in peace with one another an unrealistic dream? If we are united by our need to stand up for what we believe to be true, can we ever see eye-to-eye if our beliefs never align?
What roles do hope and expectation play in our lives? How can social obligations impact individual fulfillment? Can hopelessness be utilized as a life strategy to attain serenity? “Nobody’s Favorite” is a short story addressing the use of language and the nature of hope in humans’ self-perception.
There are many external hindrances to success throughout an individual’s lifetime, but, often, internal roadblocks can keep us from being who we aspire to be. How does fear of failure or survivor’s guilt factor into our self-confidence, self-esteem, or desire to achieve? How do fear and shame keep us immobile? Is it easier to accept mediocrity rather than take a chance and risk disaster? This story interprets a well-known Greek myth for a modern audience, reminding us there is a time and place for fearless acts if we are to reach our true potential.
The controversial and well-known Lolita by Nabokov forces us to address taboo topics and confusing realities in a way that only art can do. How do relationships often represent unrealistic ideals? Despite the novel’s taboo subject matter, can it teach us something about the dynamics of normal relationships? How do different art forms allow us to address immoral behaviors, social faux-pas, or the negative features of our human condition productively?
In this story, the protagonist has been battling a chronic condition for many years. There has been ups and down, but he is faced with a decision about freedom and living which could have drastic implications. All will die, but how? All will suffer, but how? All have the opportunity to find freedom in some thing, or some action, but the implication and vastness of the human freedom may be defined only in the individual’s heart.
What does the continued relevance of vampire stories say about humans’ natural inclination to ostracize the ‘other?’ How have modern vampire tales changed this narrative? Could this evolution of thought be representative of an evolved human condition? What do vampire tales say about our fear of the dead, or mass hysteria associated with things we do not understand?
How do we keep our emotionality in check? As a species, what regulatory mechanisms do we employ to balance negative and positive experiences? Does society influence our psychological balancing act, or is this primarily an individual responsibility?
Is the impulse to commit suicide born of anger and aggression or desperation and fear? Can we make a generalizable claim regarding the reasons an individual takes his/her own life? Do we ever really understand the things we do, or are we just rationalizing our actions and the actions of others after the fact?