“The Winning Way” examines the slow, insidious chipping away of one’s own conscience through adherence to rigid belief systems, which provide a comforting certainty. It takes a hard look at what humans are willing to give up to feel connected, and how easy it is for us to fall prey to sinister ideas and beliefs when we are hungry, nearly starving with unmet needs. This story taps into a drama currently playing out in the world, as COVID-19 runs rampant, along with conspiracies. Many families are watching as vulnerable loved ones cleave to groups such as QAnon. They ask themselves, “How can they believe these things?” This story is a response to that question.
“Paralyzed” depicts a little girl’s first experience with sleep paralysis and how forced religion manifests in her hallucinations. The goal of this piece is to bring awareness to sleep paralysis and the odd ways it may reveal itself. Many who suffer from sleep paralysis are not even aware of the condition until they are well into adulthood, causing them to believe there could be something inherently wrong with their psyche.
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?
Is religion inherently more violent than other ideologies? Do all ideologies have the propensity for violence?
How are we blinded by things that are not what they seem? Can we ever truly see what something really is despite what it claims to be?