Category: things, objects

Rockin’ the Coffin

How does creativity help us cope? What role does the imagination play in allaying our age-old fears of loss and separation?  Filmmaker Cailleah Scott-Grimes leans into these questions in the short doc she’s made in collaboration with her father. Rockin’ the Coffin, a contrarian’s guide to the good death, was made possible by the CBC’s Creative Relief…


Cápsula del Tiempo (Time Capsule)

Earlier I wrote a post about coffins: Before the pandemic arrived, I had begun building a coffin with my friend Ted not because I’m dying but because, as my daughter put it, Dad’s not afraid of dying. Truthfully, Dad is a bit afraid, but he displays his fear by defying death. Dad is self-inoculating, staving…


Ritualizing in the Time of Coronavirus

by Barry Stephenson Dating from the 4th century, Rome’s San Marcello al Corso houses a crucifix that began its famed career by surviving a devastating fire in May of 1519. Three years later, during the height of a plague, friars of the Servant of Mary, disregarding the prohibitions imposed by the civil authorities, carried the…


How Is a Ritual Like a Dutch Bike?

When I first began teaching in the Netherlands, I marvelled at the number of Dutch bikes that swarmed the streets. Exiting Velorama, Nijmegen’s tightly packed little bike museum, I jokingly said to a colleague, “The Dutch imagination is profoundly ‘bicyciular.’” Each time I was back in Nijmegen, I had to walk past a bike shop….


How little questions become bigger questions?

RadioLab is an exciting, quick-cut, question-asking podcast. Supposedly, it’s about science, but over the years, the questions keep growing. Little questions evolve into big questions if you are dogged in pursuing them as Jad and Robert, the two hosts, are. In “Bigger Little Questions” a kid asks why Earth is called “Earth.” Another question is whether…


Mining words

Robert Fullerton, an ex-shipyard welder in Glasgow, says, “Imagine going down into the dirt to find a word that you’re going to elevate up into poetry. That’s mining for me.” Drawing inspiration from the sparks, he imagines them as “wee possibilities or wee ideas,” Fullerton began crafting poems while working at the shipyard. He discovered that his dark, solitary days provided the “perfect…