On Soap Operas, or, We Read and Watch Our Stories in Order to Live
But who is going to remember the One Life to Lives? Or the Howard the Ducks? Or The Gong Shows? These things were part of our cultural landscape for a time. People worked hard on them, and surely their efforts and the work that resulted ought to be remembered in some way. They might not have had the lasting impact the works of high art are supposed to have, but they mattered to a lot of people, who labored on them or experienced them as an audience that cried, laughed, or played along at home.
And who, for that matter, will remember me?
WilliamBradleyEssayist.com, October 2014
“On Soap Operas, or, The Bald and the Beautiful”
I have adapted an early essay of my own for the web. What follows was originally written for print and published in the Spring, 2005 issue of The Bellevue Literary Review as “The Bald and the Beautiful.” I have spent the past several weeks reimagining this essay, endeavoring to create something that combines text, image, and video—complete with links to resources that might deepen the audience’s understanding of the essay, its references and its themes.
WilliamBradleyEssayist.com, September 2014
These are the things that terrify me. Sometimes, the only way to calm my nerves and quell the fear is to turn my brain off and watch a madman with a butcher’s knife stalk and then kill some babysitters.
Full Grown People, 4/15/2014
My Hodgkin’s Disease had returned— my doctor was fairly certain.
Full Grown People, 12/20/2013
“Acquiring Empathy Through Essays”
It’s impossible for us to live the lives of others, of course, but essays give us a record of someone else’s consciousness—the act of reading these essays and interacting with these minds on the page is the closest thing we have to telepathy in the real world.
“And Never Show Thy Head By Day Nor Light”
Older siblings often inflict pain on their younger siblings. Sometimes accidentally, other times with more malice.
“Once More to the Quad”
So I returned to the scene of the crime, the place where I first learned to love literature, writing, and the academic life.
Inside Higher Ed, 2/12/13
Life on Mars
You will be living in Murfreesboro, North Carolina next year. I’ll be living in Canton, New York. The distance between these places is roughly 700 miles.
Pacifica Literary Review, January 21, 2013
“How We Got Our Dog”
“It’s called a swastika,” my mother told us as we sat at the kitchen table while my dad talked to the police. Because my mom sometimes speaks with a New England accent, I wasn’t sure if she was saying swastika or swasticker. I made a mental note to ask my dad what it was called.
Bluestem Magazine, September 2012
“The Admiring Ignorant”
“I had so much respect for my own professors,” I tell myself. “Yet these students seem to be mocking my efforts.”
Inside Higher Ed, 1/31/2012
Cancer researchers have noted a phenomenon called “chemo brain,” though there’s no real evidence to suggest that the symptoms are caused by chemotherapy. Maybe it’s a side-effect of radiation therapy, or anti-nausea drugs. It could also be a purely psychological response to the stress of having a serious disease, of thinking about death and life and family and money and the knowledge that it’s suddenly very important to think very, very hard about everything.
The Jabberwock Review, Winter 2011
“Julio at Large”
One day, my dad came home at lunch with the newspaper—fresh off the press—in his hand. “Do you know this girl?” She looked more interesting in black and white. “She’s missing,” he said. “Her parents think she was kidnapped.
Brevity, January 2010
“The Bald and the Beautiful”
So I elaborate. “I like soap operas because the actors get to say things like, ‘I will destroy you.'”
Bellevue Literary Review, Spring 2005.