The Walls Stand Witness: An Account of Intertwining Gazes

Diana Novaceanu // As a child, I had wished to paint the world in precious tints and exquisite rare tinges. Such wild notions dissipated with time, leaving me unsure of their verity. One day, I found myself immersed in an ambient of clinical white, the color palette of hallways and operating theaters, gauze wrappings, coverings…

Mortality and ‘my part’ in it

Jac Saorsa, Artist in Residence // I am delighted to return for a second year as Artist in Residence for Synapsis and for my first post I would like to offer an extract from my PhD creative writing thesis, which is ongoing and is entitled Awakening Monsters: An exploration of the experience of mortality through…

Exit, pursued by a Shark: A Pandemic in Four or More Acts

Emily Waples // Following reports of the President’s coronavirus infection, Twitter was replete with a certain kind of comment, expressing consensus that something—the presidency, the country, the year 2020—had decidedly jumped the shark. A throng of commenters including Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine—who has tweeted copiously about COVID-19 in an…

An Ethical Question from Sunflowers: A New Take on Nanette

Austin M. Hopkins // In her critically-acclaimed Netflix special Nanette, comic Hannah Gadsby begins her first show for a mainstream American audience with the playful autobiographical content which founded her home career in Australia. She makes self-deprecating but inherently uncomfortable jokes concerned with her identity as a lesbian woman. But as she continues into territory…

Imperfect Measures: Notes on Humanization

Emily Waples// 1. In the beginning, I refresh endlessly. A thumb hovering over a search bar icon. An enter key tentatively pressed over a web address. Coronavirus update. There are always open tabs: the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard, the CDC case data, the New York Times’s coronavirus map. You can watch the red dots bleed…

Aging Together and Apart: From the Pivot to the Pirouette

Sally Chivers // With COVID-19, what scholars and activists of aging have long feared and warned about has come about. Global supply chains are indeed too easily choked off, leaving both the rich and poor poorer, though still not to the same extent. The stealthy and overt privatization of health care, particularly in the long-term…

Proust in Pandemic: Part II

Catherine Parker // Proust and Medicine Prior to undertaking the project to read In Search of Lost Time in the coronavirus era, the only biographical fact I knew about Proust was that he insisted on completing his landmark novel in the cocoon of a cork-lined room—an idiosyncratic signature—but perhaps one that would have resonated in…

Pedagogy of the Pandemic: Narrative Medicine and Radical Empathy

Sayantani DasGupta, Author // Ibraim Nascimento, Painter // There is a rupture in higher education and in that rupture is an opportunity. As novelist Arundhati Roy (2020) has written, “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway…

The Art of Dissection

Jac Saorsa: Artist-in residence// (The following is an extract from my PhD in creative writing. A work in progress!) Sweet is the lore which Nature brings; Our meddling intellect Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things We murder to dissect. Enough of Science and of Art; Close up those barren leaves; Come forth, and bring with…