Interview: Lisa Olstein on Pain Studies

Micah Bateman // Lisa Olstein, the author of four collections of poetry, recently released a prose meditation on chronic migraine, Pain Studies (Bellevue Literary Press, 2020). Thinking through migraine and with migraine, Olstein’s study threads in and out of autobiography, history, philosophy, literature, pop culture, and more—making piquant stops along the way at Joan of…

Inadequate Shielding

Kate Bolton Bonnici // Inside the room someone breathes through a machine until at some point they will be moved to a smaller room & there will be no breathing machine & breathing will end in some version or another. (You get that this is code for what you don’t know how to say.) Outside…

(Not) a Zebra

Sal Marx // Condition on discharge: stable. Still, I stumbled out of the belly of the hospital, onto pavement, clutching newly prescribed instructions: 1.  Avoid physical exertion  2.  If you feel worse, go to ER immediately 3.  Do NOT use marijuana or other illicit drugs  4.  Taper off the drug that treats your Major Depression within…

In the Sick Hour: Writing Exercises

Editor’s note: This post is the second in a two-part series featuring the work of writers Jane Hartshorn and Kaiya Waerea. Read the first part here. Jane Hartshorn and Kaiya Waerea // Following the publication of the pamphlet In the Sick Hour by Takeaway Press in August 2020, writers Jane Hartshorn and Kaiya Waerea facilitated…

In the Sick Hour: Poems

Editor’s note: This post is the first in a two-part series featuring the work of writers Jane Hartshorn and Kaiya Waerea. Jane Hartshorn and Kaiya Waerea // In the Sick Hour is the product of a collaboration between writers Jane Hartshorn and Kaiya Waerea. In the winter of 2020, just before the UK went into…

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…