This Music is Our Music

Erica Cao // The hallway opens up to a room where trophies and boomboxes line a fireplace mantel which emits a warm blanket-glow covering histories of unspoken trauma: abuse, violence, deaths. Children’s Aid and Family Services of NJ houses girls who are an average age of nine years old. There’s about eight girls in each home….

Waiting for Laughter, Part 2: Finding Empathy for Pain Through Humor

James Belarde // AUTHOR’S NOTE: Both this article and Part 1 discuss a short play written by the author that can be found in its entirety here. “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.” ­-Maya Angelou In my last article, I discussed a comedic (and tragic) play I wrote that was produced by my fellow…

Collectively Holding Space: A Reflection

Amala Poli // I find, when I write, I don’t want to write well-made scenes, narratives that flow, structures that give a sense of wholeness and balance, plays that feel intact. Intact people should write intact plays with sound narratives built of sound scenes that unfold with a sense of dependable cause and effect; solid…

The Fashion of Disease

Dr. Brian J. Troth // On January 23, 2020, my ex-fiancé passed away when he was 34. When he was hospitalized, I took great care to select clothes that he loved for his bag and it reminded me of an undeveloped project on my mind: the fashion of disease. Though I haven’t quite threaded the…

Cleft in wax

Jac Saorsa: Artist-in-Residence // As an artist with a profound interest both in anatomy and the experience of illness and injury, I am fascinated by the capacity of wax as a sculptural medium to emulate the look, and sometimes even the feel, of flesh. Since discovering the visceral qualities of wax I have created several…

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster”

Jac Saorsa: Artist-in-Residence // For this contribution to Synapsis, I would like to share an extract from the doctoral work in creative writing that I am currently undertaking with Cardiff University, UK. The thesis is entitled Awakening Monsters: An Exploration of the Experience of Mortality through Creative Practice. The fundamental aim is to embrace an…

The Experience of Grief, The Truths of Bearing Witness

Bríd Phillips // We hang dangling at speed, in fragile air[i] In many ways, the texts at our Medical Humanities Book and Film Club, while dealing with serious topics, have maintained some streaks of positivity. This positivity formed a thread which we could follow to avoid opening up emotional maelstroms. To date, there have been…

When Music is a Social Good

Erica Cao // “Life Unclassed” has a simple backdrop—metronomic beats mark the grind of army life. The song has its own backstory: a joint creation by a 17-year-old high schooler from St. Louis with a 71-year-old veteran at the Bronx Veteran Affairs hospital in NYC.  This probably isn’t the kind of music you’re used to….