This essay includes a quote from The Shining wherein a racist term is used to demonstrate a dramatic shift in the narrative. 

The Shining is the most exciting and complex narrative motion picture in existence. The Shining lives on. The very two words of the title uttered by human breath ooze warmth. The sibilance of the syllables attack because of the film’s iconography: Jack, the ax, the hotel, the Big Wheel, REDRUM, the blood pouring out of the elevator, the white bathroom door being broken down, climaxing in “Here’s Johnny!”, from the moving opening shot on the water in Glacier National Park to the last ghostly blue titles on black, THE END. In between is spectral subject matter, and like the other Kubrick films, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Eyes Wide Shut, it touches something raw, something we often can’t help keep hidden—our fear of death. It isn’t timeless because its time will never come; it’s timeless because it will always be ahead of time. Yet Kubrick told Jack Nicholson, “In reality, this is an optimistic picture…in some way this movie is about ghosts…anything that says there’s anything after death is an optimistic story.” More… “Shining On”

Greg Gerke’s work has appeared in Tin House, Film Quarterly, The Kenyon Review, and other publications. See What I See, a book of essays, and, Especially the Bad Things, stories, will both published by Splice in the Autumn of 2019.


Because I know the author, when I read Find Me by Laura van den Berg I pictured Laura as the protagonist. It’s not an autobiographical novel, and the character, Joy, is not especially like Laura in her physical description. Joy says: “My hair falls past my shoulders in dark waves, lush and healthy-looking. No bangs, center part.” Laura’s hair is light brown, usually shoulder-length, often with bangs. But my mind made the shortcut on its own, and it would have taken effort to correct it.

I read Howards End some 15 years after seeing the Merchant Ivory adaptation, and inevitably pictured Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter in the roles of the sisters. However, for the first third of the book, I mixed up the roles, and had Emma Thompson as Helen and Helena Bonham Carter as Margaret in my mental casting. When I realized I was picturing them wrong, I had to forcibly correct it. I now avoid reading a book when I’ve already seen the movie. More… “Seeing Things”

Elisa Gabbert is the author of L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems (Black Ocean), The Self Unstable (Black Ocean) and The French Exit (Birds LLC). Follow her on Twitter at @egabbert.



William Blake didn’t see with his eyes. He was an artist of visions, not vision. Visions happen in the brain and other places of the imagination. Vision is a physical matter, having to do with retinas and light. Blake’s vision was fantastic. It brought him a constant stream of images, more often than not from the Bible. He saw the world as illuminated and pulsing with Joy and Sorrow, heavenly light, and the dark gloom of Hell. The world of visions was truth for him. He said, “Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.”

It is possible that William Blake was simply a lunatic, mad from start to finish. But that doesn’t matter. As Wordsworth once observed of Blake, “There was no doubt that this poor man… More…


Ken Burns has a new film coming out. In September, the documentarian presents The National Parks: America’s Best Idea on PBS. If Burns’ fans are excited, they can hardly be surprised. The guy’s obsessed with America. More specifically, he’s obsessed with the things that make America America. His previous films have explored its figures (Mark Twain, Frank Lloyd Wright, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Jefferson), objects (the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge), events (the Civil War, Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the West), and cultural products (jazz, baseball). Consider this list and a film on the country’s feelings about the land where all this happens begins to feel less like the logical next in line, and more like one that’s long overdue. No offense to jazz, but come on.

According to its Web site, The… More…