“Humor helps the heart to open. And heartfelt laughter leads us towards greater connection with those around us. If you can find a way to share humor with others, then there’s an openness towards greater listening and compassion. With the serious topics I write about […] there’s a way such stories can calcify the heart if one isn’t careful. I noticed this in my teaching—if I’m just giving my students the disturbing facts about humanity without humor, it can lead to depression, discouragement, and a deeper political/social apathy. So, humor seems to restore our humanity to us—it allows us to deal with suffering with a more open heart.”
Ann Arbor has always been a place where creativity thrives. Colorful murals, graffiti art, and whimsical fairy doors grace downtown building exteriors. Filmmakers, musicians, architects, poets, painters, publishers—artists and writers from all over the world are drawn to Ann Arbor for its diverse community, educated population, and vibrant campus atmosphere.
by Zhanna Vaynberg
Having grown up in a very loud and direct Russian family, there’s something about this straightforward type of behavior that I’m very drawn to. Because, to me, politeness seems to be more a defense mechanism than anything else. My fiancé (an Israeli, coincidentally enough) and I are always lamenting that Americans, unless you’ve known them for years, are not very forthcoming; it is often hard for us to talk to them about things heavier than TV shows we have in common, work, or the latest regional gossip. Sometimes it feels like Americans are so afraid of being disagreed with or disliked that topics of conversation have no choice but to stay trivial. And it’s not even the topics of conversation, really, but more the level of conversation. It’s like filling up on appetizers and never getting to the main course–a lot of speaking gets done, but by the time you get to something real (if you ever do), everyone is picking up the checks.
by Preeta Samarasan
My daughter has her father’s white skin, her grandfather’s dark curls, but nobody is sure how she got her blue eyes. Her father’s eyes are hazel; mine are brown. On her father’s side, the origins of her blue eyes are easy to trace: Grandpa has bright blue Irish eyes. It’s now known that the genetics of eye colour are complex, and that any combination of parent-child eye colours is possible. Still, the question of whether there have previously been blue eyes in my family — simple enough on the surface — dredges up all sorts of complicated family dynamics, long-buried resentments.
Select back issues of The Michigan Quarterly Review still available for purchase. Topics cover the automobile and American culture, perestroika and Soviet culture, contemporary American fiction, the male and female bodies, the Bible and its traditions, Jewish in America, Arthur Miller, the movies, and much more.