As I scrolled through endless “Best Songs of the Decade” lists from various sites with varying levels of pretension and quality, I noticed an odd pattern. The lists were always interesting and varied for the first half, whether it was 25 or 100 songs, then started to fall into the exact same pile of songs as every other list I’d seen. This is not inherently a bad thing; It makes sense that there is some consensus when it comes to a decade worth of music, especially when there were so many standout cultural-musical moments (“Dancing On My Own”, “thank u…


Me Being a Stereotype in a Tree — 2019

Hello dear reader, this is my Medium page. I’ve always wanted to write something directed right at the reader, like a nice friendly conversation. It’s not something I can ever do at school, for relatively obvious reasons relating to “Academic Writing” expectations, so it’s kinda fun to do this. Anyway, back to the subject, or as my french teacher says, “revenons à nos moutons” (Let’s get back to our sheep, or translated, Let’s get back to the point, although when Mrs. …


Ta-Nehisi Coates — The Chronicle of Higher Education 2017

“Here is what I would like you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage

Between the World and Me rebuffs so many of the easy (white) answers to systematic problems. Racism is about power, about control, and Coates describes this harrowingly through the “random” feelings that imbue his language. Murderous rain falls from the sky, splattering like blood on pavement, indiscriminately killing black people. News reports, piling like great crashing waves around Coates, describe the same thing happening all over the country. The light-skinned boy with a gun brings out the…


William Billard — “America Crumbling Apart?”

I’m not sure exactly when it clicked. Probably sometime about halfway through Junior year, maybe when we watched the film 13th. This was the last Jenga piece getting ripped from its place, causing my fragile view of the world to tumble to the floor and shatter. Something about seeing the poisoning effect of capitalism on one of the supposed bastions of American democratic justice, the courts, made all my trust crack. …


I live for life’s blooms. You know that place in that one song where it just opens up, like a tightly coiled spring suddenly released, a party popper exploding in slow motion, a flower blooming under hyperlapse, suddenly unfurling gorgeous pedals? When every little theme, sound, and motif in the song comes together for this glorious blast of sound? That tinny tone you heard in the first verse? The drums draped in reverb, filling in the background? That vocal sample you could barely hear? …


Barbara Kingsolver — Novelist

Barbara Kingsolver invites you to her hearth, the warm fire providing a welcome buffer from the frigid snow falling silently outside the window. A circle of women beckon you to join them — knitting needles in hand — and you are one of them, in an instant. In Kingsolver’s essay, “Where It Begins”, the author illustrates that everything and everyone in the world are connected by repeating the motif of nature and growth to bring out patterns all around us and using 2nd person throughout the essay to bring one into her welcoming commune.

The repeated uses of nature and…


Ansel Adams — The Atlantic from Schoodic Point, Acadia National Park, ME 1949

“I’d take the landscape over there home”, I said, pointing at the black and white photo of waves crashing down onto mossy rocks in the corner of the room.

“The Ansel Adams? Champagne taste as always, Kolya”, My mom replies, the edges of her mouth crinkling up into a smile as she raises an amused eyebrow at my choice. She stands with her hands on her ever-present camera bag, a wisp of grey hair streaking down her head, wearing bright blue pants that mirror the shade of our living room walls.

“What do you like about it?”, she probes, always…


Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird

It’s fascinating how a book you read or song you listened to can so strongly color your memories of a place or time. Frigid New York in December replays in my head with reverb-soaked Beck lyrics about climate change. New Haven is stuffed with gothic architecture, sweat, and Frank Ocean’s Pyramids, in my mind. Books fill this headspace with more than just the aura or mood a song adds to a memory. Ideas, characters, places, swirl around in my head, intertwining with my past like gnarled tree roots. Sometimes the book or music works alongside the location or memories, intensifying…


There’s a scene in Euphoria — the Drake-produced show that’s all together too neon bubblegum pretty alongside brutal depictions of violence, sex, and drugs to be anything but nauseatingly unnerving — where one character, Jules, platinum blond and so deep in her new gender role she appears unsettled in it goes clubbing. Laser bright lights, blue, white, pink, flash across the screen and fall upon her and her 3 main lovers’ faces, her ornate eye makeup glittering as she hallucinates, alternating between recoiling and reaching, an undulating dance towards the new fling, hesitant before her partner at home, and wrestling…


We left out crumbling cookies on a porcelain plate⁠ — in the shape of a snowman, seperated into 2 sections, his head and his body⁠ — for Santa, and an assortment of long, ugly, carrots for his reindeer. I’ve always wondered what my parents did with the carrots. Maybe the endless rabbits scurrying around in our yard ate them. I prefer imagining Mom and Dad chowing down on three huge carrots at 1 in the morning after putting all the presents under the tree.

It used to be so hard to sleep that night. Lying awake, twisting my body around…

Kolya Shields

Student, Writer, New England. Interests include Race, Gender, Sexuality, Literature, the Environment, Politics, Music, Art, and Ultimate Frisbee.

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