The action may be slow, but that’s the point.

I recently had time to slow things down and read a book that had been sitting on my shelf for months: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant.

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An amnesia-inducing mist plagues the land.

The plot is simple enough. It’s a fantasy novel set in Britain just after the reign of King Arthur and follows a married couple, Axl and Beatrice, on their journey to visit their son. However, an amnesia-inducing mist has covered the land for some time, and they cannot remember much about him. …


Re-reading Walden in 2018

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Illustration via owleyes.org

The morning wind forever blows, the poem of creation is uninterrupted; but few are the ears that hear it.

So goes one of my favorite quotes from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden; Or Life in the Woods. Thoreau’s metaphor speaks volumes to his intent in writing Walden and in seeking a life of self-reliance and kinship with nature.

Today, the morning wind still blows, but it is drowned out by the rapid pace of 21st-century life. The poem of creation continues uninterrupted, don’t get me wrong, but with so much competing for our attention these days, it…


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Illustration via owleyes.org

Lord, what fools these mortals be!

— Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act III, scene ii

In high school, I remember spending my time trying to understand what Shakespeare had to say about love, mostly through Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. And since I’m fairly certain my brain at the time was more occupied with my own loves rather than those of the Bard or others, in the end my biggest takeaway was that Shakespeare taught me that love is an all-or-nothing, all-encompassing force. Meaningful? Sure. Superficial? A little.

Now that I’ve gained some more life…


Re-reading Frederick Douglass’s “Reconstruction” in 2018

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Illustration via owleyes.org

“No political skirmishing will avail. The occasion demands statesmanship.”

So goes the beginning of Frederick Douglass’s essay “Reconstruction,” featured in The Atlantic Monthly in 1866. While such a statement is timeless in its application, let’s back up to look at its historical context before diving deeper.

The period known as Reconstruction spanned the twelve years following the end of the American Civil War. During that time, the federal government’s primary focus was not only how to reunify the country but also how to provide essential civil rights and protections for the emancipated slaves. However…


Re-reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” in 2017.

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Illustration via owleyes.org

“I have been as well acquainted with your family as with ever a one among the Puritans; and that’s no trifle to say [….]”

“I marvel they never spoke of these matters; or, verily, I marvel not, seeing that the least rumor of the sort would have driven them from New England. We are a people of prayer, and good works to boot, and abide no such wickedness.”

So goes the rebuttal of Goodman Brown in response to the devil’s claim that Brown’s family has long consorted with sin. And really, why…


Re-reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”

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Illustration via owleyes.org

“For the love of God, Montresor!”

Every. Single. Time. Every time I read Fortunato’s last words I get chills. Not only does it mark the first time in Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado” that Fortunato actually acknowledges Montresor by name, it also marks the moment when Fortunato realizes that Montresor does, in fact, intend to leave him to die within the catacombs. But why am I telling you about it when you could read it quickly and then come back to talk this over with me? I’ll be right here.

Good, isn’t…

Wesley Matlock

Aspiring farmer and disgruntled grammarian.

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