Author: Adler Morgan

Panic Attack: The Movie

I couldn’t think of an answer at first, so I settled on: “It’s like I’m dying.” My brother looked off and tried to process the claim, but the only thing he could come up with was, “Oh.” Not his fault. My response was too big and vague and who the hell even knows what dying feels like anyway unless they’ve already done it? But it made me wonder if a panic attack is the kind of experience that can ever really be conveyed to someone whose brain doesn’t work like that. (Correction: doesn’t break like that.) Thing is, when a panic attack hits me, it doesn’t feel like my brain is messed up — it feels like my entire body is. My muscles seize up and start to shudder. My chest tightens. My stomach clenches. My veins constrict. I can’t breathe. I need to get outside because the walls are too close, but I can’t move my body to make it happen. If it’s especially bad, I will literally whimper the word “help,” even if …

Rhythm & Write

I love jazz. I know, that’s not a particularly original statement – Louis Armstrong named an entire album just that in 1966. But I really do and, to be clear, I’m not saying that I love all jazz. In fact, I probably don’t even love most jazz. But I do love the right jazz – music that feels improvisational, fresh and fluid, but retains a coherency between the players and their instruments that jive.  I can’t play a lick of music but the right piece of jazz will convince me that it’s easy – that I could pick up an axe and join right in. It’s the illusion of zero effort that we humans are drawn to like nothing else. We want beauty to be wholly incompatible with bloody knuckles and sore lips. We want there to be magic behind the scenes, not the hard truths of the creative process. Sure, artists who are able to purge flaw from performance can deliver us masterpiece and remind us that perfection is not only real, it’s attainable. …

I Heart Robots

The golden age of pulp science fiction is a guilty pleasure of mine. Authors like Clifford Simak, Arthur C. Clarke and Ray Bradbury blew the covers off Galaxy Magazine and Astounding Science Fiction during the 1950s. Their best efforts spoke directly to the fear and bigotry of the era. They could get away with it too because there was latitude in SF when other genres had none or very little to offer. Science fiction is always written for the present. It may imagine the future, but it’s not speaking to it. As a result, an old pulp can be uniquely appreciated as a window into the forgotten dreams of another generation. Their visions are forever frozen in the time they were first published – like a mosquito locked in amber. This leaves us free to perform an autopsy on their predictions and ponder the folly of our own. For me, there is no more endearing symbol of failed prediction than that venerable science fiction staple: the robot. Even on the pages of a pulp, where words …