Posts by: iquillen

Near Enemies

“’The near enemy. It’s a psychological concept. Two emotions that look the same but are actually opposites. The one parades as the other, is mistaken for the other, but one is healthy and the other’s sick, twisted.’ (. . . ) “ ‘There are three couplings,’ said Myrna, herself leaning forward now, and whispering though she […]


A few weeks ago during my meeting with Jess, she gave me a reflective exercise hshio do over the next two weeks. The exercise involved identifying and defining five qualities I valued from a list, then spending the next 10 days reflecting on how I embodied those values each day. The important part wasn’t to […]


I listened to a song by Florence + The Machine this evening while working in the office at the chapel. Usually, the pulsating drumbeat and flowing melody of this song let me relax and clear my head for a while. But this time, the lyrics felt more melancholy than usual. “She can’t see the landscape anymore […]


This past Sunday, I listened to a sermon delivered by the Reverend Jen Quigley, one of my supervisors at the chapel. Her sermon talked about the time she spent doing work at the Howard Gottlieb Archival Research Center, handling documents that were in the Martin Luther King Jr. collection. While reading these documents, she came […]


“A true war story, when truly told, makes the stomach believe.” I read this sentence in Tim O’Brien’s fictional novel The Things They Carried when I was a sophomore in high school. The chapter that this line came from, “How to Tell a True War Story,” recounts how one of his fellow soldiers died during the Vietnam war. […]


When friends ask me how my Thanksgiving was this year, my answer can be summed up in one word: “quiet.” There are a couple of reasons for this, not the least of which being that I lost my voice as soon as Thanksgiving break began. To be fair, it did return within several hours, only […]


When I first came to Marsh Chapel during my freshman year, I became known by the staff for consistently cleaning the dishes after Monday night community dinner. At the time, I didn’t think anything remarkable of this. Cleaning serves as a meditative practice that I find enjoyable most of the time, ever since my mother […]


In light of the recent presidential election, the phrase “opening a Pandora’s box” seems rather apt right now. I remember reading the story behind this phrase as a kid, and wondering how all the evils of the world could be stuck with hope in one box (or jar, if you’re reading the Ancient Greek). Zeus was […]

First Teaching Experience

This afternoon I had my first experience actively teaching a class. It was in a discussion section for a neuroscience course, where I’ve been a teaching assistant (TA) for about half a semester. A few weeks ago, my teaching fellow (TF) and I were talking about observations for an education class I was taking with another […]

Dirge Without Music

Many years ago, I sang an oratorio piece in a choir at my congregation in Brookline. We spent months rehearsing and preparing for the performance in the spring. As a musician, it was by far one of the most challenging pieces I’ve ever taken on. At the same time, practicing and performing with the other […]