Beauty and Madness: A Meditation on Pygmalion and Galatea

Originally published in the College of William and Mary’s Acropolis Art Magazine’s 2012 issue

What creates what, the creation or the creator? The division between the artist and their work blurs like that cold winter morning Michelangelo died over his canvas, spattered in paint. To create is madness, an inner drive that too often is inexplicable. Art has no immediate benefit: it will not clothe or feed you. Yet we create to express ourselves, to convey ideas words cannot capture.

There is something in art that is Lovecraftian: grand, majestic, and horrifying. From William Blake’s impossible figures to the Dadaist’s upside-down urinal, art often seems tainted by madness. Sometimes it proves a point, other times it is elusive. Is traditional art an anachronism in an age when man should have surpassed crushed pigments and the horsehair brush? Some debate its utility. But an impulse, perhaps divine, always drives us back to the canvas. Art is an ongoing story, told by a thousand hands. It claims new disciples. It endures.

Continue reading “Beauty and Madness: A Meditation on Pygmalion and Galatea”


Michael Reviews Game of Thrones – S6E1, “The Red Woman”

Michael Reviews Game of Thrones – S6E1, “The Red Woman”

Hi all! I’m Michael, the custodian for Pudding Shot! Every week, I’ll be posting my Game of Thrones reviews over at my personal blog, Off the Bookshelf. This week, though, our Monday post is going to be my savage, scathing #hottake on Episode 1 of Game of Thrones Season 6. Warning: this WILL spoil the episode. Read at your own risk! Enjoy!

Another year, another ten thousand words on Game of Thrones.

Continue reading “Michael Reviews Game of Thrones – S6E1, “The Red Woman””

Introvert in the Big City

As I write this, I’m hiding. I won’t say where I’m hiding, in case I need to hide again, except that I’m sitting in a brightly-lit tea shop somewhere in Mid-ish-town with three notebooks, two novels, and a matcha vanilla latte in a paper cup.

It’s a good spot. Not quiet, but the chances of me running into someone I know are slim to none.

Continue reading “Introvert in the Big City”

“Just You Wait!”: Hamilton as a Postgrad’s Lifeblood

At this point, everyone knows about Hamilton, the hit Broadway hip hop musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda. If you’ve been living under a rock (which is fine, I won’t judge you; there are some very nice rocks in the world), conjure up everything you know about Alexander Hamilton and toss it away in the bit of your brain that’s reserved for potential Jeopardy! answers. You won’t need it here.

Continue reading ““Just You Wait!”: Hamilton as a Postgrad’s Lifeblood”

Telekinesis, Photosynthesis, Exegesis, Catharsis: The Insidious Boob Window Plaguing our Superheroines

I need to get something off my chest. X-Men: Apocalypse is coming out. Have you seen the trailers? They’re out there. You’ve seen them. There’s lots of cool things in there, like new mutants, and purple Oscar Isaac, and bald James McAvoy. There’s also a boob window.

Continue reading “Telekinesis, Photosynthesis, Exegesis, Catharsis: The Insidious Boob Window Plaguing our Superheroines”

Libby’s Patented Literary Tour of Edinburgh

Libby’s Patented Literary Tour of Edinburgh

It’s no secret that the city of Edinburgh is the eternal and unconditional love of my life.

I fell in love from the moment I arrived at Waverley Station during the summer following my graduation from high school. My family emerged from the train just after midnight, and suddenly Edinburgh Castle was rising up just beyond the station, bordered by the misty green hill that makes up Arthur’s Seat. A woman who had taken the train with us looked over at me and smiled.

“Edinburgh Castle is special,” she said.

The feeling I had then is something I’ve only experienced a few times in my life. There was no going back from that moment.

Continue reading “Libby’s Patented Literary Tour of Edinburgh”

The Fan’s Party Planner: The Chronicles of Narnia

Note: The Fan’s Party Planner is a recurring column on Pudding Shot with tips and ideas for planning themed parties based on popular books, video games, films, genres, fandoms, etc. The outlines include suggestions for invitations, decorations, food, beverages, and activities, but readers should note that not all of the ideas presented in the outlines have been tested by the author or will come with full instructions. The guide is best viewed as a “fancy brainstorm,” an inspirational list to help readers start thinking about their creative options and planning the party that best suits them and their guests. The majority of the suggestions should be doable for most hosts, but items in “Advanced” categories will require some extra time, money, or effort. 


The Chronicles of Narnia is a classic high fantasy series by C.S. Lewis that has enchanted the imagination and stirred the hearts of children and adults for generations. The most familiar book in the series is likely the second, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but the Chronicles are full of exciting adventures, beautiful and terrible magic, and unforgettable characters. They also feature some truly amazing parties and feasts.

Consider this your starting guide for throwing your own incredible Narnia party. Using my knowledge (and deep love) of the books and my amateur experience with hosting flings for clubs and private get-togethers, I have brainstormed a few ideas for atmosphere, decorations, food, and activities that will help you throw a bash fit for Cair Paravel. Quite a few items are inspired by the famous The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I have tried to represent all of the books in some fashion. Feel free to mix, match, adapt, and add to the suggestions on this outline to design a unique Narnia celebration that works best for you and your guests. 

Continue reading “The Fan’s Party Planner: The Chronicles of Narnia”