Being a Big Brother is hard. I bet it makes you angry when Winston doesn’t submit to your will. Sometimes when people don’t submit to our will, we want to torture them with rats. I’m going to sit with you until you feel calmer, and then we can figure out a way to get Winston to submit without using rats.

Great Expectations

You don’t want to get changed right now, because you were jilted on your wedding day many years ago. I completely understand. You’re frustrated. I would be too. I know it’s much more fun to sit in with a decaying wedding feast while using your adopted daughter to exact revenge on all men, but we have to get changed, because you’re on fire. Let’s set a timer.

The Stranger

Mama died today. Her body stopped working. We won’t see her again, and it’s okay to feel sad or estranged or murderous or at peace with the meaninglessness of life and the inevitability of death.

The Metamorphosis

Okay, so we need to talk about this. This morning, you woke up a cockroach. And that’s scaring you? I think that makes a ton of sense. Change is really scary! But our bodies grow and change every single day. Does it feel strange to have so many arms now? I bet. Do you want a snack? A pile of sugar? Well, a pile of sugar isn’t on the menu today, but you can have rotting food scraps. Do you want rotting bread or rotting meat? You choose.

Pride and Prejudice

It sounds like you’re pretty frustrated, because you’re in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men. I know it’s hard to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men when you’re in no humour for it.

The Iliad

I see two armies who are sad and mad. The Trojan army and the Greek army both want to play with Helen. Right now, I think we need to take a break to let our bodies and our vengeful Olympian gods calm down. I think we should put Helen back in the closet for today, and we can get her out again tomorrow.

Crime and Punishment

I hear you. You didn’t kill the elderly pawnbroker and her sister, Raskolnikov. But if someone had killed the elderly pawnbroker and her sister—not you—I wonder whether something happened to make that person murder them with a stolen ax. Like maybe that person felt the grinding effects of poverty and also considered the pawnbroker a drain on society and also wanted to become Napoleon. And you know what? We all want to become Napoleon sometimes. Maybe we can sit down and make a list of the things about Napoleon that are good and the things we wouldn’t do the same way he did. Okay, kiddo?


You know what I’ve been thinking? It can be tough to be a creature whose very existence fills its creator’s heart with disgust. Ugh, yeah. That’s really hard, isn’t it?


Whoa! That’s a lot of info. Can you slow down so I can understand what you’re trying to say? Hmm… maybe slow down a little bit more? No, that’s too slow. Wait, is that potty talk? Or not. I honestly can’t tell. I want to understand you—could you talk to me without using so many allusions? No? I understand. Allusions are really fun. Maybe we’ll just sit here together until you’re ready to use a simple declarative sentence.

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Jessie Gaynor’s debut novel, The Glow, is in stores now.