Hemlock: A Short Story

Hemlock: A Short Story

You finally took back control.

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You decide to bake it into brownies as if it was weed. You think about how much harder it was to get than weed is, and about how it will be the perfect dessert to top off your last meal. Brownies always were your favorite, after all. Ever since your aunt Patty had made you a batch for your fifth birthday, the kind with chunks of semi-sweet chocolate in them and a chocolate buttercream frosting swirled on top, you have been in love with the decadent treat.

You start mixing the ingredients together, stirring everything by hand with a whisk because you know that if you use an electric mixer the brownies will become tough. After all, you want the last thing you ever eat to be perfect. You laugh to yourself as you start to sprinkle it in. You think about how this really will bring new meaning to the phrase "death by chocolate."

Baking always was a comfort to you. That and self-harm were the only ways you ever felt like you had any control over anything. When you baked, you could manipulate everything about your creation. You could change the taste, the texture, the smell, and so much else with just a flick of the wrist or the addition of a little more or less of an ingredient.

When you self-harmed, you finally felt in control of yourself for a change. You were able to control how you felt, even if what you felt was pain, and you were able to manipulate your own body and decide what happens to it. Now you're preparing to combine the two, to take total control back from your AWOL mind once and for all.

You remember the first time you felt like you weren't in control of yourself. You just couldn't stop shaking, no matter how hard you tried. Your hands were rattles and your arms were snakes, begging to be skinned. They tried to give you medicine to fix it, but it seemed more like poison to you. It made you tired all the time, made you stay in bed even more than you already did. It didn't help, either. You seemed to have all the side effects and none of the relief that was supposed to come with them.

They tried having you talk to someone. He didn't seem to tell you anything you didn't already know, though. He mostly just sat there, shook his head, said "mhm" a few times, and occasionally repeated back what you had just said in an affirming tone. He didn't actually help at all despite the astronomical amount you were paying out of pocket to see him because, of course, he didn't accept insurance.

Nobody left seems like they would miss you and you have nowhere else to turn. Your family members don't even call anymore and always seem too busy to talk. So you eventually come up with this plan. Now, nearly a month later, you sit on the floor of your apartment finishing the last bite of your dinner. You sigh as you look around your apartment one last time, taking in all the family photos and old fake smiles you wore in them. Cutting yourself a brownie, you close your eyes and stuff the entire awkwardly cut square into your mouth.

It bursts with flavor. Before long, you can feel your mouth starting to water for more. Or maybe that's just the foaming. Either way, your eyes roll back in pure ecstasy as it hits your stomach. It sends chills, shakes, convulsions through your body as a smile forms across your face.

You did it. You finally took back control. You finally feel free from the confines of your sickened mind. Then, nothing.

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A Revival: Greek And Roman Impact On The Renaissance

How Renaissance artists departed from the Gothic style
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Just as the Romans were often known as Greek imitators, the artists of the Renaissance took a big interest in ancient Greek and Roman art. Therefore, the Renaissance came to be known as an era of revival, one in which the influence of Greek and Roman art was seen in both art and architecture. Pieces such as the Palazzo Rucellai, David, and Birth of Venus are all noted for being composed of both Greek and Roman elements and styles.

The Palazzo Rucellai stands as a landmark Renaissance palace, designed in 1446 by well-known Italian architects Leon Battista Alberti and Bernardo Rossellino. The humanistic influence of the 15th century is noted in its composition, but most importantly, the structural elements of ancient Rome are incorporated within the structure. The Roman-like arches, pilasters, and entablatures give the impression of strength. The pilasters are composed of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders which are reminiscent of the Colosseum. Just as the pilasters of the Colosseum are used for a decorative purpose, the ones of the Palazzo Rucellai also depart from simply providing structural support.

The David sculpture was created by the notorious Donatello. Donatello was known for his studies of Greek and Roman art, which allowed for him to make a connection between the classical world and the Renaissance. The Greek formula for contrapposto is noted in this sculpture, as his weight appears to be mostly on the right foot while the left leg seems to be more relaxed. The Greek influence is also demonstrated as David is fully nude, which departs from the clothed Biblical figures of the Gothic era and instead resonates Greek conventions. Just as the Greek Kritios Boy is described as “the first beautiful nude in art,” the bronze David was the first freestanding nude of the Renaissance.

The Birth of Venus, created by Sandro Botticelli, also appears to carry Greek and Roman influences into the Renaissance era in which it was constructed. Just like the Roman marble Aphrodite of Menophantos, the Birth of Venus employs the Capitoline Venus pose in which Venus covers her breasts with her right arm and her groin with her left arm. An obvious allusion to Roman art is the use of the Roman goddess Venus as the subject of the painting. The use of classical subject matter is strategical as it appeals to the rich Florentines who patronized such pieces.

The Renaissance is known as the “rebirth” or “revival” of Greek and Roman styles and conventions. Such Greek and Roman influences are well noted in the Italian-made pieces such as The Palazzo Rucellai, which can be compared to the Colosseum, David, which can be compared to the Kritios Boy, and The Birth of Venus, which can be compared to the Aphrodite of Menophantos. It is this revival that is credited with helping European artists and architects depart from Gothic styles, among others, while bringing back notorious Greek and Roman ones.

Cover Image Credit: Artble

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