Anya Groner

Anya Groner writes essays and short stories for The Oxford American, Guernica, Ninth Letter, Meridian, and The Rumpus. She teaches writing at Loyola University in New Orleans.
  • Mini Object Lesson: Our Reactor in the Sky

    NASA

    The Monday after Daylight Savings Time starts is a drag. Students nod off in morning classes while bleary-eyed teachers clutch mugs of coffee, desperate for caffeine to replace an hour of lost sleep. It’s a day of dramatic proclamations about the uselessness of time and the futility of aligning clocks with sunlight.

    As the hours trudge forth, however, the moaners hush. The frustration of lost sleep gives way to the luminous pleasure of a lengthening day. Sunlight extends past dinnertime. Dog walkers, soccer players, and children in playgrounds bask in a later twilight. Though humans organize our schedules around the clock, Daylight Savings reminds us that our lives, like our planet, revolve around the sun.

  • Mini Object Lesson: The Pregnancy Test as Plot Device

    Night in the suburbs. Home late, Adam drops his jacket on the couch and informs his wife, Kristina, that he’s been fired. She tries to comfort him, but he retreats to the backyard to rummage the trash for his son’s missing retainer, an item he can’t afford to replace. Amidst rotting vegetables and soggy paper bags, he spies a white and purple stick. The camera lingers on a tiny blue plus sign and then pans to the second story window where his teenage daughter is talking on the phone.

    Back inside, Adam declares his plan to kill the “little son-of-a-bitch” who “promised that he would use a condom.” Kristina follows, desperate to tamp his rage.

    “Why can’t anything go right?” he yells. “Why can’t a single thing go right around here? . . . Our sixteen-year-old daughter is pregnant!”

    “It’s me,” Kristina says calmly. “It’s me. It’s me.”

    As a plot device, the pregnancy test provides endless opportunities for misinformation and dramatic comedy. While the previous scene, from the NBC series Parenthood, relies on an identity mix-up and escalating series of bad news, the gag has endless variations:  

  • Eric Gaillard/Reuters

    The Politics of Drinking Water

    Vital, renewable, and tied to civilization since the beginning of time, water: an Object Lesson