Soon these chapters from it all melts down to this: a novel in timelines will be appearing in the following literary journals:

“Chapter 13”—Hotel Amerika (University of Nebraska), spring 2017

“Chapter 8”—SLAB (Slippery Rock University), spring 2017

“Chapter 12”—The Off Beat (Michigan State University), spring 2017

Each timeline (or chapter) in this experimental work was created in response to a drawing the artist Dale Williams left on my desk chair without warning in the Midtown Manhattan office where we both worked to support our art endeavors.



One of the professional blessings of this year has been my deepening collaboration with historian Irmtrud Wojak, Frieda L. Miller Fellow at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2014-15) and managing director of the nonprofit BUXUS STIFTUNG GmbH.

Together with US-based German historian Susanne Berger, we have developed the following mission statement for two archival projects named in honor of jurist and Human Rights advocate Fritz M. Bauer.

“The FMB Database’s central mission is to research, document and share humanity’s extraordinary stories of resistance in order to preserve human dignity and to create a more just and humane world.

We do this because people everywhere and at all times, often under extreme conditions, struggle for their personal dignity. It is our task to remember this fight and, at the same time, to strengthen the respect of civil liberties and human rights. We accomplish this by recounting the extraordinary global history of resistance and the pursuit of human rights, inscribing the memories deeply. In doing so, we reject impunity for human rights violators and champion the ethic of accountability.

We call on human rights activists and organizations to publish their stories on our interactive website. We invite people to share their experiences and to conduct research in creative workshops, and we take the resistance stories to schools. Some of these collected stories we plan to publish as books or monographs.

In this way, we are creating a living archive of shared humanity.”

We hope to launch the FMB Database in 2017 and to augment its reach in 2018 with the FMB Library of print volumes.

To learn more about the FMB Library follow the link below:


On receiving the school’s Leadership and Service Award from the Alumni Association, I made these brief comments:

Whenever I sit down to work on an essay or a short story, whenever I lift this growing binder of translations of ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’—my next choices are informed by the rigorous training I received here at Cornell College.

It was not simply instruction in the data-received sense. As importantly—or more importantly—I had the inspiring experience of spending four years in the company of a startling array of fierce intellectuals and robust individualists, from [teachers] Robert Dana, Liz Isaacs, Geneva Meers, Stephen Lacey, Rich Martin and Diana Crowder to [Dean] Bill Heywood, [coach] Barron Bremner, photographer Bob Campagna and groundskeeper Ernie Sommerville, a scathing critic of my work study leaf raking technique.

I emerged, somewhat miraculously, in one piece. And better, with the heart to fight again and again the dizzying and often lonely battles inherent in the crafting of individual expressions and then bearing them forward in a world that tragically too often encourages, and rewards, conformity that furnishes us with a shallow stability at the price of our deep and sacred imaginations.

Regardless of current institutional fashion, because I attended this extraordinary school I not only believe, I know there are invincible arguments to be made for the study of the humanities—for the pursuit of art and knowledge for the sake of art and knowledge—as this practice singularly bolsters the health of our mental, emotional and spiritual beings.

To those who handed me the light and showed me the way, I will be forever grateful. For them I quote these lines from Puck’s last speech in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Now the hungry lion roars,

And the wolf behowls the moon…

I am sent with broom before

to sweep the dust behind the door.

Ben Miller ’86 accepts Leadership and Service Award