Author: Ashleigh Gamboni-Diehl

My background in philosophy and current interests in 19th century short story writers form the backbone of what I write. Philosophical influences include Descartes, the Roman Stoics, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, and the existentialist philosophers Sartre, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. I am also influenced by science fiction writers and the existentialist novelist Camus. Recently my research has included short story authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, and Guy de Maupassant and analyzing their use of the short story form.

image of death grave digger symbolism

Symbolism in writing through the lenses of poetry.

Symbolism in writing is a commonly used aesthetic device.  I want to shed some new light on symbolism drawing from the perspectives of the poets Goethe and Dante and the literary critic Austin Warren. Understanding symbolism through a poet’s eyes can help writers make their work more interesting and make them more knowledgeable in their craft. (more…)


Exploring mental illness, an argument for insanity.

When is it acceptable to be mentally ill? Throughout history people have had varying levels of acceptance and attitudes towards mental illness. During certain periods of history people were celebrated for having visions or talking with spirits. These hallucinations were interpreted as the mark of a genius or chosen one. Without their visions we may not have had great thinkers like Buddha or Shakespeare. But history has not always been so approving of hallucinations. There have been times when seeing things that were not there or talking to oneself was a sign of a witch or more recently a symptom of a mental illness, one which needs to be cured. (more…)

The Gathering

There were a lot of cats, five to be exact, sprawling themselves across the recently polished wooden floor of the spacious house.  I sat among fifteen other animated attendees, seven people on each side of the long linen covered table, and one sitting at the head.  The majority of the people were unrecognizable, probably because I had never seen them, or at least, never paid any attention to them previously.   (more…)

image of the black monk

When the Black Monk knocks, answer. Chekhov’s short story on mental illness.

In the short story The Black Monk Chekhov writes about death, faith, and individuality. Andrey Vasil’ich Kovrin, the main character of the short story died in a peculiar way.  He was visited by a fabricated phantom, started hemorrhaging, and then fell face first into a puddle of his own blood.  I took something surprising from the short story which changed my perception on living and dying.  (more…)

Nietzsche on Odysseus’ struggle for happiness.

Consider Odysseus, Homer’s Archean hero of the Odyssey.  He was brave, fearless, headstrong, and courageous.  Leaving his beloved Ithaca for war and peace, and abandoning what truly made him happy: his home, wife, and son.  Sailing alongside Odysseus we ask ourselves if he will ever return to Ithaca. If only Odysseus had realized happiness was more than pursing this journey.  We want to yell out at him, “Don’t you realize? true happiness can only be defined within yourself.” (more…)