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Editor’s Note Dear readers,


Thank you, as always, for supporting Atlantis, and welcome to our seventy-first issue. Since our last release, I’ve noticed positive changes in readership and contribution, not just in quality or quantity, but in artistic and emotional investment.

Lori Wilson

Layout Editor

When a student submits his or her creative work, they’re making an investment in our magazine, hoping to encourage Atlantis and give it power. The staff and I have made it a priority to treat that investment with confidence and gratitude, cherishing the opportunity to correspond with contributors and to build a consistent platform for their art.

Marissa Flanagan

Web Editor Abby Harrell

Each correspondence and copy edit and page design affects each magazine’s outcome. In this issue, we particularly noticed the presence of manipulation—both positive and negative—which makes it our theme. The content of the selected prose and poetry has been manipulated by age, relationships, and substances. In these pages, a writer explains how a jeweler transforms metal; another describes how a simple bridge is impacted by thousands of footsteps every day. The art has been manipulated in the way it’s been processed—tiny, torn pieces make a collage, or flashes of bright color alter a photo. Certainly, our experiences with these submissions manipulated the way we brought them together, into a magazine of which I’m incredibly proud.

Art Editor Hannah Granberry

Photography Editor Hailey Black

A tremendous thank you to those who submitted and to the Atlantis staff and volunteers. Without all of your influences, this issue—unlike any other—wouldn’t be possible.

Poetry Editor Mekiya Walters

Lori Wilson Editor-in-chief

Prose Editor

About the Cover

Ryan Budd

Copy Editor

Anonymous II

Kailyn Warpole

Submissions Coordinator Lyndah Muthama

photography by rachel fussell

Anonymous II is about the spirit world. Once we die, our souls travel through the universe in a separate dimension. Souls are without color, gender, or physical form. They do not speak to each other like you or I.

Promotions Coordinator Layne Smith

Instead, souls communicate to each other with feelings and light.

Contents Art


Fiction & Nonfiction

Feature Articles

7 13 16 27 28 37

5 8 15 18 25

Darlings by Veronica Nawojczk The Red String of Fate by Hannah Dodson Bath Babe by Ashley Hallenbeck Chola by Janina Plascencia Geisha by Hannah Dodson Holograms by Hannah Dodson

Pinnacle by Hunter Vay Houtzer Sleeping with Shoes by Trae Toler The Bridge Near Friday Hall by William Squires Imagining Nowhere by Allison Huggins Youth by Aaron Lovett

Poetry 4 11 14 35

This Should Have Been an Elegy by Caroline Orth Without by Kailyn Warpole Ignoring the Fine Print by Leah Williams Four Thoughts on the Night You Came Back Home by Kat Stephenson

3 9 17 20 33

21 29

Dedication by Randa Alhosawi Curious by Amanda Parish North River by SummerRae Moore Age of Ideas by Samantha Huskey Alexandria by SummerRae Moore

A Young Entrepreneur’s Tale by Pamela Creech Brown Widow, Kings and Queen of Chaotic Rock by Sierra Shepherd


photography by randa alhosawi

This Should Have Been an Elegy

poetry by caroline orth


riday’s first light: his father, gone to work again. His mother moved cookware from dishwasher to cabinet in the next room. His desk lamp’s yellow bulb was harsh to the ground. There was a tired bottle of bourbon, a .38 caliber revolver, an open sketchbook on the cold floor. Inside, his plans for the school. He rubbed the dust from his eyelids. He pinched a red pimple from his cheek, clean. He drank for an edge to hold the handgun steady against, dropped bullets in the cylinder easy as coins, bought himself time to change his mind. He drank to load his backpack, now holster, new schoolyard detonator. The deputy will say We saw there was trouble on the horizon. I do not know whose sun he was seeing under. All the light shed for me was this: he steps off the bus onto green, trim doormats. The school lobby is bright: sunlight and voices. The office door stopped open. The barrel in his bag prods his shoulders. He remembers—shit—the bombs he built, trapped between his bed and the wall. He is too drunk. The bullets in his bag mix with pencil fillings beneath his books. After the police find him out, we will sigh their blessings, pat their badges, and put them to bed as heroes. I keep awake. The news lays the phone in my hands to call my high school lover and ask What would we have done? I clutch the chest of my t-shirt like a mother. I worship whatever made him drink the whiskey.


fiction by hunter vay houtzer The alcoholism began at my grandmother’s garden party while she was turning older and I was still young. Young enough to pretend that the first sips of whiskey my uncle passed me were delicious, for fear he would stop and I’d have to go back to the kids’ table.   At home, it was White Russians: adult chocolate milk. They were easy to sneak because my dad was always drinking, leaving bottles on the countertop for the world to see. My mother never knew because she was just a statue, face turned toward the wall.   Before the Super Bowl, it was six straight shots of sticky glue vodka. I don’t remember my reasoning, but I was not sad when the Saints lost or when I found my mother’s bedroom door hanging limply in its frame, black footprints walking all the way from its base to its very top.   On my own birthday, my mother put on enough makeup to seem smooth as china. She bought Cheese Whiz and broccoli, my childhood favorites, and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. We played cards, and it was voted all around that I had the most impressive poker face.   Somewhere around this time, cheap beer became tolerable. It was in a cigarette-lit coffeehouse (though I never saw coffee) that I realized free alcohol was available for beautiful young girls and for pathetic whores.   My first boyfriend’s car always smelled of spearmint and musk. I kept the windows down because summer was such a short season. On back roads, we’d fly at one hundred and thirty miles down Hot Wheel curves. He swore he didn’t believe in God, even during the worst of thunderstorms.   I became so good at sneaking out that I no longer got nervous. I wore clunky high heels all the way to the French doors, leaving them unlocked until I stumbled home, always before five. Always secretly hoping there’d be a light on inside.   I gave up food one afternoon. The only things I could stomach were walnuts and white chocolate chips.   My mother and I shared a bottle of Marsala the day my father packed his suitcase. I was smart enough not to ask what had happened, or why she had made so many bad decisions, or how love could rot from the inside out, shriveling until it hit the ground like a stone—she was smart enough not to ask about my weight gain. We were almost like friends sharing a toast, only without the shiny words or pleasant memories.   My second boyfriend was kind. He would wait for my car to start before going back to sleep and always paid for my dinner. If I had nightmares, he’d sit, even in the ugly hours of the morning, and comb his pale fingers through my hair until my heart slowed down. I still think that could have been love, if only for a minute.   It was to my advantage how innocent I looked. I used it, made my eyes even bigger than they were. Sometimes I wore a Celtic cross. That way no one would suspect I was capable of drinking Everclear

without blinking, or of murdering something as tiny and sinless as a tadpole.   My dad got married again, I read in the card that had been hidden under the remote control instructions. I wondered if this new woman was as dumb, and I hoped she bruised as easily.   My first boyfriend was eventually thrown in jail for taking a headstone through the huge, reflective windows at the jewelry store, and my second boyfriend chose a sallow, ill-tempered foreign girl instead of myself. Loneliness crawled into the insides of my ribs and hollowed them out so that gravity could crush me into finely ground powder if I wasn’t paying attention. I couldn’t sleep without a stiff drink and my arms crossed over my chest.   My grades fell. My teachers became concerned about my home life. At this, I could only laugh.   When my grandmother died, I received her old car, which stalled with each tap of the brakes, regardless of the fact that it was an automatic. Her dog had eaten the bottom half of the driver’s seat, and its shell was so dented it could have been the surface of the moon. I loved it with all of my heart. My mother managed to dust off her black dress, and we both went to the funeral.   On the day of my graduation, it was seventeen shots of something reminiscent of liquid chalk and nine margaritas. That was the first time I lost a chunk of my memory, which I have spent many nights fishing for, but never found. A girl there told me that I had danced with every boy at the party, and then with myself, and then whimpered when made to sit down. My face was so inhumanly pink, she said. I ended up falling down the stairs, and Michael Dove had to catch me—a pity for the fact that he was by far one of the most handsome boys I’d ever seen. Valedictorian of all things. When they tried to get me to go to bed, I only curled myself between two bushes, pretending I was a bird that had forgotten how to leave the nest.

“The alcoholism began at my grandmother’s garden party”


art by veronica nawojczk mixed media: silver based photograph with acrylic paint on canvas

Sleeping with Shoes fiction by trae toler

The sun cowered behind the gray clouds as Deborah and Joseph Miles sat quietly at their dining room table. Crumbs sat on the plates before them and Deborah held a cup of warm coffee to her lips.   “You know, it doesn’t have to take long,” Joseph said without looking at his wife.   Water built up in Deborah’s eyes before slowly falling down her cheek. “Nobody ever plans for this,” she said.   “No, but this is something we have to deal with now, and we both know it can’t wait.”   One of Deborah’s tears fell into her coffee, sending ripples through the small mug. “How do we even go about picking one out?”   “They have people there that will help us,” Joseph said wearily as he wiped a small tear from his eye.   “It’s going to be so small.”   “We just need to find one that’s his size.” Joseph let out a long sigh and took his wife’s hand as she set her mug down. “People before us have gone through the same thing, sweetheart. We can go talk to a group if it will make you feel better.”   Deborah sat silently as the tears fell from her face. “I don’t want a group, I just want him.”   “I know. I want him too.”   Looking outside, Joseph saw nothing. He wanted to tell his wife that everything would be fine, but he knew that it would never be the same again. The pictures on the walls, memories of a time when the family was whole and happy, now mocked him. For his and her sanity, he had to stay strong.   “You know,” he said, “it will be like picking out a bed.”   “A bed?”   “Yes, a bed with a soft pillow at the head for him to sleep on.”   “You don’t sleep with shoes on.” Deborah began to sob. She rested her head on her hands. “I don’t think I can do this, Joseph!”   “I know it’s hard, but it is something that has to be done.”   “Can’t you just go pick it out?” she pleaded.   “He still needs his mother, Deborah.”   “Yeah, but you can pick it out, right? It’s just like a bed, remember? He wanted a racecar bed?”   Joseph began to sob as well. “You don’t sleep with your shoes on.”   The two remained in their chairs as the hours passed. The rain beat against the window as they both shed tears in each other’s warm embrace.


Photography by Artist


photography by amanda parish

Staff Spotlight

Kailyn Warpole

About “Without” I’m primarily a prose writer, so poetry has been a more recent undertaking for me. This poem was inspired by a bit of a random, yet terrifying, thought—what would it be like if we were to lose our sense of touch? And, how isolating would it be if only a few of us were unable to feel while everyone else could carry on like normal? For “Without,” I imagined this struggle to cope with numbness, and the fear that would creep under desperate attempts to maintain regularity under the circumstances.

About Kailyn Kailyn is in her fourth year of undergraduate studies at UNCW, and will graduate in December with a BFA in creative writing, a BA in film studies, a minor in English, and a certificate in publishing. In addition to Atlantis, she has done editorial work at Film Matters and Chautauqua, and hopes to continue working in the publishing field after she graduates. In her downtime, she enjoys reading, daydreaming, playing soccer, and browsing discount racks for bizarre and ugly shoes.

I’m defined by every line I scribble out in every scrap-book.

– Robert Carey-Peterson


poetry by kailyn warpole In the dark, we are skeletons, flesh and capillaries stripping away from our bodies, muscles and nerves unstitching from our fragile bases. We turn our cold spines against the void and disassemble. In the dark, we dance, pelvic bones and rib cages clicking like gears to form an illusory cadence with accelerated heartbeats and shallow breaths. The marrow has dried within our frames, and we don’t feel a thing. In the dark, restlessness arrests us as we grope for skin that isn’t there, fighting the knowledge that all matter is terminal. We reach deeper until shivering fingers cradle our solitary, pulsating organ. In the dark, we come alive, but we are scared to death.

The Red String of Fate art by hannah dodson acrylic on canvas

Ignoring the Fine Print

poetry by leah williams

when they’ve finished here and left no incriminating prints you will see in black and white for forty-five seconds you will see discernment’s unfolding tongues as if you didn’t invent them you will know acutely the blood-blimp’s landing on the needle left unnoticed on the floor you will have that jab in the bruise for thirty more seconds before it sharpens its nail and breaks flesh you might even know that speed equals power equals vowels equals too many verbs and too few subjects you might find what’s never hidden what wears its warning sign like an unwashed sweater you will enclose in your iron grip you will not recall the hotline that changes names and slogans with each new crisis you will not see past to what doesn’t reside in your fist to those benign neighboring apartments with trimmed nails and swept floors you will be the self-interested landlord boasting beautiful lawns and clean windows drawn curtains and rooms with no furniture

The Bridge Near Friday Hall nonfiction by william squires There is a wooden bridge on UNC Wilmington’s campus that fords a dumpy little creek. From the muck of this ditch sprout waxy horsetails and marsh grass that crusts over with sparkling rime in the middle of winter. Thick pine trees and pneumatophores clutter a dirt path that forks, one trail leading to the bridge and the concrete path, and the other past a slime-stained greenhouse near the southern entrance of Friday Hall. Like on the best wooden bridges, your steps produce a cantering sound—a kind of staccato clip-clop that might persuade you, in tandem with the bite of the icy wind, to believe that you were riding in a carriage, elevated in seclusion for this moment in an era of time older than yourself.   Through the trees you can see the chunked white slabs of federal architecture that comprise the Computer Information Systems building, but you can’t see the glare of the casino-red stock market lights, nor can you make out, in great detail, the blurs of the passing students who amble along Chancellor’s Walk like the smears on the canvas of an Impressionist painting.   It is ill-advised to touch the railing of the bridge because it is coarse like an old man’s stubble (but not nearly as kind), and the wood splinters precariously. Red bay billows in the brushes, swaying with the woods in a mottled canopy that breaks when the gusts swat its blades aside, and light sparkles through the clusters of leaves in the bending branches. There’s a sappy smell there that’s sweet and thick. It’s a gummy scent, like trickling syrup congealed in the cold. Some days, the strength of that woody redolence imbues a tactile sensation when glimpsing an oozing longleaf pine stump, and it’s far stronger in the summer when the humidity sticks to your chest and brow.

  The path that arcs around the greenhouse has tiered roots jutting out of the ground, making for sturdier barriers than the raised beds erected in the patches of grass in front of Friday Hall’s southern faÇade. At the node of the fork’s path grows a tree with peeling bark that hunches over it, haglike, supplying the snaking roots that bulge and swell like varicose veins—meddlesome things that have near-tripped me on every cold day I wasn’t careful, huddling myself in trunk shadows as I clamored past chattering clusters of students. Sometimes a bike whizzes past, or a throng of leggy roommates chain themselves together, prompting a more treacherous landscape for a wary passerby’s boots, but the bridge is always in sight, even if it’s out of the way or leading in the wrong direction. The best wooden bridges aren’t utilitarian. Like monastic cloisters, they are both opened to the air and guarded from the sides. You’re alone with the clonks that your feet make, playing wooden sounds to wooden surfaces, and the age isn’t just in the dead rings beneath you.

Bath Babe

art by ashley hallenbeck digital portrait

North River

photography by summerrae moore

Imagining Nowhere fiction by allison huggins

I’m in a place where no one knows me but the wind and the smell of open space. This isn’t where I come from, this isn’t what they call “home,” but the harshness of the wild grass on my exposed skin comforts that sense of disconnect. The silence of the wind reminds me that some people are born as complete strangers to the life they are destined to have—to the life that’s laid out for them by the bricks of circumstance—and I wonder if those people ever find solace in a field of purple orchards like these. I wonder if they find company on a city’s streets or on a plane, hovering above the intricateness of dirt, land, trees, lights, and oceans. I wonder if those people find home in solitude or in crowds of people.   Or maybe they find home in a girl with tattoos and a heart incapable of believing in hate.   I’m on a dirt road, walking down the patch of grass that bleeds down its center. The sky is gray. The air sticky with humidity. It’s raining an English rain—a soft mist—that coats my skin in drops of wet feathers. On my right is a field of green; on my left, a field interrupted by a line of winged trees. The girl with tattoos walks in front, navigating the mud puddles and the green plants that cut your skin if you get too close. She glances back with blue-gray eyes that speak in waves of light, making sure that I follow her path. I smile and rush my steps to catch up with her, my footfall heavy as it squishes against the sticky ground.   In the distance is a graveyard. It’s on a hill with a frame of empty sky and a church’s stone steeple. She’s quiet, the girl with tattoos, and I can hear her thoughts roaming the spaces between the clouds. I wonder who explored these fields before me, before her, and if their thoughts are the ghosts that haunt the flowers.   We reach a crossroads. On the right, endless green; the left, a path to the trees. It’s a wet path full of ankle-deep mud puddles and those sticky plants that I hate. She grabs my hand as if to say we should follow it, and I don’t disagree.   This time, I lead the way. My jeans stick to the plants and my shoes sink into the earth. Everything smells of the color green and the feeling of unconscious thought balanced with intention. The rain deepens. I’m reminded of a forest canopied in moss and the city of Budapest stained in moonlight. We reach the end and realize we’re trapped by inches of mud and a labyrinth of naked tree limbs and darkness.

She laughs and the sound sits on my ears. I turn my head up to the foggy wild blue and stick out my tongue. The rain falls. I feel her looking at me and I swallow harshly. The air in my lungs is caught behind my eyes and in the hollowness of my collarbone. Her voice feels like the rain against my skin, gentle and sweet.   My mind is engaged by flickering light. I remember the dance floor in a bar in a city whose language I don’t speak. The lights dance in shades of yellow, blue, and red, and the music has a rhythm that speaks in lingering touches and weightless thought. I’m surrounded by bodies, beautiful in unrestrained movement and the novelty of the easy friendship between strangers. My eyes are closed and I think of the animation in the adventure of reckless abandon—in the indulgence of your spirit and ability to dance and forget the person you’re expected to be.   In this moment, I feel connected to this place. I’m tethered to my memories of scents, sensations, fear, and buzzing adrenaline. I think I am one of those people—those people who are born as strangers in their own lives. This feeling of comfort in place, for me, has only been found in transit—in a country far from the one that claims me as its own.   I open my eyes to the girl with tattoos. She’s catching raindrops on her tongue; her arms are stretched wide, embracing the beautiful virtue of man meeting nature. I think she’s not one of those people. She wasn’t born as a stranger to her own life—but rather, a friend, a companion. This is where she flourishes, where the rawness of her kind and honest spirit lives without interruption. I can see her vulnerability, her strength—never have I seen someone be so completely okay with who they are.   That’s when I think that place doesn’t matter.   I think of the man on the train who asked me where I was from.   I think about the French tourists who asked for directions in broken English.   I think about the Hungarian man who accepted me and humbled me with his hospitality.   I think of the pastor, dressed in a kilt, dancing alongside his students.   I think of the old man in the village, walking his dog, a sweet smile on his face.   I think it’s the people—the sensations of intimacy—that form the line between who we are and who our life wishes we’d be.   Sometimes I think about the world. Its oceans, its rivers, and its bridges. The flowers, sand, and trees. Then pain, life, and passion. Destruction. That the world isn’t big enough for all of its sorrow, its hate, its sadness. How beautiful it is. How raw. Honest. And then I wonder if people are simply an image reflected from the earth’s desire to be whole.

Age of Ideas

photography by samantha huskey

“There’s a lot to be said for following your heart and doing what you love to do”

A Young Entrepreneur’s Tale feature by pamela creech

Andrea Watson O’Dell isn’t afraid to take risks. After graduating from Bowling Green State University in 2009, O’Dell and her boyfriend (now husband) moved from Ohio to Wilmington, North Carolina without lining up jobs or an apartment in advance.   “We saved one thousand bucks each, and we packed our tiny cars and drove,” she says. “We wanted to live at the beach.”   After staying in a hotel for one week, O’Dell and her then-boyfriend found an apartment and fulltime jobs.   “He got a job at Subway, and I found a job at New York & Company in Mayfaire,” she says.   The following year, O’Dell took another risk: she started her own jewelry-making business. O’Dell originally discovered her passion during her senior year at college, where she planned a metal working major as part of an individualized program.   “I’d always been good with working with my hands and tinkering with tiny parts,” she says.   O’Dell found jewelry-making more challenging as a graduate on her own than as a student in college.   “I had just gone from an insane studio where I could make anything I could imagine,” she says. “Then, I moved here, and all I had were some leftover supplies—like sheet metal and wire—my jeweler’s saw, and four pairs of plyers.”   However, O’Dell didn’t let her lack of supplies stop her from starting Andrea Watson Designs.   “I worked with what I had, and that’s how I got started,” she says. “I started collecting shells on the beach, and I noticed a lot of them had holes.”   While O’Dell started her business by making shell earrings, she’s moving away from them in her current collection.  “Most of my current collections feature minimalist lines, and I’m looking forward to adding more geometric and raw metal pieces in the coming

year,” she says. “It’s been exciting to watch my style change and develop over the years as I acquire more tools and resources for bringing my ideas to life.”   Currently, O’Dell works part-time at a law firm, but she hopes that jewelry-making will soon become her full-time job. Her other business goals include reaching one hundred listings on her Etsy site and selling jewelry to customers in each state.   “I just got to mark off Georgia,” she says.   Etsy has helped O’Dell’s business reach far-away customers.   “It’s been a crazy learning curve,” she says. “Jewelry is the most inundated of all the categories, but that’s good for me, because I’m up for the challenge. That competition has caused me to improve faster than I would have otherwise.”   One of O’Dell’s most popular pieces is her gold bar necklace.   “They sell like crazy,” she says. Her gold and silver adjustable rings have also been successful.   Although O’Dell enjoys working with gemstones such as emeralds and garnets, she believes she will always prefer working with metal more than any other material.   O’Dell encourages others who want to start their own businesses to take advantage of local resources, such as community college classes. O’Dell used knowledge acquired from small business courses at a local community college to start Andrea Watson Designs.   She also says aspiring entrepreneurs should “just go for it.”   “There’s a lot to be said for following your heart and doing what you love to do,” she says.   For more information on O’Dell and her work, visit


fiction by aaron lovett You were three once. You played and you screamed, overfilled with joy, and you lived for your father’s embrace and your mother’s touch. You felt the sun on your skin. Your mother could see it on your golden hair, light and tousled. Nothing was yesterday or tomorrow and everything was today. There was no worrying or overthinking. No belief in a higher power or fate or destiny, and no despair when you realized there was no sense in believing in any of those things. There was no true pain. You fell and split your skin, and it hurt, but you didn’t know pain. Not how you do now. There was no real sorrow. You didn’t get the toy you wanted, and you cried, but you didn’t know sorrow. Not how you do now.   You are eighteen. What it means to be an adult is just starting to fall on you. Like a shadow. Like a wave. Consuming and crushing. You fear the future because you understand that the things that haven’t happened yet aren’t always going to be good. You were more naïve once. When life’s hurdles, like daggers, showed themselves in the night and split and scarred your skin, you thought of the future and told yourself it would be better. Now you know that this is not true. It could be worse. Maybe the best part of your life has passed and you didn’t know it. You were too busy looking to the future for something better, something unattainable.   You have loved and maybe you’ve been loved back. Or maybe not. You have dreams and you know exactly how you want your life to be, and maybe those dreams will become real and your life will play out like the movie in your head, just like how it’s supposed to be. Or maybe not. You have felt bliss and you have seen misery. Your late nights lying awake thinking about him or her have torn you apart from the inside. Your lips have touched theirs, and you felt that thing inside of you when you were close to them, and you knew this was what love is. Your aloneness in this world has consumed you until the gun under your parents’ bed became freedom. You have gone outside and seen the sun, the sky, the trees, the water. You have felt life all around you and learned that it’s worth having despite the uncertainty, fear, and pain. You are eighteen and you wonder in what ways you will be different in two years, in ten, in twenty.   You are eighty and you have lived. You have discovered everything you can, yet there is still so much you don’t know. And you accept this. You lie down in bed and you feel it slipping away. Who

you are. What you were. Everything. Death is the feeling of knowing you will change no longer, and it is not something you feel until death. When it happens, you will know a kind of certainty that you never have in life otherwise. After this point, nothing will change anymore. There will be no joy, but there will be no evil to take it away. There will be no love, but there will be no suffering to mar it. Besides this, you do not know what there will be. Maybe there will be god. Maybe there has always been god.   This hasn’t happened yet. You are still young, and you are on the road, and behind you is a fair stretch you have already traveled. Beyond is the rest. It goes into the horizon and you cannot see its end. There are turns and forks along the way, and there are fields of wheat and cotton, beautiful and soft in the daylight, and plains drenched in fire, alive with dancing smoke. There is a sky, pallid blue, streaked with clouds. There is a river in the distance. You take a step forward. It nears as you go onward, and grows in luminance with each step you take. You will reach it one day, but not yet.

“Nothing was yesterday or tomorrow and everything was today”


art by janina plascencia oil paint


art by hannah dodson magazine scraps on canvas

Brown Widow, Kings and Q feature by sierra shepherd

Queen of Chaotic Rock Brown Widow is a seven-piece rock band with Wilmington roots led by J.J. Storniolo, who performs lead vocals and acoustic guitar.   Other members include Gary Miller (mandolin), Emma Nelson (vocals, tambourine, and anything that shakes), Evan Baker (guitar, vocals), Brent Drew (bass), and brothers Chip McDonald (banjo and trumpet) and Taylor McDonald (drums).   Formed in September 2012, Brown Widow met at an open mic night at the Soapbox (now out of business) in downtown Wilmington.   In addition to playing in Brown Widow, most members maintain individual music projects. Baker performs in his own rock band, Deep Ecology.   All Brown Widow members were born and raised in the Port City, with the exclusion of Chip McDonald, who jokingly claims to be from outer space—Jupiter, to be exact.  They describe their genre as chaotic folk rock ’n roll.   “I don’t think anyone could really compare us to anyone,” Nelson says. “I think people kind of just feel bombarded [at shows]. There’s a lot of banging on walls and stuff, screaming.”   The band strictly performs original music. No covers allowed. Storniolo writes the lyrics.   As a big band, Brown Widow sometimes faces challenges like pre-judgmental disapproval from venue owners, which often comes with having a band of such proportions.   Band members say it is difficult to gather all the members for practices.   “We’re all best friends,” Baker says, “so it’s kind of hard to focus. There’s already a party. But since we’re really close, it’s pretty powerful.”   Lyrical content ranges from the personal and emotional, to the political.   “I usually write songs to get through things— mostly heartbreak,” Storniolo says. “And there’s one about getting fired… one about tripping acid.”

  The song “Wild Squall” is about Storniolo’s parents and his childhood.   “About the ship made of blankets,” Nelson says. “It’s so adorable.”   Audience members reflect a more youthful demographic.   “They’re usually about seventeen to twenty-six [years old],” Miller says.   Brown Widow puts on loud, high-energy concerts.   “Our shows are like little parties,” Chip McDonald says.   “One thing to expect from us,” Storniolo says, “is that we’ll wander through the crowd and play and sing. It’s all improv.”   Brown Widow’s earliest songs are on the website Bandcamp, which Storniolo says were recorded via iPhone.   “The stuff online is from when we first started to practice,” Nelson says. “We just had a little shitty recorder and put it in the center.”  Chip McDonald muses that Brown Widow has potential to take the world as a clan, similar to that of Wu Tang Clan.  “Oh, we will,” Nelson says. “I think regardless of any of our personal music ventures, or ventures in life, we’re always going to be in Brown Widow—whether we’re making music or not.”   All members, except Baker, have tattooed each other, stick-and-poke style, with India ink.   “Yeah, we are gross,” Storniolo says.   One tattoo that connects the band members is the hollow outline of a spider, representing the band’s namesake.   Brown Widow’s first professionally recorded album will release this summer. Storniolo wants to get it pressed on vinyl. Some of the band’s future goals include performing on campus at UNC Wilmington and collaborating with the Virginia band Quiet.

“Our shows are like little parties”

Fun Facts “

I like trees. I like to hug trees and look up at the sky through the trees. Music unites us all together, and I like to be a part of that. J.J. helped me learn how to play banjo, which got me through that rough nineteen-year-old winter year. We fought the blues, and we won. With freak folk-n-roll.

– Chip McDonald

“ “

I play bass, and I like to party. And that’s all I’ve gotta say about that. And movie quotes, all of the movie quotes.

– Brent Drew

I really do like woodcarving. It’s one of my passions. American White Oak is my favorite wood.

– Gary Miller

” - J.J. Storniolo

I think people should talk to other people, who are strangers.


photography by summerrae moore

Four Thoughts on the Night You Came Back Home poetry by kat stephenson

I. Moonlight like sheaths brings calm to this day, this empty day waiting for you to fill it. I sit, alert, a splint lining my spine. My head snaps back and forth with every movement of every stupid bird. Two lovers take steps, advancing into one another, and I don’t even know if they’re lovers, see, I just assume, ’cause at this point, everybody has what I don’t. I do not see you until the sun has swallowed the darkness, a tomorrow that promises more of the same.

II. Predictability is a band name, not a measure of aptitude. I wish you wouldn’t measure up. I turned the wheel knowing full well I would see your car parked on gravel and on any predisposition I had harbored. Why couldn’t you have proven me wrong? I wanted nothing more than to believe you were anywhere else. I am careening down a path and the wheel spins and I rocket forward, my foot pressing the accelerator.

III. Seeing your familiar gait awakened something in me that should’ve been closed and locked. I wanted nothing more than to hasten my step and be in your arms sooner, but I resisted, slowing even, letting the space between us shrink small on my own time. Your eyes raised and you waved once and then started closing the space. You all but whispered, seemingly overcome, “God, I’m so happy to see you.” I felt your arms around my back, fingers in my hair. My breath quickened.

IV. Just so you know, you’ve opened a box I had finally managed to close. Two lovers walking in the moonlight are not you and I. They will ask, but I can’t afford to get confused or mislead by their childish assumptions. For happiness, maybe, but I have to remember it isn’t. It wouldn’t be. No matter how many times you come back, come home, you should never belong with me.


art by hannah dodson magazine scraps on canvas

Contributors Randa Alhosawi is a UNC Greensboro graphic designer who loves to incorporate photography into her work. Pamela Creech will hold a BFA in creative writing and a BA in Spanish from UNC Wilmington. Her other passions include travel, scuba diving, and listening to live bluegrass. Hannah Dodson is a junior at UNC Greensboro. She is an English major, but art is her second passion. She is a self-taught artist and has been drawing as early as age three, but started painting at age eleven. She has recently been experimenting with mixed-media art. Aside from making art, she enjoys writing stories and poetry.

Allison Huggins loves to live outside of her comfort zone. Whether that’s in writing poetry or wearing open-toed shoes, she thrives on the exhilaration of uncertainty. She will graduate from UNC Wilmington in May 2015 with a BFA in creative writing, a minor in English, and a Certificate in Publishing. After graduation, she will be flying across the pond, where she plans on furthering her studies and pursuing a career in international publishing. Samantha Huskey is still surprised and terrified by how much she has already changed and learned about herself as a freshman in college. She is interested to see how her life will turn out and the ideas that are formed from her college experience.

Rachel Fussell is currently a student at UNC Charlotte, studying for a BFA in illustration. She primarily makes art on a 2D plane, but has recently started making sculptures for school. Androgynous figures are one of her favorite things to study. They make you ask questions about what defines a person or thing based on appearance.

Aaron Lovett is a student at UNC Chapel Hill, majoring in history and media production, with a minor in creative writing. He likes to write things.

Ashley Hallenbeck likes glitter and gradients and long walks on the beach.

Veronica Nawojczk is an Appalachian State student exploring her passion for art in the mountains.

Hunter Vay Houtzer is working diligently on a BA in Communication Studies and a BFA in creative writing from the UNC Wilmington, as well as the ability to whistle.

Caroline Orth speaks almost exclusively in hyperbole. She studies English and creative writing at UNC Wilmington, as well as how to maneuver human relationships. She likes to dream in Cecil Baldwin’s voice, and her favorite poem today is

SummerRae Moore is a fashion and lifestyle photographer from the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

“Velocity Meadows” by Mark Strand. Someone once told her she was a force to be reckoned with. She hopes and fears that this can still be true. Amanda Parish uses photography to create her own worlds and the creatures that inhabit them. Janina Plascencia is an art studio major with an emphasis in sculpture. She is a California native. Sierra Shepherd is a senior and transfer student to UNC Wilmington as of 2013. When she’s not writing for The Seahawk or HerCampus magazine, you’d probably find her at concerts or at the beach. Sierra has been lucky in finding work as an extra in locally filmed TV shows and movies. William Squires is a biology student interested in speculative fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. He prefers to ground his influence in local characters and endemic history. Kat Stephenson has developed her love for writing for as long as she can remember. From bad poetry scrawled in adolescent composition books to playwriting, which she hopes to study in graduate school, Kat enjoys exploring all facets of the written word. Currently, she is in her senior year at UNC Greensboro, and is looking forward to the performances this semester of two of her musicals, a one act, and an opera she created with longtime friend and composer, Nate Goldsmith.

Trae Toler is currently studying creative writing at the UNC Wilmington. In addition to creative writing, he is also studying English. Trae has always loved writing about things that are scary or sublime. Leah Williams is majoring in English and minoring in art at UNC Greensboro. She is perpetually unsure of her career goals. Her interests range from post-rock to UFO cults.

You’re welcome to manipulate these pages . . . 

. . . transform them however you’d like.

Hawkstream Radio

Summer 2015| Issue 71

Submissions Guidelines

We are looking for any type of art, photography, prose, and poetry with a unique perspective. We want our readers to experience your mood and talent through your own brush, pen, and camera—not through the lens of Instagram. Show us your most creative, innovative, and personal take on the expansive world around us.   To submit to Atlantis, you must currently be an undergraduate or graduate student at a university within the UNC system or at Cape Fear Community College. Contributors may submit up to ten pieces of art, photography, prose, or poetry. Please follow the guidelines carefully. They can be found on our website at


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Editorial Policy

For each genre featured in our magazine—art, photography, prose, poetry, and feautures—there is an editorial staff comprised of a qualified genre editor and several UNCW student volunteers. All submissions are anonymously coded by the Submissions Coordinator before being thoroughly reviewed by the student staffs. The Submissions Coordinator does not participate in the review process, and the submitter’s name is not disclosed until each editorial staff has made final content decisions.

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Atlantis Summer 2015  
Atlantis Summer 2015