Fall 2016

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Fall 2016 | Issue 74


Adam Willits Behind the Scenes with

Rich Leder Featuring work by:

Nina Derek Spencer Conn

Editor's Note In 360 BCE, the city of Atlantis was first mentioned in Plato’s Timaeus and Critias. The city was a beautiful and powerful one that resided above the Atlantic Ocean. But once the city lost the favor of the gods, they sunk it to the depths of the ocean. The story has evolved over time, and many writers have used the city in their works, adding their own interpretations. In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew arrive at an island where they are fed fruit of the lotus which makes them forgetfull of home and unwilling to leave the island. The beguiling effect of the island is often associated with Atlantis, and is referenced everywhere from ancient Greek texts to an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants that aired in 2007. In each issue of Atlantis, we publish some of the best student work from throughout North Carolina of a variety of art forms. Occasionally, artists will have pieces of two genres published in the same issue. It’s having multiple art forms that brings Atlantis the power to keep its readers here and unwilling to leave. Perhaps Atlantis, both as a city and a magazine, has become an amalgamation of the ideas people have put into it. Not one story about Atlantis can tell the city’s entire history, and not one art form can tell the story Atlantis has to tell. Perhaps art is one concept, and the only difference between poetry and oil painting is the brush the artist uses. Art aims to captivate its audience the same way a city aims to expand its population. With a magazine growing exponentially in submissions and readers over the past few issues, Atlantis is living up to its namesake. And just as explorers have gotten lost in the lost city, I invite you all to get lost in the stories you are about to discover in the pages to come. Your Editor in Chief, Chris Livernois


Sales Coordinator Kenneth Thies

Nonfiction Editor Mason Hamberlin

Art Editor Tally Pavel

Layout Editor Logan Prochaska

Fiction Editor Kyle Maples

Web Developer Raja Jalernpan

Copy Editor Nikki Kroushl

Features Editor Chantai Thomas

Photography Editor Lindy Schoenborn

Managing Editor Becka Jackson

Poetry Editor Caroline Orth

Promotions Coordinator Layne Smith

Editor in Chief Chris Livernois 1

Contents Art Secret Angel The Chronic Pain Brain Sunrise Stallion Worn Door Swimming Through the Galax-sea Untitled

3 5 25 29 32 34 38

Kenly Cox Elena Sippel Myrthe Biesheuvel Lexi Smith Barbara Anne Thomas Abby Greenfield Isys Hennigar

Fiction Pineapple and Pointe Shoes 6 Nina Derek Swedish Coffee 17 Molly Howard Paper the Dawn 31 Bethany Showers

Nonfiction The Town That Hanged An Elephant 12 Erinn Seifert Luna Moth 26 Caleb Horowitz Fruit of Labor 37 Kaitlin Hanrahan

Photography Tracks Crashing Untitled Fuego Untitled Midday Bodysurf Sweetest Peach

10 11 15 18 19 21 39

R.E Hengsterman Hannah Stapleton Halley Robbins Sean Barton Halley Robbins Kyle Stanley Brianna Diggs

Poetry The Affair The Kids' Table El Rancho en Sierra de Tepotzotlan repent

4 9 30 33

Erinn Seifert Spencer Conn Patricia Patterson danny thomas ii


Defying Gravity: Future Neuroscientist, 7 Carey Shook Lifelong Musician Q&A with Ethan Driskill of Driskill 23 Cole Warren The Full-Life Writer 35 Calvin Shomaker Cover Photo: Moonwalk by Hannah Hearn


Secret 3

Kenly Cox

clay with iron oxide stain

The Affair

Erinn Seifert

Suzanne told me last week about the fish all dead in the river, floating belly-up toward your house. Nobody knows yet why they all died. Your stout hands tangle in my hair like nets and I moan, not caring about greed. Suzanne will be home in an hour, you say to me, running your rough fingertips across my throat. No she won’t, I say. She’s out fishing all of their dead bodies from the river. She thinks they each deserve a burial. She thinks everyone in the world deserves something good.


Angel 5

Elena Sippel caffenol print

Pineapple and Pointe Shoes Nina Derek

I quietly lifted the hotel toilet seat and stuck the handle of my toothbrush down my throat. I tickled my uvula, that little punching bag at the back of my throat, until bits of my breakfast were floating around the bowl. I repeated this procedure until my esophagus burned from the greenish-yellow bile swirling among the mangled shreds of pineapple. I couldn’t resist its sweetness even though it left canker sores in my mouth. The door to our hotel room buzzed and clicked; my mother had returned from Starbucks. She was much like the red queen from Alice in Wonderland in the mornings until she sipped her espresso—she’d have my head if I messed up my hair or makeup. I flushed the toilet and blotted my clammy forehead before exiting the bathroom. My mother appeared behind me as I washed my hands. “Let’s see how the agency’s new hair and makeup artist did,” she suggested. I spun around to face her narrowed, critical eyes. “Hair looks good—lots of body to it, but still looks effortless. I don’t love that lip color, though. It looks too dark. It ages you. Did she wax your brows again? I think she went overboard.” “I don’t remember,” I said. “I was trying to sit still and eat breakfast at the same time.” “Did you eat all of your pineapple?” she asked. My mother had casually mentioned on the airplane how pineapple reduces bloat, and it had magically appeared on my plate at every meal since we’d arrived in Dallas for the talent expo two days ago. I would be singing, acting, and dancing in front of agency representatives for talent powerhouses like Sony Music Entertainment, Disney, and MTV—all in the hopes that one of their reps would offer us a contract. “Yes,” I answered. I tried not to sound curt, but it was six o’clock in the morning, and I already had a headache from the pulling of the hot rollers and the poking of the makeup brushes. My mother sipped her latte. “Good. I ran into Jeffrey on the elevator. He said your routine call time is at 8 a.m. in Ballroom B. They’re starting with your age group. You’ll be slightly later, though, since the ten year olds will go first. Stay in your robe for now, so we don’t wrinkle your outfit, and we’ll rehearse while you stretch. How are your feet?” I sat on the bed with my legs straightened out in front of me. I stretched forward—my flat chest resting on the tops of my thighs and my hands examining my feet. I couldn’t remember the last time I had pinky toenails, and my bunions were approaching the size of grapes. Nearly all of my toes sported blisters. The bases of my Achilles tendons had been rubbed raw from the ribbons of my pointe shoes. “Same as always. What time is my monologue?” I asked. “Your category starts at 2 p.m., and it looks like there are only four girls including you. You’re last.” “So can I go swimming with Raisa after we do our monologues?” I asked. Raisa was my friend, but she was from the New York office. We only saw each other at these expos. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go swimming; the lakes back home in Minnesota were already icy. “We’ll see, honey,” she said. I knew my mother well enough to know that meant ‘no.’ The morning was full of rehearsals of all kinds, and the next thing I knew I was standing outside the doors to Ballroom B. I gripped the door frame like a barre in ballet class—rising on pointe again and again, hoping to reach a kind of numbness where my feet would no longer hurt. My mother was standing a few feet behind me and gave me the thumbs up. Her smile was wide enough to swallow me. I nervously prodded the canker sore on the inside of my cheek.


Defying Gravity:

Future Neuroscientist, Lifelong Musician

Written by Carey Shook

Adam willits’s love for music started at a young age. “When I was eleven, I just wanted to play all the things because there were more opportunities for different instruments,” says Willits. So he learned to play the clarinet in the sixth grade and went on to teach himself how to play the flute, alto saxophone, and piano, and how to sing. While he loved playing in the middle school band, it wasn’t until high school that he began to get serious about music. Willits started out as a freshman in Concert Band II at Apex High School in Apex, North Carolina. By sophomore year, he was first chair in the school’s Wind Ensemble, the highest-level band offered; however, he had the most fun in marching band. “Concert band was something you did just to better your repertoire and your skills, but marching band was the way to go,” Willits says. Throughout his underclassmen years at Apex High, Willits was in the clarinet section of the marching band. Then in his senior year, he became the drum major, the conductor of the entire marching band, despite never wanting the leadership position. “I told myself I would never, ever be drum major,” says Willits. “I didn’t want to be the person in charge of 150 high school students. One of my friends made me audition with her, and then my director offered the role to me. I’m glad I accepted the position because I was given the opportunity to see musical preparation at a different level, and it enhanced my teaching skills as well.” Willits will be graduating in 2017 with a major in biology and minors in psychology and neuroscience. Even though he is not a music major—no matter how many times Dr. LaCognata, the director of the music program at UNCW, has asked him to be—Willits is first chair in both the school’s Wind Symphony and Chamber Winds.


He was also able to combine his love for neuroscience and music together by leading a research experiment on music therapy and neurological feedback to treat insomnia. “I want to follow the biological science career path, where I could put my skills more towards medical research and advancement, but music is still very important in my life. It’s a good stress relief when biology is kicking my ass,” says Willits. To end his senior year with a bang, Willits is planning to audition for Dub Idol. Due to being an RA and an orientation leader and holding several leadership positions in Phi Sigma Pi, the national honors fraternity, it has been hard for him to audition in the past. “I think I will audition with either ‘The Wizard and I’ or ‘Defying Gravity,’ both from Wicked,” Willits says. Willits jokes that his backup career is Broadway, which is something he has always had a love for. He has seen upwards of twenty different shows, some multiple times. “Wicked is my favorite,” Willits says. “It takes one of my favorite childhood stories and gives it a fascinating twist on all of the characters by making the evil appear to be good.” His dream show to star in would either be Pippin or The Book of Mormon due to their strong male leads, catchy music, and dark but enjoyable humor. While music may not be Willits’s main focus in life, it is a defining aspect of who he is. “My favorite thing about music is that music is universal,” says Willits. “You can understand anyone’s emotion, get a feel for other types of cultures, and understand what they’re actually saying without knowing how to speak the language. It’s beautiful.”


The Kids' Table Spencer Conn

My little brother didn’t come back home for Thanksgiving, said it was just “another day.” He would rather take the L train to his TV dinner than ask how I’ve been without him. Between forkfuls of brown gravy and dry turkey, we spoke of him like myth, like God had blessed us with this meal that we may marvel at His true prodigal son. We used to pepper the side of an old truck that lay near the edge of the junkyard. Lead rounds broke through windows, ricocheted off the body, and fell between seats. They must be there still—sleeping with the dead cigarettes and unspent nickels, rusting as they hold their breath for our return.

Tracks 9

R.E Hengsterman



Hannah Stapleton 11

The Town That Hanged An Elephant Erinn Seifert

“On September 13, 1916, the town of Erwin, Tennessee, hung ‘Murderous Mary’ the elephant after she had mauled one of her keepers to death the day before.” - The Daily Mail, article by David Leafe, February 14th, 2014 Mary was the star of the show, the five-ton main attraction to Charlie Sparks’s traveling circus. She could play twenty-five different songs on musical horns by tooting them with her trunk. She was the “champion pitcher” for the circus’s baseball team. She was the largest single piece of the entire show. Night after night, adorned in a red and gold saddle and a headdress of blue feathers, Mary would perform the tricks she had been trained to do. * * * * * My girlfriend of nearly a year lay on the bed next to me, absentmindedly stroking the brindle side of our dog, Elsa. My own internal dialogue raced, and I grew sweaty with nerves, repeating the opening sentence of the monologue I had planned in my head over and over again, trying to work myself up to saying it out loud. I think I have an eating disorder. Simple, really. No flourish, no separate clauses, no fancy verbs or adjectives. Yet such trepidation about speaking these words aloud to the one person who was supposed to be my safe space, my best friend, my confidant. Finally, I said it. “What? No you don’t. You just ate four blueberry muffins. I watched you.” I sighed, defeated. A few months back, we had both played hooky from work and gone to the beach. I remembered the thin red marks on her thigh that day, bright and shocking against her pale skin in the sun—her newest way of dealing with emotional distress. Since then, I had grown careful about upsetting her, fearful of more red lines appearing. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

I stood up, went out onto the porch, and curled up into the oversize gray sweater that had once been my father’s, which I had stolen from our family garage sale when I saw a lady looking at it too closely. I trembled, tried to control my body. Picked at the holes in the old sweater. * * * * * Elephants are extremely sentient, intelligent creatures with strong memories, which makes them the perfect candidates to train for traveling circuses. But a circus life means they exist only to perform memorized tricks and make money for their owners. The animals are large and powerful, though, so constant control over them is vital. * * * * * The Daily Mail, with quotes from Charles Reade, on how a baby elephant (Mademoiselle Djek) was tamed and trained for the stage: “Her keeper first gained mastery over her by stabbing her in the trunk with a pitchfork, at which she ‘wheeled round, ran her head into a corner, stuck out her great buttocks and trembled all over like a leaf.’ He then jabbed her with all his force for half an hour until ‘the blood poured out of every square foot of her huge body’ and he had ‘filled her as full of holes as a cloved orange.’” * * * * *

Cloved orange: A popular gift during the 18th century, most often an orange with dozens of holes poked all over its surface, filled with cloves or other spices in order to create a long-lasting, fresh aroma. Like a premodern form of air freshener. * * * * *


I was at a party, slightly drunk on the second-floor drive me home, a random friend from work with a balcony of my friend’s apartment and smoking, when truck so high off the ground that it required handles she called me. I had left less than an hour before, had on the sides of the door frame so that you could pull asked her to come with me, had watched her anger yourself up into the cab. blossom as she refused to go and told me I shouldn’t When I got home, the bathroom door was shut either, had ignored her, had continued to get ready for and the light was on inside. I immediately went in. the party, had decided that for once, I would do what In my tipsy state I nearly laughed at the absurdity I wanted to do instead of bending to the guilt-reliant of it all. She was on the floor, leaned up against the strength of her mental illness and her adamancy that counter, blood pooled out around her left leg and I stay in to take care of her. a single razor blade in her hand. Once I registered Halfway through my fourth beer and a second the several deep gashes on the outside of her thigh, cigarette, I looked at the caller ID and groaned. If I high up and nearly where at her underwear line, evdidn’t answer, she would keep calling. If I answered, ery initial, inappropriate instinct to laugh dissolved. well. Who knew what would happen if I answered. She didn’t speak, only looked up at me, all the anger But I did. from earlier gone. Her eyes were pleading, desperate. She was crying, and yelling, and it was impossible A silent call for me to do what I always did. to gauge the situation at all for a few moments. My I spent the rest of the night fumbling around, brain was fuzzy and I didn’t respond trying to clean up both her body and the to anything she said at first. mess in the bathroom. I bandaged Her eyes were pleading, “You need to come home her, took her to bed and held right the fuck now,” she said. desperate. A silent call for her until she fell asleep. Ignored “Why?” I asked. “What me to do what I always the texts from my friends askhappened?” ing why I had left the party and if did. “You shouldn’t have left in the first I was coming back. They knew a little place. You knew I was in a bad place. You left and it bit about her depression, but they didn’t know about got bad and I’m gonna fucking kill myself and it’s nights like this. They didn’t know that she had cut going to be all your fault,” she said. Then told me I herself so deeply that I probably should have takwas a terrible person for leaving her. en her to the emergency room to get stitches. She I still didn’t know how best to respond. In the end, was adamant that I didn’t, however, as she was sure all I said was, “I’m kind of drunk right now, I can’t that would mean a long evaluation and a trip to the drive home yet.” psych ward. She just wanted to sleep. So I held her “Well, I’m about to kill myself and it’s all your fault. and comforted her for the rest of the night. Tried to I hope you have fun drinking and partying, and when forget the things she had said to me on the phone you wake up hungover tomorrow and your girlfriend hours earlier. is dead, I hope you realize that it’s all your fault and * * * * * that you’re a terrible, piece-of-shit, selfish person.” She hung up on me. On the day Charlie Sparks’s circus arrived in What could I do? I was drunk and unsure of the Kingsport, about forty miles from Erwin, Tennesseriousness of her claims. She had a strong history of see, the town held a parade that advertised his entire suicidal thoughts to begin with, dating back to before rolling stock along the main street. On top of Mary I even knew her. She had harmed herself numerous rode Walter Eldridge, a thirty-eight-year-old who times during the course of our relationship, though had joined the circus only the day before, and had I never witnessed it happen, only the aftermath. I no experience handling an animal like her. He was thought of the red marks. I had always been sober, hired on one qualification alone: that he could use available, and willing to take care of her. This time an ‘elephant stick’—a long rod with a sharp spear at I was, at most, one of those things. I had someone the end.


“When she stopped during the parade to nibble on a piece of discarded watermelon rind, Eldridge jabbed her to keep her moving… Her reaction was swift and deadly. Reaching up with her trunk, she dashed him to the ground, then stamped on his head.” “Blood and brains and stuff just squirted all over the street,” recalls one witness. Mary stood still shortly afterwards, not seeming to notice the people swarming around her and chanting, “Kill the elephant, kill the elephant!” The entire town went wild, thirsty for revenge against Mary the Murderous Elephant. A question, though: how do you execute a nearly ten-thousand-pound animal? Bullets barely pierced her thick skin. A few options that were considered: • Poison • Crushing her slowly between two railway engines • Tying her head to one engine and her legs to another, then setting them off in opposite directions at once and thereby dismembering her • Electrocution * * * * * When I finally broke up with her, it was swift, unplanned, and in the middle of the night. We lay in bed, the dog splayed out between us, dividing the normally intimate space into two separate pieces. I was editing a photo of her to post on Instagram and made a comment out loud into the dark. “Good lord, what do you weigh now, like 102? You look so tiny in this picture. It makes me feel fat to be with you.” I laughed, playing the comment off as nonchalant, though the sentiment was serious. “You’re not fat. You’re just… squishy,” she replied, laughing, then rolled over to face the wall, presumably ending the conversation and going to sleep. I stewed for a short moment, trying to hold it all in like I usually did. But it’d been a year of this. I broke. “We need to break up,” I said and paused, breathing deeply. “I think you should move out. You can have the cat, I’m keeping Elsa.” She sat up in bed, surprised, and took a moment

to understand. Without even questioning why I was saying all of this, she started crying. Started hiccuping, heaving heavy sobs out of her body and rocking back and forth on the edge of the bed. This continued for nearly an hour as I tried to calm her down, tried to instruct her to breathe steadily, to get out from under the control of her panic attack. I took her to the emergency room at five a.m. because she kept screaming that she was going to die. They gave her a steroid shot and sent us back home, hours later, tired, ragged, and emotionally spent. She slept for nearly twelve hours after we got back. When she woke, it was as if no mention of a break up had ever occurred. For days, I continued to be delicate with her, to make a point of asking how she was feeling, if there were anything I could do to help. Weeks later, I finally did it. The scene was much the same as before, but I refused to help comfort her, knowing that if I did, we would forever be stuck in this cycle of me trying to leave, her having an emotional breakdown, and then me staying because I was the only one who could help her through it. She made sure to let everyone in our lives know that I had abandoned her, that I had only loved her until it got difficult and then had been selfish and left. That she would never have done that to me, had I been the one with so many issues. I grew lonely, reserved. Sat on my bedroom floor often, stroking Elsa’s side over and over again. * * * * *

In reality, Mary’s execution looked like this: she was led to the railway yard where a large crane was housed, followed by four other elephants who were part of the circus. They each entwined their trunk with the tail of the elephant in front of them—a daisy chain of gigantic proportion. A thick metal chain was fitted around Mary’s neck at the hanging site. The other four elephants trumpeted despair into the late afternoon as they watched. To keep Mary from running away, one of her large legs was tied to a rail. “No one thought to release it as the crane whirred into action and, as she was hoisted into the air, there was an awful cracking noise, the sound of her bones and liga-


ments snapping under the strain. She had been raised no more than five feet when the chain around her neck broke, dropping her to the ground and breaking her hip. The onlookers panicked and ran for cover, but Mary simply sat there, dazed and in terrible pain.” * * * * * Due to a shared lease and complicated financial logistics, she and I were still living together and would continue to do so for a few long months, although we alternated who slept on the couch each night and tried to keep our work schedules as opposite as possible. She eventually moved back to her hometown in Maine, and we didn’t speak after that. The months that we were stuck living together, though, were intensely difficult for me. None of my friends would speak to me, and if she spoke to me it was only to tell me how terrible of a human I was, that I had abandoned her, and once again, that her death would be my fault. One day, shortly after the breakup, I got home from work, tired and moody and upset. I made an entire Red Baron pizza and ate the whole thing in one sitting. I tried to throw up but couldn’t even muster the courage or strength to do that this time. I promised myself I would eat nothing but a single apple every day for the next week, with plenty of water in between to keep me moving and feeling full. I lost weight quickly. I continued to lose weight for months after she left. Spent most of my time at work or in my room. Nobody commented on either of the changes.


“The winch powered up again and this time Mary was raised high in the air, her thick legs thrashing and her agonised shrieks and grunts audible even over the laughter and cheers of those watching below. Finally she fell silent and hung there for half an hour before a local vet declared her dead.” * * * * *

On the day Mary the elephant stomped Walter Eldridge’s skull into the road, what nobody knew was that Mary was suffering from a severely abscessed tooth. When she stopped to nibble on that watermelon rind, Eldridge poked her in a sore, tender spot, prompting her instinctive, ruthless reaction. What nobody seemed to care about was that Mary had spent years suffering for their benefit, had spent an entire lifetime being abused into submission. Her pain was ignored from the moment she was first poked for training up until her last few minutes of life, dangling from a great crane in a railway yard, her neck encircled by a thick chain, shrieking and groaning as she died slowly. When it finally ended, she hung still, heavy and grey as a storm cloud. Ignored by the onlookers. By the people who deemed themselves the only victims of a crime committed that September of 1916 in the streets of Tennessee.


Halley Robbins 16

Swedish Coffee Molly Howard

I I know I said we’d leave it alone— screamed it, really, as we stood with our chests almost touching and I felt a hot tear splash on my collar as it flew from your cheek. (It made a dark spot on my blue shirt.) But the other day as I sat in the park with my lunch in my lap, plucking limp tomatoes from my sad sandwich, I started to think of you and the time we went to the overpriced Chinese restaurant across the street from your mother’s apartment, and I thought of how you’d cried with laughter when the waiter slipped on the white tile floor and sent spring rolls flying through the air, carpet-bombing the ornamental koi fish pond that burbled in the center of the room, and I thought of the waiters all bent at the waist of their crisp, white button-ups over the water carved by the smooth backs of koi fish frenzying around the spring rolls that bobbed and sank like pennies down a well. You laughed so hard I could see the lo mein clinging to your molars, and the tears streamed down your face— the same-but-different tears that would spot and darken my blue shirt months later as we stood chest to chest and you opened your mouth wide to let all those heavy words pour out, showing me flashes of tomato from our sad sandwiches stuck between your teeth as we screamed we’d leave it alone, leave me alone, I’m leaving you. But what I wanted to tell you was that I went back to that Chinese restaurant, and the koi fish pond was gone—they’d filled it in with a rock garden and bonsai trees and blown-glass Buddhas, and all I could think was that the koi fish had died, stuffed with greasy spring rolls and floating belly-up in that green water, and we’d killed them. We killed the koi fish with the spring rolls we ordered because we’d spent the day in your mother’s apartment being served stale cookies and syrupy tea as we listened to tale after tale of her disreputable



Sean Barton


neighbors, like Linda in the apartment below her who might be one of those New Age types because sometimes she can smell sage burning and you know how that makes her nervous—fire is no joke—and how Mr. Lloyd just down the hall puts on Italian operas each night and she can hear him singing along, sometimes from dusk to dawn. Can you believe that? We crept from her apartment and blinked at the setting sun before shuffling to the Chinese restaurant across the street and shoveling lo mein and fried rice into our mouths, mashing it up into a paste to keep our jaws glued together. Please, can we just be quiet for a while? My ears are ringing. I didn’t ask the waiters in their stillcrisp white button-ups what had happened to the pond, didn’t check to see if they’d dug a new one in the back room that was lit with seductive red lanterns and screened off by scenes of women in ornamental gowns painted on rice paper; I bent and took a stone from the rock garden and put it in my pocket, and it pulsed against my thigh with every step as I walked down the street that faced the dirty windows of your mother’s apartment and the rhythm of our life beat on like heels against the pavement. II Today I found a note from you stashed between the pages of a vegan cookbook that had fallen behind the Untitled microwave—I don’t know where the Halley Robbins cookbook came from; it must have been a gift from one of your college friends who spends their vacation days in South America digging wells for people in goat-farming villages and who says things like “organic” and “sustainable” with that tone of reverence commonly reserved for preachers in the thick of a sermon—and on the note you’d written that we needed avocados and cinnamon, and I can’t for the life of me imagine what would’ve possessed you to write in that urgent little scrawl of yours that we needed those things. We are not the type of people to buy avocados and cinnamon in one fell swoop—we’re more respectable than that. We buy cinnamon near Thanksgiving,


thrown into the bottom of the cart with green beans and canned corn and the giant globe of the frozen turkey we were never quite sure how to cook like your mother could, and we buy avocados in the summer when we host casual dinner parties on the patio and invite your college friends who drink chilled lemon water—no ice, please—and talk about the political climate of the Congo. But what I don’t understand is that the page you’d marked with your disturbing note was a recipe for sweet potato coconut quinoa, and I know for a fact that we never in our collective lives have ever eaten quinoa, let alone quinoa with coconut and sweet potatoes. Perhaps you marked it for the way “coconut quinoa” sounded in your mouth—I can imagine you pausing to cradle the phrase like an egg on your tongue as you flipped through page after page of glossy prints and unidentifiable vegetable dishes you would never cook. “Coconut quinoa” would be perfect for your funny way of collecting words like marbles, rolling the sound of them around in your mouth before storing them somewhere secret and quiet deep in the bottom of your chest. When I found that note sticking like a weather-beaten battle flag from the corner of the cookbook, I drove to the store and bought quinoa and coconut milk and sweet potatoes, and the cashier’s eyebrows said you’re-one-of-those-people, but you would’ve been proud because I didn’t say anything to him. I didn’t bother to correct his assumptions and let him know that I’m the respectable sort who wouldn’t buy avocados and cinnamon on the same day from the same store and who has never eaten quinoa, let alone cooked it with coconut milk that took fifteen minutes of walking up and down the aisles to find. It took another thirty minutes of reading articles on how to cook quinoa and whether or not you should refrigerate coconut milk and what temperature do you bake sweet potatoes at anyway before I felt confident enough to follow that perplexing recipe you singled out in the entirety of the dust-coated cookbook shoved so forlornly behind the microwave for god knows how long. I made sure to open the window and listen to the rain pouring outside as the kitchen slowly filled with the gentle smells of dishes we would never eat. III I want you to know that I woke up last night and in the feathery space between my inhalations I thought I saw you beside me in the darkness—I’d dreamt I was sitting at the bottom of an ocean looking up at the light that flickered and gasped like a dying candle flame, and as I stared up at the surface so tiny tiny all those miles above me, it shattered like glass and water flooded my throat—everything was dark, too dark to even breathe. I was sputtering as I woke, and my hand fell to the sheets beside me to trace the braille of your body stretched out beside mine—the slope of your back, the etchings of your chest, the bend of your hip like a break in a hillside. I want you to know that as I lay with my cheek pressed into the pillowcase, blinking away the sleep that dewed my eyes, I thought I heard the clink of your coffee cup on the kitchen counter even as I was reaching for you, and in that moment our home was full of the feeling of you—you were there beside me tangled in the sheets even as you were downstairs meticulously measuring your special Swedish dark roast coffee one heaping black satin spoonful at a time. I could hear echoes of you radiating throughout the suffocating silence—your sighs and laughter and the little hum that was always in your throat as you washed dishes or bent low over a book or gazed out the window with that maddening sheen of mystery in your eyes at which I couldn’t help but always ask, What are you thinking about? Oh, nothing. Nothing. I hadn’t realized how empty this house was without you. The walls feel too far away. I reach for the doorknob and miss it. What I want to say is that I know—I know I laugh too loud and I don’t like your Swedish coffee and I don’t bother to match my socks when I fold the laundry; I know you hate the rings I leave in the bathtub and the sour-sweet smell of oatmeal burning in the pan; I know you’re tired of living this way and you justwant-some-goddamn-peace-and-quiet, and I know I said we’d leave it alone, but I am so tired of being alone.



Midday Bodysurf

Kyle Stanley 22

Q&A with Ethan Driskill of Cole Warren Anyone who’s ever explored the dimly lit streets of downtown Wilmington, NC on a Saturday night would understand why the water’s edge locale draws so many regular visitors. Besides the drink specials that tend to attract so many eager customers, the ambient Saturday night sounds of music coming from every street corner and every bar are what really give Wilmington’s riverside district a sense of familiarity among its patrons. After a few drinks and conversations with some locals, even a stranger would feel right at home. Among the many aspiring musicians who frequent downtown Wilmington, Ethan Driskill is an experienced performer and a familiar face who always seems to draw a crowd. Originally from Clinton, NC, Ethan’s interest in music arose in high school and eventually his talent led him to begin playing in Open Mic Nights at Local’s Tavern. Not too much time passed before he found others who shared his interest in making music, and the band Driskill was formed. Ethan Driskill, founder and frontman of Driskill, is here to answer a few questions about the band and its newest album, Country Blues. When and why did you begin making music? I began playing guitar when I was sixteen, and I also started helping lead worship in youth group meetings. Do you play other instruments besides guitar? I also play banjo, drums, and harmonica. What’s your favorite, and what do you wish you could play? My favorite instrument is the banjo, and I wish I could play the piano. How many people do you have in the band, and who are they? There are four people in the band: JD Williamson, who does guitar and vocals; myself on banjo, guitar, and vocals; Joel Wise on drums; and Dylan Drake on bass. Where did you meet your fellow band members? JD and I knew each other back in high school, since we grew up around the same area. JD met Joel in college, where they played together in the Methodist University worship band, Common Ground. Dylan also plays music as a solo artist around Wilmington, so I met him last year through mutual musician friends. How did the band form and when? The band started as a duo between JD and myself in April 2015 when we came together to play a show promoting my first album, The Summer Haze EP. The full (four-piece) band formed in July 2016 to play a show promoting our latest album, Country Blues.


What genre would you place your music in? Folk Rock. It isn’t a classified genre, but I think it describes us best. You guys write your own music—tell me a little more about your songwriting process for Country Blues, and what was your favorite song off the album? We are currently writing the songs for our second album, and I’ll just say I always start with lyrics before music, and my personal favorite was “Hill City.” Where was the band’s first official gig? At the time of the first official gig, the band was a duo, but it was April 25th, 2015 at The Whiskey, opening for Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey and The Midatlantic. What cities have you played in? So far we have played in Wilmington, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Lexington, and Charlotte. Before the end of the year, we will have also played in Knoxville, Nashville, Richmond, Washington, D.C., and New York City. Where's your favorite place to play and why? My personal favorite place we have played so far has been Kings, in Raleigh. They have had the best sound technician and green room of any venue so far. Tell me about your proudest moment with Driskill so far. My proudest moment with the band was when we played our album release show and brought out close to two hundred people to Bombers Bev Co. back in April of this year. What musicians do you admire or aspire to be like? I can’t speak for the rest of the band, but personally, I would have never picked up a banjo if it weren’t for Scott Avett. So I would have to say The Avett Brothers, but some other big inspirations are James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Johnny Cash, Joel Houston, and Jon Foreman. Which one would you want to share the stage with? Me personally? I’d pick The Avett Brothers. Where can people find more of your music? Our music can be found on all major platforms: iTunes, Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, etc. Physical copies of our album can be bought from us, but can also be found in the local record stores of cities we have played in.

Check out Driskill’s official website or find them on social media @driskillband. driskillband.com facebook.com/driskillband instagram.com/driskillband twitter.com/driskillband



Luna Moth

Caleb Horowitz

The Chronic Pain Brain

Myrthe Biesheuvel oil paint

You step out onto the asphalt in your flip-flops, the frayed orange leash wrapped tightly around your wrist to discourage your dog from pulling quite so much. You’re a seventh grader at some fancy magnet middle school you were lucky to get into, with all its fancy courses and electives. Unfortunately, one of those electives ended up being last semester’s entomology class, subtitled “Interesting Insects” and taught by Mr. Beek. Mr. Beek with his high-pitched voice like a bird—he even teaches ornithology—and his snowy dandruff that falls on the dull black science tables and his uncomfortable bug jokes. “Make sure you put your seatbelts on for this one,” he squeaked. “So you don’t fall out of your chair and hurt yourself when you start laughing.” You’re walking your dog and you’re thinking about him, for whatever reason, and you can’t remember what the bug joke was, but you know it wasn’t particularly funny. You think it must have been a pun as bad as his name. You took ornithology with Mr. Beek last year, and you were hoping you’d end up with a different teacher for entomology, but by the time you found out it would be Mr. Beek teaching the course, it was too late to back out. Entomology was a bizarre and unfortunate experience. You were asked to compile a shoebox full of insects, all classified and neatly labeled. How do you kill a bug? 1. Capture bug in plastic container. 2. Stick bug in freezer. 3. Wait patiently for bug to die. He claimed it was the most humane way to


murder bugs. You think maybe it’s just the neatest. The alive. It’s a luminous green, the shade of an overripe cleanest way. Walking down the blacktop street, you’re lime, and its four wings are outspread as if in flight. thinking about that shoebox and about how glad you The wings culminate in a little two-pronged tail like are Mr. Beek asked you if he could keep it. But it wasn’t the end of a biplane, and each of the four appendages a matter of pride for you that he held onto your bug has a little fake eye marking. The wing tips are covered box—merely a relief. You don’t want the ghosts of in what looks like a giant brown eyebrow, and from its insects haunting your bedroom closet. They can haunt tiny head sprout two little antennae like leaves. It is a the science room on the second floor of your middle luna moth. You decide it is dead. You halt, pulling on school instead. You don’t have to sleep there. the taut leash, causing the dog to tug for a second and You’re walking your dog and you’re thinking about then sit down. You think about it for a moment and how he’s always been a bit of a mess—a perpetual decide that when you get back to the house, you’ll get a puppy forever vacillating between overly energetic and little container, and you’ll come back and capture it— totally passed out on the couch. There was a time when give it to Mr. Beek as a present. You know he would he wasn’t allowed on the couch, but those days are long appreciate that. gone. All the couches are his now; your When you come back for the insect, entire house is his kingdom. You you are alone. You have a tiny Moths do not commit adopted a little king with a lot container that once held food of of fur. suicide. They do not just some variety. You won’t even have He’s trotting in front of you to freeze this one. It’s already lie down and die. now, quite regally, toes clicking stopped living. You don’t want to against the street in a steady rhythm, touch its feathery wings, so you scrape at it quickening when he catches sight of a suspicious with a stick until you’ve pushed it into the little plastic squirrel or dangerous-looking bird. The only birds are container. You secure the lid and walk back across the robins and crows and maybe a cardinal or two if you’re empty street; the only sound is that of the moth sliding lucky.This is suburban,piedmont North Carolina,and the against the corners of the container, and you wonder ornithological diversity is somewhat lacking. That how it died. There are no marks on it. No apparent never stopped Mr. Beek from compiling a pretty cause of death. It looks perfectly healthy, aside from large list of birds to look and listen for as ornithology the fact that it doesn’t move. It starts to bother you homework. Bird-watching involves binoculars and then that this bug just stopped living. Moths do not a good ear, and, unfortunately, you happen to lack commit suicide. They do not just lie down and die. the particular skill set necessary for differentiating Suddenly you’re visualizing him, the tall, lanky, a mourning dove’s song from a robin’s. You learned balding Mr. Beek sneaking down the street in the in ornithology that mourning doves are just a middle of the night, moonlight bouncing off his head, nother name for pigeons. You wonder why anybody ever and the moth is floating silently in the blackness, and decided to call them pigeons. he reaches out two fingers and plucks it out of the sky. He walks home with it, its wings gently flapping, as if it You find it near the stop sign at the end of the doesn’t know. He’s in what must be his garage now—it street, just sitting there, and you can’t decide if it’s looks like your garage—and he opens the freezer, and


he puts his hand in and lets the moth go, then gently pushes the door shut. You can hear it inside, flapping its wings against the walls, maybe desperately, maybe only in confusion. Eventually the sound stops. You realize then that you are in the scene, because Mr. Beek suddenly turns to you in the darkness and says, quite politely, “Want to hear a bug joke?” and you think maybe his shrill voice killed the moth. “Sure.” “Why did the luna moth die?” “I don’t know,” you whisper. “Because the freezer is the most humane way to kill bugs,” he says with a laugh. A laugh like a bird, a bird digging its beak into the paper-thin wings of a moth, but not crunching down, not quite puncturing. You reach the top of the driveway, put the moth container on the shelf in the garage, enter the house, and wash your hands several times until you’re sure the germs of the dead have no hold over you. Weeks pass. For some reason, you keep forgetting to bring the bug. You see Mr. Beek in the hallway, and you say hi in passing, and you remember the dead moth in your garage. You go home and you forget. One day, near the end of the school year, you write yourself a note so you’ll remember. You grab the container on the way out of the house, groggy in the pre-dawn chill. Mr. Beek’s outside his classroom in the hallway, same place as always, and you tell him you brought him something. He grins. You hold out your container. “Ooh, you brought me an insect!” “Yes, a luna moth.” He looks inside the container for a second and the grin fades. “Well, you didn’t identify it! Where’s the label?”

He’s smiling. He’s just teasing you. But you are disappointed and you don’t know why. You know it is a luna moth. He knows it is a luna moth. But you didn’t label it. You didn’t write out Actias luna. You didn’t write that the family was Saturniidae. You didn’t write where you found it or the date. You are not a good entomologist. Maybe in that moment you can’t bring yourself to pity him anymore. Maybe he pities you. Maybe you know now what it means to be a luna moth, to die without reason and to have your wings caught in the beak of the bird. Maybe you know what it means to freeze to death. The freezer is your domain now, just as the house is your dog’s. Your steadfast middle school worldview is toppling, and you wonder if your dog ever pities you. He has good reason to, probably. He has all the couches and free food. You are trapped in the freezer. Maybe you feel yourself flapping around in the cold darkness, feel your wings stiffening like dying leaves. Mr. Beek adds your moth to his collection. He probably labels it. You see him less, but you hear stories. That his high-pitched voice is the result of a cut to a vocal cord, that he has a surprisingly beautiful wife who bakes cookies, that he had a pet pony as a child, that his parents have recently died, that your friends find him creepy. Mr. Beek is something of an enigma, but mostly he is a bird, perched in a treetop apart from the school and the teachers and the students, and occasionally he deems a moth worthy, and he swoops down and catches it. But only if it has been properly labeled. We make fun of the bird. We call the cooing mourning dove a pigeon, and we go on to math class.



El Rancho en Sierra de Tepotzotlan Patricia Patterson

Remember silence. Remember Abuelo Genaro eating pork stew in an empty corridor with the head of a dead boar mounted on the wall. Beady eyes, blackened heart. Remember when he says, “Play dominoes with me. Later, we will play. You wait and see.” Remember it was all in Spanish and Abuelo Genaro was blind in one eye and arguably the other. Remember the bull in photographs. Remember them in black and white. The bull, the red eye on the prize, el matador. Remember I am the bull. Remember Abuelo Genaro chasing the bull, a blur of red blanket or just a flash in the dark sand beneath his hooves. “Let’s play dominoes,” I say. Let’s. Mamá says no. Remember he’s tired. Remember he’s very sick. “Later, tomorrow,” she says. Remember tomorrow. It comes: no dominoes. Remember open windows, curtains scurrying in the wind. Remember Abuelo Genaro’s grip on the windowsill, his knuckles growing white. “Do you like horses?” he says. Remember I do not answer. Remember fingers that trace patterns of wild horses into the windowpane. Remember shapes that linger.

Sunrise Stallion

Lexi Smith digital 30

Paper the Dawn Bethany Showers

Rashad was in charge of the morning papering. He did not consider this to be a very prestigious job like his associates did. In fact, he hated it. Day in and day out, nothing but the slap of the paper and the slosh of the glue. Just before dawn, they would stand on tall ladders that lined the city and clap their hands, counting to three. Then, with one hand resting on the ceiling of the city and the other on the metal rod of the ladder rising high into the air, the workers would release the previous day’s paper. The long sheet would droop to the ground, folding itself into sloppy fourths as it fell. Then the interns would raise the new sheet to the workers, and a new day could begin. “Be joyful and thankful that you are the cause of time in this city!” the boss would exclaim. “Because you exist, because you work hard, people will know that their lives pass on. Time will be tangible, lives will be fuller, and you will be the first thing the early risers see—you atop your majestic ladder, bring the dawn to day and the day to mankind.” The boss made it sound more wonderful than Rashad saw it. In his eyes, he was covering up an eyesore, a darkness, a void. Like patching a hole in one’s jeans, Rashad was simply protecting the skin of the people from the wind, rain, and cold of the outside world. No one in the small city saw what was beyond the curtain that covered the dome; in fact, those who rose after the morning bells were convinced that the sheets were not even there. They simply went about their monotonous lives, walking to and from their brown homes with thatched roofs, selling their bread or milk or cloth. Who would think that they lived within a glass globe? Who would believe that there was no radiance outside of the city? Rashad told people what he did when they asked, but he was too often laughed at. To them, it was like he was admitting to being unemployed. It didn’t bother him, though. They asked; he answered. He did not lie or elaborate. He was simple. He thought the world should be simple, as well. It was on this particular morning, when Rashad was looking down at an intern from the ladder and gluing a roll of paper to the glass wall, that it occurred to him that he and the workers had arrived late. Earlier that day, Rashad—who was his team’s leader—had spent so much time trying to wake his wife and ask her to make breakfast that his team had waited on their section of the dome for too long. They weren’t allowed to start without the leader. He had always been told it was of the utmost importance to arrive on time, but he didn’t realize why. Now the sun was peeking through an un-papered section of the dome, and he could see past the sheet to the Badlands through clear glass. He never pictured the Badlands because he had assumed there was nothing to picture. He had assumed it was simply a dark abyss, like the night sky without stars. Now, looking out at the lit area for the first time, he could see color. Gray skies swarming with blues and pinks, like cotton candy had been dumped into it. The ground wasn’t a bright, vibrant green like the city’s parks; it was brown, yellow, and red, and the leaves had fallen from the trees in beautiful arrays and piles. Why? he wondered. Did leaves die? He had never thought about it before. He must have stared too long, because he soon heard the intern below shout up to him, wondering what was wrong. Rashad saw richness and heard odd, sharp noises, like a cat’s cry when one has stepped on its tail. He stared out into the Badlands, eyes wide and jaw agape. It was almost too much. He missed the sheltered world that lay behind him. He finished gluing the paper to the wall, covering up the small un-papered space to the outside world, and climbed down the ladder. He didn’t want to see the vibrant reds and greens. He didn’t understand the strange lands that lay beyond his city. Rashad was in charge of the papering each morning and he now understood its importance. They were a city of reason tucked within a chaotic world of dying plants and mawkish skies. The world outside was too different, too foreign, and he could never let down a city that depended on him to bring dawn to day and day to mankind.


Worn Door

Barbara Anne Thomas 32 oil on canvas


danny thomas ii i forgive the karma that must’ve come for the dog, crept along its old back, and dissatisfied with its abundant youth left with my father instead i forgive her, who has some time but not enough time enough affection, without reflection and you who drove with a pistol couched in the lap of your sweatpants, who told me that being a man is finding yourself in all the things that’ll undo you and i forgive myself, eager, red-eared thinker. postured, dodging crowds, thinking i had to endure the pressure


Swimming Through the Galax-sea

Abby Greenfield ink


The Full-Life Writer Calvin Shomaker In downtown Wilmington, on the corner of N. 4th Street and Campbell, there is an 128-year-old former Presbyterian church now known as the Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews. After hurricanes Bertha, Fran, and Bonnie destroyed the church’s roof in the ’90s, and after years of rebuilding and renovation, the historic property has now become a quaint downtown venue for weddings, concerts, and gatherings of all kinds. If you walk inside the church’s 108-year-old adjacent manse, where the pastors once lived, you’ll find one of Wilmington’s most welcoming individuals: a slightly shorter-than-average man with a straw-colored hat, transitional glasses, and a whitening goatee that shows his age of fifty. The man will greet you with a child’s affection and say, “Hi!

than other carpenters, but they could all make tables. The same is true for writers.” Leder’s latest work trends toward what he calls “the dark and hilarious” yet “holy-shit bloody and violent”—imagine if Monty Python and Quentin Tarantino collaborated on a novel. His newest release, Let There Be Linda, is a dark caper-comic thriller set in LA. “The story rules at some point,” Rich says of his writing. “It’s just rolling like a train as fast as it can go, and you’re just hanging on and hoping it doesn’t fly off the rails. If I’ve made people who are real enough, they determine what happens as we go forward. They become three-dimensional to me. I don’t feel like I have an actual character unless they’re sitting in my office.”

I’m Rich Leder, the executive director here at the Brooklyn Arts Center,” as if he is selling you something or has a sugar high, but really he’ll just be happy to meet you. Rich Leder—who has been a lead singer in a rock band, a waiter, a Little League coach, an indie film director, a magazine editor, a screenwriting coach, a PTA board member, and a real estate agent—moved to Wilmington in 2003 after working fourteen years in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara as a screenwriter of television movies for networks like CBS, Hallmark, and Lifetime. He’s had eighteen scripts picked up for production, and in 2008 he published his first novel, Juggler, Porn Star, Monkey Wrench, a romantic Hollywood sex comedy that more or less tells the story of his life in LA. In 2011, Leder was hired to direct the upstart Brooklyn Arts Center, and in 2014 he created Laugh Riot Press so that he could self-publish his work. Leder is now finishing up the third book in his award-winning private investigative series, McCall & Company, and his fifth novel to date. He intends to make his press available to new authors soon. Though Leder isn’t a full-time writer anymore, he calls himself “a full-life writer.” “Writing is breathing to me,” he says. “It’s what I do. When you do something for over thirty years, you become a craftsman. Whether or not you’re the greatest writer ever is immaterial; you know how to do it. Some carpenters are better

Leder will never forget the moment he first realized he was meant to be funny. It was the first day of fifth grade, and as his teacher was busy calling out roll, Leder belly-crawled across the floor to her desk. When she said, “Rich Leder,” he jumped up and said, “At your service.” The other kids laughed, some applauded, and Leder the Entertainer was born. “I love to make people laugh,” Leder says. “My aspirations for the books [I write] are to entertain people so that they have a moment whenever they pick that book up that they are laughing. That’s a very nice gift to give someone during their day.” After college, Leder moved from New Jersey to New York City to “become Bruce Springsteen.” He tried to break through in the music scene, writing songs and playing in all the bars in the city for almost ten years with different bands. As he watched friends launch careers as lawyers, doctors, and accountants, he was eating Easy-Mac and ramen noodles to save the money he earned from waiting tables. Eventually, when waiting tables and playing gigs couldn’t cover the bills, Leder decided to enroll in screenwriting classes at The New School in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, where he began to write and study scripts. A few years later, in 1989, his wife suggested they sell everything and drive across the country to Los Angeles, despite knowing no one there.


For two and a half years in LA, Leder read scripts for “I think there is something about his energy that is really MGM, Showtime, Universal, and a dozen more agencies. He infectious,” says Rebecca Harrelson, Leder’s main assistant at read seven scripts a week and wrote coverage on them for stu- the Brooklyn Arts Center and Laugh Riot Press. “It’s this indios, advising them to either pass on the script or consider it. fectious happiness and positivity. There is definitely something As he read scripts to pay rent and buy food, he also studied about his energy, and I think it is because he has been on the legendary works like The Godfather or Tarantino’s Reservoir go for so long.” Dogs in order to develop his own scriptwriting. On a normal day, Leder wakes up, works out at the YMCA, Leder had read close to 1,000 scripts before his first screen- goes in to the Brooklyn Arts Center, and often closes the play was picked up for production by CBS. His first movie, A venue when there is an event. He gives tours and communiSeason of Hope, aired on a Sunday cates with vendors, brides, and Connect with Laugh Riot Press: night, and on Monday, he was concert promoters, and he still Twitter: @LaughRiotPress hired to write another. has time to devote to Laugh Facebook: Laugh Riot Press At the time, Leder and his wife Riot Press, his writing, being a www.laughriotpress.com were raising three-year-old twin father, and mentoring college boys and a newborn daughter in a interns. If you asked him, he’d Connect with the Brooklyn Arts Center: humble one-bedroom apartment say he wouldn’t have it any othTwitter: @BrooklynArtsNC in Sherman Oaks, California. er way. “It was a very small apartment,” Facebook: Brooklyn Arts Center at St. Andrews “People complain all the time Leder says. “Our bedroom douthat they have a career, and they www.brooklynartsnc.com bled as the nursery and my office. wish they could be writing all You literally could not walk on the floor. To get to the bath- the time, and to that I say, ‘Fuck it. Are you out of your mind?’” room, you had to crawl over the bed, and the bed was your Leder says. “You’re so lucky that you work. Work is critically launchpad to get to my desk or to the crib or to the changing important to happiness. You have to have food, you have to table or to your dresser. There was no floor space at all. Then put gas in your car, and you should try to buy yourself some I started to have movies produced and started to get hired health insurance somehow, right? Don’t quit your job. Love to write other movies, and we were able to rent a house after your job. Thrive at your job. Be the best at your job that you that.” can possibly be, and that will make you a better writer. The Leder often credits luck for his success in Hollywood, but goal is not to be a full-time writer. Who says that? The goal if you talk to him long enough, you’ll likely recognize that his is to be the happiest writer. Love your life. Write things you determination and work ethic are his most admirable attri- love and share them the best you can. That’s the goal, I think.” butes.


Fruit of Labor

Kaitlin Hanrahan I believe in deseeding a pomegranate in a bowl of water. Of course, I know much quicker methods: impatient stabs into the softball-sized globe with every utensil in the silverware drawer, cute tools invented to avoid the massacre-like spurts of juice. I can even purchase a tiny, overpriced cup of pre-scooped arils from Fresh Market. But these shortcuts exist for weak moments. I cannot forget the myth of Side—wife to a clump of stars, a woman so gravely alluring that the gods killed her children. She leapt from a cliffside in agony, became nothing but a fateful bloodclot to the underworld. When I am lousy with winter fruit cravings, I think of her red remains, how they nursed the first pomegranate tree. Born of blood and rock and sorrow, I cannot forget: Laziness is an easy death. Easiness is a lazy death. I am overripe with easy, lazy deaths while an intact pomegranate weeps on the counter. Neglected. No, I believe in a ritual. Stand. Stretch. Fill up the biggest bowl in the kitchen with tepid water. A clear glass bowl is best. Full view of the scarlet dismemberment, more satisfying than that cyclone of cream in black coffee. Clean slice at top and bottom with a paring knife, plateau-flat. Let it stand like a candle on the island, unlit and steady, just for a few seconds. Pick it back up. Cut six precise scores in the blotched, popping skin—think of cat scratches along a fleshy planet, tally marks in a womb. Then the dip, drown, and tear. Each air-space becomes occupied with liquid. Dig thumbs deep in the cuts, as if fetching burrowed bullets. Water mutes the violence, contains the gore, but does not diminish it. Birth the plump salmon eggs in a small pond; seeds sink, as if to the underworld. Their faint red color snakes around the bowl, a soul observing its body’s bared anatomy. This is the cathartic process of separation. The delicate peeling apart of white, foamlike strips from soft, juiced rubies. The sudden split between body and self. I can climb from idleness, detach from the fatal luxury of comfort. If Side splattered for this, then I can certainly endure a series of strict selections and movements. A light mist of sweat on my neckline. A tender ache in my bent elbows. My thumbs and fingers move swift as a seamstress’s below the rippled surface, collecting arils, discarding tough skin and flimsy pulp. I dig out the heart of the thing. The water bowl method is meticulous. But nearly every seed is unearthed whole. In the end, after the division, the drain, the final pyramid of gleaming guts, I have done something. With tangy red beneath my nails, bursting seeds between my teeth, it is no wonder the pomegranate rose from carnage. The fruit sits deconstructed in a teacup, sweet spoonfuls like kudos from the underworld.



Isys Hennigar printmaking



Sweetest Peach

Brianna Diggs 40

Contributors Sean Barton was born in Belgium and grew up in England before moving to North Carolina. He now studies computer science at UNCW and has found photography to be his creative escape. Other than that, he most enjoys traveling, music (mainly Soulection), and all things metaphysical. Myrthe Biesheuvel was born in Amsterdam but was recently offered the chance to spend time in the U.S. and study arts at UNCC. She has a deep love for illustrative art. Her drawings and paintings are often inspired by animals and legends and are tempered with humor and surrealism. Kenly Cox is a transfer student from Sandhills Community College, now working towards her BFA in studio art at UNC Chapel Hill. She works in an array of mediums, but has been interested in sculpture lately, specifically cast iron sculpture. When not busy making art, she retreats to her home in Olivia, NC, playing video games, making cosplay outfits, and admiring nature and her pets. Nina Derek has a BS in psychology and is pursuing a BA in English at Methodist University. Her current internship is at Longleaf Press, where she works as Assistant Editor, and she’s a Student Consultant at Methodist University’s Writing Center. Brianna Diggs is a senior at UNCW majoring in marketing and minoring in studio art. Most of her photos have a common theme of the coastal community feel she's been raised in and continues to live in. She is from the Outer Banks, NC and uses film photography as a way to express her feelings in an aesthetic way. She feels that her photos breathe her heart and soul, her passions, and what she's intrigued in. Abby Greenfield is currently a junior at UNCW studying political science. She wishes to spend her days being a mermaid and saving the whales.


Kaitlin Hanrahan is a first-year poetry candidate in the MFA program. With a background in French and philosophy, her poetry is often inspired by existentialist writing and linguistic curiosities. Some of her favorite writers are Louise Glück and Christian Bök. She thrives downtown in a house full of cats and light. Hannah Hearn is a junior at UNCW pursuing a degree in film. She has a passion for the visual mediums because of the way they can so stunningly create images in a mind or capture the most simplistic, delicate pieces of human nature. She loves the challenge of trying to look at things in different ways. R.E. Hengsterman is a writer and film photographer who deconstructs the human experience through photographic images and words. He currently lives and writes in North Carolina. You can see more of his work at REHengsterman. com and find him on Twitter at @rehengsterman. Isys Hennigar is a studio art major at UNC Chapel Hill. Her work primarily explores plant and animal taxonomy, archival practice, and the interaction between humans and their environment through printmaking and ceramic sculpture. Caleb Horowitz is a sophomore at UNCW majoring in English and creative writing. He has a passion for nerdy things—The Legend of Zelda, Lord of the Rings, and Magic: the Gathering. Previous publications include Second Story Journal and the Randall Library Flash Fiction Collection. Molly Howard is over-caffeinated, under-slept, well-read, and poorly behaved. Now in her final year at Warren Wilson College, she has nearly completed her transformation into a coffee-guzzling night wraith. She enjoys creating extravagant baked goods and watching documentaries about jellyfish.

Patricia Patterson studies English and creative writing at UNCW. She lives just outside of Raleigh in a town where there are more cows than people. Sometimes Patricia likes to read to the cows, who are surprisingly good listeners. Halley Robbins is a sophomore at UNCW studying psychology and has been in love with darkroom photography for over five years. She has binders full of film. She has studied at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Generally, she takes photos of nature and brings her camera whenever she travels. Erinn Seifert is currently a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, working towards her BFA in creative writing with a concentration in nonfiction. She anticipates graduating in Winter of ’17. Calvin Shomaker is a senior from Wilkesboro, NC, majoring in English with a concentration in professional writing and a minor in creative nonfiction. His dream is to make enough money writing for newspapers and magazines that he can travel and support himself, his interests, and art. After graduation he plans on taking a cross-country road trip before finding a "real job" and considering graduate school for journalism or education. Carey Shook is a coffee-addicted, book-obsessed, sushi-craving junior at UNCW, where she is majoring in creative writing and minoring in English. You can usually find her working on a novel, editing for Odyssey, or binge-watching something on Netflix. Bethany Showers wrote her first novel in ninth grade. It only took her a month. Now she is graduating with a BA in English, a BFA in creative writing, and a minor in Japanese. She hopes to keep traveling the world, drinking coffee, and writing books. Elena Sippel is originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She now studies photography

and religion at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. Elena works mostly in the darkroom, exploring different alternative photographic printing processes. Spiritually rooted in yogic philosophy and practice, through her photographs she hopes to uncover a relationship between the light that dances before our eyes and the divine Light that shines from within. Lexi Smith is a creative writing student at UNCW and has a passion for all things creative, especially fiction writing and visual art. Kyle Stanley is a film studies and English literature student at UNCW. Hannah Stapleton is just an artist in a sea of creativity. Barbara Anne Thomas says painting is a form of release for her and that she communicates through her brush to form compositions with energy and movement. Last semester she studied art in Rome, and now she is working on integrating what she's learned from the culture and her experiences in Europe into the art that she produces. Danny Thomas II is currently a Creative Writing & Visual Art major at UNCW. With his poetry he aims to bring to light subjects that people are usually uncomfortable talking about and to inspire youth to engage in creative writing. In his spare time Thomas also works as a painter and a musician. Cole Warren is a senior at UNCW pursuing a degree in professional writing with a minor in psychology. If you ask him what he plans to do after college, he will either say law school, technical editing, or quickly change the subject. He enjoys discussing big topics such as politics, world news, religion, and what's for dinner. You can usually find him wandering around campus, trying to untangle a pair of headphones while secretly concentrating on not tripping over his own feet.




AtLant s

Fall 2016 | Issue 74

a creative magazine

Submissions Guidelines

We are looking for all types 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/or camera. 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 any public or private university or community college in North Carolina. 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 atlantismagazine.org/submit.

Editorial Policy

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

Thank You


All rights are reserved to the individual authors and artists. Permission must be obtained to use any material from this publication in any way. Fonts used: Adobe Caslon Pro, Perpetua, PT Sans and Ravenscroft.


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“Time will be tangible, lives will be fuller, and you will be the first thing the early risers see—you atop your majestic ladder, bring the dawn to day and the day to mankind.” – Paper the Dawn, Bethany Showers