Letter from the Editor
Blueprint tried something new this year. In our first two issues, we received submissions of art, poetry, and prose from all corners of North Campus, and we whittled them down to the standout few to make our magazine. This year, the staff decided it was time to take Blueprint to the next level. We forged a partnership with NIMSA - the Nanotechnology and Integrated Microsystems Student Association - to host a two-week-long showcase in the Duderstadt Center Gallery, North Campusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premiere artistic venue. Ten favorites from that showcase were included in our magazine alongside the works we chose through our regular submissions process, and the result is another spectacular demonstration of North Campus creativity. Within these pages, you will find the imagination of North Campus at work: from poetry that encapsulates sunny childhood to images of lilliputian worlds too small to see with the naked eye. Let Issue Three take you on a journey illuminated with words and paved with illustrations. Join us as we traverse the world from Bonisteel to Beal and hail a few of the minds that make us Leaders and Best. Jessica Jones
Table of Contents
A Peach Softness
Pausing at the Fountain Susan Montgomery
Indiana Dunes Sunset
The Devil Wears Prada at Warped Tour
Train + Lego
Micro-bunny in the Nano-grass
Brian Einstein Lassiter
A line, do you see?
One Summer Day
Sunburst Skateboarding at Riley
Olivia Wilde Portrait
On Little Deaths and Small Miracles
Chirapon â&#x20AC;&#x153;Peteâ&#x20AC;? Wangwongwiroj
Ann Arbor at Night:
Parking Structure Stamps Auditorium Beer Depot Liquor Store Carwash Contributors
81 83 85 87 89 91
A Peach Softness Somya Sharma
A peach softness overcame me like the first wave of summer. It held me in, and streamed me out, giving me the whole world all at once. I could smile as big as the Pacific Ocean was bright. Tenderness armored me from the world a brushstroke of love gave me all that I cared for. With patient grace, my left arm reached for the moon, as my right held onto a wild flower from the deep blue. Lust of all the senses unraveling, and limitless color, a child was born. Into a land of experience beyond anyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wildest dreams, of life of unimaginable flavor.
Fleur Nouveau Shonda Bottke Mosaic
My life as if a wave, Cresting out into the air, 10 As an attempt to escape the sea, Then hopelessly returning.
Thunderclaps Jackson Howard
Spanish girls prance through my dreams flowered skirts flirting with the wind running through empty cobblestoned streets as church bells ring I’ve never been to Spain but I can dream. I was skiing in the mouth of a blizzard flying down a mountain that kept getting steeper 11
and steeper until I was somersaulting in the air with no control no chance of survival but the happiest I’ve ever been – I want to be suspended there forever, sailing through the storm winter air scratching my eyes with sewing needles. I woke up today to a thunderclap my stomach almost jumped out of my body, vodka swam through my bones like piranhas
and we were back in your room lavender walls and a white bed postcards from your father hung with dirty scotch tape Django fiddling away in the corner, we could’ve been in Belgium for all we knew That moment of swirling sweat and tired thirst summer heat baking the windows both of us longing for something we knew the other didn’t have but we didn’t stop. Emptiness is good when you’re selling a house or in line for a rollercoaster but emptiness is not good when it comes to people we are meant to be full of each other, not empty and I’m sick of having not enough of you of being not with you of writing unreturned letters to you of noticing how everyone isn’t you of wanting no one except you I am unfull of you I can’t keep saving my emptiness for you
David Hiemstra Digital Photography
David Hiemstra Acrylic Painting
Jackson Howard For Annica It was May and though the flowers had begun to bloom the fog from the ocean lingered through the city. Anna stared out of the kitchen window, a cup of coffee in hand, looking in dismay at the gray mist hovering outside. Two friends from college, Lena and Leonie, were coming to visit today, highlighted hair and patent leather suitcases in tow, and Anna was determined for them to see how much better her American life was than theirs back in Germany. And this fog, this “May grey” or whatever Janice from the shop called it, was not helping. How will they be able to be jealous of the beach if they can’t even see the street in front of them? 15
“Mama!” a voice cried from the bedroom, interrupting her brooding. “Can you make me a bagel? I can’t be late today!” Anna sighed and put down the coffee. “Okay! Hurry up and shower, Kelly!” She heard her daughter’s footsteps shuffle into the bathroom. She glanced at her watch. 7:32 AM. They’d be here in five hours. Kelly entered into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes. Anna promptly placed the bagel down in front of her. “Eat,” she said sternly, and kissed her daughter on the head. “I’m going to dress, and when I come back that bagel better be in your stomach!” she yelled over her shoulder, leaving the kitchen. She threw on a pair of jeans, a grey blouse and her new pair of sandals (half for comfort, half as a fuck you to the fog) but couldn’t find her cashmere sweater. Her heartbeat raced at the potential of half of her recent paycheck being lost, so she dropped to her knees and searched on the floor of the closet. Finally, her
manicured nails felt something soft thank God, and she reached to pull the sweater off the small metal safe in the closet corner. Anna stared at the safe. It stored three things: her passport, an envelope of emergency money, and her mother’s sterling silver forks, still wrapped in the old rags her mother gave them in. The forks. Anna had grudgingly accepted them on the way out of her family home in Germany, on the way to the airport, when her mother grabbed on to her arm and without a word thrust them into her hand. She had gazed into Anna’s eyes in the way only mothers could, and as she handed over the forks those pale green eyes widened slightly – it was an image Anna would never be able to forget, those pleading and faded eyes of her mother staring at her with all the want and desperation in the world. “Let’s go, Mama!” Anna lifted herself slowly off the ground, slammed the closet door and put on the sweater, making sure there was no lint on it. It was half her paycheck, after all. “Okay, okay,” she said, allowing her nine-year-old daughter to pull her through the door of her flat out onto the street. She pressed on her car keys and the black Ford beeped twice. Anna smiled with satisfaction and watched her daughter jump into the backseat, her backpack flying in after. The flower store Anna owned didn’t make much – it sure didn’t allow her to buy the clothes the stars she idolized in the tabloids wore – but she worked overtime as much as she could and had saved up a decent amount by the time Kelly needed to go to school. Anna was seven years old when her parents finally brought a television back to their tiny apartment, and she and her brothers had stayed up all night watching reruns of Dallas. The moment she first saw Lucy Ewing, Anna’s stomach dropped. The blonde locks, those curvaceous hips, that all-American smile, the way those words she barely understood rolled off Lucy’s tongue like marbles. When I have a daughter, she thought, sitting in her pajamas under the blue light of the new TV, she will look like Lucy. American. Like Lucy. She had never known a Lucy, only Brigitte’s and Ursula’s and Andrea’s. Lucy. My daughter will be like Lucy. Helplessly unaware that the show was fiction, Anna and her brothers wrote letters in
broken English to CBS, hoping one day they’d check the mail under the door and find a letter from Lucy or Ray or Bobby or Miss Ellie with a stamp from Texas. The letters never came, but Dallas had changed everything. Her home, once a place of pride and comfort, had become an embarrassment for Anna; it was nothing like the mansions of the celebrities she read about. The clothes her mother sewed her, once the highlight of every birthday, were suddenly outdated, cheap and worthless. Anna started saving that year, and eleven later she landed in Los Angeles, armed with two worn leather suitcases and the phone number of a cousin she had never met. She was home. “Come on, Mama!” Kelly shouted from the backseat. Anna smiled again at her daughter and jumped into the car. They were going to be late again.
Leonie had texted Anna the night before telling her what she and Lena would be wearing at the airport, but Anna needed no help finding them. She pulled up to the pick-up curb at 12:30 on the dot, and sure enough, there they were. Anna couldn’t help but laugh to herself. Leonie had on a pair of too-high-wasted jeans, with little hearts sewn on the back pockets, Cheetah print high heels and a black V-neck that dipped far lower than her shoulderlength blonde hair. She was scanning the chaotic Friday afternoon crowd for Anna as Lena talked on the phone. Anna couldn’t tell if she was screaming or laughing, but knowing Lena, it was most likely a combination of both. Jean cut-offs hugged her hips and were complimented by a white tube-top with FRECHES MÄDCHEN written in pink rhinestones across her breasts. Naughty girl. Her straightened brown hair even had the same blonde streaks it did when they were fifteen. Anna exhaled and stuck her head out the window. “Leonie! Lena! Heir drueben!” Anna tried not to yell too loud, as she was scared that someone she knew would see her beckoning to the outlandishly dressed foreigners on the curb. The women screamed in unison and waddled over to the car, dragging their suitcases behind them.
“Anna, mein Schatz!” Leonie shrieked. “So happy we are here!” “Stop talking put bag in the trunk!” Lena snapped, massaging her forehead. “That flight was so long I feel so very tired.” Anna helped them load the bags into the back and ushered the girls into the backseat. They had only been driving for two minutes, but already the car began to reek of perfume. I just got this car detailed, Anna thought. Stupid Germans have no class. “Well I hope California is like Baywatch!” Leonie and Lena cackled in the backseat. Anna forced a smile and looked in the rearview mirror. “Well, I don’t know about that, but we’re going to have some fun tonight, I promise.” “Good. We are very excited to be here in California. We miss you, suesse.” “I know,” Anna said, breathing deeply. “It’s been awhile.” It wasn’t an accident that it had been awhile. In fact, Anna thought, awhile wasn’t long enough. She, Leonie and Lena had grown up together as best friends in Düsseldorf, where the three of them attended the same school through Gymnasium. It had been almost fourteen years since she last saw them, and, watching them now in her backseat, applying makeup and taking pictures from the car window, she remembered why. “Ah!” Leonie exclaimed from the backseat. “I almost forgot. Your father, I saw him in the market, and I told him I was going to see you here in America.” She paused. The car was silent. “And?” Anna finally snapped, looking in the rearview mirror again.
“Well, he asked me to ask you,” Leonie continued, oblivious to Anna’s mounting anger, “if you still had the forks your mother gave to you when you left?” Anna slammed on the breaks just in time to stop in front of the red light she hadn’t seen coming. She whipped her head around to the backseat. “Why wouldn’t I still have them?” she seethed, checking out of her periphery to make sure the light was still red. Leonie and Lena’s faces were frozen. “When you see my father again, tell him that not only do I have them, but that they’re in fabulous condition, considering they’ve been sitting in my safe untouched for the last fourteen years!” Someone honked behind Anna and so she floored her car, jolting the girls in the backseat forward.
Leonie swallowed. “Okay, I will tell him that when I see him next time.” Anna nodded and turned the radio to some techno music she assumed the girls like. After a little traffic, they reached the flat. Anna gave Leonie and Lena a house key. “Make yourselves at home” she told them hesitantly and rushed to pick up Kelly from school. “What’s wrong, Mama?” Kelly asked as she closed the car door. Anna sighed. Kelly knew her too well. “Nothing, sweetheart. Actually, I have good news!” Kelly’s head perked up. “Is Daddy coming to visit?” “No,” Anna said, making a right-hand turn. “Two friends from Germany are here.” “Germany?” Kelly asked, squinting her eyes. “But you told me when I found that picture of you in your drawer that we’d never talk about Germany and…” “Well, we’re still not talking about it,” Anna snapped as she honked at two teenagers crossing the street. “There’s nothing
to know about except that I knew these two people a long time ago and that they will be with us for a couple of days. But please, sweetheart,” Anna said, looking in the rearview mirror, “Don’t bring up the picture again.” **** The words with “th” were always hardest for Anna to pronounce. As much as she tried, the “th” would always dissolve into a “z” – Zirsty, Zousands, Zorns, Zumb, she’d practice them in the mirror everyday, trying to squeeze her accent out of every last word. She didn’t dare let her mother catch her, because if she saw her trying to talk like the Amis in Dallas, the TV would disappear. What do you find so interesting about a bunch of crazy looking Americans? she used to ask Anna, shaking her head. Stop all that daydreaming. There’s work to be done here at home. When Anna turned fifteen, she used her birthday money to buy a poster of Richard Gere. She tried to sneak it into her room unnoticed, but as soon as she opened the bedroom door her mother was behind her. 20 What do you have there, Anna? she asked. When Anna didn’t answer, her mother turned her around and grabbed the poster from her hands. Mama no! she tried to grab it back but her mother held out a hand and unrolled it. Who is this? Some American boy you love? She stared hard at Anna. Why can’t you stop with the dreams and be happy with your life here? Is there something wrong with us? her mother yelled, waving the poster around. Anna started to cry. All you do is sit and watch that show and read those magazines and I see how you look at our home, her mother said, still yelling. I see how you look at it how you look at our home like it’s trash and I know it’s not much but at least it’s a HOME. And if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for you. Her mother bit her lip and glared at Anna. That world you want is a fantasy. Do you think the blonde lady on your show knows what it means to raise three kids? Hm? Do you think she had to work hard once in her life? She shook her head. Do you really think they’d accept you? Those perfect American people you love? Look at you. She licked her lips. They don’t want poor German girls like you. She continued to glare at Anna. Take your picture, she said,
throwing the poster at the door. She then pointed a bony finger towards her chest. As long as you live with me, you will be proud to be German and you will not bring filth like this home. Anna looked at the ground where the unraveled poster had landed. Clean yourself up, her mother said, walking away. Your uncle is coming over for dinner.
Her mother made Kohlrouladen that night, Anna’s uncle’s favorite meal of cabbage leaves filled with ground meat. After kissing her uncle goodnight, Anna sat on her bed and looked at the wrinkled poster on the floor. She held back tears as she thought of what her mother said, but what scared her most was the possibility that her mother was right, that Anna too was destined for a life of living in an apartment that was falling apart around her with a family that was too big to support. Those dreams, her American dreams, were just that. Dreams. Do you really think they’d accept you? They don’t want poor German girls. Finally, Anna let the tears fall and grabbed the poster from the ground. She tenderly smoothed it out on her bed. No. She was wrong. I’ll show her, she thought, stroking Richard Gere’s face. They want me. And when I leave I’m never coming back. **** “You are Kelly, yes?” Leonie asked, bending over and sticking her face right up to the nine year old’s. She nodded. Leonie smiled and looked up at Anna. “Look at this ein suesses Gesicht! This cute face! What a doll you have!” “What did she call me?” Kelly looked up at Anna confused. Leonie turned to Anna. “What, your daughter doesn’t speak German?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. “Well, you know…” Anna began. “Mama says we don’t speak German because American people speak English and not German and that people will think we’re funny if we speak German and…”
“Okay, Kelly. Enough,” Anna said through clenched teeth. Leonie whispered to Lena, and the two stared at Anna. “Kelly,” Lena said, “do you think you can go play with the dolls that we brought to you in your room?” Kelly nodded and, glancing at her mother, skipped off. “‘We don’t speak German because the people will think we’re weird?’” Lena hissed, her nostrils flaring. “What are you doing raising a child like that?” “Don’t take it personally, it’s complicated…” “What is complicated?” Leonie snapped, a hand on her hip. “First she has that American name, Kelly, and now she doesn’t know how to speak the language of her mother?” Leonie sighed and paced around the small living room. “Do you not remember, Anna? We all wanted this together.” She gestured to Lena, who nodded. “We’d talk about it for hours after class, no?” Leonie laughed, displaying her two slightly crooked bottom teeth. “The movie stars, the fancy clothes, the beach, all the food in the world!” Anna stayed silent, playing with a strand of her curly brown hair. “I did not get to leave like you, but still I am happy. I have a nice life in Düsseldorf, Lena too. It is not as fancy as this, but it is enough to make me happy,” Leonie said, trying to smile. Her eyes began to water, and she blinked back the tears. “Things are good, I am okay with my life,” she sniffled. Lena put a hand on her shoulder but Leonie shrugged it off. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand. “So when you tell your daughter that speaking German is bad, remember where you born, Anna. The same place as us.” Leonie looked straight at her, eyes glowing. “And that can never change.” Anna wanted to roll her eyes, but she stopped herself. How can they know how much I’ve changed though? “I know. I’m sorry,” Anna said. “Can we forget this all and go out tonight, have some fun? Just the Maedels?” Leonie smiled again, relieved. “Do not
worry. We brought our dancing shoes.” Lena closed the compact mirror she had been using to put on lip-gloss. “Yes. Fun night tonight.” Anna forced a grin. The car pulled up to the curb in front of a brown house with a large, stained-glass door. “Okay sweetie, I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning at ten.” Kelly stepped out of the car and nodded. Anna leaned out the window and kissed her on the head. “Say goodbye to Leonie and Lena before you go.” Kelly hesitantly waved. “Tschuess!” Lena said, and opened the car door. Leonie climbed out after. “I do not know how your mother gives hugs, but where I’m from, we give big hugs.” Lena grabbed Kelly and pressed her up against her bulging chest as Leonie pinched her cheeks. Anna cringed as she watched. 23
“You are so suess!” Leonie screamed. “Be a good girl so we can have fun with your mama tonight? Yah?” Kelly smiled up at the two women. “Okay.” “Good. Have fun at the friend’s house!” They got back into the car and waved. “You know my number if you need me!” Anna shouted. Lena hit her on the head with her clutch from the backseat. “Come on now. It is time to go to the club!” Anna waved one more time at Kelly and pulled away from the curb. The club was downtown, and Anna drove swiftly through the fog and bright lights as the girls shouted with joy from the backseat with their windows down. Passing the freeway, Anna felt
her throat clench. It was only fourteen years ago that she had lived right there, next to the smog and noise, in an apartment that was worse than the one she had left in Germany. After she had moved in to that first apartment, a “2 bedroom paradise” that could barely sleep two people and whose “paradise” was a moss covered pool bordered by the freeway, she had gone to the pawnshop on the corner of the block to see how much she could get for the forks her mother had given her. The large, balding pawnshop owner held them in his hand, and, looking at Anna, handed them back delicately. Look lady. These are nice forks, I’m sure they mean a lot to you, so why don’t you just hold on to them. Anna didn’t understand. What do you mean? These forks are very expensive they have been in the family for years and I am sure they should fetch a big price. The man shook his head, causing his neck fat to form into tight rolls. I don’t know what to say, he said, scratching his chin. They’re not what you think. These aren’t sterling silver. Anna’s heart stopped. What do you mean they are not silver? They must be silver! Why would my mother have fake silver? The man placed his thick hand on Anna’s arm. She yanked it away. I’m sorry. I could maybe give you 30 bucks for them. Anna stared at the forks, and without a word grabbed them in her hand and ran out the door. My stupid mother. She wept as she sprinted back home. The one nice thing she thought she had was worthless. Like her. Like everything else. As they entered the club, Anna was instantly reminded why she hated clubs in the first place. The music hurt her ears, the mixture of sweat, cologne and vodka made her nauseous, and every girl wore something that screamed fuck me. It didn’t take long for a group of wide-eyed men to surround Leonie and Lena, all offering to buy them blue and green and pink neon drinks which the girls happily accepted. “Anna!” Lena screamed, sitting on the lap of a middleaged Persian man with hair poking out from his shirt. “Come here, liebling. Meet our new friends!” Anna grudgingly walked towards the booth. “What is wrong?” Leonie slurred, her arms around two men. “You said we have fun tonight, yah?” Anna sat hesitantly on the edge of the booth bench.
“What’re you doing all the way over there, baby?” the man on Leonie’s right asked, his eyes sparkling. “Come talk to me.” He winked. Anna’s stomach churned. I knew I shouldn’t have brought them out what was I thinking. “You know what?” Lena stood up, to the obvious disappointment of the Persian man. “It is time to dance! Now, Anna!” Leonie released herself from the men around her and grabbed Anna’s hand. “Dance time! Now!”
The DJ was playing a song Anna knew, and she let herself be lead to the dance floor. Okay, maybe this wasn’t a bad idea, she thought, swinging her hips as Leonie and Lena howled in delight. She moved over towards the two of them, and, as they all held hands and basked in the smoky neon of the club, Anna began to regret the hostility she had held for so long towards everything these two girls represented. It was only fourteen years ago that they were in school together, living as best friends in a life Anna had worked so hard to forget. Maybe Leonie was right. Maybe nothing had changed. Two of the men from the booth, she couldn’t remember their names, emerged onto the dance floor next to Leonie and Lena. Anna saw her opportunity to get some air, and she turned around only to find herself face to face with the man who had winked at her a few minutes ago. “Where you goin’, babe?” he purred, leaning close to Anna’s face. She turned her cheek and tried to catch Lena’s or Leonie’s attention, to no avail. “Here, I brought you a drink.” He held up a martini glass filled with something Anna thought looked radioactive. “I need to go to the bathroom,” she yelled over the music, turning around. “I’ll come with you,” he said, grabbing her arm and pulling her towards him. He smelled like rancid meat.
“Just dance with me.” He leaned close to Anna again, placing a hand on the small of her back. “One dance,” he breathed. “No,” Anna said, almost crying. She couldn’t see Leonie or Lena anywhere. The man leaned in to kiss her neck, moving his hand down to her ass and grabbing it hard. Anna’s head snapped up as she kneed the man in the groin, sending him and the drink crashing to the floor. Pushing through the crowd forming around the man, Anna burst out of the club and ran as fast as she could in the highheels Lena had loaned her. I’m sure Leonie and Lena are having a wonderful time, she thought, bracing herself against an alley wall to catch her breath. They’re nothing but the trash I thought they were. Trash. Trash. Trash. Anna wiped the tears off her cheeks, unaware she was smudging her makeup, and walked the four blocks back to her car from the club, not caring what happened to the two women inside who were frantically searching for her. **** Claudia Dietrech, Anna’s mother, was born September 22nd, 1951 in a town called Mettman on the outskirts of Düsseldorf. Out of the five children raised by Martin and Jana Dietrech, Anna’s grandparents whom she never knew, Claudia was the brightest. She finished first in her class (every year since kinder, Jana would brag) and was even given a BaFoeg loan from the government to attend university. She turned it down out of respect for her father, who was secretly ashamed of his pre-secondary education and, Claudia knew, would have been even more if the town saw his only daughter as brighter than him, even though everyone knew it to be true. The day before her daughter’s wedding in 1973, Jana, sure her husband was out of the house, entered into Claudia’s room with two bundles in her hand as Claudia was packing up her things to move out.
My daughter, she said, closing the door behind her. Claudia looked up from the clothes she was folding. I have something for you. They sat down on the bed together, and Jana placed the two bundles in front of her. Claudia unraveled the loosely blanketed packages to reveal two identical sets of silver serving forks. She tilted her head and looked at Jana. Mama I do not understand, what are you giving me? Jana smiled and placed her hand on Claudia’s leg. To your left, she gestured, are the forks your greatgrandmother used on her wedding day. They are sterling silver. The nicest things we own. She smiled. Pick them up. Feel them. Claudia did, and marveled at their weight. To your right, there appears to be another set, no? Claudia nodded. I bought these a month after I married your father, Jana whispered, staring at the forks. I love your father, he is a great man, but he has his demons, and after he sold his father’s watch and spent the money getting drunk… Jana paused and closed her eyes for a moment. I knew it wouldn’t be long before he found the forks and sold them, too. Claudia nodded again. A white lie, Jana said, caressing her daughter’s cheek, is nothing to be ashamed of. She gently rewrapped both sets and placed them back in front of her daughter. Mama, no. You need them, Claudia said, her face flushing. Jana shook her head. No. All there is left of my side are these. She wiped a tear from her eye. And it was never a question which one of my children I would give them to. Claudia hugged her, and after a few moments Jana pulled away, standing up from the bed. I love you, she smiled. Mama, wait! Jana stopped. I do not need both. You take the fake ones, so papa does not know. She turned around. No, my love. Take both. Who knows when you might need them? Claudia didn’t know, and in the years following her wedding, her children and her mother, she forgot about the duplicate sets of forks wrapped in the old rags in the shoebox below her bed. But on June 9th, 1998, the morning her daughter Anna decided to leave home, Claudia remembered. Lowering
gently to her knees so not to wake her sleeping husband, Claudia pulled out the shoebox and removed the forks. It wasn’t a question which set was which – the forks in her left hand weighed almost twice as much as the ones in her right, not to mention the delicate lines engraved along the handles of her great-grandmother’s. Knowing what she had to do, Claudia rewrapped both pairs and placed one delicately back in the box while stuffing the other in her robe pocket. She shuffled to the living room just as Anna approached the front door. Claudia grabbed on to her daughter’s arm and, without saying a word, thrust the forks in front of her. For all the times she told Anna that her life was meant to be in Germany, Claudia had always quietly marveled, with both pride and envy, at the endless possibilities her daughter allowed herself to dream about. She’d spy on Anna often through a crack in her bedroom door, watching her fashion her sheets into an elegant ball gown or play with her shoes, pretending they were characters on the show she watched with the funny-sounding Amis. Anna got older, but to Claudia’s secret relief her imagination never faded. Mein kleines Traeumerle she used to whisper to Anna as she kissed her goodnight. My little dreamer. As she opened the door, Anna’s eyes softened momentarily and met Claudia’s, until she blinked and snatched the forks from her mother’s hand, slamming the door without saying goodbye. So when Anna came home that night from the club to find her living room window shattered and the furniture upturned, the first thing she thought of as she yanked open the closet doors wasn’t her passport, her emergency money or even her cashmere sweater. It was the forks. And as she stared at the emptiness of the forty-dollar safe that had been so easily cracked she knew nothing else mattered, not Lena and Leonie stranded at the club, not the black Ford parked outside with the remote-control keys, not the American accent she had practiced every day or the American daughter she had raised or the American man who had left her or the American celebrities she so desperately wanted to be like or the American people on Dallas who made her believe she could be anything but German…no. As Anna fell to her knees and let the tears run down her face, nothing mattered then except the stolen forks. She remembered the secret relief she had felt
when the pawnshop owner told her they were worthless; she had never truly wanted to get rid of them. She remembered when Kelly had found the picture of when Anna was seven, pigtails balanced evenly, smiling like the moment would last forever – how Anna wanted to tell Kelly everything that night: how she wanted to name her Claudia, after her mother; how the house she grew up in had a blue door that somehow never faded, even after years of rain; how when she was a child her favorite food was noodles with butter, just like Kelly’s. But she didn’t; it was her stolz, her pride, the bitterness that lingered from being picked on the most by her mother, of being grabbed on the bottom by her father’s friends, of being told she would never be loved by the people she thought she loved behind that glowing screen.
Anna lowered her head against the cool metal of the safe and tried to hold in the vomit that desperately wanted to escape. She sobbed quietly; the pain was beyond the stolen utensils, and she cursed herself, realizing Kelly would never understand her heritage, her past, her soul –she was American, like Lucy, it’s what Anna wanted – but now all Anna wanted was to leave this “home” that no matter how many throw pillows and witty welcome mats she bought never felt like home and pick her daughter up from her friends’ house with the ugly front lawn and go back to her real home, back to the house with the blue door on the cobblestoned street, back to her aunt weaving her hair into pigtails, back to a mother who was still alive, singing her lullabies as her turquoise necklace glowed in the moonlight from an open window. Anna would never know that the real forks, the ones bought by her greatgrandmother, were still sitting in the shoebox under her mother’s bed in the apartment her father still owned. They’d wait there for twenty-two more years until Anna’s brother, cleaning out the home of his dying father, found the forks wrapped in the shoebox, a piece of paper with his mother’s handwriting taped inside – Mir war klar, dass Du zurückkommst, it said. I knew you would come back.
Pausing at the Fountain Susan Montgomery Digital Photography
Lovebird Sadness Drew MarkerPompa Drawing Ink on Paper
Vasiliy Sharikov-Bass The light is dancing all around the room: I see the furniture, the things, the books, A little kitten playing with the broom, My precious Other stealing my rare looks. And there’s a window out to the dark. The light just touches frozen bare grass. I know that beyond there lies a winter park, A snow road, a car, a sky, but I confess that I forget a little bit, if there really is a world I think I know. For all I know and for all I care, The darkness, cold as morning, thick as snow, It took all in: the road, the car, the sky… The world shrank down, filling up the room: The sun is lamp, the wind – my Other’s sigh, All beasts are now the kitten, trees – the broom… But maybe it’s my world, and it’s enough for me. I do not need the window to remind me of The time when I thought “no walls” did mean “free,” The time when no one other was enough, And so… The light keeps dancing all around the room I see my Other, hear her, need no more. All else I used to know, now faceless gloom. And maybe this is all worth living for.
Twilight Yang Wei
Indiana Dunes Sunset Susan Montgomery Digital Photography
Morning Dew Mike Padilla
Shonda Bottke Micro-Mosaic
American Spirit 37
Susan Montgomery Digital Photography
Warped Tour Robbie Small
The Devil Wears Prada at Warped Tour Robbie Small
Perhaps Prateek Jha
Perhaps, all the doors have been locked and all the windows blocked,
Perhaps, there are no mornings and just dim blue lights
Perhaps, the trees have gone colorless 43
and the rivers stopped flowing,
Perhaps, now children donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t play and just too loud music
Ah, well, I am talking nonsense but why we are so timid, depressed, lifeless, bored?
Porous Silicon Kumar Vanga
Scanning Electron Microscope Image
01: SOMEWHERE BETWEEN DREAM AND REALITY Adrian was sleeping at his office desk, over an unfinished article. It had been a really long day. Strangely, this article was taking him forever to finish. The nameplate outside his office read, Adrian Head Critic. He had been working with ‘The Mean Times’ since he could last remember. His work demanded him to be ruthless and most often unkind to quite a lot of people. But then the paper did have a huge reader base. That was good enough a reason to continue at this job till the end. He realized very early what he wanted to do in life. Loyalty was not his kind of a thing. He could bend around any story to his will and charmingly enough convince other people into the same. But this article he was writing today about a person he had seen for a sufficiently long period of time now, was bothering him. Ironically, he never felt a necessity to know about him. The person in context seemed to mock him subliminally and occasionally took the form of a demon growing beyond his conscious. He knew he had to just find the right ‘thought’ to fight away this beast. But such a ‘thought’ just seemed to be elusive. But he was determined to get over it. Mr. Hustle. This was the person about whom Adrian was writing an article. So he decided to dig into this person’s past to find out more about him. It didn’t take much time to figure out a lot about him. All he had to do was talk to friends of Mr. Hustle from high school. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on him. Bad opinions. They called him a traitor, a badass and what not. Bad was good thought Adrian, it would make his job so much easy.
02: ARTICLE ‘Mr. Hustle the ‘lead entity’ at one of the most famous firms in this city, seems to not have the same charming and convivial image (as falsely portrayed by his current employees) among his friends from high school. With a little query on my part, I could gather sufficient information to substantially claim that he is a phony character. Obviously Mr. Hustle misdemeanor from high school shows a troubled childhood. You might say he could be changed man now? Trust me, I wish to hold the same opinion. But to my astonishment, an employee from his own firm secretly confided in me, about his bullying nature and unethical methods. He is an exceptional conman, who frauds his customers into believing that he works towards their well-being. Such people should be legally reprimanded from leading companies that have a primal influence on the society.’ Issued in the general interest of the public. -- Adrian. 03: IN REALITY Adrian woke up to the ringing bell on his desk, only to realize he was peeking into his own life. Adrian Hustle. 00: ROOT This story was written sometime during the second week of February this year (2012). I had just finished reading about half of The Myth of Sisyphus (Albert Camus) and was trying to get out of the convoluted state of mind I was left in. I had to do something to rapidly change things as they were to normalcy. Just when I was thinking how, I woke up with this particular idea for a short story.
**All edits reflect the intentions of the author
David Hiemstra Acrylic Painting
Masked Serenade Mike Padilla
Train + Lego Mary Molepske ContĂŠ
Micro-bunny in the Nano-grass Brian Einstein Lassiter
Scanning Electron Microscope Image
A line, do you see? Bryce Brown
Those lights, those lights that kiss my eye, tell me nothing, but why? Helpless my world seems to I, but why? I would guess, but I cannot begin to try.
Like a rock rolling in a line path— determined by fate to be here, then there— by this rock I live, but why? I would guess, but I cannot begin to try. “You’re determinist!” The air says, “As am I.” “But why?” We would guess, but we cannot begin to try. “Does hope, does she reside in a path of a line?” “No, no, she cannot begin to try.”
Decisions, Decisions Shonda Bottke Mosaic
Doubloon Island Lilian Hsiao
Scanning Electron Microscope Image
One Summer Day Somya Sharma
One summer day, I began to see the sun and the moon as one thing I began to see my legs and my arms as one thing I began to see my past and my future as one thing I began to see the treetops and the birds as one thing I began to see my weakness and my strength as one thing One summer day.
Sunburst Skateboarding at Riley Robbie Small
Summertime Jesyka Palmer I. We played Indians with burning cattails pulled out of the ditch and “Hey-howed” in the cornfield just to the point where we couldn’t see that oak tree in the backyard. We liked to dig up wooden ties, placing the iron spikes in our pockets, tracing its path through the planted rows. That’s where I found a green gourd and wrapped it in my blanket, and called it Baby.
II. My sister and I ran back to the farm at dusk. We scooped fireflies from the air with our hands, and giggled as they tickled our skin. We found Mommy in the small orchard, wearing her red bandana, picking bruised pears and hole-y apples. She showed us how to smash the fireflies onto our shirts, and we gleamed and glimmered like three blooming jellyfish afloat in the breeze. That’s when I felt a hunger, a sweet craving and desire, so we sliced open my Baby and tasted the ripeness of her belly.
Peaceful Pond Christina Jones
Stipple and Ink Wash
Stocherkahn David Hiemstra Digital Photography
Listen to the soft rustling Of those prided wings, Clipped to your fate as you lie at the gate Invisible crossroads Those melancholic words, I hear you whisper 61
Trickles a tear Days apart My soulâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hit with a dart, Lost my fitted glove Flown away has that little dove New faces and places Wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give any solace I am trying everything But everything still feels the same
Those cheerful moments we shared, In those memories remain charred Friends here, Friends there But not a friend cared Your selfless deeds more valuable than Sparkling diamonds & Golden beads Lend me a hand dear for there is nothing I shall fear Far away Yet so close Distance canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t take me from you As your lamp In those wretched lands I shall always be close to you
Devki Desai Ceramic
Isabel Talsma Paper Cutting
David Hiemstra Acrylic Painting
Devki Desai Digital Painting
Olivia Wilde Portrait Anthony Dedakis Pencil on Paper
Serendipity Mike Padilla
Susan Montgomery Digital Photography
On Little Deaths and Small Miracles Chirapon “Pete” Wangwongwiroj
In life, we all experience many ‘little deaths,’ the moments of extreme shock or suffering when the world seems to collapse and shows no mercy. They are those dark moments when we question whether this life has been a waste or whether it’s worth living. Most of the time, we always emerge from these little deaths with a refreshed mental state and renewed vigor. We manage to see the world in a different light. It is as if we slowly learn how to appreciate the world without our own biases and judgments. ‘Small miracles’ befall us after our little deaths and make the world look so much brighter and more alive. Sometimes, the little deaths themselves are the miracles of life. These moments are God’s displays of his creativity and the genius of his creation – our lives. (“God” here is intended in the most general way possible. I believe one can interchange it with Spirit, Life Force, Buddha, or whatever you choose, because they are one and the same.) In this essay, I set out to explore the realms of spirituality and to find my own narrative. This essay will document the trials, tribulations, and peak experiences of this narrative – the journey we’ve come to know as life. Apart from aiding me in reflecting on the experiences that made me feel so alive, I sincerely hope that this essay can reach deep into your heart and serve as an inspirational tool in your (the reader’s) spiritual journey one day. Not everything will ring true with you, because my path and your path are not the same. The philosopher Kahlil Gibran said, “If [the teacher] is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind... For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man” (Gibran 2009). Hermann Hesse wrote in Siddhartha, “I suffer from thirst... and my thirst has not lessened on this long samana path
I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions... And I am starting to believe that this knowledge has no worse enemy than the wish to know, than learning” (Hesse 1999). I used to ask numerous questions. What is the meaning of life? What is my purpose? What am I called to do? These questions haunted me for some time. I became increasingly frustrated as my attachment to these questions grew, but they have done nothing but slowed me down in my spiritual path. Perhaps, too many questions and too much doubt may indeed hinder one’s peace and happiness in this world. I used to be unaware of my spirituality. I used to be ignorant of many things. Now, I try to focus less on questions and more on my journey. This is the key. Where will it take me? Nobody knows. Where do I want to go? I want to walk towards peace and towards God. Whatever happens, I know I can smile with my heart, knowing that I am still fully alive. Life is not always rosy. There is still great ambiguity and uncertainty, but I went through some phases in life that I think many readers may identify with. In a way, I think my life is a remarkable testament to a man’s ability to overcome hardships, transform, and embark on the spiritual journey. I say this not with arrogance, for I am aware of many fellow beings who have overcome far more troubling obstacles and have awakened to the Higher Truth. I say this with hope that I can convince you that all things are possible. After all, we are interconnected, and our lives are interwoven even if we haven’t met. We exist in each other. I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand amidst the prevalent Asian culture focused on academic, monetary, and career success. From youth I was trained to be very competitive, work extremely hard and care about not much else other than school. I was also blessed with intelligence to start off with. Life worked out for a while. I did extremely well in school. My parents were proud. I even won a scholarship to attend a prestigious high school in Singapore. My experience in Singapore gave the word “competitive” a whole new meaning. Life in Singapore moved so much quicker, and everyone was fending for themselves. As Singapore was trying to
prove to the world that they matter despite their being a “little red dot” on the world’s map, the Singaporean media and government heavily popularized and reinforced the emphasis on academic and financial success. Furthermore, as a scholar, I faced the societal expectation that I should perform better than most students in the school. These two factors combined to heighten the pressure to be extremely achievement-oriented. Surprisingly or otherwise, I thrived in the system, but there was no happiness. I soon started questioning my purpose in life. Was I there just to get good grades and do well in school? Life felt incomplete. I felt no connection with those around me. I was just on autopilot. It was at this point that I started blogging seriously about my life and happiness. Although my lifestyle didn’t change much, this was a momentous stage in my life, when my spirituality started to germinate.
After I graduated from high school, I decided to get ordained as a novice monk in a forest temple in Thailand. I did it partially because it was good karma for my parents, but I also thought it was time that I summoned my courage to try a different lifestyle. So there I was, living an ascetic life, praying twice daily, meditating throughout the day, and eating only once a day. I lived away from the distraction of my cell phone, laptop, and Facebook and tried to stay present with every thought and action. I only lasted two weeks in the temple, but it was a tremendous experience. It was like being in another world. I could see how those who have chosen to continue down this ascetic path have found peace, but I didn’t feel I was ready to commit to this path. It just didn’t feel right then. Nonetheless, I did emerge with a slightly clearer understanding of Buddhism, and I was determined to make sure that I abide by Buddhist principles. That did not happen. It was as if I got sucked back into the world – into the distractions, expectations, and illusion. I caved in to what society expected of me again. It was as if I never left.
So I came to Michigan carrying the typical genes for “success” – both the talent and diligence to get as high a GPA as possible, build an impressive resume, and find the most prestigious internships possible. I also wanted to get a master’s degree, do a minor, and stay involved with many clubs and be a part of the executive board of at least one – all this in four and a half years. That was the dream then. I was excited. A year later, at the very same spot, the dream lost its appeal. Life was interspersed with periods of unease, apprehension and emptiness. A good GPA and an impressive resume did not give me meaning. Life was still incomplete. In fact, it wasn’t just incomplete; it was miserable. I was fed up with the one-dimensional approach of continually working for “a bright future.” When I looked at the world, I saw possibilities – possibilities that had drifted along, possibilities that I’d never quite pursued. I realized that the dream that I was going after wasn’t really my dream. It was a dream fueled by societal values, not my own. It was all about being extremely competitive, pursuing the academic and career success, and impressing the world with my credentials. Having given in to the societal ideals for so long that it was practically second nature, I spent sleepless nights worrying about the depressing future that I would have. I thought about Buddhism and my experience at the temple. That moment was definitely more peaceful than this one, but it was just impossible to let everything go. Furthermore, it was going to take me forever to reach enlightenment. I didn’t have the patience – or the time. I wanted it now! There seemed to be no alternatives. I was stuck in the system. There seemed to be no hope. I found myself wanting to resign to fate. Then, LeaderShape happened. LeaderShape, a leadership training program that encourages participants to be aware of social justice and have “a healthy disregard for the impossible,” helped me organize my passions, visions, and values. It helped me think about what I really wanted to do with my life. It made me realize that it is okay to not
agree with the prevalent societal values. I can just be who I am, regardless of what everyone else says. One day, I decided that this was it. I no longer wanted to be the majority. I no longer wanted to be controlled. I wanted to be the master of my own life. So I symbolically wrote a letter to Society: “Dear Society, For decades, I’ve been subjected to your control; letting you choose what I will do with my life, letting you tell me what success means, letting you turn every damn thing into some sort of competition, letting you make me feel like a failure. You know what. From now, I refuse to be controlled. I refuse to let you choose my path. I will control my own life, and I will not let you ruin my happiness.”
Voilà. That was the start of my “happiness revolution.” I started doing things for myself. I tried to obsess less about grades. I stopped worrying so much about my resume. I started opening my eyes to see the world in a new light. I started doing things that are considered useless to my academic success - such as reading books like Tal Ben-Shahar’s Happier and Eric Weiner’s Geography of Bliss. I looked into positive psychology. I started talking to people about life’s purpose and well-being. I listened to TED speeches. I went to talks by great inspirers such as Martin Seligman and Daniel Kahneman. I played more tennis, went on Facebook more, and started catching up with old friends. These things were not going to get me A’s on my homework and exams, but they refueled me with the inspiration to move on. It was then that I realized how much happier I can be without succumbing to the ever-imposing society. It was amazing how much my life has changed since I chose to see the world in my own terms. However, that was not the end of the story. I got sucked back into the societal system once again. During my sophomore year, engineering courses were more demanding and expectations were higher. I suddenly found
myself, and my friends, working harder than ever on things that we felt were pointless. With talks about internships and careers abounding, I started caring about grades again. I started competing again. I felt like I was wasting my life away. I was dispirited. I was lost. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to give up, but this wasn’t the end either. It looks like God had more in store for me. He gave me a spiritual mentor, who I met during my interview for my summer internship program. He introduced me to Joseph Campbell’s Power of Myth, and allowed me to take a class on Psychology and Spiritual Development. These two gifts led me to this current phase in my life, when I am a faithful student of spirituality and an observer of life. The fascinating thing about my life is that everything that has left a lasting impact on me has had this in common: I almost decided not to get involved, or I almost could not do so. I almost did not go to LeaderShape. I almost did not attend the talk by Martin Seligman, who piqued my interest in positive psychology. I almost decided not to attend my summer internship interview, and I wouldn’t have met my mentor if I didn’t do so. I almost did not get to take my psychology course. I chortle every time I think about this; it is as if God always sends a signal before he hands me a gift. For this fact, I am truly thankful. This cemented my belief that God really does have a plan for everyone. He always finds me the motivation to keep going. My happiness revolution was no exception. It turned out that there was a major flaw with my concept of happiness. I was focusing on worldly happiness, derived from mostly external sources. I thought that I could find lasting happiness without thinking about my inner self. However, true bliss and peace can only be achieved when one delves within and connects with God. We can be very passionate about something, but if we are not in tune with the present moment, we attach ourselves with the goal of realizing our passions, and that can lead to suffering.
Now I think we can all seek peace through being aware of our ego and connecting with God. A mentor once told me that everything that happens on the outside is a reflection of the inside. It is true. One may see the world as a chaotic and distracting place if one’s heart is not at peace, but the chaos may in fact be order on a level that we have yet to comprehend. So this is where I am right now. Four years ago, I’d never imagined that I’d be where I am today. As I reflect on how my life has twisted and turned, I cannot help but smile. Many times I ask, “Why does this happen to me?” I used to think of life as random fragments being pieced together – some pieces more welcome than others. Now, when I look back, I start to see that everything happened for a reason, even the despondence, sadness, mistakes, and losses. Everything seems to have been planned out perfectly – by God perhaps.
Many people tell me that I’m going to go on and do great things. Many tell me that I’ll be rich. Many tell me that I’ll find peace one day. I sometimes get annoyed when people say that, because I have absolutely no clue what “great things” I’m supposed to achieve. I could let my ego take control and get more frustrated that I am nowhere near achieving peace, or even material success. I haven’t figured out what I am destined to do. It surely is frustrating at times, but I have to be mindful that I can also approach this from a different angle. We all want a lot of things in our lives and struggle and complain when we don’t get them. I think we don’t get them for a reason. I think God knows best about what we really deserve and where we should go. Sometimes, I feel like He has teased me, toyed with me, tested me, played with me, and let me wander around. I think this might be part of His grand plan. Maybe He was teaching me how to be patient. Maybe He was teaching me how to be self-reliant. Maybe He was teaching me how to exercise compassion. Maybe He was teaching me that life doesn’t go the way I want it to all the time. God has a plan for our greatness. I currently don’t know
what my greatness is, but rather than being preoccupied with this thought, I can focus on being aware of the awe of the present moment. I trust that life will eventually guide me to where I should be. Sometimes, the best things in life happen when one least expects it. As John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” (QuoteDB n.d.). When reading Ken Wilber’s Grace and Grit, these words stuck out to me: “Let go, and let God” (Wilber 2000). This phrase has had a profound and lasting impact on me. I’ve never seen a more beautifully coined phrase that captures so much truth. We have to learn how to let go of our attachments, and our ego, and let God lead the way. Let go, and let God: so simple, yet so true, and so powerful. As I continued to read and engage in new conversations, I discovered that many kindred souls are hungry for spiritual awakening as well. I used to think that most college students seem happy with their lives. I thought that everyone else was happy and content with studying hard during the week and partying hard during the weekend. It was not until my open sharing session with my Psychology and Spiritual Development classmates that I realized I was gravely mistaken. Most of us have experienced great sorrow in our lives. During the sharing session, I recalled judging some of my classmates for not sharing so quickly. Then, after they summoned the courage to be exposed and vulnerable, I was struck by the traumatic and life-threatening experiences that some of them faced. It dawned upon me how easily my ego can take control of me and judge others without even fully understanding who they are. As my heart shared the pain of our existence, I had a revelation. The heart, when alone, is ignorant and bound to the ego. The heart, when exposed, vulnerable, and cognizant, is interconnected to the experiences of those around us. When the heart listens attentively, the world is more than just “me,” and when the heart cries for others, it is actually smiling. It functions collectively with the world. The heart is a captivating invention. It is through the heart that we are able to appreciate the beauty of music and art. It is the heart that has the capacity to love and be loved. I like to think
of the heart as associated with intuition and the female energy, while the brain is associated with cognition and the male power. Unfortunately, our current society has hailed cognition as king and dismisses truths that cannot be cognitively reasoned. Unavoidably, this approach overemphasizes the importance of science and technology. Spirituality and religion struggle to retain their place in the society. It’s a shame. Science and technology have led to recent advancements in medicine and industrial output, but spirituality is vital in connecting mankind with our purpose and responsibility in this world. Without the feminine power of the heart, the world’s balance is shaken. The yin and the yang are no longer in harmony. I believe this is why we face the widening economic gap, decreased levels of happiness, and the environmental crisis today. The male-dominated model will not last.
In our search for certainty, we have entrusted our brain to get us answers. Yet, my experience has led me to believe that some of the most important truths can only be felt through the heart. Sometimes, when I’m typing an essay about spirituality, words will type themselves, as if they come from a deeper source of wisdom. As an engineering student, I strongly believe that my intuitive process has enriched my understanding of this world. Sometimes, I can learn more about this world when I close my eyes and pay attention to my consciousness than when I read a textbook. The wisdom that can be gained by being with the present moment is awe-inspiring, and it will always remain that way. I think we ought to seek wisdom, along with progress, with both our hearts and brains, so we can restore the harmony in our world. I used to be angry at how deeply troubled this world – and my life – is. I used to feel that both my fights, to create a sustainable world and to seek inner peace, seem futile. Now, I know that I was wrong. I used to be so focused on some faraway end goal, but happiness and peace is not in the future; it is right here, and right now. There is no such thing as a means to an end; the means is the end. Every moment in life can be a spiritual practice. Even when I play tennis, when I argue with a customer service operator, or when I am talking to a friend, there are spiritual lessons to be learned. As I continue to become aware of my ego’s
presence, I am determined to restart my meditation practice that I used to do when I was a novice monk. I am hopeful that, whatever plans God has for me, I am able to connect with Him and His plans on a deeper level. I shall continue along on my path of limitless opportunities – towards peace, wisdom, and compassion. So why is life a privilege? It’s because we’re here right now, being fully alive and present in the moment, awaiting more of those little deaths and small miracles that connect us to the essence of our being. Just let go, and let God.
80 Bibliography BrainyQuote. Joseph Campbell Quotes. 2011. http://www. brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/joseph_campbell.html (accessed January 4, 2011). Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho, and Howard C. Cutler. The Art of Happiness. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009. Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth. New York: Anchor Books, 1991. Gibran, Kahlil. The Prophet. New Tork: Random House, 2009. Hesse, Hermann. Siddhartha. New York: Penguin Books, 1999. QuoteDB. Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. by John Lennon. n.d. http://www.quotedb.com/ quotes/2005 (accessed December 31, 2011). Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth. London: Penguin Books, 2005. Wilber, Ken. Grace and Grit. Boston: Shambhala, 2000.
Ann Arbor at Night: Parking Structure Mark Kushner
Ann Arbor at Night: Stamps Auditorium Mark Kushner
Ann Arbor at Night: Beer Depot Mark Kushner
Ann Arbor at Night: Liquor Store Mark Kushner
Ann Arbor at Night: Carwash Mark Kushner
Shonda Bottke Shonda Bottke is a mosaic artist, a staff member of College of Engineering’s Graduate Professional Programs, and a concerned inhabitant of the planet. Her goal is to incorporate at least one recycled material into each mosaic, and ultimately create a piece of art which has an organic and fluid perspective.
Bryce Brown Bryce is a strange, complex culmination of atoms. He doesn’t know exactly where these atoms came from, but he knows where they’re going, at least for each moment of his time. He enjoys putting these atoms into a billion different forms by exercising. With even more joy, he forges these atoms into meaningful patterns in his head, so he can understand things and even talk fluently to other humans (in rare cases). With twice as much joy as the previous amount of joy, he thinks of what other atoms are doing using his own atoms.
Devki Desai Devki Desai is a graduate student in Civil Engineering from Bloomfield, MI. She loves drawing and working with many types of ceramics – both in the concrete lab and at the pottery wheel. Alongside MFA student Trevor King, she is co-president of the UM Ceramics club, and encourages anyone interested in playing with clay or selling pottery for charity to join! Having studied Ecology and Architecture at Wash U in St. Louis before moving to Ann Arbor, sustainable retrofit of buildings is a particular academic interest. She is currently enjoying exploring this task with the interdisciplinary Living Building Challenge team at UM.
David Hiemstra What I learned this year: The hardest advice to follow is your own. One’s destination is not a place; it’s a way of seeing things. Don’t stress out about two good decisions. Character wins in life. Humans are the only creatures on Earth that pay to live here. I could only become President if I believed in a higher Being. If it ain’t fixed don’t break it! If you’re talking about a decision, you aren’t happy with it. Trust someone’s actions, not what they say. Is loneliness failed solitude? When you believe in your art you believe in yourself.
Jackson Howard Jackson Howard is a freshman from Los Angeles whose poetry makes his parents worried about his emotional health. 93
Lilian Hsiao Lilian Hsiao is a PhD student in the Chemical Engineering Department. She enjoys the inspirations that come with drawing parallels between the nanotechnology research she does and the natural world at large.
Prateek Jha Prateek Jha is a postdoctoral fellow in Chemical Engineering. He writes, blogs, and walks around, when he gets free time from his polymer physics research.
Christina Jones Christina Jones is an Applied Physics graduate student who likes to salsa dance and thinks that trees are fascinating because their branches never grow exactly as you’d expect them to.
Kumar Vanga Kumar Vanga moved to the Ann Arbor area couple of months back to start his new job involving electronic packaging for ePack that uses some of the labs at the University of Michigan`s Lurie Nanofabrication Facility. He graduated from Michigan Technological University with a PhD in electrical engineering researching on novel sensing materials for Prof. Paul Bergstrom. He has enjoyed his stay in the Upper Peninsula that has amazing natural beauty with never ending arctic winters. He loves traveling and likes clicking photos of objects that catches his eye either under the electron gun or through a camera lens.
Mark J. Kushner Mark J. Kushner, on the EECS faculty at the University of Michigan, began his photography in a high school dark room and believes the perfect image will be the next one you snap.
Brian Einstein Lassiter Scientist by day, musician by night, Brian Einstein Lassiter has played the role of Batman during his five years in Ann Arbor. Since earning a BA in saxophone performance from Eastern Washington University, Brian has pursued a PhD in Materials Science at UM, researching low-cost solar cells via the field of Organic Photovoltaics. He is a founding member of Ann Arbor funk powerhouse Third Coast Kings and bandleader of dancers’-favorite Rampage Swing, and he also performs regularly with the heavyhitting Paul Keller Orchestra
Mary Nicole Molepske Mary Molepske is a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Art &Design. She does photography for SHEI Magazine as Photo Editor (sheimagazine.com). She is easily amused and still enjoys playing with her Legos over break.
Susan Montgomery Susan Montgomery is the Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Program Advisor. Now that her sons are older she finds herself with more time to indulge in hobbies, including photography. Her favorite genres are nature, classic cars, and stock photography.
Mike Padilla Mike Padilla is a sophomore doing mechanical engineering. He loves being in nature, playing frisbee, hacky-sacking, and taking photos and making videos. With photography he enjoys capturing memories for friends and family. Also, he likes revealing big secrets about the small slices of our world that are so difficult to see through normal eyes.
Jesyka M. Palmer Jesyka Palmer is a graduate student at the School of Information. Her loves include: cupcakes, endurance running, sci-fi, and falling asleep reading a good book. 95
Drew Pompa Drew Pompa is a recent Computer Science graduate of the College of Engineering, as well as an artist, musician, designer, and allaround actual person. Above all else, he enjoys interesting things and people who enjoy interesting things
Gokul Prakash Gokul Prakash is a musically inclined poetic photographer who can kick your ass. Btw he also does engineering.
Vasiliy Sharikov-Bass Vasiliy Sharikov-Bass is a common materials engineer by day, but his secret alter-ego, also named Vasiliy plays music in a band by night. Check out more stuff at http://scind.bandcamp.com/!
Robbie Small Sophomore computer science major, skateboarder, and photographer hailing from Bloomfield, Michigan.
Isabel Talsma Senior. English and Screen Arts and Cultures. Groundworks consultant. Paper cutter. Photographer. Watercolorist. Knitter. Media mixer. isabeltalsma.com
Chirapon â&#x20AC;&#x153;Peteâ&#x20AC;? Wangwongwiroj Pete Wangwongwiroj is a chemical engineering senior from Bangkok, Thailand. He strongly believes in a holistic and interdisciplinary education and enjoys taking classes that stretch the boundaries of the mind and the depths of the soul. He is passionate about sustainability, renewable energy, happiness and leadership development. In his spare time, Pete loves to play tennis, read and wax lyrical about life, education, spiritual growth and the pursuit of happiness. Pete became interested in happiness after his freshman year, when an existential crisis prompted him to wonder why he came halfway across the world to only be driven by societal forces to get good grades, pack the resume and make a lot of money. Since then, he started exploring positive psychology, Gross National Happiness, and research into the correlation between well-being and environmental sustainability. He has been involved with organizations such as the Student Sustainability Initiative, BLUElab and Happiness Initiative.
Yang Wei Live happily, then you can escape the gravity!