The Secret Issue

Page 1

Volume 10 Issue 3 October 2010

The Secret Issue









The Secret Life of the Canadian Twenty-Something



Sleeping Secrets KATRINA BEHR

A Dilution




Magic for Madness


Couples Make Noise




If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody SARAH COLLEEN DILLON



ART 24

Beholder IX




The Gyre


In Bed


If Academics Discovered Fire


Front Cover


Back Cover


Inside Front MACA SUAZO





Inside Back


EDITORIAL Editor-in-Chief Morgan Alan


Production Manager Lakyn Barton

Photography & Art Manager Emily Kennedy

Editor at Large Devon Butler

Promotional Director Sarah Georges

Community Outreach Director Erin Oldynski

Advertising Director Jonathan Antfleck

Brantford Outreach Director Vacant Application at

Interns Brieanne Berry, Jim Cavill, Lydia Ogwang

CONTRIBUTORS Emily Bednarz, Katrina Behr, Andy Clark, Sarah Colleen Dillon, Susan Hronkcek, Emmanuel Xerx Javier, Jocelyn Kilborn, Alexandra Miciak, Ashley Newton, Lost Nowhere, Jocelyn Smith, Maca Suazo, Nuno Teixeira, Tegan Thuss, Katie Willdig

ADMINISTRATION President Bryn Ossington General Manager Angela Foster Production/Advertising Angela Taylor Chair of the Board Jordan Hyde Vice Chair Erin Epp Treasurer Tarun Gambhir Director David Goldberg Corporate Secretary Vacant Distribution Manager Kari Singer


From the perverse thrill of reading someone’s diary to schoolyard gossip to longsilenced confessions, there is something inherently thrilling about learning the secrets of another. It is from these voyeuristic and deeply personal admissions that the true character of an individual comes to light. I had no deep-seated agenda or ideological drive when I originally hypothesized “secret” as a possible theme for an issue; I simply believed that the topic would produce engaging content to read and view. In sum, I decided to capitalize on a secret’s inherently interesting value by editing an entire issue about them. Secrets are a unifying force - be they dark, repressed or completely benign, every person has one - but by virtue of their existence as private, a shared identity or solidarity cannot be formed by them. A publication like Blueprint therefore provides an interesting platform by which secrets can be discussed. Though contributors lay bare their secrets in an open space, the semi-anonymity of a magazine’s readership allows the author or artist to maintain a partial veil of secrecy. Secrets become a simultaneously public and private affair. Though secrets may be clung to for certainty and security, I firmly believe the axiom that the truth is never in bad taste. Freeing your secrets, especially in this space, can be a liberating experience.

Morgan Alan Editor-in-Chief

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Blueprint is the official student magazine of the Wilfrid Laurier University community.


Founded in 2002, Blueprint is an editorially independent magazine published by Wilfrid Laurier University Student Publications, Waterloo, a corporation without share capital. WLUSP is governed by its board of directors. Content appearing in Blueprint bears the copyright expressly of their creator(s) and may not be used without written consent. Blueprint reserves the right to re-publish submissions in print or online. Opinions in Blueprint are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Blueprint’s management, Blueprint, WLUSP, WLU or CanWeb Printing Inc. The circulation for a normal issue of Blueprint is 3000. Subscription rates are $20.00 per year for addresses in Canada. Distribution of Blueprint is provided in part by Dino Deliveries.

NEXT ISSUE On the theme of “Money” On stands November 3rd Submissions due October 22th


There are little secrets, and there are big secrets. Secrets between you and me, and secrets that will never be revealed. Humans have tried to unlock the secrets of the universe for centuries and dream of someday finding the key. Until then, if ever, we must look to our imaginations for the answers.



It has been mine for as long as I can remember. There is no time before it, and there will be no time after it. It is here to stay. It is here and it is mine, forever. It will always be just me and my secret, and you must believe me when I say I’ll never tell. Pictures and albums litter my life and I find it hard to look at the little girl with the smile upon her face. I am amazed at how easily I was able to fake it back then. Today, I find it much more difficult to do. Growing up and dealing with this severity of pain on my own has created a now neurotic, insecure, and amazingly guarded woman. But it is those who are in the pictures with me that I have chosen to protect over myself. I am saving them from feeling what I have felt my whole life, by acting as my own confidant. I hold onto something within that could easily destroy a lifetime of connections, something much bigger than a drunken kiss or bloodshot eyes. It is a betrayal that has determined every relationship I’ve had, and will ever have. I question every look, every tone, every motive, and everyone in my life. It is the reason I can so easily block and delete some people from my life, and why I hold on so desperately to others who ultimately mean nothing to me. It is a game of back and forth, freedom and imprisonment, love and hate – a slow, diminishing life. It has become something I have grown accustomed to. I picture life no other way; normalcy is unattainable in my world. We all have scars, some more deep than others, hidden away in the dark. So, I am just another victim of this cruel life, with vague words that hide a secret. And it is mine, not yours.



The Secret Life of the Canadian Twenty-Something JOCELYN SMITH

I definitely don’t have any Gossip Girl-esque secrets. I’m not even on the same level as the characters in Glee. And I’ve never actually seen the show I referenced in the title of this article, so I have no idea what their secrets are like. Somehow, I think they’re more dramatic than mine. However, I do think my own secrets, as tame as they are, have played an integral role in laying the foundation for many of the friendships in my life. In elementary school, most of the girls could sort their secrets into two categories: the boys they liked and the girls they hated. I am aware that some eight-year-olds have much more traumatic secrets than that, even in suburban Mississauga, but I’m trying to keep it light here, okay? These secrets were like currency on the playground; you had to carefully pick and choose which girls you shared this precious information with. It was the golden rule of the playground that only your absolute best-est friend - or, as my Anne Shirleyobsessed best friend and I used to say, “bosom friend” - knew your secrets. You couldn’t tell too many people, or your secrets lost their juiciness, but you had to tell someone or risk being the girl without a bosom friend. I was never very good at this. I rarely had crushes (there were slim pickings, trust me), so I made them up in order to have something to tell. I had (and maybe still have) a tendency to harbour some misanthropic feelings, so the list of girls I hated was much longer than the list of girls I liked – and I think telling that secret


might have led to my ostracism. Regardless, I somehow managed to talk (and lie) my way out of many dramatic, tearful scuffles without losing too much dignity or popularity. At first, I thought that my high school and university friendships were free of the complicated secrets that plagued my playground days. And, in a sense, they are. But when I really think about it, I realize that once again, I have chosen many of my closest friends based on my ability to share my secrets with them. It’s just the nature of the secrets that have changed; for one thing, these ones are true. For another, it isn’t necessarily that they are full of private, oh-my-god-pinky-swear-that-you’ll-never-tell-anyone gossip; mostly they just contain socially inacceptable information and the people you end up forging friendships with are the ones that don’t laugh when you share it with them. Or at least they laugh with you, not at you. For example, I’ll tell you my secret (no, I’m not a Trekkie – but I do think my theory explains why they all band together): I like Hanson. Yes, I do mean Hanson – the young boys with the long hair and prepubescent voices who charmed the nation back in 1997 with the nonsensical “Mmmbop.” And yes, they still exist, and are making excellent and much more mature music. But I’m not going to defend them to you (although I do think you should give them a second chance). If you already laughed at me, that’s a pretty shaky start to a friendship. If you laughed with me, maybe we should chat.

Sleeping Secrets KATRINA BEHR

Sleeping secrets; They dwell in my subconscious. Harbouring consequences, Hidden behind declarations. They dwell in my subconscious, Wishing to be free. Hidden behind declarations, I keep them locked up. Wishing to be free, They have truths to expose. I keep them locked up, Behind bars of shame. They have truths to expose, Tempting me with liberation. Behind bars of shame, I fear to confess.


Tempting me with liberation Harbouring consequences. I fear to confess Sleeping secrets.


If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody SARAH COLLEEN DILLON

She has been in the womb for ten months. She has stopped growing, but kicks harder every day. She will grow up to resent her mother, thinking she was held in for the extra month as punishment. She likes it when her mother sings. Tonight, she will escape and never stay anywhere for long again. She is Lindbergh. She was born with a birthmark in the shape of Gemini. She dislikes friendly strangers. Her name is the colour of pomegranate. Someday, she will find out what it really means to have her fingers stained. She is Botticelli. She is Uffizi. She is Madonna of the Pomegranate. She owns a bar off the main strip. She named it after her sister. A good smile makes her squint her eyes. She likes to use a new word every week. Until next week, she has never been in love. Tonight, the word is dubious. She is Mitzi. She is Edie. She is drunk. She likes to peel dried white glue from the palm of her hand. She saves each one in plastic sandwich bags. She spends most nights in the bathtub, smoking and smiling. She is scared of water and likes the sound of winter. She is Ophelia. She likes the sound of a man with a bass voice singing. She paints maps on her body. She means wild. She likes to paste Hollywood faces on her family photos. She doesn’t like to talk about her brother. She is Queen. She likes new socks and the smell of baby foreheads. She means business. She likes real laughter. She also likes the smell of moss after rain and Thai food in the Fall. This week, she has fallen in love with the girl from the newsstand. She is a stranger. She is Anaïs Nin. She likes to read the obituaries. She loves walking against a cold breeze and how it makes her eyes tear. She likes the way people used to speak in the forties and fifties. She is an oracle. She doesn’t know it yet, but her lover will dislike the smell of olives but find the taste of cum irresistible. She will be captivated. She is Delphi. She uses drywall compound to fix everything. She cannot stand an unfinished crossword or when people play themselves at chess. She thinks the profile of her lover is muscle, is perfect. She is a bridge. She is Arthur Wynne. She has never been on time once in her life. She dislikes people who chew loudly and talk with their mouths open. The word of the day is chance. She wants comedy. She wants Joan Cusack. She has a collection of vaginas under her bed. She likes singing on fire escapes. She is a pervert. She is a sadist. She is the Marquis de Sade. She likes listening to women cry in bathroom stalls. She loves gaps in teeth and burning in her throat. She hates it when people ash their cigarettes on the floor when there is an ashtray in front of them. She is Panang. She only burns Nag Champa incense. She destroys everything. She is Kali.


She has been a jilted lover. She loses her temper when coffee spills into the saucer. She cries when she walks alone at night. She is a warrior. She is Aunty Entity. She runs Bartertown. She likes the way cheesecake looks so fancy before it is eaten. She hates muzzles and raw shrimp. She has given herself 33 days to die. She will never have a son. She will bear witness to the greatest quest in history, finally completed. She is the Green Knight. She has a speech impediment. She chews on toothpicks and never wears underwear. She likes her steak to bleed. She is Spasmodic Dysphonia. She loves the sound of paper bags and boots in snow. She closes her eyes whenever her photo is taken. Her lover tango dances in dark alleys. She only likes to eat the burnt top of lasagna. The word of the day is splendid. She is Victorian Death Portraits. Sometimes, she forgets how to laugh. She likes jalapeños, the staff in fast food restaurants and porch season. Ceiling fans give her anxiety. There is no Roland Freisler. God is not her judge. Everyone else is. Some days, she is not compassionate. She tries to make jokes about her sadness. She has an independent eyebrow. She is an Elvis song. She likes the look of hungry cats. She dislikes the smell of perm solution. She is horrified by the capabilities of her hands. She is from the sea. She is unrequited. She is the Lady of Shalott. When she can’t think of the right words, she quotes other people. She tells epic sagas. She is Scandinavia. She is a liar. She burned her mother’s house down when she was seventeen. She likes her lava lamp and hates flowers. She is an extremely jealous lover. The word of the day is ominous. She is Lavender. She is Rhododendron. She loves faded lipstick on a glass, a cigarette, or a white collar. She dislikes citrus fruit. She cracks her knuckles and works with poisons. She is Antimony. She is a good spy. She lives above a bakery. She once tried to kiss a 15-yearold girl in her kitchen. She loves window-shopping. She goes to confession to confess. She is Istighfar. She loves a good cliché. When she sees steam rising from the sewer behind her building, she stands over it and watches herself die. She hates the feel of raw cotton. She is a 16th century poem. She is Thomas Wyatt. She drinks gin and nothing else. Her hair is red. Her lover is dead. She hates the smell of cilantro. She was banished from Eden. She is Eden. She is baby. She walk on water. She want approval. She want mommy. She madman. She desperate. She Andromeda. She could tell you how to get home. She also knows how to get into her house from the roof. She has seen God’s feet. She

Cape Fog DEVON BUTLER wears a chastity belt. No she doesn’t. She is 1492. She indulges herself in secret. She likes stupid, unconditionally faithful dogs. She sleeps sitting up. She hates the word mutiny. Her lover won’t be discovered for three weeks. Her lover is Elizabeth Short. The sound of duct tape gives her the creeps. She knows that rain gets rid of evidence. She wants to dance at the disco. She is always hungry. She has taken a vow of blindness. The word of the day is jubilation. She is former Aztec. She is Tlaloc. She looks like a crazy person. She has her doubts about gravity. She likes homogenized milk and exotic plants. She dislikes anything that encloses the neck. She wants to be an

acrobat. She wants to be Blondin. She wants to be Houdini. She wants to get out alive. She thinks everyone looks angry. She sometimes stares a little too long. She is Annapurna. She likes people who are tone deaf. The word of the day is meticulous. Her body will not be discovered for three weeks. She will be Black Putrefaction. She will be Butyric Fermentation. She has been reckoned. She is not Pretty Polly. She is not Lizie Wan. She is not Poor Ellen Smith. She is not Little Sadie. She is not a murder ballad. She Fortuna. She saw this coming.



She sits in silence watching him, eyes glued to his smile, his movements, his subtle gestures. His emotions etched perfectly into his fine face. She watches. He sits; laughing, contemplating, smiling. There across from him sits the one he loves. Eyes honey brown and photo perfect. She smiles, she tilts her head, mouth sneering at something he says, eyes focused on his. Hand up, she reaches out to touch his, light, fluttery, instant warmth from hand to heart. She sighs, she frowns, she looks down to hide the pain and shame. He is smiling so loud, so deafeningly; she is blinded, hurt. He moves hand down length of arm, down to elbow and squeezes gently, lovingly. Movement marked by heat of moment, passion, unflinching love. Eyes raised under dark lashes, seductive. He is caught in her glance. Slight smile, twisted to one side; hint of a tease, so beautiful. Hair tracing its way down her throat; he wants to be it, wants to feel her skin running underneath the tips of his fingers. Blush, she laughs, glorious, radiant, perfect. Red cheeks, dreamy look. She can’t look away from him, he seems so unguarded in the moment. Eyes so focused, soft dazed, glazed with affection. No words spoken, just eyes meeting, sharing essence, sharing love, sharing souls. Crinkled lines around eyes, mouth, map of happiness and adventures yet to embark on; dimples ablaze in his rosy cheeks, an oasis in the never-ending desert. Hair shines, not brown, no, anything but simple brown; chestnut, cherry, chocolate, coffee, tan, russet, auburn, raw and burnt umber, copper, sepia, sienna. All the shades, depending on the light from around her and from her eyes, her face, her warmth. Those honey eyes, those honey eyes; one could drown in the thick, sweetness of them. His blue eyes ever on her, all shades and shifting from love to adoration to affection to never ending gratitude.


Blue, stark blue. She wants to steal all the colour from those eyes; azure, cerulean, cobalt, cornflower, denim, Egyptian, majorelle, maya, Persian, royal, sky and steel. All flecks are tiny stars, shining from the depths of him, piercing out at all that they encounter. She is shook to her core when his eyes pass over her. Tender, her touch. She twiddles with his fingers, smiling shyly as she traces her ring finger in hopes. He knows it will be soon and wishes he could do everything she ever wanted in a single second for her. But patience, patience makes life ten times more brilliant when the time comes and her eyes explode with happiness and tears streak down her ruby and white skin. Hands clasped, soft whispers. She strains to hear his deep voice, that masculine undertone that fills her with a queasy glee; butterflies flipping over in hope. She drifts down again, clouds blown from general direction as she grips table and reality. Silver lining turned out to be rust, fake, nothing but illusion and dreams. Sadness. Soft kiss, touch of lips, peck. Feels lips burn as he pulls away. Her eyes closed, she looks like a painting; image stamps itself in his mind forever. Goddess, Aphrodite, Heart’s song. He still smells vanilla on the tip of his nose where he traced her cheek. She smiles, shy again, happy. Heartbreak, always the same. Euphoric, always the same. She watches him. Stand, take hand, walk toward door. She wishes she were that hand, that he had looked into her eyes, that the kiss was hers and the smile was hers and the touch was hers. He pulls, happy to be leaving with the one he loves. She sighs, she is not the one, she will never be the one. She is friend, only. Door opens...door closes.



“In this place she had let that guard down, and because of that, she could not approach him. She always has to mentally prepare herself before speaking to him, even just to say hello, how are you, fine thanks. Terror, that is what she always feels.”

The Gyre


One of those days. Not a pleasant one. She is bored of the nothingness after the completion of her (so far) magnum opus. Take a break, a breath, a holiday, they told her. Rest a little. Yes, she would like to do that, but one could not simply stop right here, right now, not after all those months. No, the words are still in her mind, turning and turning. Only one more week of this banality. Trudging along toward the store, she wonders why she is like this, why nothing that normal people do is interesting. The only solution she can think of is of the seven percent variety. Hardly helpful. Her eyes scan the crowd out of habit. Perhaps– Eyes meet hers. Impossible to miss. Him. Yes, it is him. Here. Here! Of all the places that he should be and she should be at once, here is not one of them. This is not a place where he belongs. Time stops. It all stops. She stares and he stares (recognition clear) and then the spell is broken. Lightning has struck. She does all she can; runs.


The man before her does not move fast enough. Lumbering along, his limbs hurting, she buzzing close behind, staring at his shoulders, willing him to move, move, move. Poor timing, that’s all. Another moment and she should have missed him, would never have caught his eye, would have been safely behind or ahead or– But why run? She only asks this once she is through the door, back straight and eyes forward. She knew she would look back, but not yet, please not yet. Too soon. Perhaps he has not recognized her, but there is too much for her vanity to suffer if he has not. She would rather suffer the mortification if he has. Mortification. So much in that word. Death and everything else. Completeness. She knew she would see him today. One of those feelings, a little prick in the back of her mind that warned her to be watchful, to be on guard. In this place she had let that guard down, and because of that, she could not approach him. She always has to mentally prepare herself before speaking to him, even just to say hello, how are you, fine thanks. Terror, that is what she always feels. Terror and something else. Something

Extend EMILY KENNEDY like– Breath sharply taken in. Her own. Stopping herself, wanting herself to go on. Must go on. Must not look back. Coward. Can’t even face him. Have to run, to hide, to escape– What? Good question. Moment of weakness. She stops, the crowd moving along, all knowing where they are going and what they want and why they want it, leaving her with only questions. The answers were too slippery, themselves cowards. She turns right, a dead corner ahead; it is a place where few others are going. Does she want him to see her? Does she want him to follow? Toward the light. Follow her out of this darkness, this gyre that turns and turns and refuses to end. No end, no centre, no way of knowing the truth. The answers scuttle away, but she catches their whispered taunts, grasps at their dangled hints. She should know by now what it is, what it all means. It’s not that she doesn’t have the answers, but that she has pretended not to see them, not to see that she– No. And he– No. Hush,

quaking heart. Speak it aloud and it will be real. There is a gap in the crowd. His presence pulls at her, the puppeteer tugging at the strings. Turn. Turn. Look just once. Her footsteps slow. What would it mean to look? She is safe, surely. He has passed by, already forgetting the flash of familiar eyes in the crowd (but it could not have been her, he might say to himself) and going to get whatever he had come for. The moment would be hers alone. Yes, just one look. He must be gone by now. She stops, her head turning, followed by the rest. The first thing she sees is him. Watching her with perplexed confusion and even something else, something like pain? No. Rejection? The answer slips away. That one mistake. Orpheus stares into the darkness to meet the eyes of Eurydice. They see one another, but it is the wrong time, the wrong moment, and all is lost. When he blinks, she has faded. And when she blinks, he is gone.




Do You Have A Secret?


Some families hold secrets, our friends may have secrets, and even Wilfrid Laurier students have secrets. The LSPIRG working group “Laurier Secrets” is an open community where people can anonymously share their own secrets by creatively writing them on cards and sending them in. This project is inspired by PostSecret, the original secrets project, because one night, a man had a dream…literally. Frank Warren was in Paris when he had a dream that three postcards he had put in his nightstand before falling asleep had messages written on them. When he awoke, he tried to recreate the postcards as seen in his dream. Since then, every Sunday he would create work called the “reluctant oracle project” and then release it for the world to discover. A few Sundays later, PostSecret started, where people would write their own secret on a postcard, decorate it, and submit it anonymously to Warren. Since 2005, thousands and thousands of cards were collected and later displayed publicly (on the website, Facebook, conferences and nation-wide talks by Warren) and even published in a series of books. Warren’s motivation and purpose of this project is three-fold; he believes the homemade postcards allow the author to set free a secret they are holding within. In an almost therapeutic way, the secrets are inspiring to those who read them, and give them hope if they identify with the secret. Lastly, it is to create an anonymous, open community where everyone is accepted. At Laurier Secrets, we hold the same values and they are specifically why it began in the first place. University communities are filled with students who are experiencing an array of events, emotions, obstacles, and going from one lifestyle before university, to another when entering university. Laurier Secrets gives the university community a chance to express themselves and tell their story anonymously in hopes of releasing something they have possibly kept inside, or simply something they want others to see. The fact that people are able to expose their secret to the outside world shows how strong they are, and even if they are not, their secrets will give them the comfort of knowing they are being heard. Laurier Secrets also gives people the opportunity to view and connect with others’ secrets giving them the security of knowing they are not alone in this world. We could all use that secure feeling to help us get over the bumps in life. If writing a secret allows you to bury a burden or empty your system, then a homemade postcard is waiting for you. Laurier Secrets displays secrets at booths and online, where people can create their own cards. To submit secrets visit the HUB drop box, the Club Laurier website, and Facebook at “(Shh!) Laurier Secrets”.


In Bed


The girl yawns and rolls over to discover the boy asleep in bed beside her, forgetting she had invited him up at the end of the night after too many drinks. Sunlight streams in through the useless white curtains she has strung up over the window above her bed. The boy lets out a slight snore; a familiar noise from a face she has looked at for years. The girl catches her mouth smiling at the boy’s blond, scruffy beard, still bleached almost white from the summer, and bites her lip to stop herself. She squeezes her eyes shut, and buries her face in the pillow, blocking out the bright sunshine and the boy’s cloudless face. She lets herself sink back into the dark memory of last night, tonguing each of the short moments, pressing them for clues. He had text messaged her after their group of friends had parted and wandered their own separate routes home from the bar. She had been in her bedroom, staggering into her pajamas. The stars are unreal. Want to gaze? Warmth spread through her alcohol-numbed body. At the beginning of the evening, she had learned that he thought she was cute. That he maybe found her interesting. But at the bar he had danced with all of her girl friends. Yeah. Are you close? She sat half-undressed on the edge of her bed, waiting for his response. If she remained dressed, expected him, she would be lighting her carefully darkened hope. The phone rang in her hand. “Hello?” she answered breathlessly, forgetting to wait the usual two rings. “I’m near your house…” his voice was calm, but held a laugh, every word seemed to both soothe and mock. “It’s a perfect night for star-gazing.” She quickly put her going-out clothes back on, and touched-up her makeup. She threw a hoodie on over her dress, attempting to satisfy the “cute” appraisal he had given her.


She met him on the front lawn. They looked up. It was cloudy. He shrugged his shoulders into a laugh. “There were stars just a moment ago…” She smiled at him and felt her heart swell with assumption. She decided there had never been any stars. She decided he’d wanted to be alone with her since their first meeting the previous week. Starless, they instead took turns gazing at each other, and looking away when the other met their eyes. They stood apart on the lawn; the grass was already too wet from dew to sit on, and her student house had no front porch. She waited for him to touch her, tried to give him excuses to just reach over, bridge the cold gap between their flushed bodies with his tanned arms. But all along she knew he wouldn’t, knew he couldn’t; it was her gap to bridge or not. So they remained apart, lusting separately after a shared fantasy. Too soon, their nervous small talk began to wear out. Then she noticed the couple across the street. “Hey, look at them!” she whispered. A couple sat illuminated under the lights of the front porch of a house. A girl sat on a boy’s lap, legs around his waist, hands groping, lips sucking. They stood and watched the pair’s blatant intimacy, feeling the heightening lack of their own. The girl reluctantly lifts her face from the pillow, opens one eye, and then the other, to find the boy still asleep in front of her. She examines the messy blonde hair she has run her fingers through countless times, the strong shoulders she has gripped night after night – prosaic on him, yet the same features ornament the unexplored body of the boy on the lawn. He wakes up, sees her watching him, and lifts the corners of his mouth in a smile. She shuts her eyes against him, hoping to conceal her furtive thoughts behind her lids. She turns her back to his, and allows his familiar body to mould itself around hers. His fingers promptly begin to re-walk the worn trail he has followed the last three years of their relationship, along her thigh, and under her shirt. She squeezes her eyes tighter, shut, and imagines the hands of the boy on the lawn.

“She decided there had never been any stars. She decided he’d wanted to be alone with her since their first meeting the previous week.”






In the sweetest, most grotesque of burlesque shows Deliberate disintegration A showcase of imagination A showering of assumption in a postsecret apparition on the dilution of a facebook profile Everyone knows your secrets and every one is wrong.


Magic for Madness DEVON BUTLER

The first therapist I ever visited was Dr. Felbaum. I was twelve. On our first session, I sat in a comfy, oversized chair but didn’t allow myself to sink too deeply into it. He asked me what was wrong, so I told him. I told him I was afraid to leave my house, afraid to be around crowds of people, afraid of bad things happening, afraid of being sad. With a rather bemused look on his face he set down his notepad and walked over to a bookcase. From the middle shelf he drew a toy wand, with a small blue star at the top. He waved it over my head and asked ‘Are you cured?’ I replied with a most obvious no, and he smiled. “You can’t wave a magic wand and cure what’s going on within a person; it’s going to take hard work, practice, and motivation.” That may be the most significant lesson I remember from my sessions with him, or any of my therapists, for that matter. It was this rather simplistic viewpoint that shaped the way I would think about people who, like me, are obliged to carry around the shameful secret of living with a mental illness. I can only vaguely recall playing with the neighbourhood kids when I was twelve, but nothing significant stands out to indicate the strengthening of my condition. I’m sure there were funny moments, or times when I felt completely at ease, only I can’t commit them to memory. The most significant moment I remember from that period in my life is riding on my grey scooter. The scooter, which I received as a Christmas present, was one of the hottest gifts of that year. Once school let out and the weather grew warm, I would go outside, take my scooter from the garage and aimlessly scoot around my house. I’d scoot from one end of my lengthy porch to the other for hours on end. These hours of solitary contemplation were an escape from the reality that not a single one of my ‘friends’ had called


all summer, and that with every hour that passed, I was nearing closer to returning to the hellish ordeal of elementary school. While most twelve year olds were doing something exciting (and less self-reflective) that summer, I’m sure, I was outside, alone, nearly every day. I like to believe I was an intelligent child, yet I never fully understood just how removed I was from my peers. I knew that on the surface I was different. I didn’t flirt with boys or fall neatly into a pre-determined social stratum, but there was always that underlying gut-feeling that told me I would never be genuinely accepted by society. At sleepovers, my friends would discuss their latest crushes or gossip about the school’s faculty while all I wanted was to figure out the meaning of life, or analyze why they called them ‘Game Boys’ and not ‘Game Girls.’ Having a different thought process than my peers was enough to make me feel alienated from my own generation, and the loneliness only grew greater. While there’s no limit to how often you can be upset, there exists a limit to how long people will pretend to be interested in your woes. There comes an inevitable point of realization that you really are on your own and no amount of therapy or wine-drinking with your girlfriends is going to magically mend the state of your mind. In our optimism (or naivety), we believe that with every virus there is an antidote, and to every problem, there must be a solution. It’s this rather ignorant conclusion that leads people to try and ‘fix’ an individual with a problem they can’t see or really, for that matter, understand. Isn’t that what all their options are hinting towards? Lorazepam and Prozac or endless cycles of psychoanalysis to conclude that you are, in fact, not ‘normal’ and therefore must be altered to better adapt and conform to the world around you. When I was twelve I was less exposed to political matters, less tuned in to prejudices, and blindly unaware of the battle

ahead of me. Yet, I still possessed enough knowledge to realize the world was in no better shape than I. Does this make me negative or realistic to admit that there are an overwhelming number of problems in the world, many of which seem impossible to mend? The sheer weight of worry is enough to drive any sane person mad. While I continue to manage the criticism that accompanies having a difference of opinion, the only comfort attained is through identifying with the Thomas Hardys of the world and trusting that maybe, one day, I too will be celebrated for my negativity. It wasn’t until I read The Secret Lives of Bees that I better understood one of the causes of my depression. I identified with May Boatwright and her struggle to carry the weight of the world, on her shoulders and in her mind; her pessimism was simultaneous with her sadness. Naturally, as I grew up, I became aware that I couldn’t bask in the tragedy of my condition like a great work of literature, but that scientific aspects played the lead role in my illness. Chemical imbalances and hereditary conditions became the prevalent explanation, a reality that took some of the magic out of my madness. As I outgrew my scooter, I didn’t outgrow my neurotic, anxious tendencies or the sadness that would attack without warning. It was a game of surprise. I could go months without an anxiety attack or burst of sorrow. I would feel right for a time until I felt that maybe I had been cured, that maybe it was possible to overcome this condition without external, supernatural assistance. Then it would strike. Then I would

crumble down and bow to it. I would repeatedly think that nobody understood. Nobody would criticize a girl in a wheelchair because she couldn’t walk. How, then, is it fair to criticize someone because she can’t be happy? This is definite, there is no easy fix. Just as somebody with a physical disability does not choose to have it, mental illnesses are not choices within our control. I used to bubble over with envy towards girls with hair a length mine would never grow to. Girls followed by men like lost puppies. Girls who ‘had it all.’ Until one told me that she was jealous of me; that I had what she didn’t. I laughed at the illusion of my sanity. Because my disability is invisible, it can forever be a secret. I don’t have to share it; I don’t have to admit to it. I can deceive. Whether I choose to reveal the secrets I so often try to hide, or motivate myself by bringing awareness to the state of mental health in broader society, my mind is forever trapped on that grey scooter. The colourless handle-bars are my prison, just like the barred windows of the Grand River Hospital; separating me from them. But will I, in this condition wild like Sylvia Plath or Kate Chopin, let my madness transpire to something productive, something great? Or will I cave and share the same fate as my tragically flawed poet ancestors? He waves the wand and I’m back again, in that oversized chair I won’t let myself sink too deeply into. No, I’m not cured yet. I will ride that scooter for the rest of my downtrodden days. Fantasy DEVON BUTLER


Couples Make Noise ANDY CLARK

One summer, strapped for cash, I applied to work through the local university. Being so late in the season, most jobs were filled, but I found work as a cleaner in the athletic building. The job was fairly unsavoury, considering how many people work out and use the facilities in the summer, but the pay was good and the work was easy. The main part of my job was scrubbing and mopping the floors in the showers; since it was done at night, it was quiet and I could go about my job alone. One night while I was just about to start mopping the shower floors, a soft feminine moan emanated from one of the shower cubicles. I was warned about this when I was hired. It’s generally known and accepted that students love to have sex, especially in the showers; my employer explained that I should try and tell guilty couples off if I experienced it. I personally don’t mind, so I set up my mop and continued to listen with a lewd sense of humour. They’re really going at it now. The moaning has turned to outright animalistic love noises. I continue to listen, hidden from the view, mopping at a steady pace. I’m slightly aroused, but for the sake of my work I hold my desires inside. Finally, after some more grunting and moaning, they finish. From my position in one of the cubicles I can hear the couple running and giggling out of the bathroom. I continue to mop the floor at a steady pace, taking extra special care to watch for the cubicle where the couple made love. It’s Tuesday, a week later, and I’m about to start my shift; I grab my supplies and walk into the showers. I hear the same moaning that I heard the week before; it appears that this couple have some kind of weekly love-in here. It continues on, as it did before, and while I’m in another cubicle mopping, I hear it speed up and finish with the giggling and the running. I continue to mop the floor at a nice pace, watching out for unsightly floor messes. The next day, waiting for the bus to go to the university, I notice a good looking female student standing by herself. I strike up a conversation because she’s holding one of my favourite books and we hit it off, talking of authors that we have read and new CDs we have bought. There’s something familiar about her voice that draws me to her, as well as her


inherent intelligence and soft-spoken demeanor. It seems to be going quite well and, as I haven’t had good female company in a while, I ask to see her again. She smiles at me but declines, saying that although I’m quite nice, she has a boyfriend. My stomach turns, as I honestly thought there was a spark, but such is the life of a janitor. We bid farewell and I leave to the athletic building to set up my cleaning supplies. The next Tuesday rolls around and I’m heading to the showers, about twenty minutes early this time. I’m about to walk around the corner of the hallway towards the bathroom door when I see the noisy couple walking in towards the showers, holding hands. The male looks like a regular university blockhead, but I catch a good glimpse of the female’s face and, oh Lord Almighty, it’s the girl from the bus. That’s why her voice seemed so familiar! I’d heard her before, I knew her, but only in the most intimate language. I quietly follow them into the showers and hide in the cubicle next to theirs. I hear them begin to go at it and there’s such a strong drive in my head that I stay and listen. However, the more I listen, the more the frustration grows inside me. Why should I have to clean up their mess every Tuesday? Don’t they have any shame? This is a public area and now their pubic hair is my responsibility. In the end, I leave and let them finish their business. I go to my janitor’s closet and grab my supplies for the night’s work. Another week of dreary cleaning continues, and it’s Tuesday again. I decide to go in early to work and get a head start. Half an hour before my shift begins, I grab some of the ammonia from the cleaning closet and quickly run through all the shower cubicles, dumping the solution on the floors. I head back to the cleaning closet and, just like clockwork, the happy couple comes prancing in to the washroom. I wait outside with my supplies. I wait there for only two minutes when the couple comes rushing out. The female looks extremely upset and, the male, ready for a fight. “I need to wash my feet, they’re burning!” The girl cries out. The man leads her away and they disappear into the bathroom across the hall. I grab my supplies and start the shower clean up. I mop at a steady pace, uninterrupted by the stench of ammonia cleansing the floor.



If Academics Discovered Fire LOST NOWHERE

Academic Caveman #1: Academic Caveman #2: Academic Caveman #3:

Did you notice that when lightning hits a tree it sometimes erupts in a bright hot light? Yes, and the light spreads to all the other trees close by. And it only stops when all the trees are gone.

1: Do you think the lightning is hot? 2: I don’t know, why? 1: Because the light is hot, so maybe the lightning makes the tree hot, and that makes the light. 3: And why does the light spread? 1: The trees are fuel for the light. 2: Lets call this light, fire, and when it spreads, let’s call that burning. 3: So you are saying that heat creates fire, and wood gives it fuel to keep burning? 1: Yes! Heat creates fire! 2: And fire makes more heat, as long as it has fuel! 1: Yes! 3: So to make fire we need heat and fuel. 2: But how to we make heat? 1: With wood, we rub two pieces together quickly and make it hot. 2: Eureka! I wonder what would happen if we started using fire to warm our caves and heat our food. 3: That’s not all. With fire we could chase away large animals. We could make a fire in the forest and drive our prey. 1: If we had fire, more of us would survive the winter. 2: We could be the most powerful animals on earth! The academic cavemen continued to talk long into the night about the possibilities of their new discovery. For days they talked, theorized, and came up with more and more ideas of how fire could change their lives. One day, it became very cold. The tribe experienced the worst winter they had ever seen. People were dying, and hunting was difficult. So the academic cavemen gathered together. 1: We need fire! 2: Well, let’s make some. 3: Yes, we know how. 1: We can bring it back to the tribe and show them what we made! 2: What kind of wood should we use? 3: Does it matter? 1: I think it does. We need soft wood. It will catch better. 2: No, we need hard wood. We can rub it faster. They continued to debate on the best way to make fire, until one of them finally stopped it. 3: We don’t want to waste energy trying to make a fire that doesn’t work. 1: I think we need to tell the tribe about our discovery. Maybe one of them will make a fire. But when they did, the tribe had no idea what they were talking about. The academic cavemen had been talking about it amongst each other for so long they had developed their own jargon. No one knew what fire was or how it was possible to make


it. The academic cavemen could not show them what they had never done themselves. The academic cavemen left and returned to their meeting place. 1: The people don’t understand how much better life would be with fire! 2: Why don’t they see it? 3: They are just ignorant. They don’t want to see. 1: Then how do we make fire? 2: I guess we’ll have to make it. They all looked at each other, each waiting for the other to try. Finally, the first caveman picked up two sticks and started rubbing them together, but his limbs were too cold, he couldn’t move fast enough. Eventually he gave up. The second caveman tried. He got the sticks hot, but no flame came out. The third caveman tried. He got a spark. 1: Quick, keep it going! 3: How? 2: Get some more wood! 1: Blow on it! Academic Caveman EMILY KENNEDY But it was too late. The spark was gone. The academic cavemen discussed their dilemma and decided that once the flame started they had to work quickly to keep it going. They discussed exactly how they would do this. It took a long time, but eventually, after sitting cold and stiff for hours, they were ready to try again. This time though, they could not even get a spark. They were too stiff from sitting so long in the bitter cold talking. 1: I can’t feel my fingers. 2: I don’t understand. We know everything there is to know about making fire. Why can’t we make it? 3: We came up with the idea, shouldn’t someone else be able to try it out? Why should we have to do everything? 2: But the people in the tribe don’t understand. The academic cavemen kept talking until they were too cold to move. By the time they finally decided to just go back to the tribe, they had frozen to death. The secret of fire died with them and the human race remained small and insignificant; which, in retrospect, is a good thing. Too bad academic cavemen didn’t run things back then. All their theories and discoveries would have remained happily in their little groups, to be discussed and debated for all eternity.


Beholder IX



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