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Issue 0004, December, 2011

WILL OLSZEWSKI HAO ANH NGUYEN BRIANNE YORK SHERI WRIGHT

JULIE MILLER

Everglades On Fire By Sheri Wright


The House Down the Street By Will Olszweski The boy could not enter, The house with ease, So instead, He waited outside and preferred freeze, He was a polite boy, Always said thank you, And please, But he was clearly scared, By the shaking in his knees, His friends wanted to see, The many run-down rooms, Other kids told of stories, How in the basement were tombs, And there was so much dust, It was like they’d never owned brooms, The house must be haunted, As that’s what everyone assumes, It has been abandoned, For the past ten years, The large man died, From downing forty beers, And the widow soon passed, By drowning in her tears, And still their spirits last, And awaken people’s fears, The house was creepy, That was for sure, But no one really had known, What they had done before, It was believed there was a human heart, Buried under the living room floor, Although there was never such a thing, People tend to love folklore,


Will Olszewski


Encaustic #6 by Jules Miller


Encaustic #2 by Jules Miller


Brianne York

Growing Older ~ Look at you Already grown Into the best man alive And this is well known From boy to man Overnight seems like 18 years gone by Wow time flies You have learned so much And I know you will not let this knowledge of yours go to waste You have a wonderful and beautiful future ahead of you You came a long way To get where you are today Know I'm always here for you to stay You are a winner A star in my eyes And I am so lucky To have you in my life


Encaustic Paintings Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which resins and colored pigments are added. This results in a paste like medium, which is applied to a surface such as prepared wood or canvas. Encaustic painting methods were invented by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. The word is Greek for “burnt in�. A reason for its popularity was the durability of the finish when dry. It resists atmospheric conditions and was used to protect sculptures.

Various 229-1 by Jules Miller


Encaustic fell out of favour though as tempura and oils were used more readily. In the 18th century, artists began making encaustic works once more. The archeologist, Comte de Caylus, excavated to discover the old techniques and wrote papers to popularize this material again. Still, it remains a rarely used material as it can be laborious to heat up. Diego Rivera and Jasper Johns are among the 20th century artists who have used encaustic. —Jules Miller

Various 231-1 by Jules Miller


Stage Fright by Hao Nguyen

Lights blinded as my eyes nervously wandered the crowd shrouded in darkness. Sweat rolled down the sides of my face, smearing make up applied to it prior to this great obstacle. My eyes twitched, my hands shook even as I fought to keep them calm and even a knot began to form inside my throat, making even swallowing almost seem impossible. I stood still, awaiting my cue, mentally freaking out as if I were to be executed at any second, although I might as well have been. The spotlight was mine in a situation at which at a time was my biggest nightmare. Growing up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, it was difficult to stand out from the usual crowd of school kids. If a guy didn’t have a crew cut, wear Tshirts, and know anything about farming, it was easy to find him outside of any social group. Add a cultural and racial difference and I was the result. Being raised by parents who had immigrated from South Vietnam, I grew up on different principles as compared to the other children at school and because of that, my personality developed differently. Being a lower class family further affected that as well. Life seemed like a test: don’t do anything bad or be met with disapproval; do something good, don’t expect approval; simply don’t get approval period. My siblings and I never had chores to do but instead we were expected to clean at almost all times. And what was our reward? The ability to watch our favorite TV shows, confined into our rooms where we had spent a majority of our childhoods. Children need fresh air sooner or later though, right? Some would like to think so, yet with a father who once served as a soldier in the Cambodian war, everything was a possibility, and most of the time, paranoia prevented us from leaving his “protection”. At any second something dangerous could occur, and he always stressed to us to always be prepared mentally and instinctively. Even at a young age, this responsibility was emphasized and because of all these aspects and their effect on my well being, I was different among my peers. Due to the solitary lifestyle, opportunities to meet new people, establish connections, and improve communication skills never became an option. I became the shy, awkward kid and when prejudice manifested among students, I became the target. How easy it is to strike the wounded animal when it is defenseless and alone, I understood the concept very well. Not only did the lack of support from my family cause a feeling of a worthlessness, being treated as an alien among classmates did not help at all as well. The same jokes were said by all, the same insults followed, and all the students began to unite together to separate away from me. I could never figure out why, such cruelty went on unpunished. Maybe I was too quiet about the ordeals? Maybe nobody really cared? Maybe it was all in good fun and I was overreacting (although the pain felt real). Whatever it was, it changed my mentality, scarring me. Later, the harassment would take its toll on my mind. I use to sit against the walls in the hallway before classes. The only bus that stopped nearby the old trailer I had lived in always arrived early and with the parents always working long before school began, everyday I had an hour or longer to spare. In these times I use to question life, dark thoughts fused with ideas of existentialism or at least as much a kid could understand. I was obviously worthless if everyone else treated me like it. And what would I say? What communication skills did I have at the time? Would I march to all and shout to all of them, telling them all the atrocities they promoted by continuing their contagious and addictive game? I was doomed for a life of depression, dark philosophy, and no motivation to improve. Little did I know, things would drastically change. Sophomore year, I had recently been allowed to partake in a small art club, with permission from the parents, a rare thing one in my place could expect. Being the shy, awkward guy I enjoyed being by myself, quiet and content, using my talented hands to construct mediocre works of art using a paper and a little graphite. It was my vice to draw pictures when I felt the world was too much to bear. Then she arrived. Standing at about 5’ 7”, blond hair with streaks of brown, glasses, a band T-shirt and a smile I could never forget, Kim Eder was a girl whom I use to work as a cafeteria lunch server during middle school as well. Knowing her from previous years, although we had never talked for years due to different roads being taken, she joined me at the large, white drawing tables. “What are you drawing?” she was peeking over my shoulder, friendly. “Just a picture.” I was awkward as usual. “It looks nice. Where did you get so good?” “Lots of practice.” “Well you should teach me sometime.” “I’m not that good.” She took a seat across from me, looking at my random wardrobe choices of cheap carpenter jeans, and baggy skull shirts. I was never really a teen of style at the time. I just knew I didn’t have money for anything better. Taking out painting material, she began to continue a painting of hers. We began to talk, or at least she talked and I fought my hardest to not bore her to death, although I knew I could at any second. We talked about days, weeks, weekends, music, food, colors, art, and everything in between and outside for all


Encaustic #4 by Jules Miller


the time allowed. For a shy guy, she said that I was doing pretty well with the conversation. I felt a little bit of accomplishment although I felt she was only being polite. Who would actually enjoy my company? Time rushed by and as the colors and shading of our pieces had grown across our papers, she began to pack up. “Where you going?” I asked innocently, hoping she wouldn’t leave such a great conversation. “Play tryouts!” she was enthusiastic; acting was her favorite thing to do. “We have plays at this school?” “Yeah! Like two every year. Wait! I have a great idea! Come with me!” “Oh no, I can’t act.” “Anyone can act. Come on its fun!” “I don’t think you understand.” “I don’t think you understand how fun this will be. You’ll have tons of fun!” “I would die on that stage!” “Not realistically.” she smiled stubbornly, “Trust me, come and you’ll see and if I’m wrong, you won’t have to talk with me ever again.” Afraid of losing a possible friend, I reluctantly agreed. Now many directors will tell you of their worst auditions ever seen, but none could compare to the atrocious try outs I called my own. Being an ex-director recalling the past, I always gagged at envisioning my attempt at an audition: reading the lines wrong, using strange accents, having my back to the audience. Anything wrong that could have been done, I accomplished. Surprising at the end of the week, ironically, I was cast the male lead. Apparently I looked like the character description: a male nerd on the verge of emotional break down. Funny how life’s coincidences remind you who you are. Days dwindled down, long practices progressed and passed, and soon the day of the great performance came. All actors rushed to the dressing room, costumes ready, make up applied, we prepared for a great show, and for some of us, our first show. With the same mentality from before, I stood behind the curtain, imagining all the faces in the crowd: students, many of those who use to laugh at me in previous times. Would they laugh at me again? What if I messed up? Would they laugh then at my complete worthlessness? The nerves began to take hold of me as the scenes took their time to play out. Then the final moment came. Alone on stage, in shock of stage fright as I scanned the crowd of masked faces, obscured from the lights shining in my face, I was silent. What was I suppose to do? Then the rage grew from within. The lines came to mind. And I unleashed my poetic anger and made my first stand. Line after line, I shouted, proclaimed, and glared down audience members as mechanic words were released from my now empowering voice. My mouth spoke clear words, but my body, eyes, and tone conveyed another message: “Look at me! Look at the kid who was harassed! I will not stand for it any longer! I am somebody! I am worth something!” My heart rang out, using every ounce of creative energy to take hold as my lines united into a positive message up until my last word. I finished, standing there a silhouette and a shadow of who once was. The audience remained quiet and as I turned to the sound of closing music, all was calm. My heart beat once…twice…three times…how well did I do? And did I any longer care? I was done with the ordeal, and that was all I really wanted. Suddenly, as my eyes left the audience, a roar of applause came from the crowd as their sounds blended with the music fading to the end of the show. I walked back out, bowed away and overheard experienced theater student actors mention, “this guy definitely has to stay”. I could not feel my feet anymore. I was flying on euphoria and success. I had made my stand to an audience who may have not had any connection to my past ordeals, but the moment itself became the turning point in my life. My climax you could say. It was only then, did I focus on my fallacies and worked on changing them for the better. No longer did I care about the harsh opinions of others. Only my judgment towards myself would define who I was, and no longer did I see myself as the worthless, awkward child I was once defined. Gaining a great newfound mentality, opportunities began such as: newspapers, directing, acting, speech teams and even creative writing as well. Nothing seemed impossible, or at least to me, anything could be done. It would only take a few years and soon, the shy, awkward kid would become a man known by many friends and acquaintances as an acclaimed amazing communicator with great talent and insight. It’s phenomenal to think that such small moments can impact your entire life when you take the steps toward them. To this day, I repeat this story to those who are also lost, telling of how my best friend Kim Eder saved me from a life of depression and loneliness by offering her friendly hand and my fight to a better well being. Today she lives in California, and I still feel that I owe her my life because without her, I would still be the same awkward child, afraid to stand on not only a theatric stage, but the stage we call life and freely speak my mind. Sometimes I like to think that by sharing this story, I can connect with others, show them that I too was once lost and reveal the choice: to take the positive opportunities around you and to remember that only you define who you are, just take the stage and let your voice be heard.


Encaustic #3 by Jules Miller


Encaustic #7 by Jules Miller


CONTRIBUTORS

HAO ANH NGUYEN is a sophomore at the Minnesota State University of Moorhead going for English with an emphasis on Creative Writing with goals to pursue a Ph.D in English or a Master in Fine Arts for Writing. His real dream though is to create works that will influence readers to do what makes them happy, take up opportunities, realize flaws in themselves, and strive to be better. He write, not for money nor fame, but influence. He aspires to inspire.

WILL OLSZEWSKI was raised in New Jersey, but has been living in the Kansa City, MO area since 2004. I have been drawing, painting, and writing for years as a mostly-self-taught hobby. He is currently working towards an art degree. He would like to have a career involved with graphic design and animation character design, although he hasn’t exactly decided yet.

SHERI WRIGHT has recently discovered the world of photography. Although her first love is for words, the visual arts have left her smitten. Her works are scheduled for publication in The Single Hound and Blood Orange Review. Unless otherwise noted, Ms. Wright's images are available at reasonable rates, as book covers/wrap-arounds and CD/DVD covers. Publishing houses and private individuals may inquire via Flickr or my website at www.scribblingsandsuch.com.

BRIANNE YORK is 20 years old and attends school at Metropolitan Community College. She is in school for nursing, although she really has her eye on getting her doctorate. While she is a full time student, she also has a full time job at Great Clips as a hairstylist. In Brianne's free time she likes to write poetry, play the piano, play with children, and do some interior decorating. Having a full time job and being a full time student doesn't leave Brianne with much free time, but she always tries to find time to do the things she enjoys. Brianne has a very bright further ahead of her and plans to do everything in her power to be successful and make her dreams come true.


Various #247-1 by Jules Miller


EDITOR’S CORNER So, normally I would write a short essay about something writing or creativity related. Unfortunately, this month I was short on ideas. By the time I realized that I hadn’t yet written anything for the magazine, I was too short on time to come up with anything that was really good. I had an idea, but I scrapped when I realized it was bad. Instead of an essay, I present to you part of the first chapter of a novel that I’m working on. This is actually the same part that I’ve submitted to my creative writing class for critique. I haven’t gotten their reviews back yet. Hopefully, they like it. Hopefully, you will as well. Enjoy, Nadiyah

Lykos/Tryvos Rain and wind pummeled Ean, blinding her, freezing her. Sticks, twigs, and rocks bit into her bare feet. She scraped her hands as she slapped thorny brush and branches out of her way. She yelped as her soaked hair flipped behind her and caught in branches. It hurt, but she couldn’t worry about that now. Arrows whizzed past her, landing in the mud, bushes, and tree trunks. She had to run faster. Horses nayed their refusal to follow her. The men would have to get off of their horses and catch her by foot. She wished that meant her chances of survival were greater, but she knew that made them worse. The soldiers were faster than she was, stronger, and they had weapons. She wasn’t a fighter. The only weapon she had ever held was her father’s sword. The only reason her father had a sword was because it was an heirloom. Not even he could fight. Ean regretted coming into the woods, but she had no choice. If she had stayed on the open plain, she would be dead now. She was surprised she had made it this far. The royal guard did not miss their target. If her guardian angels could get her this far, she wondered if they could get her over the wall. But she knew even angles had their limits. The branches that hung low and roots that tore up from the ground were hard to get over on a good day, now they were slick and cold. She climbed over and under as best as she could, but her nightgown impeded her movement. She would have to take care of that, but she couldn’t now. If she stopped now, she was dead. It was so dark. She didn’t even have the moon to guide her. She knew her way around the woods well enough during the day, but she didn’t venture into the woods at night. No one did. There were too many animals; the woods were too wild. Actually, there were some people who went into the woods at night. To be a royal guard, night training was required. They all had to be able to find their way around the woods at night. Hairs stood on the back of her neck. Her lungs burned, begging for one moment of air. She ran into a fallen tree and hurt her torso. This trunk was bigger than the others she had come across. She forgot this was the reason she avoided going through the woods in this direction. She hiked her skirt up, but it fell as soon as she released it to climb the trunk. Shit! This wasn’t going to work. And the tree was too long for her to run around. The skirt had to go. She grabbed the hem of her gown and lifted it. Her frozen hands shook as she grasped the cream silk. Taking a deep breath, she pulled at the seam as hard as she could. Nothing happened. She pulled again. And again. Her veins tightened around her temples and in her neck. She was out of breath, but still, the threads wouldn’t break, the fabric wouldn’t tear. Damn it. Damn it. If she had been wearing her usual gown instead of this thing, it would have torn easily. But no, she decided to wear something fancy tonight, something that she didn’t even want. Stupid Prince. Stupid Prince and his stupid gifts. She tried to pull once more, but stopped when she heard one of the soldiers call out. “General Lucord, I’ve found something.” Oh God, no. It was hair. They must have found her hair. It would have been easy for any one of the guards to spot her dark strands amongst the leaves. And they were calling Lucord. Why? They didn’t need him. Ean’s breath caught in her throat. She lost feeling in her feet. Her fingertips almost froze solid at the thought of him hunting her. Everyone knew what the Lucord did to people when he caught them. Her parents were lucky; Lucord had them killed quickly. Even now, the smell of burning wood and flesh hung in the air. The guards didn’t have to kill her parents. They could have just taken Ean and left her parents in peace. But they didn’t work that way. They were sent by the royal family. And when the royal family rained its wrath, they poured on everyone. Tears welled in her eyes as she contemplated the hopelessness of her situation. What was the point of running when, no matter what she did, he was going to catch her? She was alone in the woods with General Lucord. She had no weapon. And if she did, she couldn’t fight. And if she could fight, Lucord would kill her before she unsheathed her sword. More than that, she was alone. Period. Even if she managed to survive Lucord, what kind of life was she going to have without her family? She could never return home, would never see her friends. All her life she had been the child of a farmer. What would she be now? She dropped her hem, realizing that she was not getting out of the woods alive. Her life was over; everything she loved was burning as she ran. As she stood choosing between life and death she heard movement in the bushes that did not sound like it was caused by wind. Shit! She reached down and grabbed her hem again. This time she found a place that already had a hole ripped in it from the thorns and branches. She put her finger through it and pulled as hard as she could. She ripped the fabric until her knees were exposed to the cold wind and rain. She wrapped the cloth around her bloody hands and climbed the trunk.


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Some of her fingernails broke off into the bark as she struggled over the slippery surface. She threw one leg over the top and straddled the tree, keeping her body pressed against the trunk. To get off of the tree, she would have to roll and land on her back. She knew she could land on a rock, but she couldn’t take the risk of being shot while she climbed off the normal way. Before she could make her escape, she was attack by one of the wild cats. It growled as it knocked her off of the tree and onto her side. She forced herself to sit up before the animal had a chance to attack her again. She picked up a stick from the mud. She didn’t know what she was going to do with it, but she was going to do something. She could at least stab the beast in the eye before it could shred her. She scooted across the ground until her back was against the trunk. She held the stick in the air as she attempted to wipe mud and hair from her face. She stared at the animal as it lay on its stomach. She waited for it to attack her, but it didn’t move. It was breathing, but it wasn’t trying to eat her. Something was wrong. She crawled to the animal. Then she saw the arrow sticking out of its gut. She could tell from the animal’s size and fur that it was young. This was probably one of its first hunting attempts. Which meant it wasn’t alone. Where was its mother? Cats this size always had their mother with them in case anything went wrong. So, where was she? She heard a noise behind her and turned, ready to stab the first thing she saw. However, the first thing she saw was a guard. He stood atop the fallen tree, pointing an arrow at her. Her heart beat so fast she thought she was having a heart attack. Her legs shook as her wide eyes darted around in search of anything that would get her out of this. But there was nothing.

Nadiyah Abdul-Khaliq was born in 1981 in Kansas City, Mo. She earned her BA in English/Creative Writing from Washburn University in Topeka, KS. Since graduating, Nadiyah has authored 500 5-Minute Writing Exercises, Color in the Dark: A Collection Of Poems and Short Stories, and The Demon Cleaner Book One: Demons of The Guilded. She is also editor of the creative arts online magazine, Blue Ships Magazine. Nadiyah was recently accepted in the MA Creative Writing and The Creative Economy program at Kingston University in London, England


Blue Ships Magazine Kansas City, MO 64134 http://www.blueshipsmag.net http://www.facebook.com/ blueshipsmag http://www.twitter.com/ blueshipsmag

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Will Olszewski


Blue Ships Magazine #4