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Contents 4 .................................................................... Introduction 5 ...................... Professional and Technical Writing

6 ........................ Animal Wellness Magazine Article

8 ............................................................. Research Poster

10 ........................................... Email Setup Instructions

12 .............................. West Virginia Fishbusters Logo 13 .................... Communications Department Flyer 14 ............................................................ Creative Writing

15 ............................................................. Winter Morning

16 .................................................................................... Lilies

22 ................................................ A Hundred Miles Away 26 ............................. The Horrible Thing in the Study

34 ........................................................................ Journalism

35 ............................................................. Flor-Ala Articles

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Introduction The human brain contains billions of neurons. Alone, a neuron is nothing more than a simple electrical switch, but each one has connections. Like the roots and branches of a tree, they reach out to other neurons, sending and receiving signals. These billions of tiny connections are what make us who we are. They give us our personalities, our emotions, and our imaginations.

As a child, I had what some might call an overactive imagination. Whenever things got tedious or dull, I would tune out the world around me and escape into my daydream world. It was like flipping a switch and tuning my brain to a different channel. In my mind, I created tales of fantasy, action, and adventure, with characters who travelled to amazing places doing incredible things. As I grew older, I began searching for a way to connect my fantasy world with the real world. I discovered that I could do that by putting these stories on paper. At first, I wrote just because I found it enjoyable, but I eventually learned how valuable writing skills are in life. I decided that I wanted to make a career for myself as a writer, and through the Professional Writing Program at the University of North Alabama, I began making that dream into a reality.

During my time at UNA, I have learned from experts in the fields of creative writing, technical writing, and journalism. I have developed friendships with other people who love to write. Most importantly, I have learned how to adapt my writing to a variety of different tasks and audiences. This versatility is what I consider my greatest strength as a writer. Whether I am writing creative works, technical documents, or news articles, I feel confident in my work, because I understand the theories behind these forms of writing and have practical experience using them. However, it must be said that written works do not always fall into a single category. Writing fiction often requires research, and technical works often incorporate creative elements. This is what I want to highlight with my portfolio: the different writing forms I work with and the ways in which I integrate them.

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Professional and Technical Writing Animal Wellness Magazine

Included here are some of the professional and technical works I produced during my time at UNA. The piece I am most proud of is an article I submitted for publication as part of my 341 Advanced Composition class. I decided to write a piece about how my cats learned to get along. I submitted it to Animal Wellness magazine for consideration, and it was published in December 2013.

As part of EN 445 New Media Writing, I created a poster for a research project. The poster was voted as one of the best in the class by my peers and was displayed at UNA’s graduate English conference.

For EN 300 Technical Writing, I created instructions for connecting an email account to a smart phone. My peers and I also designed a website for West Virginia Fishbusters, a business that offers guided fishing trips on the Potomac River. Among other things, I used my graphic design skills to create a high-resolution version of the company’s logo. Finally, for COM 410 Layout and Design, I created a flyer for an event at the communications department.

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Examining the Effects of Pet Attachment on Anxiety Conley, B., Frandsen, T., Cravens, J., & Carrasco, G. Pet Attachment Intimacy Relationship Maintenance

Purpose                          It  is  widely  believed  that  pets  can  beneIit   psychological  health  in  many  ways,  such  as  by   reducing  anxiety.  This  study  sought  to  examine   the  relationship  between  pet  ownership  and   anxiety,  as  well  as  the  effects  of  pet  attachment   on  anxiety.  It  was  found  that  anxiety  levels  did   not  differ  between  pet  owners  and  non-­‐pet   owners.  However,  among  those  who  owned   pets,  there  was  a  moderate  correlation   between  scores  on  the  pet  intimacy  scale  and   the  anxiety  scale.    

Introduction                    Researchers  have  examined  the  effects  of  pet  ownership  on  symptoms  of  psychological  distress   such  as  depression  and  loneliness  (Gilbey  et  al.,  2007,  Antonacopoulos  &  Pychyl,  2010).    However,  the   research  has  produced  conIlicting  results  (Herzog,  2011)  and  few  studies  have  focused  on  the  effects  of   pet  ownership  on  anxiety.                              One  study  found  that  the  acquisition  of  a  companion  animal  had  no  impact  on  loneliness  (Gilbey,   McNicholas,  &  Collis,  2007).  Additional  research  suggests  that  the  beneIits  of  pets  are  generated  by   emotional  bonding  rather  than  mere  ownership.  Several  studies  have  assessed  this  bond  by  measuring  pet   attachment  (Peacock,  Chur-­‐Hansen,  &  WineIield,  2012).  Pet  attachment  is  often  deIined  as  the  emotional   bond  between  a  pet  and  its  owner  (Crawford,  Worsham,  &  Swinehart,  2006).                              A  study  at  the  University  of  Adelaide  found  that  individuals  who  had  strong  emotional  bonds  with   their  pets  were  actually  more  vulnerable  to  psychological  distress  than  those  who  were  not  (Peacock,   Chur-­‐Hansen,  &  WineIield,  2012).  However,  the  relationship  between  pet  attachment  and  psychological   health  may  not  be  linear.  A  study  at  Eastern  Washington  University  found  that  subjects  who  reported   moderate  pet  attachment  displayed  fewer  negative  emotions  than  those  who  reported  very  low  or  very   high  levels  of  pet  attachment  (El-­‐Alayli  et  al,  2006).                            A  study  conducted  at  Carleton  University,  found  that  human  social  support  and  pet  attachment  had   interactive  effects  on  loneliness  and  depression  within  certain  groups  of  subjects  (Antonacopoulos,  &   Pychyl,  2010).  This  indicates  that  the  relationship  between  pet  attachment  and  psychological  health  is   complex  and  inIluenced  by  other  factors.  

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•  Antonacopo living  alone •  Crawford,  E •  El-­‐Alayli,  A. Enhanceme •  Gilbey,  A.,  M •  Herzog,  H.  ( •  Holcomb,  R •  Legrand,  L. •  Peacock,  J.,  


Anxiety

Method

Comparing Pet Owners and Non-Pet Owners

•  23  students  from  UNA   •  5  males  and  18  females  

Demographics Questions •  Age  and  gender   •  Type  of  pet  owned   IPIP Anxiety Scale •  4-­‐point  scale   •  10  items  

N  

Mean  Anxiety  Score  

Std.  Dev  

Std.  Error  

Pet  Owner  

18  

24.00

6.54397

1.54243

Non-­‐Pet   Owner  

5  

24.20

3.34664

1.49666

Pet Attachment and Anxiety Among Pet Owners

CENSHARE Pet Attachment Survey •  4-­‐point  scale   •  16  Items  for  RelaFonship   Maintenance   •  11  items  for  InFmacy  

Type   Pearson   InFmacy  Scale   Sig.  (2-­‐tailed)     N   Pearson     RelaFonship  Maintenance   Sig.  (2-­‐tailed)     Scale   N  

Anxiety   .540   .025   17   .323   .207   17  

Results The  results  indicate  that  anxiety  levels  do  not  differ  between  pet   owners  and  non-­‐pet  owners.  However,  among  pet  owners,  there   seems  to  be  a  moderate  positive  correlation  between  pet  intimacy   and  anxiety  levels.  Further  research  is  needed  to  determine  the   causal  nature  of  this  relationship.  

References

oulos,  N.,  &  Pychyl,  T.  A.  (2010).  An  examination  of  the  potential  role  of  pet  ownership,  human  social  support  and  pet  attachment  in  the  psychological  health  of  individuals   e.  Anthrozoös,  23(1),  37-­‐54.   E.  K.,  Worsham,  N.  L.,  &  Swinehart,  E.  R.  (2006).  BeneIits  derived  from  companion  animals,  and  the  use  of  the  term  'attachment.'.  Anthrozoös,  19(2),  98-­‐112.   .,  Lystad,  A.  L.,  Webb,  S.  R.,  Hollingsworth,  S.  L.,  &  Ciolli,  J.  L.  (2006).  Reigning  Cats  and  Dogs:  A  Pet-­‐Enhancement  Bias  and  Its  Link  to  Pet  Attachment,  Pet-­‐Self  Similarity,  Self-­‐ ent,  and  Well-­‐Being.  Basic  And  Applied  Social  Psychology,  28(2),  131-­‐143.   McNicholas,  J.,  &  Collis,  G.  M.  (2007).  A  longitudinal  test  of  the  belief  that  companion  animal  ownership  can  help  reduce  loneliness.  Anthrozoös,  20(4),  345-­‐353.   (2011).  The  impact  of  pets  on  human  health  and  psychological  well-­‐being:  Fact,  Iiction,  or  hypothesis?  Current  Directions  In  Psychological  Science,  20(4),  236-­‐239.     Ralph;  Williams,  R  Craig;  &  Richards,  P.  Scott.  (1985)  The  elements  of  attachment:  Relationship  maintenance  and  intimacy.  Journal  of    the  Delta  Society,  2(1),  28-­‐34.     .  N.,  McGue,  M.,  &  Iacono,  W.  G.  (1999).  A  twin  study  of  state  and  trait  anxiety  in  childhood  and  adolescence.  Journal  Of  Child  Psychology  And  Psychiatry,  40(6),  953-­‐958.      Chur-­‐Hansen,  A.,  &  WineIield,  H.  (2012).  Mental  health  implications  of  human  attachment  to  companion  animals.  Journal  Of  Clinical  Psychology,  68(3),  292-­‐303.  

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How  to  Connect  Your  UNA  Email  Account  to  Your  iPhone   This  tutorial  will  show  you  how  to  connect  a  UNA  email  account  to  an  iPhone.  This  will  allow   you  to  get  UNA  information  and  emails  from  professors  quickly  and  easily.  

You  Will  Need:    An  iPhone      An  internet  connection    A  UNA  email  account  

  Step  1:  Add  a  New  Account   Tap  the   Settings  icon.  

Tap  the  “Mail,  Contacts,   Calendars”  button.    

 

 

Tap  the  “Add  Account”   button.  

     

     

©  Apple  Inc.  

     

Step  2:  Specify  your  Account  Type     Select  the  “Other”  option,   and  tap  “Add  Mail  Account.”  

Tap  “Add  Mail  Account.”  

                     

   

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The UNA Department of Communications presents...

First Ammendment Awareness The Importance of The First Amendment, Freedom of Speech and Civility

the Local Newspaper

Dr. Jim Martin Dr. Gregory Pitts

Tuesday Nov. 5

7:30

pm

Thursday Nov. 7

7:30

pm

Lectures will be held in Room 131 of the Communications Building. A reception in Room 115 will follow each presentation. Sponsored by the UNA Department of Communications with support from the Office of Student Engagement, the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences, and a Liberty Tree Initiative grant. Additional support from the First Amendment Center, the Newseum, the McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the American Society of News Editors. For more information, visit www.1forall.us

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Creative Writing Lights and Shadows

Writing stories was what led me to discover my talent for working with words, but becoming an effective writer requires more than just a creative spark. It requires guidance, advice, and practice. My creative writing classes provided all of these. I learned the principles and techniques that creative writers use, and recieved input from my peers in workshop sessions.

As part of EN 355 Genres in Creative Writing, I was required to submit some of my written works to Lights and Shadows, UNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award-winning art and literary magazine. I was thrilled when Winter Morning, A Hundred Miles Away, and Lilies were all chosen for publication. I was particularly excited that Lilies was selected, since Lights and Shadows rarely publishes plays.

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I have also included in this section The Horrible Thing in the Study, a short story I wrote for EN 455 Advanced Creative Writing Fiction. It draws inspiration from the works of Edgar Allen Poe and Steven King, and it received a great deal of praise from professors and students who read it. I later turned the story into a braided piece for EN 489 Portfolio Workshop. To do this, I incorporated facts about fear and superstitions from National Geographic articles and psychology journals.


Winter Morning With a groan, the door lets in the cool and soggy morning air. I look upon a sleeping world. The cloudy sky stands grey and bare. The cool and soggy morning air pressing up against my face. The cloudy sky stands gray and bare, blanketing this drowsy world. Pressing up against my face, fog comes creeping, rolling by, blanketing this drowsy world. The morning dew begins to dry.

Fog comes creeping, rolling by the barren ash trees standing guard. The morning dew begins to dry. No birds are singing in my yard.

The barren ash trees standing guard. No lights are burning in my home. No birds are singing in my yard, and I am utterly alone. No lights are burning in my home. The world around is still asleep and I am utterly alone, but this is something I can keep. The world around is still asleep and does not stir to welcome me, but this is something I can keep a moment of tranquility.

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Lilies


Setting: A hospital waiting room with a row of chairs and a table. JOHN is pacing back and forth, looking nervous. Enter LISA, carrying a vase of white lilies. JOHN does not see her. She sits down and sets the vase of flowers on the table. JOHN: (Looks at his watch) 3:00 am. Two whole hours! For heaven’s sake! What are they doing in there? (Notices her) Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t think anyone else was here. LISA: That’s all right.

JOHN: I really must stop talking to myself. People will think I’m losing it! LISA: Everyone does that now and then.

JOHN: (Nods and takes a seat one chair away from LISA.) I guess it’s my way of making sure I’m still here. The silence gets to me after a while – you know? This place is always a madhouse during the day, but right now it’s as quiet as a morgue. LISA: (Looking down.) Mmhmm.

JOHN: I’ve always hated sitting in waiting rooms. It’s like being in purgatory. You have nowhere else to go, and nothing to do but wait. Part of your existence is over, and the next part hasn’t started yet. You’re floating around in a ravine between realities. Just waiting. (LISA shifts back and forth, looking rather uncomfortable.)

JOHN: Oh where are my manners! I’m John. (Offers his hand) LISA: (Shakes his hand.) Lisa.

JOHN: So, is someone you know having a baby? LISA: No. I’m here for my father.

JOHN: (Confused) Your… father?

LISA: He’s up on the second floor.

JOHN: Oh. Well… what are you doing down here in the maternity ward? LISA: I… needed to stretch my legs.

JOHN: (Nods) My wife’s having a little girl. It’s our first. Of course, I guess that’s pretty obvious. I must be acting like the typical first-time dad. It’s just starting to sink in. (LISA nods.)

JOHN: Maggie already acts like a mom. She reads aloud every night – they say a baby learns it’s mother’s voice while it’s in the womb. That’s all Maggie’s ever wanted to be - a mom. She went into labor two weeks early. The doctor said its nothing to worry about, but…

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LISA: That made you worry even more.

JOHN: Exactly! They always do that – doctors I mean. They have that look on their face. I feel like they know something and they’re not telling me.

LISA: (Scoffs) I don’t feel that way at all. It seems to me they’re just as clueless as I am. This thing my dad has - it’s a rare type of cancer. They said it might be genetic, but it might not. They don’t really know what causes or how to treat it. All they know is that it’s killing him. I always thought doctors were the ones who had answers, but even with all their fancy medical degrees and Latin words and magic machines, they can’t do a damn thing to help him. (Long pause.) JOHN: Listen, what I said before about morgues and purgatory… I didn’t know.

LISA: (Coldly) Yeah, well, now you do. When they diagnosed him a few months ago, he asked me not to tell anyone. I suppose he didn’t want people feeling sorry for him and offering to mow his lawn and bringing him gifts and praying for him. Then last week, he started to decline and they admitted him. Of course, I had to tell everyone then. All week long, people have been bringing things – cards, sandwiches, and casseroles - I have more casseroles than I know what to do with! Then this morning my brainless aunt brought these stupid flowers. As soon as she left, dad told me to get rid of them. He said flowers are for funerals, and that he isn’t dead yet. I suppose he didn’t want to watch them die while he was dying.

JOHN: Well, I think it’s a beautiful bouquet. Lilium candidum. They’re native to the Balkans. LISA: (Skeptical) How do you know all that? JOHN: I’m a florist.

LISA: (Detached) Really…

JOHN: I guess that’s why it’s easy for me to talk about death – I’m around it all the time. Sometimes I do six or seven funerals a week. I guess I’ve become desensitized to it. All week long, I’m ordering and arranging flowers for grieving loved ones. LISA: (Shaking her head) Why people do that anyway? JOHN: Why do we do what?

LISA: Why do they bring flowers to people who are dying? It’s like rubbing salt in their wounds! They’re dying and the flowers are dying. It makes them feel even worse.

JOHN: Well maybe death seems a little less harsh if you can die surrounded by something beautiful. Even Neanderthals put flowers on the graves of their relatives, you know. LISA: (Skeptical) And just how do you know that?

JOHN: They found pollen in the soil above the graves. Even before we discovered fire,

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we were picking flowers for our dead. I like to think that I’m carrying on that tradition, bringing flowers to families when they need them the most. LISA: It sounds like a depressing job.

JOHN: It is at times, but you’d be surprised how many people laugh at funerals. (LISA looks at him incredulously.)

JOHN: They really do! They joke around and talk about the fun things they did with the one who’s gone, because that’s what they remember. The unpleasant memories fade with time. The happy memories are the ones that stay with us. LISA: Well that’s not how it is for me. (Pause.)

JOHN: Besides, I don’t just do funerals. There are the bridal showers and the weddings, and the proms… (Enter DOCTOR, unseen.)

JOHN: You should see what I have planned for my wife’s baby shower. I’m pulling out all the stops! I’m talking big clusters of orchids and lilacs and carnations and lilies! Maggie’s going to love it! DOCTOR: Mr. Langley.

JOHN: (Turns, then approaches him.) Well? DOCTOR: I’ve got something to tell you. JOHN: (Worried) Is Maggie all right?

DOCTOR: Your wife is doing fine. She’s resting. JOHN: What about the baby?

DOCTOR: John, your daughter…

JOHN: What’s wrong? What happened?

DOCTOR: Your daughter is alive, but I have to tell you she has a severe physical defect. Her lungs didn’t develop correctly. JOHN: (Tentatively) Well... she’ll be okay, won’t she? Babies are born with underdeveloped lungs all the time and they turn out fine! DOCTOR: Her lungs aren’t just underdeveloped – they’re malformed. We have her on a ventilator. We’re going to do everything we can, but I have to tell you this – right now it doesn’t look good.

JOHN: I… I don’t understand. Maggie did everything you said! She didn’t drink wine, she didn’t eat fish... she stayed away from microwaves!

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DOCTOR: This type of defect is genetic. It only happens when both parents are carriers. (There is a long silence. JOHN stares into space for a moment, and then sits down.) DOCTOR: I’ll let you know if anything changes. (Exit DOCTOR) JOHN: I knew this would happen. Somehow I knew. LISA: Don’t be stupid. You couldn’t have known.

JOHN: I told her we should have gotten those tests! Maggie said I was just being paranoid, but I knew something like this would happen! All my life I’ve drawn the short straw. I’m a magnet for disaster! It’s no surprise I fell in love with a woman who has the same bad genes that I do. I should have known better. LISA: Now you’re just looking for someone to blame. Things like this happen. It isn’t your fault. It’s not anyone’s fault. (Pause) JOHN: Would you… pray with me? LISA: I don’t pray.

JOHN: Oh, so you’re an atheist. I guess that makes sense. LISA: I’m not an atheist. I’m not anything.

JOHN: That may be fine for you, but it’s not enough for me to just throw my hands in the air and stop believing in anything. I can’t live like that. LISA: You believe in God because you’re afraid not to?

JOHN: I believe in God because he’s real. I don’t know if he’s the God everyone imagines, but he has to be there. There has to be something other than ourselves.

LISA: Maybe there is. Maybe there is some other kind of existence – some perfect world where there’s love and kindness and hope. But that isn’t the world I live in. There’s no rhyme or reason to what happens here, and there’s no one watching out for you. I’ve found that out the hard way. JOHN: Well I refuse to believe that. There has to be something we can put our… (Enter DOCTOR. JOHN looks up and sees the look on his face.) JOHN: …put our hope in.

(DOCTOR shakes his head. JOHN puts his head in his hands.)

DOCTOR: I’m sorry, John. We did everything we could. The baby just wasn’t strong enough. I’ll take you to see your wife in a moment. (Exit DOCTOR. Several seconds of silence.) JOHN: Maggie wanted to give birth at home. She was going to hire a midwife. Well, I wasn’t about to agree to that. I told her she was going to be sensible and have the baby at

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a hospital with real doctors who knew what they were doing. I thought it would make a difference. But it didn’t. It didn’t make any difference at all. LISA: There was nothing you could have done.

JOHN: We already bought everything - baby clothes, toys, and diapers. I put the crib together and painted the nursery. What are we going to do with it all now? LISA: I understand what you’re going through.

JOHN: (Aggravated) No you don’t. How could you? It’s not the same! It’s not the same at all! LISA: Everybody has to face loss. It’s part of life. There’s no avoiding it. JOHN: (Emotional) But no parent should have to bury his child! LISA: Is it really that different from burying a parent?

JOHN: (Angry) Of course it is! You’ve known for months that your father was going to die! You’ve known since you were a child that you would lose him some day! You were ready for it! But this is my daughter! LISA: It’s a daughter you haven’t even met! Thousands of children die in Africa every day. This is no different. The world is cruel. JOHN: Because it’s full of cruel people like you! God doesn’t make it that way! LISA: Then why didn’t God save your daughter? Answer me that. JOHN: (Angry) I don’t know!

LISA: Then he must be unbelievably cruel. I’d rather believe in nothing than put my faith in a God who allows people to suffer so much. (There is a long pause. JOHN falters, but then his resolve returns.)

JOHN: No. You’re wrong. Maybe you can go through life believing that the world is empty and devoid of hope, but I can’t live like that. Maybe God isn’t always the god we want him to be, but he’s still there. And I refuse to believe that life is meaningless. LISA: You’re made of stronger stuff than I am.

(LISA stands and crosses to the exit, leaving the vase behind. She turns and looks back.) LISA: For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.

(Exit LISA. After a few moments, JOHN picks one of the flowers and looks at it.) JOHN: I think we’ll name her Hope. (BLACKOUT.)

21


A Hundred Miles Away

22


Along a suburban street outside Hartford, Connecticut, a girl with straight, red hair piloted her secondhand convertible towards home. She cruised past brown lawns that were beginning to turn green, and trees that were studded with new, budding leaves. She pulled into her driveway, took her books out of the car, and headed inside through the kitchen door.

“Lexie!” said Johnny, squealing in delight and running over to her. She unloaded her things on the counter and gave her little brother a squeeze. Alexis had hoped her mother would be upstairs, but there was no such luck to be had. Her mother stood over the sink, washing a pan.

“Where have you been?” she asked coldly, without looking up.

“That Samantha girl is a Baptist, isn’t she?” her mother inquired.

Alexis lifted Johnny and sat him down at the kitchen table where he had been coloring. “Sam and I went to the mall after school,” she answered.

Alexis shrugged, “I guess. I’ve never asked her.”

“Well, at least she goes to church,” her mother said. Her jab didn’t faze Alexis. She was used to hearing things like that from her mother. She tried to change the subject.

“That’s a nice boat, Johnny,” she said, examining one of his crayon masterpieces.

“I thought he was a good guy.”

“It’s a submarine,” he informed her, “It’s being attacked by the shark emperor.” “No, he’s evil now.”

“Johnny,” her mother interrupted, “Isn’t it almost time for your favorite show?”

Remembering, Johnny hopped down and zoomed into the living room, leaving Alexis and her mother alone. Alexis braced herself for what she knew was coming.

“How was school?” her mother asked, still at the sink.

“Still studying witchcraft?” Alexis narrowed her eyes at that comment.

“Fine,” Alexis replied. For once, it wasn’t a lie. It had actually gone well that day.

“It’s not witchcraft. It’s Celtic mythology. There’s a big difference. You’re Irish, too, you know. You might find it interesting.”

“You ought to be studying the saints. That’s what I was doing when I was your age.”

Alexis could tell where this conversation was going. She began gathering her things.

“You’ve only made things worse for me, you know. Everyone in the congregation is talking about me behind my back. It wasn’t enough to be the woman whose husband left her. Now I’m also the woman with the heathen daughter.”

23


Alexis had had enough. She turned to face her mother. “How do you know what people are saying? And why do you care anyway?” she snapped.

Her mother finally turned away from her dishes, “Because I’ve done everything in my power to raise you to be a good Catholic woman. And I’ve failed miserably.”

“As if that was your job to begin with,” Alexis said.

“I still can’t believe you’re just throwing away your faith – your family’s faith.”

“You mean your faith,” Alexis retorted, “Dad’s not Catholic, and I don’t think Johnny knows what he is yet. But that’s not for you to decide.”

“I took an oath to raise you in the Catholic faith. Your father did, too, I might add.”

“And you both raised me as well as anyone could have. Stop thinking you haven’t done your job.”

Alexis stormed upstairs to her room, shutting the door with more force than was necessary. She wanted to kick something. But that would have to wait. She strode across the room and sat down in front of her computer. The clock said 4:59. It was almost time. At exactly 5:00, a beep sounded, and a window popped up on the screen. Her father smiled at her through a video feed.

“Hi dad,” she said, “Is it working?”

She nodded, “This is so cool.”

“It sure is,” he said, “Can you see me?” “How have you been, Lexie?”

Alexis sighed, “Mom is still ticked off at me for leaving the church. She won’t let it go. I feel like I’m living in the Spanish inquisition.”

Her father sighed, “Well, I know that feeling.”

“Of course. Especially toward the end.”

“She even called me a heathen,” Alexis continued, “Did she act this way with you?”

Alexis crossed her arms and leaned back in her chair.

“Dad, why didn’t you take me with you when you left?”

“But you were the one who left! Why would they care? You aren’t even Catholic.”

Her father folded his hands. “I wanted to, Alexis. But to do that, we would have had to go to court. In the eyes of the church, your mother and I are still married. If we had gone through with the legal proceedings, the church would have excommunicated your mother.”

24

“No, but your mother is. And Catholics don’t get divorced. I didn’t want to hurt her


any more than I already had. So we just separated.”

“Well, it was her fault. Her stupid religion is more important to her than her own family. She’s ruined both our lives! I can’t stand living here. I want to come live with you.”

“Alexis, that wouldn’t work. I live in a tiny apartment and I’m at work all day. I don’t have time to look after you.”

“I’ve been to your place. It isn’t that tiny. And I don’t need to be looked after!” “No, but Johnny does. He needs you, Alexis.”

She hadn’t thought about that. She loved her little brother. And he was crazy about her. But she had to think about her own sanity, too.

“I’m going to leave home sooner or later, and he’ll have to deal with it. Besides, I can still visit him on the weekends.”

“Your mother needs you, too, believe it or not,” he persisted.

“She should have thought of that before she started persecuting me.”

Her father rubbed his forehead. “I know that you don’t feel welcome at home right now Alexis, but it is still your home. And your mother has to learn to respect you and your decisions. I’ll come down there and set her straight if I have to.”

That was her dad. Always coming to the rescue. But she knew that was a bad idea.

“What about college?” he asked. He sounded doubtful.

Her father let out a long sigh and scratched his head.

“That means you’re giving in, right?”

“Somehow I think that would just make things worse,” she sighed, “It doesn’t matter anyway. Once I turn 18, I’ll be able to do what I want. And I want to come live with you.” “They have colleges in Maryland,” she retorted, “and with my test scores, I can get a scholarship at any one of them.” “We’ll talk about it some more later.”

That drew a smile out of him. Alexis smiled back. Her dad had always been the one who gave in. He brought home a puppy after Mom said they couldn’t have one. He let her stay up late and watch movies with him, even on school nights. He was really a kid at heart. She knew he was trying to be a practical, sensible father, but he obviously missed her as much as she missed him. It was strange when the person you felt closest to was living a hundred miles away.

25


THE HORRIBLE

THING IN THE

STUDY    

Research  question:     What  psychological  and   cultural  factors  contribute   to  fears  and  superstitions?  

Ned  passed  the  doorway  to  the  study  and  tried   not  to  look  at  it.  He  had  thrown  a  bed  sheet  over  the   thing,  but  somehow  he  could  still  feel  its  presence.    

 He  wished  he  could  move  it,  but  there  was   simply  nowhere  to  move  it  to.  Their  townhouse  was   tiny  and  cramped,  stuffed  into  a  row  of  identical   townhouses  on  Vicarage  Street.  The  garage  barely  had  room  for  the  car,  let  alone  anything     The  kitchen  was  out  of  the  question,  as  was  the  dining  room.  He  could  have  hauled  it   else.   up  the  stairs  with  some  effort,  but  he  was  not  about  to  put  it  in  the  bedroom,  lest  it  come     alive  in  the  middle  of  the  night  and  eviscerate  him.  So  in  the  study  it  remained  -­‐  his  study.  

It  had  taken  him  four  weekends  to  finish  that   room.  He  had  done  all  the  renovations  himself  –  the   paint,  the  light  fixtures,  the  floor-­‐to-­‐ceiling  bookcases.   He  had  taken  his  time  picking  out  the  furniture.  He  had   unpacked  his  plethora  of  books  and  arranged  them  to   his  liking.1  Now,  that  thing  stood  in  the  middle  of  the   room,  mocking  him  and  desecrating  his  private   sanctum.  

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1.  Some  research   indicates  that  a  desire   for  control  in  one’s  life   can  contribute  to  belief   in  the  paranormal   (Kennedy  263-­‐292).  


Ned’s  headache  was  returning.  He  made  his  way  to  the  kitchen  for  an  ibuprofen.   Rachel  was  preparing  salad  and  shrimp  cocktails.     “I  need  you  to  pick  up  a  bottle  of  Pinot  Grigio,”  she  said,  without  looking  up.  

Ned  gave  her  a  quizzical  look,  “We  already  have  a  bottle  of  wine.”  

“That’s  Merlot.  That’s  a  red  wine.  You  can’t  serve  red  wine  with  seafood.”  

“Hank  will  drink  anything  as  long  there’s  alcohol  in  it,  and  Susan  is  pregnant.  I  don’t   think  we  need  to  worry.”   “What  if  they  bring  a  guest?”  Rachel  protested.  

“Guests  of  guests  can  bring  their  own  wine,”  Ned  said  as  he  straddled  one  of  the   barstools  and  rested  his  arms  on  the  counter.  He  watched  Rachel  as  she  sliced,  buttered,   and  sautéed  various  items,  hoping  it  would  take  his  mind  off  the  atrocity  lurking  in  the   other  room.   “I  still  don’t  know  why  you  keep  inviting  them  over,”  he  said.  

 “We’re  a  young  married  couple.  We’re  obligated  to  have  dinner  parties.”   “Four  people  do  not  make  a  party,  Rachel.”  

“Well,  I  did  tell  you  to  invite  some  of  your  friends.”  

“I  don’t  have  the  heart  to  subject  them  that  kind  of  torment,”  he  replied,  drumming   his  fingers  on  the  counter,  “I  suppose  I  could  have  invited  Victor,  but  he’s  still  in  Canada.”   “Speaking  of  Victor,  when  is  he  going  to  pick  up  that  thing?”    

Ned’s  fingers  instantly  stopped  drumming,   “Hopefully,  soon.”    “The  cat  is  afraid  of  it.”2  

Ned  narrowed  his  eyes,  “How  do  you  know?”  

“He  hissed  at  it  the  moment  they  brought  it   into  the  house.  Now  he  won’t  even  come  downstairs.   It  all  lends  credence  to  my  theory.”   Ned  winced.  He  knew  where  the   conversation  was  heading,  “It’s  not  cursed,  Rachel.”    

2.  Many  people  believe   that  cats  have  supernatural   senses.  Staff  at  the  Steere   House  Nursing  and   Rehabilitation  Center  claim   that  the  resident  cat,   named  Oscar,  can  predict   when  patients  are  going  to   die  (Henry).  

“Victos  bought  it  in  New  Orleans.  You  know   what  goes  on  down  there.    Some  witch  doctor  probably  attached  an  evil  spirit  to  it!”  

“It  wasn’t  made  in  New  Orleans,”  Ned  explained,  “It  came  from  Mexico.  Victor  claims  

27


it  was  made  by  the  last  living  member  of  some  tribe.”  

“That’s  even  worse!  They  perform  human  sacrifices  down  there,  you  know.”   “You  mean  the  Aztecs?”  Ned  scoffed,  “That  was  hundreds  of  years  ago.”  

“I  still  don’t  like  having  it  in  the  house,”  Rachel  continued.  Ned  rolled  his  eyes,   though  in  truth,  he  felt  the  same  way.    

“Be  that  as  it  may,  Victor  says  it’s  worth  quite  a  bit  of  money  and  he  promised  he   would  give  me  a  cut  of  the  profits.”   “Victor  promises  a  lot  of  things.  If  you  ask  me,  he  should  have  had  it  delivered   somewhere  else.  There’s  no  telling  how  long  we’ll  be  stuck  with  it.”  

Ned  rubbed  his  forehead.  It  felt  as  if  there  was  a  tiny  mallet  pounding  away  at  the   inside  of  his  skull,  “Would  you  just  stop  going  on  about  it?  Victor  will  pick  it  up  as  soon  as   he  gets  back.  Then  it  won’t  be  our  problem  anymore.”  

3.  Paranoid  individuals  often   have  difficulty  sleeping.   Psychologists  believe  that   stress  caused  by  insomnia   can  contribute  to  paranoid   thoughts  (Freeman).      

Rachel  shrugged,  “All  right.  But  I  still  need   that  bottle  of  wine.”   Ned  heaved  a  sigh  and  ventured  into  his   study  to  retrieve  his  car  keys.    

When  Victor  had  asked  him  to  store  the   thing,  Ned  had  not  given  it  a  second  thought.  It   seemed  harmless  enough,  hideous  though  it  was,   but  his  opinion  quickly  changed.    

He  had  grown  irritable.  He  had  trouble  sleeping.3  The  longer  it  stayed  in  the  house,   the  more  uneasy  he  felt.  There  was  something  about  it  that  just  seemed  wrong  -­‐  some   unnatural  malevolence  that  he  could  not  define.   Ned  made  his  way  to  the  desk  and  began   rummaging  through  his  numerous  stacks  of   paper,  knowing  that  his  keys  were  there   somewhere.  Meanwhile,  the  thing  loomed  over   him  like  some  cloaked  assassin.  The  sheet  gave  it   an  almost  human  shape.  Suddenly,  Ned   interrupted  his  search  for  the  keys  and  eyed  the   object  curiously.  Had  it  moved?4  

 He  circled  the  thing,  examining  it.  It   definitely  seemed  a  few  inches  closer  to  the  desk,   but  he  could  not  be  certain.  He  decided  the  late   afternoon  sun  was  playing  tricks  with  the  room.   He  shut  off  the  lights  and  went  out  to  his  car,  

28

4.  A  small  Egyptian  statue  at   the  Manchester  Museum  made   headlines  in  2013  when  it   apparently  began  turning  by   itself  inside  its  display  case.   Museum  officials  later   determined  that  vibrations  in   the  floor  were  causing  the   movement  (Brumfield).  


thinking  about  the  earful  that  Victor  was  going  to  get  from  him.  

Ned  returned  half  an  hour  later  with  a  bottle  of  white  wine.  The  sun  was  a  mere   streak  of  orange  by  the  time  their  guests  arrived.  Ned  solemnly  prepared  to  spend  the   evening  with  two  of  the  most  irritating  humans  on  earth.5  

5.  Stress  brought  on  by   social  situations  can   contribute  to  feelings  of   paranoia  (Westermann).  

Susan  was  one  of  Rachel’s  college  friends.  She   was  fashionably  tall  and  talked  incessantly  -­‐  most  of   the  time  it  pertained  to  subjects  she  knew  very  little   about.  She  was  also  with  child  and  insisted  on  giving   them  every  excruciating  detail  of  her  pregnancy.  

Susan  came  attached  to  Hank,  a  big-­‐chinned   man  who  played  golf  religiously  and  was  a  dentist  in   his  spare  time.  He  had  his  own  practice,  a  fact  he  never   neglected  to  remind  everyone  of.  He  started  off  the  conversation  by  telling  them  about  the   root  canal  he  had  performed  on  one  of  the  state  senators.  Ned  poured  himself  a  glass  of   Pinot  Grigio.  He  could  tell  it  was  going  to  be  a  long  night.  

“They  don’t  have  mercury.  The  mercury  is  what’s  dangerous-­‐  that  and  x-­‐ray   machines.”    

“I  swear  I’ve  never  played  better.  I  even  hit  a  double  eagle  at  the  seventh  hole!  Then   it  all  went  south  when  I  got  stuck  in  that  damn  bunker  on  the  back  nine.”  

“I  have  to  stay  away  from  people  who  smoke,  too.  My  cousin  Julie  had  to  quit   smoking  when  she  had  her  twins,  but  I’m  pretty  sure  her  husband  is  a  stoner  and  there’s  no   telling  what  kind  of  stuff  she  got  exposed  to.”   “Say,  how  is  that  office  of  yours  coming  along  Ned?”  

Ned  felt  himself  snap  back  to  reality.  He  had  lost  track  of  the  conversation  several   minutes  ago.  Susan  had  been  explaining  to  Rachel  why  she  could  eat  shrimp  and  Hank  was   rambling  on  about  golf.  Or  perhaps  it  was  the  other  way  around.  He  looked  up  and  asked   what  office  Hank  was  talking  about.  

“The  office  you’ve  been  working  on,”  Hank  explained,  “You  must  be  nearly  finished.”  

Ned  realized  he  was  talking  about  his  study.  Before  he  could  answer,  Rachel  spoke   up  from  across  the  table.   “You’ll  have  to  excuse  Ned.  I’m  afraid  he’s  preoccupied  with  that  thing.”  

 Ned  felt  his  heart  skip  a  beat.  The  hair  on  his  arms  and  neck  bristled.  He  had   specifically  asked  her  not  to  tell  them  about  it.6   “What  thing?”  Susan  asked.    

29


Ned’s  chest  tightened,  “Oh,  I’m  just  keeping  something  for  a  friend  of  mine.  Susan,   what  was  that  you  were  saying  about  swordfish?”    

“What  sort  of  something?”  Hank  asked,  now  becoming  curious  as  well  

 

“It’s  a…  piece  of  art,”  Ned  sighed,  “My  friend  is  an  art  dealer.  

 

“It’s  a…  sculpture.  A  rather…  unconventional  sculpture.”  

  Ned  glared  across  the  table  at  Rachel.  She  realized  what  she  had  done,  but  now  it   was  too  late.  She  gave  him  a  weak  smile  of  apology     “Really?  I  took  an  art  class  at  the  university  last  summer,  you  know,”  Susan  said   excitedly,  “We  studied  all  the  masters.  Is  it  a  Van  Gogh?  I  just  love  Van  Gogh!    

“Oh  it’s  modern  art!  Oh  do  show  it  to  us!”  she  pleaded.  

  Ned  poked  at  his  salad.  He  wished  she  would  go  back  to  discussing  her  Lamaze  class   or  ultrasounds  -­‐  anything  but  this.     “I  don’t  think  you’d  like  it.  It’s  not  by  anyone  famous.  And  it’s  rather…  macabre.”  

 Hank  took  another  swig  of  wine  and  chuckled,  “Well  you  have  to  show  us  now,  Ned.   You’ve  got  us  hooked!”    

Across  the  table,  Rachel  was  giving  him  a  helpless  look.  He  tried  to  remind  himself   that  it  was  not  her  fault.  Instead,  he  cursed  Victor  for  asking  him  to  keep  the  thing  in  the   first  place.  Either  way,  there  was  no  getting  around  it  now.  It  was  not  long  before  he  was   leading  their  little  group  down  the  hallway  to  the  room  where  the  abomination  lurked.  

He  flicked  on  the  lights,  driving  back  the  shadows  that  had  overtaken  the  room.  He   reluctantly  approached  the  statue  and  solemnly  yanked  off  the  sheet,  like  a  stage  magician   revealing  some  mystical  artifact.  His  wife  was  prepared  for  the  sight,  but  Hank  and  Susan   were  most  certainly  not.  The  two  of  them  stood  there,  eyes  wide,  and  mouths  agape.   What  the  sculpture  actually   represented  was  debatable.  It  was  not   even  a  true  sculpture,  but  more  closely   resembled  some  taxidermy  project  that   had  gone  awry.  It  was  six  feet  tall,   vaguely  humanoid,  and  covered  in  black   fur.  Gaunt  arms  supported  bat-­‐like   wings.6  Its  ears  were  pointed,  two   unblinking  yellow  eyes  were  sunk  into   its  head,  and  rows  of  teeth  formed  a   malevolent  smile  beneath  its  snout.  It   was,  in  a  word,  demonic.  

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6.  “European  and  Western  folklore   consistently  translates  the  appearance   of  a  bat  as  a  bad  omen…  they  are   even  seen  as  being  the  embodiment   of  evil.  Bats  are  often  thought  to  be  an   indicator  that  a  house  is  haunted  or   worse.  There  is  an  old  German  myth   that  if  a  bat  flies  into  your  house,  the   devil  is  after  you”  (O’Connor).  


“Well  you  were  right  on  one  account,”  Hank  finally  declared,  after  what  seemed  like   minutes  of  silence,  “It  certainly  is  macabre.”     Rachel  was  behind  them,  leaning  against  the  doorway  and  looking  somewhat   amused,  “It’s  from  Mexico.  It’s  supposed  to  be  valuable,”  she  said,  rolling  her  eyes    

“Maybe  to  someone  decorating  for  Halloween,”  the  big-­‐chinned  dentist  answered.  

“It  reminds  me  a  bit  of  those  gargoyles  on  European  cathedrals,”  Rachel  continued.  

Hank  approached  the  creature  to  examine  it  more  closely;  “The  teeth  are  real,   though  they  aren’t  all  from  the  same  animal.  The  incisors  are  from  a  dog.  I  imagine  these   canines  belonged  to  some  kind  of  big  cat  -­‐  maybe  a  jaguar.”  

  Ned  stood  by,  feeling  very  uncomfortable.  The  creature’s  eyes  seemed  to  follow  him   no  matter  where  he  stood.  He  could  not  escape  the  sensation  that  the  thing  was  not  only   somehow  alive,  but  wanted  to  cause  them  all  a  great  deal  of  harm.  He  tore  his  eyes  away   from  it  long  enough  to  look  at  Susan,  who  for  once  had  nothing  to  say.  The  mother-­‐to-­‐be   stood  there  in  her  loose  blue  evening  dress,  her  eyes  locked  on  the  monstrosity  before  her.   She  was  in  her  second  trimester  and  was  starting  to  show.  Ned  noticed  her  hands  drop  to   her  belly.  Her  face  turned  pale  

7.  “Many  myths  from   Slovenian,  German,  and   Jewish  immigrants   suggest  that  bats  in  an   attic  foretell  a  death  in   the  house”  (O’Connor).  

 

“Oh  god,”  she  whispered.7  

Ned  blinked.  Rachel  had  noticed  the  subtle   change  and  asked  Susan  if  she  was  all  right.  Hank  was   still  rambling  on  about  teeth,  oblivious  to  what  was   happening.  Ned  looked  from  Susan  to  the  grinning   statue,  trying  to  convince  himself  that  what  he  was   thinking  was  not  possible,  yet  it  was  happening  right   in  front  of  him.  He  watched  helplessly  as  Susan   doubled  over  and  gasped.  

Hank  finally  took  notice  and  ran  to  his  wife.  Before  he  could  even  ask  what  was   wrong,  she  staggered  out  of  the  room.  Rachel  and  Hank  flew  after  her,  leaving  Ned  alone  in   his  study  with  the  ghastly  idol.  

  He  shifted  his  gaze  back  to  it,  now  fully  comprehending  what  had  just  occurred.  He   had  seen  it  on  Susan’s  face.  He  had  sensed  it.  The  monstrosity  stood  there,  its  talons  raised   to  the  ceiling  in  triumph.  It  smiled  at  him.  He  could  hear  Rachel  and  Hank’s  panicked  voices   outside  the  bathroom  where  Susan  had  fled.   Ned  had  put  up  crown  molding  in  his  study  earlier  that  week,  and  the  hammer  still   sat  on  his  desk.  He  retrieved  the  instrument,  turning  the  spiked  end  forward.  

A  few  moments  later,  the  sculpture  was  lying  on  the  floor,  its  stuffed  head  torn  from   its  body.  Ned  would  have  continued  dismembering  it  if  Rachel  had  not  walked  into  the   room  and  asked  what  in  heaven’s  name  he  was  doing.  

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As  she  did  so,  Ned  let  the  hammer  clatter  to  the  floor  and  flew  over  to  his  wife.  He   took  her  by  her  shoulders  and  held  on,  like  a  sailor  clinging  to  the  gunwale  of  a  ship  in  a   raging  storm.  

“You  were  right,  Rachel.  You  were  right  from  the  beginning.  I  didn’t  want  to  admit  it,   but  I  suspected  it  all  along,”  the  words  tumbled  out  of  his  mouth  in  one  long  breath,  “I  took   off  its  head,  but  that  may  not  be  enough.8  We  have  to  get  it  out  of  the  house…  bury  it…  burn   it.  It’s  already  taken  one  life.  We  have  to  destroy  it  before  it  harms  anyone  else!”  

For  a  moment,  Rachel  gaped  at  him.  The  look  on  her  face  was  indefinable.  A  moment   later,  Hank  appeared  in  the  doorway.   “Susan’s  okay,  Rachel.  She  just  got  a  little  nauseous.  It  was  probably  the  shrimp.”   Ned  blinked.  “The  shrimp?”  

  By  that  time,  Hank  had  become  fully   aware  of  the  odd  scene  before  him.  

  “Yeah,  she’s  been  getting  sick  a  lot  lately.   I  suppose  I  should  have  warned  you,”  he  said,   staring  at  the  destroyed  sculpture.    

   

8.  Decapitation  is  a  common   practice  for  dealing  with  evil   creatures.  Some  ancient  Slavic   peoples  beheaded  corpses  to   prevent  them  from  rising  from   the  dead  as  vampires  (Pringle).  

“What  on  earth  happened  here?”  

Ned  released  his  grip  on  his  wife.  His  eyes  were  now  fixed  on  Hank.  

“What…  what  about  the  baby?  

Hank  looked  very  confused,  “The  baby’s  fine.”  

Ned  looked  at  Rachel,  who  had  backed  away  from  him  slightly.  She  gazed  back  at  her   husband,  wide  eyed,  with  an  expression  that  was  beyond  disturbed.  Ned  returned  his   attention  to  the  creature’s  disembodied  head.  It  was  still  gazing  up  at  him  with  that  ghastly   smile.  He  picked  it  up,  opened  the  window,  and  hurled  the  head  out  into  the  street.    

Conclusion     A  variety  of  psychological  factors  contribute  to  fears  and  superstitions,  as   can  be  seen  in  The  Horrible  Thing  in  the  Study.  Ned’s  desire  for  control  in  his  life   provided  a  basis  for  his  belief  in  the  paranormal.  His  f ear  of  the  sculpture   developed  through  social  modeling.  Stress  from  lack  of  sleep  and  from  a  social   situation  further  exasperated  his  paranoid  thoughts.  Finally,  cultural  factors   such  as  legends  and  folklore  probably  contributed  to  his  fears  as  well.  

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Works Cited

 

Broeren,  Suzanne,  et  al.  "They  Are  Afraid  Of  The  Animal,  So  Therefore  I  Am  Too:  Influence   Of  Peer  Modeling  On  Fear  Beliefs  And  Approach-­‐Avoidance  Behaviors  Towards   Animals  In  Typically  Developing  Children."  Behaviour  Research  And  Therapy  49.1   (2011):  50-­‐57.  PsycINFO.  Web.  24  Feb.  2014.   Brumfield,  Ben.  "Museum  mystery:  Spinning  statue  turns  heads."  CNN.com.  CNN,  25  Jun   2013.  Web.  20  Jan  2014.  

Freeman,  Daniel,  et  al.  “Insomnia  and  Paranoia.”  Schizophrenia  Research  108.1-­‐3  (2009):   280-­‐284.  PsychINFO.  Web.  20  Jan  2014.   Henry,  Ray.  "Cat  Predicts  Deaths  in  Nursing  Home."  USA  Today.com.  USA  Today,  27  Jul   2007.  Web.  20  Jan  2014.  

Kennedy,  J.E.  "Personality  and  Motivations  to  Believe,  Misbelieve,  and  Disbelieve  in   Paranormal  Phenomena."  Journal  of  Parapsychology.  69.  (2005):  263-­‐292.  Web.  20   Jan.  2014.  Web.  20  Jan  2014.  

O'Connor,  Rebecca.  "Bad  Omens:  Animal  Superstitions."  Animal  Underworld.  National   Geographic,  28  May  2012.  Web.  24  Jan  2014.  

Pringle,  Heather.  "Archaeologists  Suspect  Vampire  Burial;  An  Undead  Primer."  National   Geographic.  National  Geographic,  15  Jul  2013.  Web.  20  Jan  2014.  

Westermann,  Stefan,  Marie-­‐Luise  Kesting,  and  Tania  M.  Lincoln.  "Being  Deluded  After  Being   Excluded?  How  Emotion  Regulation  Deficits  in  Paranoia-­‐Prone  Individuals  Affect   State  Paranoia  During  Experimentally  Induced  Social  Stress."  Behavior  Therapy.  43.   (2012):  329-­‐340.  Web.  20  Jan  2014.  

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Journalism

The Flor-Ala I have known for a long time that I want to be a writer, but I never really considered journalism until some of my professors encouraged me to write for The Flor-Ala, UNAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award-winning student newspaper. I was unsure about it at first, but after writing my first article, I grew more confident. Writing for the newspaper was very different than writing short stories or research papers. Each week, I was allowed to pick from several stories that the staff wanted to be covered. Then, I was given a list of information that had to be included in my article. News articles call for a very specific format, where the most important information comes first and details follow. Once again, I had to adapt my writing style for the task. Through interviewing people for my articles, I became better at dealing with individuals on a professional level. I also had to meet deadlines, which helped me develop my time management skills. I got to know the staff and came close to becoming a staff writer. However, my classes and my part-time job had become more demanding, and continuing to write for the paper would have required time that I simply did not have. Nevertheless, writing for The Flor-Ala proved to be a great learning experience, and seeing my work in a campus publication gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

34


ld allow students to tly surrounding the university. d cost between apnd $995, not count-

fewer en in fields

Treasurer Laura Giles said she feels like SGA should try other measures before spending funds on this. “We need to utilize the free resources we already have, like social media and

STUDENT HEALTH

about who would tend to the station when it was in use, as well as what would happen if one of the iPods broke. A motion made and seconded limited the discussion to just five more minutes.

Hit

the

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the U.S. Department that, although women of the American workourth hold jobs in the engineering and math

larger problem is the women receive more bachelor’s degrees n 20 percent of bachmputer science go to crisis and finding its a national and ongos and social scientists ate and commentary

sic explanation that well in (STEM) fields, wn they do, in fact, do said Melissa Driskell, UNA. ciate professor of biolphoto by MICHAEL REDDING I Staff Photographer thinks women might h matters of the home SGA Senator Julia Wimberly has collected more than 250 signatures for a petition to remove World of Wings from the Student Recreation Center. Wimberly said she believes WoW is too unhealthy to be located in the fitness center. ers. ve the intellectual abilust wonder if family n) away — the time the space could be better utilized. BRANDON CONLEY o one of these pro“We desperately need more space, ;\]LMV\?ZQ\MZ fit in with the way and I seriously doubt that an addition to JKWVTMa(]VIML] sion running their OST OF THE STUDENTS the building could be funded,” Eubanks SGA Senator Julia Wimberly has said. “We want to maximize the space Department of Com- started a petition to have World of Wings we already have for the benefit of the SAID THE SAME THING IT S ege-educated women removed from the Student Recreation students.” revalent in the work- Center. Wimberly, who is a fitness manThe SRC has had to move exercise UNHEALTHY AND IT S IN A BAD o see no proportional agement major, collected over 250 sigequipment from the overcrowded first on in the STEM fields natures from students who said WoW floor to the basketball courts for safety LOCATION reasons. As a result, students now have should be moved. Wimberly presented her petition to the SGA Oct. 11. LANCE less opportunity to use the basketball Wimberly said she is not against havcourts, Eubanks said. VE MORE THAN 60 ing WoW on campus but that the SRC is “By doing this, we can’t allow people CHELORʼS DEGREES not the best place for it. to play full-court basketball,” Eubanks “It just doesn’t make sense to have WoW doesn’t offer many healthy choic- said. a chicken wing place in our fitness cen- es, Wimberly said. Fitness Coordinator If WoW wasn’t there, the SRC could -FOURTH OF ter,” Wimberly said. “I got sick one day Glenda Richey said she agrees. use the space for exercise equipment, after eating there, and I decided to find “We are not opposed to having WoW which would free up the basketball MEN HOLD JOBS IN out how other students felt about WoW. on campus, but we think students should courts, he said. Most of the students said the same thing: have healthier options (at the SRC),” Both Eubanks and Richey said they it’s unhealthy and it’s in a bad location.” Richey said. support Wimberly’s petition. The SRC’s mission is to provide an SRC Director Jim Eubanks said he M;<-5XIOM ) atmosphere that promotes health, but thinks WoW should be moved because ;MM?W?XIOM )

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Student, SGA senator starts petition to remove WoW from SRC

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35


LIFE 5B

Nov. 1, 2012 • The Flor-Ala • Life Editor: Ann Harkey 256-765-5233

TECHNOLOGY

Apple iPad, Kindle Fire most popular tablets on campus

photo by KAYLA SLOAN I Chief Photographer

Apple’s iPad and Amazon’s Kindle are the most popular tablet computers among students. While the devices have many similarities, they are both fundamentally different, and it seems students’ preferences are determined solely by personal taste.

BRANDON CONLEY ;\]LMV\?ZQ\MZ JKWVTMa(]VIML]

In a time when many forms of media have gone digital, some students are replacing ink and paper books with digital books on their tablets. The Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle appear to be equally popular among students at UNA. Hannah Clemons, a senior majoring in education, said she likes her Amazon Kindle because it allows her to multitask. “I like being able to read and eat at

the same time, and it’s nice to have hundreds of books with me and not have to lug them around,” she said. “I never thought I would like having one, but it ended up changing my life.” Some students like their tablets because of the convenient size. “I like my iPad because it’s easier to tote around than my laptop,” said Taylor Patton, a sophomore. Cody Hawkins, a criminal justice major, said he prefers reading books on his Kindle because the iPad has too many distractions. In contrast Ellen Hinds, a

senior, said she likes her iPad more than her Kindle because it is easier for the rest of her family to use. Zack Miskel, a sophomore, said he uses his iPad for business and likes being able to easily synchronize it with his iPhone and laptop. Emily McCann, a senior, said she would rather have a Kindle than an iPad, as she doesn’t like Apple products. However, Taylor Pickens, a senior, said he believes Apple products are superior. “I like my Kindle,” said Kathleen Sego, a junior. “I already have an iPhone,

WEB

Kickstarter provides fundraising for projects PACE HOLDBROOKS

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In a creative generation, many young people strive to see their ideas come to life. When these ideas need money, creative minds all over the world turn to Kickstarter. According to their website, “Kick-

36

chael Blair, UNA’s videographer on staff. “You set a goal and raise money. If you hit your goal, you get the money. It’s an all-or-nothing type of system.” Blair said fundraising is based on incentives, where supporters choose the amount they wish to donate and receive prizes from the project creator. The amount donated to a project directly corresponds to the type of incentive the sup-

going to raise the money they need. UNA student Mack Cornwell said people donate to connect with the creators. “They feel like they are a part of something,” Cornwell said “Normally they wouldn’t have that ability, but now they can.” UNA graduate Dillon Hodges used Kickstarter to fund the production of his debut album after establishing a fan base

so I didn’t see the need to get an iPad. The main thing I like about the Kindle is the display. It doesn’t glare in the sun.” In contrast, Summer Scott said she hates the Kindle she has. “It’s really glitchy,” Scott said. Some students said they prefer tablets other than the Kindle and iPad. Anita Parker, a junior, said she would like to get a Nexus 7. Dean Arnold, a former UNA student, said he has an Android tablet. “I’ve used an iPad before,” Arnold said. “Those things are terrible.”

STUDENT PROFILE

Student pursues acting career BREKEN TERRY ;\]LMV\?ZQ\MZ J\\MZZa(]VIML]

UNA student Caleb Woods has been in the acting business for almost a year and has al-


The pantry is a result of UNA student bucket list?efforts over the last Julia Henderson’s two years. “I was out to eat with some of my fellow (resident advisers) last year, and TO HAVE we talked about howI WANT some people were TRULY MADE A DIFFERENCE stealing food from their roommates,” she PEOPLEʼS LIVES. I said. “So, I said it INwouldn’t be a problem ugh with KNOW ITʼS CRAZY.

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ACADEMICS

out a first-time user form, which is a lot like the information you have to put on a standardized test.” Henderson, recipient of the Contribution to Campus Life Scholarship, said she’s happy to help out even one person with the pantry. “We’re averaging about one person

“So, I kind of went into this blindly.” The pantry’s services are for students who struggle to afford food, Henderson said. Food for the pantry is provided by Collier Library’s donations for its canned food amnesty program and outside dona-

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ALLISON STARK

Sociology department changes name ” IʼD LIKE TO GO ON

photo illustration by CHRISTINA COVINGTON I Staff Photographer

When partying, UNA police chief Bob Pastula says, having a designated person at a party to chaperone is just as important in family studies go on to find jobs in soas having a designated driver.

BRANDON CONLEY A ROAD TRIP WITH NO

cial service agencies, religious organisafe because you’re around a lot of peo- he knows his limit. He’s a big boy. But ;\]LMV\?ZQ\MZ MAPS OR NAVIGATING ple. Guard your drinkwith like it’s your new he knows I’m here to drive him and vice zations and organizations involved JKWVTMa(]VIML] ANDY THIGPEN iPhone. TOOLS OF ANY SORT. ;\INN?ZQ\MZ children, Bullard said. “Bad guys are kind of like animals. versa.” For students who don’t have a ride, XI\PQOXMV(]VIML] The UNA Department of Sociology BELIEVE EXPANSION (Animals) don’tprofessor attack a stronger prey. It’s walking Dr. Amber Paulk, assistant may not beTHE the best option, HowA MBERLY WARE officially changed its name to the Departthe same way withdepartthe bad guys. They’re ard said. People who are out on the streets It’s Friday night. School has started, of sociology, said members of the drinkingTHAT can easily be charged with andStudies summer is over. The bar is packed not going to attack a group. When you’re ment of Sociology and Family FILLS after A NICHE WAS MISSING are excited expansion. with the a group, you’re safer,” Howard said. public intoxication. full of new faces,ment old friends, loud musicabout Sept. 14. Howard said stuEvery officer has a certain amount of “I last believe it fills By a being nicheself-aware, that was and cold drinks. After the call, several The change was made to better reflect who are drinking can stop things discretion in any situation, Howard said. students less-than-casually missing,”stumble Paulkout said.dents the door. All of them split different ways: such as getting arrested, having an auto- And each situation is unique. the courses of study that the department said somemobile sociology courses accident, theft or date rape. “Police officers are just people and some find a sober ride,Paulk some walk home, BEFORE Ichair offers, said Dr. Jerri Bullard, of the UNA Chief as Pastula and others get in their carsbeen and drive away. restructured have slightly part agrees of that the all people are different. My advice to GRADUATE I WOULD mentality is a better, safer way to students is, if you’re going to take that sociology department. While drinking andexpansion. college are often the A newgroup course, called FamLIKE TO PLAYwe TO Aimplemented FULL associated with other, authorities say drink. And while many people appoint a chance—and it is a chance—expect to get “Several years ago a each ily Life Education, is also being offered. designated driver (DD) for the night, it’s a that officer who is not going to give you that there are responsible and safe ways HOUSEin IN order NORTON to broaden family studies minor, little more than that.Advoany leniency,” Howard said. “That will for students to still party like Court rock stars. The Appointed Special “Everybody thinks you need a DD,” make people callaa cab. Always expectwith the the knowledge base AUDITORIUM of our. students,” Sgt. Hal Howard of the Florence Po“They develop relationship cate (CASA) program is one of many to have one who is not going to cut you a break.” lice wanted Department (FLPD) knows that stu- Pastula said. “Yes, but you needthe she said, “We realized that we child,” she said. “They can make recorganizations that hires individuals a designated somebodywith to keep an eye on Pastula said the UNA Police are willwant to have a good time. After FORREST HARLAN dentsstudies students to know that the family forstudents that child and that things. studies; If everybody’s impaired ommendations to where ing to help find their way.be If stuserving 14 years on the FLPD force—12 backgrounds in family CASA can take voice dents in approach a UNAsystem.” police officer and the local SWAT team— they can’t see straight, somebodychild’s field is part of what we do.” of those years on serves the court asgoadvocates for children involved advantage of them.” ask for help, they will call the student a also seen many things wrong. Opportunities for careers he inhas family Caitlinchild Scully,custody professional writing cab, Pastula said. He also said students court cases, including “First thing, ifin you’re going to go out I WANT in TO SUC - and have studies have increased recent years; make use of the downtown bus a goodcases, time clubbing, don’t major at UNA, recently celebrated her should ;MM+0)6/-XIOM) Paulk said. drink and drive,” Howard said. “If you’ve birthday. During her night out, not only that runs all over downtown and Seven many students whoCESSFULY acquire SPREADaAbackground

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RUMOR THAT THE LIONS money. The last thing a student needs is HAVE GOTTEN LOOSE ON a DUI.” SOCIAL MEDIA.

MACK CORNWELL Information provided by Jared McCoy

He said it comes down to “policing yourself.” Being aware of self and the surroundings can cut down on a lot of troubles, and the troubles don’t start outside of the bar, Howard said. “Keep your head on a swivel—even in the club,” he said. “Don’t feel like you are

did she stay in a group, but also had her boyfriend Kyle McAnally as a DD. Having an agreement worked out with friends or significant others is a good way to have a safe night, Scully said. “It depends on friends you go out with,” Scully said. “Some like to be the point person. Others say ‘Thank you for watching me. I’m watching you tonight.’ If (Kyle) wants to go out and have fun,

Points, Thursday through Saturday, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. “We do everything we can not to take someone to jail,” Pastula said. “If they go to jail, they really deserved it. The Florence Police Department is not as forgiving. As long as (the student) doesn’t get belligerent or nasty, we will make sure they get home safe.”

Instagram, Facebook apps popular among students BRANDON CONLEY ;\]LMV\?ZQ\MZ JKWVTMa(]VIML]

photo by CHRISTINA COVINGTONI Staff Photographer

A student displays their favorite apps.

With apps being the way of the future, many UNA students turn to their iPhone and Android phones to stay connected, students said. Mary-Francis Wilson, a junior, has an iPhone and uses Instagram. “I’m nosy and I like to see other people’s pictures,” Wilson said. Megan McKinney, a freshman, also named Instagram as her favorite app. The Facebook app came in second place. The UNA app also received praise from students.

“I actually use the UNA app more than anything else,” said Dane Trelles, a senior. Dalton Williams, a freshman, also uses it. “The UNA app is saving my life right now,” Williams said. Kelsey Cooper, a sophomore, named Twitter as her favorite app. “I use it probably every hour,” said Cooper. Sarah Skipworth, a sophomore, has an Android phone. One of her favorite apps is Shazam, which can identify songs playing on the radio. Among the other apps voted for were Spotify, Pandora, iFunny, Temple Run, Tribal Wars, and Lose It.

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