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Cram Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 Summer 2011 Editor in Chief Jesus Garay Art Director Cindy Raspiller

2 ..............................................................................Letters from the Editors 4 .......................................................Winning the Lottery, Ralph Fornoles 6 ........................................................Ask That Not of Me, Sarah Gardner 7 ..................................................................Float On, Sara Vanderschaaf 8 .....................................................Untitled, Jennifer Spring-Hartwell 10 ...................................Growing up Daily Show, Kali Baker-Johnson 12 ............................................................................On Art, Joe Rocha 13 ....................................50 Feathers for 50 Birds, Nolwen Cifuentes 14 ..................................Yosemite in Black and White, Sarah McCay 16 ..............................................Leaving the Faith, Phillip Schmitte 18 ................................................Takanassee Sphere, Chris Spiegel 20 ..................................................................Cherry, Sarah Wearn 22 .........................................It’s Just a Movie, Jacqueline Raineri 24 ....................................................Parrot, Erina Weidenbacher 26 ...............................................................................The Talent


When I woke up this morning, I opened my laptop and I saw my Cram Magazine email page instead of my personal one. I work in an office, and like most people, I log into my work email and slog through the dozens (or hundreds) of messages. Sometimes it takes me five minutes to go through them if I’m lucky; I’ll spend half the day answering and deleting them when I’m not. My Cram email is slowly increasing in rate, but this time, I couldn’t be happier about going through them. When we started this magazine, our goal was simple: put out a publication that had artists and writers from all walks of life and give them a place to show it to the world. When I talked to other people about this, most replied that it had already been done on many other sites where creativity is posted online. Here’s the problem: how many are actually seen and celebrated for it? I want to speed up the process for the ones that fall between the cracks. While you read this, someone is drawing a sketch, writing a short story, or filming a video. I want you to read this and help you make new ideas. And then I want you to remember, you have a place to put it. Keep Cramming, Jesus Garay

We know it’s been a long time coming. There were obstacles we didn’t know would crop up. There were financial quandaries. There was the age-old question, “print or digital?” Now, about a year later and a year wiser for the experience, we present to you the very first issue of Cram Magazine. This magazine has been my baby - something I’ve wanted to put together for a long, long time. I was amazed and humbled by the response we received from contributors, and am thoroughly excited to finally present our first issue to the world. Ta da! But it’s not about us at Cram, it’s about our contributors. This was meant to be a place for artists of every level to display their work. No niches, no pretensions, no criticism; just a place to be printed and show yourself to the world. So the next time you’re thinking of writing a story or painting a picture or sculpting the bust of Carl Sagan out of bubble gum and Monopoly pieces*, you know you have a place to share your work. Go make something. It’s good for you. Cindy Raspiller

From the Editors...

* If anyone makes a bust of Carl Sagan out of bubble gum and Monopoly pieces, we’ll give you something cool for your troubles. And probably also a spread in Cram.

“I’m too young to play the lottery if I wanted to,” I said.

Ralph Fornoles September 2008 A short story of a feeling of displacement that took me from Massapequa, NY to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NY.

Winning the Lottery “I’ll see you later buddy,” Jim said, as he walked toward the northwest corner of 86th street. I’ve seen him walk that way countless times as I walked southwest on the same street, different corner. Previously, I knew nothing of him, only that we virtually had the same path at the same time for a terse two hours every Monday and Thursday morning. It took me eight times to wonder and guess. It only took the last meeting to finally understand that something had come full circle. In order to complete something of that magnitude, let alone draw it, I must start with a brief encounter with my basketball coach after practice some eleven years ago and put things in perspective. At the time, I was an utter naïf. My memory of why I was in his car is blurry, but what he said, I remember as if it were a Beatles song. “Ralph,” he said, staring into my little beady eyes,” don’t you understand how lucky we are, right here right now?” I sat there taciturn, attempting to comprehend the severity of his statement. “Of course,” I said,” I’m on the basketball team, I’m popular-“ “You’re missing the point Pino!” he said, with strong emphasis on my moniker. “It’s like we won the lottery!”At this point, I thought Coach Curtin had gone mad. Here I was, almost 18, and ready to admit that he was a charlatan selling pyrite to the masses when he was coaching. 4

Then he explained: “You see, the earth existed before you and I was even a speck of bacteria. And somehow, with all the millions of years, and other life forms, he chose you and me to live here and carry out different lives. Yet somehow, someway, we ended up right here right now; at this exact spot, at this time. It’s more random than the lottery; it’s a million lotteries!” That memory immediately rushed into my head the second time I saw Jim. Of course, I didn’t know that was his name at the time. All I knew was that at 3:52am on Thursday morning, I could count on him to get on the train from Long Island to Penn Station, then the E train uptown headed to 51st and Lexington Ave, trek half a mile to transfer to the 6 train headed uptown and exit off 86th street and Lexington Ave. Indeed, we both won the lottery. As another week passed with no opportunity to strike up dialogue with him, I opted to profile him worse than a prejudiced New York City cop. It was like 1988 and I was playing Guess Who? with obvious clues. He was young, Caucasian with a slender build. He wore white jeans with a distinct black stripe down the middle, not to mention the 101 Dalmatians spotted randomly throughout his pants. His cargo-colored fleece was always taken off while we usually waited on the 6 train platform. His distinct face had intimations of past bouts with acne, and a mole on his right cheek for good measure. His eyes and lips made him look like a real life Muppet, and his sneakers had “daily pedestrian” written all over it. Now I could look at him two ways – both assumptions of course. Through a fashionista’s eyes, I noticed his New Balances were on the wrong side of style. On the other hand, he could just be a carpenter or painter. In a sense it didn’t even matter what he was wearing. We had both won the lottery again. Another week passed and the train was running slower than usual. I still missed another opportunity to talk to him, but with a good excuse. This week I decided to walk in his New Balances and dress like a vagabond. I wore multiple colors like twenty mood rings, feverishly bobbing my head to the timeless sounds of Sade. It wouldn’t

be rare to see me with a bag full of clothes on my back, and a marsupial amount of books in the front. It must have confused his mind week after week with thoughts like: Is he in the Circus? Is he homeless? Does he work for Jesse Jackson or Crayola? None of the above of course, but he couldn’t help but speculate as well. On second thought, maybe we didn’t win the lottery. Perhaps the ticket was on display; we just had to play. Another week passed. Circumstances changed. I knew my days taking the 3:52am train to Penn Station were numbered. I could always gaze at the ticket in front of me; but this time I wanted to finally play. Nervous is a good word to use right now; I was tired and sleep deprived – not a good way to make a first impression. But he already had dozens embedded in his brain. I just incorporated my voice box to this final meeting.

told me he was Jim, 22, from Bellmore with, as he described it, “a sick union job where I paint million-dollar luxury apartments, and hang out with old-timers that drink on the job.” And all this time, I thought he just lacked taste. Today I won the jackpot, because the lottery can only take you so far. God put Jim and Ralph on three separate trains together on Monday and Thursday mornings for a reason. I know God is out there smiling and saying, “Hey, you never know.”

Why was I nervous? It was premeditated. I knew I wanted to win the lottery, but I realized that I never call my numbers; if I’m not in it, I can’t win it. After all, I’ve been down this road before. I told Kadisha how much I liked her in sixth grade. The feeling when she told me, “You don’t know how much that means to me,” was invaluable. I couldn’t imagine how much better it would have been if I hadn’t told her fourteen years late. What was more invaluable for me was that I’m not like that anymore. I don’t believe in luck. I guess I’m no-fashioned. I belong in the cult that believes that wondering is worse than failing. It was much more than chance today. There he was, waiting for the wretched Local E train, uptown bound. But something different happened today. Sure, the E train came. As the doors opened, and wouldn’t close for another twenty minutes, we were both at the same spot, with three feet separating us, enough space to break the ice. “What do you do that makes you take this train this early?” I asked. “I’m a painter,” he said. “I start at 6:15am.” I wish I had bet my savings on his profession. He talked for a good duration, more than I expected, but that wasn’t the point. It was a circle that I needed to complete. I was satisfied when he 5

Sarah Gardner

Ask That Not of Me ask that not of me. for to be free, is to be without chains. prisoners, suffocating in our daily routines. blinding work, repetitive, robotic movement. invented deafness, to the words forced upon my ears. clock ticking, hands stationary. illusions of accomplishments. praises never spoken. discouragement enforces rebelliousness throughout. reverie for the freedom. organization that society unto me dissent. so, ask that not of me. for i am without chains.

Opposite page


Sara Vanderschaaf Float On August 6th, 2010

Jennifer Spring-Hartwell Untitled 8

Wild flowers smiling. Silent eyes. Can I today? Rooted, guided heart.

Kali Baker-Johnson January 26, 2011

Growing up Daily Show I’m going to go ahead and say that over the past four years I have missed less than 10 episodes of the Daily Show and its companion program, The Colbert Report. Which is to say that I am part of the problem. It’s become a bit of a cliché to say that nowadays much of America’s youth gets it’s news from Comedy Central, which is not untrue. I mean, I know I do. But I am also very aware that the Daily Show is not real news. The show’s host Jon Stewart has himself referred to it as fake news, other’s have called it satirical news. I prefer the term metanews. It’s news about the news, which often times seems the only sensible to get the news. In the current journalistic climate, characterized by hyperbolic infotainment snarky rehashing of the 24 hour news cycle feels like the only way to get a semblance of the truth. So against the better angels of my civil responsibility (which would probably provoke me to read newspapers, whatever those are) I tune in every night with many other young adults and college students (I firmly believe it was the rise of the Daily Show, not Leno, that sunk Conan’s Tonight Show) for my nightly dose of metanews. Is that a problem? It should be. Here’s the thing though, it never fails. Over the past four years I have regularly been better informed than my peers. Granted I’m comparing myself to mostly my circle of friends and acquaintances, many are whom are proud advocates of political apathy, while others are lovable idiots. At the same time others are Ivy League educated and politically aware, CNN 10

journalists and others actually work on the Hill in Washington. And almost purely from watching the Daily Show, I’m in step or far beyond all of them. Plus I get to laugh my ass off nightly. I haven’t stepped into a political conversation I couldn’t hold my own in, and more importantly, it’s got me excited about my own civic agency. I’m excited about politics, and not in an angry mob way, but in an “Are you serious?” kind of way. Frustration tempered with ironic distance, I guess. Just enough to get me to the polls, and start uncomfortable conversations in restaurants, but not enough to make a sign. And the best part, is that it’s never let me down. Well that’s not completely true. There was that one time. On April 16, 2007, a young man named Seung Hui-Cho entered two Halls on the campus of the Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University and opened fire on a number of civilians. As a college student at the time, I was glued to the television all day, I believe I even skipped my classes that day. It was fuckin’ scary. And I can remember thinkin’ that at 11PM Jon Stewart would make sense of all of this senselessness, as he always does. And I honestly expected him not to be funny. I was fully prepared to sit in front of the television and watch Stewart simply deliver the news, his tongue definitively out of his cheek. And then I suspected, he would present the event in a light no one else had, as he always does, but that it would be only poignant and not funny. Because, which I had believed was self-evident by then, there was still a need for the Daily Show even if there was not a need for humor. But when I tuned in at 11, Stewart instead said this: Obviously for anyone who’s been tuned into the television today, A horrible, horrible day. I have absolutely nothing to add that is insightful or anything. I’ll just do what I always do when faced with something that is that powerfully damaging to the emotional core, I will begin to repress it. And I will swallow it… To that end let’s move on as though the world is okay. He followed that with a story on the white house losing about 5 million e-mails. He never even said the words “Virginia Tech.” He completely ignored it. It couldn’t be made funny, so it wouldn’t be covered. I felt betrayed. The next day however, the Daily Show did cover the coverage of the

Viriginia Tech massacre, taking potshots at the people that covered, however incredulously, what those at the Daily Show could not bring themselves to. It was cowardice, plain and simple. My faith had been shattered. I felt stupid for exalting the “On weed” guy from Half Baked to the title of most trusted name in news. After that I tried to balance my Daily Show watching with CNN, but it didn’t last. I couldn’t sit through the hours of useless pontificating that dominated most news networks. And of course, it wasn’t funny. The news media itself was still just as ridiculous, and the satirical watchdog tactics of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report were still as necessary as before Viriginia Tech. So I resigned myself to simply watching Comedy Central for my news. But it was then that I recognized that I was part of the problem. I was no longer a proud member of the new politically aware youth, the Daily Show Democrat response to the South Park Republicans. I was just interested enough to laugh about politics, not interested enough to actually care. I don’t think I’m part of the problem anymore. I still watch Comedy Central’s late night news block religiously, but I’ve begun to think of all of us Stewart/Colbert devotees as the solution. On October 30, I attended the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington D.C. hosted by Stewart and Colbert. I went for a few reasons. I believed in Stewart’s message of injecting a degree of moderation in to politics, I hadn’t seen my friend who lives in D.C. in a while, my friend was driving, I felt like if I didn’t go I’d be missing an episode (which I never do), and seeing as how it was Halloween weekend I figured it’d end as one drunken college party in the streets of D.C. What I experienced was much different. For one, the crowd was much older than I expected, and much larger. There were far fewer dressed up in costume, as Colbert had instructed his “nation” to do, than I expected, and much fewer Legalize It signs. There were more families, and more minorities than I expected. And more people who seemed to be there not for the jokes and special guests, but for the sense of community and for the message. It was one of the only times in my life I can honestly say I felt like part of the fabric of America. It felt inclusive and honest. And I felt proud. Jokes or not, The Daily Show was at the forefront of a political awakening, the radical

middle. People who thought humor an effective tool for change, my people. And Stewart closed the rally, with an honest, serious, address to crowd. “Sanity will always be and has always been in the eye of the beholder. To see you here today and the kind of people that you are has restored mine.” My faith had been restored. Almost. About three months ago, Saturday January 8, Jared Lee Loughner walked into a constituent meeting for Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in front of a supermarket and shot the congresswoman in the head before opening fire on the bystanders. When the Daily Show aired that Monday, Stewart opened the show, saying, “I can give you a typical compilation of the day’s news excesses, but it doesn’t really seem appropriate.” After a quick bit about correspondent John Oliver reverting back to childhood to cope with the tragedy, Stewart spoke for about 5 min, eschewing jokes, on his perspective on tragedy. He concluded with this: Someone or something will shatter our world again… Wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t take that moment to make sure that the world that we are creating now… wasn’t better than the one we previously lost. It was what the Daily Show should have been on April 16, 2007. And it showed exactly how much this show had grown over the past few years. In many ways Stewart and his writers seem to have accepted the responsibility that they hold as the go-to news program for many. And they’ve used that power to mobilize on Washington, and for other causes such as the 9/11 First-Responders bill. And their influence is growing. A few days ago Kambiz Hosseini and Saman Arbabi came on the show as guests to discuss “Parazit,” their satirical news program which broadcasts in Iran, and which they are wanted men for producing. Their hero worship of Stewart was immediately clear, as was their bravery. Stewart seemed truly humbled that these men saw him as a pioneer, but not surprised. If you ask me, he knows he used to be the problem, the harlequin trivializing the very structure of our society, but he has since resided to be the solution. Or more accurately the early years of the Daily Show was all just a set-up. And now every night at 11, we get to watch the punchline.


Joe Rocha April 22, 2011

On Art Art is like fucking. You canrushit, you can t a k e y o u r you can try your hardest, you can fale misrubly, you can try to hide it, you can


be proud of it,

you can do it on drugs, you can do it with love, or hate or whateverbut it’s all about that one moment. It’s about looking in that other person’s eyes gripping them with a desperation. It’s about looking right in their eyes, through the paint between the words around the sounds and letting them know that you mean it.

That’s why artists like fucking. Opposite Page

Nolwen Cifuentes 50 Feathers for 50 Birds (Series) June - July 2010 Collage 12


Sarah McCay Yosemite in Black and White January 2011 Black and white acrylic paint on canvas. 14

First Communion. For me it was not really a question and I never really felt like I had a choice. I just did it like everyone else was.

Phillip Schmitte Janaury 2011

Leaving the Faith I am an atheist. It is a bit humorous that there is a name for the default position, but this is the world we live in. Being an atheist can be polarizing; some people love it, others hate it. Usually when I talk about atheism, I talk about what I think and try to justify my position. This time I’m going to try a different approach and talk about how I came to be an atheist. Perhaps I can give some insight into how an atheist ticks. I grew up Christian; more specifically I was Roman Catholic. I never really questioned it back then. How could I? No one I knew had any dissenting opinion of the church or God. So I was a good little Christian boy and I prayed every night. My family and I went to church every week. I always chose to be active in the church. I was even an altar boy. Go ahead and make your jokes, but I always liked doing it. Being an altar boy gave me something to do during mass. It helped ease the mind-numbing boredom that was church. Our priest, Father Ralph, was actually pretty cool. He was soft spoken and rarely went off script during Mass. I liked him because he seemed like a relatable person and not just God’s PR man. He never seemed like a true believer to me. It was like he was a performer working at a venue he hated. When he left the church and got married, I felt as though my suspicions about him were confirmed. I received a double dose of indoctrination in the form of once-a-week religious education. It was bible stories and workbooks with the primary purpose of preparing us for important events, like 16

I became part of our church’s youth group. It was a pretty good time. It was mostly just a community volunteer group with a slight religious undertone. Unfortunately, I was again surrounded by people who unquestioningly believed in God. Mrs. Gardener was the primary faith-head of my youth. She was very active in the church and outspoken about God. I used to admire her and perhaps even tried to emulate her. However, in retrospect she was totally nuts. She taught one of my religious education classes. One day in class we began to question. We wanted proof of God. Our questions were dodged with what would become the usual cop out, “you just have to have faith.” At the time that was good enough for me, but it never truly sat well with me. What is faith? Why is it good? My first seed of doubt came when I started high school. It didn’t come from my science classes. I had already learned about evolution and it had already been professed to be compatible with religion. It was when I learned about the various world religions in social studies class that I first began to doubt my faith. I learned about so many of them, many defunct at this point, that the thought that each of these groups considering the others as wrong confused me. “Which one was right?” I thought, shamed by the cockiness I had to believe I had the answers all those years. I went further, and I thought of how any religion could know theirs was the right path. Certainly the believers thought they were the chosen ones. I kept these thoughts to myself and continued with my religious studies. I was preparing for my confirmation into the Roman Catholic religion and had no intention of rocking the boat just yet. In my religious education classes, my classmates and I began to question our religious instructors. Clearly, I was not the only one had had begun to doubt. The answers did not satisfy me. Questions were merely dodged, not answered. We were told that we just had to have faith. That did not sit well with me. Why should I just take them at their word? I was slowly and steadily losing my faith. I still went to church, but I began to look at the rituals, chants, blind following, and mutual affirmation

with a more critical eye. I stopped praying and I stopped saying the creeds. I went through with my confirmation, going through the process despite not being sure of my position. Though I considered the whole thing a joke, at the time I had no intention of disappointing my mother.. Immediately following my confirmation, I stopped going to church. I began thinking of myself as agnostic. I knew that the Roman Catholics were wrong, but I wasn’t quite ready to call myself an atheist yet. Around the time I went to college was when I shed faith in God entirely. I was happy to find other open minded people. And when I say open minded, I don’t necessarily mean they were atheist. I mean they were willing to consider my position, even if they disagreed with me. It just felt good to speak freely, and it strengthened my position. However, I too would be questioned. I realized I didn’t have all the answers. I was unable to refute logical claims made by the religious. Nor did I know the sciences well enough to explain contentious topics like evolution, should the need arise. I started to web search atheism one day looking for some help. I wanted to be able to argue my position. This led me to a few notable atheists such as Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers. I understood the need to demand evidence for any claim. My reading moved to more specific topics like biology and astronomy, which gave me the knowledge to argue the atheist position and back it up with evidence.

support their belief systems. I would argue that faith and skepticism are complete opposites. Faith is belief without evidence. It is merely baseless assertions with absolutely no virtue to it. Skepticism is about doubt and withholding belief. A skeptic will not hold a belief until there is scientific evidence to support it. And even then that belief is only provisional. If new evidence arises that overturns a previously held belief, a skeptic will happily discard the old belief. Science and skepticism are about finding truth. Religion is about inventing truth, with faith as the mechanism used to preserve that invention. The promotion of atheism and skepticism has now become an important aspect of my life. Sometimes it bothers people close to me, but it cannot be helped. There is real harm that can come from making decisions that are not based in reality and I intend to stand against it. My primary method of promotion is simply to speak plainly about what I am and what I believe. And I encourage others to do the same. Religion urges you to be certain. I urge you to doubt.

I picked up some books about atheism; most important among them was Carl Sagan’s A Demon-Haunted World. It introduced me not just to a new look on atheism, but also on skeptical thinking. One part that caught my attention from the book was a part on the ancient belief in satyrs and demons. As I read Sagan recount these tales, I was reminded of the abduction stories. It gave me the impression that people have odd experiences or hallucinations and attribute it to the boogie man of their time. It was satyrs then, and now it is aliens. It is the same story, but now with different characters. Some would say now that I’ve merely traded one faith for another, that science and skepticism are just like religion in their reliance on faith to 17

Chris Spiegel Takanassee Beach Sphere 18

Sarah Wearn Cherry 2011 Recycled woodchip paper, acrylic ink, and fine line pen 03 “I spend too much time on Photoshop and so I wanted to create something more mixed media and play with different textures. My favourite element of the image is Cherry’s tiny feet. I hate feet and I think all feet should be tiny and dainty like hers and mine! Like a lot of my art, Cherry it inspired by 1920’s and Art Deco.” 21

Becky reached for the door handle opening the door. Water came pouring into the car at Becky’s feet. Jocelyn grabbed Becky’s arm trying to pull her back in. “Don’t,” Jocelyn begged. “ Don’t go out there.”

Jacqueline Raineri December 2010

It’s Just a Movie Jocelyn stared through the rain hitting her windshield, into the darkness of the night. Her mouth was slightly ajar as she turned to her sister, Becky, who mirrored her image. Their car had just stalled in the middle of a swamp that covered the road from all the rain that had fallen in the last few days. Jocelyn tried starting the car again but only heard choking and sputtering, then the engine went silent. “What do we do now?” Jocelyn asked her sister in a shaky voice. “How about if one of us gets out and tries to push the car back on land? Then we can wait for the car to dry and we can go home.” “Becky, I’m not leaving this car. There could be snakes in the water.” “Really? Really, Jocelyn? It was a movie,” Becky stated. Jocelyn had coaxed Becky into going out to the movies after their father had forbid them to leave the house in such horrible weather. A new movie had just opened that night that Jocelyn couldn’t help but want to see with the new, attractive boy at school. The boy had told them that he was going to see the movie, Anaconda. Becky knew right away that Jocelyn would be scared out of her wit for the next month after seeing the movie. She hated when Jocelyn was scared of something that was impossible. She’d always been scared of monsters in the closet or snakes on the floor when the lights were off. Becky would always have to go in Jocelyn’s room and comfort her when she screamed of fear of her own imagination. 22

“Oh my God, Jocelyn. It was a freakin’ movie. There aren’t any snakes in the water. It’s a swamp that’s has like a foot of water normally and no rocks for the snakes to sun bathe on. It’s impossible for snakes to live in these waters.” “You don’t know that. Maybe they’ve evolved and they’ve learned how to swim so they could attack stranded people like us!” “Jocelyn, don’t be ridiculous,” Becky replied as she opened the door farther pushing herself from the seat and getting out of the car. More water spilled into the car from the swamp and rain poured down on the hood of Becky’s jacket. The water was deep and quickly rising. “Becky, please come back in here,” Jocelyn begged. “Something doesn’t feel right about this.” “You’re being ridiculous,” Becky responded, as she shut the door as best she could and struggled to get to the front of the car. The headlights of the car were still on so Jocelyn could see her sister in the front. Becky pushed on the hood with all her might only moving the car slightly before she lost her balance and fell into the swamp. Jocelyn pushed herself up in her seat, trying to see past the front to find her sister. Slowly Becky pushed herself back up and put her hands on the hood of the car again. Jocelyn rolled down her window and yelled out: “Becky, come back in, we can just wait for help!” Becky shook her head and started pushing on the car again as the swamp continued to rise. She was persistent; nothing would stop her from getting the car out of the swamp so they could go home. Jocelyn waited, her hands gripped the wheel at ten and two, strong enough to make her knuckles turn white. Becky signaled for Jocelyn to break as she took her hands off the car and stood up. She looked

like a drown rat with the rain pouring off her face and the hood of her jacket. Jocelyn put the car in park hoping that her sister would come back inside and just wait it out with her in the safe car. But being determined, Becky stood in the rain until she was ready to push again. Jocelyn watched Becky freeze, her eyes opening wide in terror. She let out a scream that was drowned out by the rain as her face hit the hood of the car. Something had dragged her by the feet into the deep, dark water. Jocelyn screamed gripping the wheel tightly and pushing herself farther up in her seat to see if she could see Becky. After a few moments Becky had not resurfaced. The fear in Jocelyn grew to an extreme as she began to realize that she would have to go out into the darkness and look for her sister. But what if that something would get her too? Was this all a trick, or had Becky really been drawn into the water by a mysterious creature? Finally, Jocelyn pried her fingers off the steering wheel and searched for the handle on the door. She was shaking so fiercely that it took her almost a minute to find it and push the door open as water poured in from the swamp. She pulled the hood up on her coat and searched the water in front of her car for her lost sister. Leaving the door open, she made her way to the front of the car where she had last seen Becky. She found a frog key chain floating in the water, which Jocelyn had given her when they got their first car together—the same car that was now stalled in a flooded swamp. Picking up the rubber frog keychain and placing it gently in her pocket she yelled over the rain for her sister in the darkness. Something strong and muscular wrapped around Jocelyn’s legs. She reached down in the water to pull it away, but felt piercing pain in her hand as though she had been stabbed with steak knives instead. Pulling her hand from the water she saw a snake’s head as large as a hubcap with its teeth penetrating her skin. Blood mixed with venom was running down her arm as the snake smiled at her. Jocelyn screamed as loud as she could, barely making a sound over the rain. Her eyes widened with fear as the snake brought her into the water.


Erina Weidenbacher Parrot August 2010 Living Treasures Animal Park, Pennsylvania 24

Ralph Fornoles “Full Time Writer that recently quit my Full Time Corporate America Gig to pursue my passion of the pen and paper. I’m a natural lefty that can right 4x as fast right-handed.”

Sarah Gardener

“I’m just an ordinary woman who has worked in the retail industry for 25yrs. I have put my thoughts and feeling into poetry throughout the years. This particular poem I wrote over 12 years ago when I became very disenchanted with my work. I consider myself a gardener and poet, two of my passions.”

Sara Vanderschaaf (503) 559-9297 “I am a professional photographer living on the Southern Oregon coast pursuing my dreams. Music and my surroundings are my biggest sources of inspiration and if I can capture even the smallest amount of beauty I see on a day to day basis, then I’m happy. In the future, I would love to pursue the crazy world of fashion photography and all that it entails.”

Jennifer Spring Hartwell Kali Baker-Johnson Growing up in New Jersey, Kali spent his early years writing stories and drawing comic books. It wasn’t until the eighth grade that he dropped the pen and pencil and picked up a video camera. Soon after he was blazing a path through Columbia High School’s award-winning CCN Network and film program. In the few years since, Kali has been able to establish himself as a consummate media professional and artist on the rise.

The Talent

Currently Kali is writing his first feature film, “Eric Meets Samantha”, which he plans to direct in late 2011.

Joe Rocha Joe Rocha recently graduated from NYU with a degree in Journalism and Psychology, where he also studied poetry under Scott Hightower. His is a philandering degenerate squandering the paycheck he gets writing copy on his numerous vices and get-rich-quick endeavors. He is happy to receive his fan mail at :

Nolwen Cifuentes “I am an artist, illustrator and graphic designer with a background in both computer design and fine arts. I graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in Design and Media Arts. I love collecting items, papers, and magazine clippings and later putting them together to tell a visual story. I often fuse fine arts with computer graphics, however, I love the feeling of a handmade piece. Being able to feel the textures and imperfections is a powerful element of handmade art.”

Sarah McCay Jeweler, painter, photographer, designer, dream believer.

Phil Schmitte Leaving the Faith is the story of how I became an atheist. I wrote it to promote understanding of the atheist position and inspire others to question their beliefs.

Chris Spiegel

Asbury Park, NJ

Sarah Wearn “I am the Studio Manager of a contemporary photography studio. I love making art as much as I love taking photos. When I am not behind

a camera, I am in my little studio creating work of art for Willow Eyes on Etsy. I work best at nighttime and then go to bed and dream the most bizarre and vivid dreams. I keep a dream diary and use it as a source of inspiration in my art. My inspirations reflected in my art are the 1920’s, femininity, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, melancholy and manga. I adore the 1920’s era and even had a 1920’s themed wedding! If my art were a song it would be Why Don’t You Do Right, by Peggy Lee. A key feature of my art is the long and spindly eye-lashes which made me think of the leaves of a willow tree. My favorite artist is Audrey Kawasaki, her work is utterly stunning and provocative. Other things I like are the colour green, the smell of freshly cut grass and a black coffee with 2 brown sugars!”

Jacqueline Raineri

Erina Weidenbacher “I grew up in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania surrounded by woods and the river. I was inspired by my mother and her Minolta, and in high school began taking classes in photography. I went to college to study for a short time, but most of what I’ve learned over the years had been through experience. I can spend hours at the zoo, or on a path in the woods. I have enjoyed the transition into the digital age, and I believe that film and digital are two completely different types of art. I have shot a few weddings and other events, and I would love to be able to make this my profession instead of my hobby. I live with my fiance Mike, who has inspired me to keep trying even when the chips are down.”

Cram Magazine, Vol. 1 Iss. 1  

Cram Magazine’s mission is to offer creatives of every persuasion an original, un-pretentious magazine packed with intellectual and creative...

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