Etchings Magazine Issue 34.1 - Writers' Statements

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Contributor Statements CW: “Inspired by Creepypasta, I wrote ‘Bone Creeper’ during my Writing the Scary Story spring term class earlier this year. My professor gushed about the creepy concept and encouraged me to submit it to Etchings. I wanted to physically depict fear through a monster. I settled on the fear of having anorexia, because I liked the idea of how real it is that illnesses consume people. The twist of someone who doesn’t eat properly themselves being eaten by a creature that looks anorexic itself was something I have never heard of and wanted to create.” - Sierra Durbin, “Bone Creeper” CW: “I wrote ‘Deliverance’ about the experiences of men and women across the globe. Having your dignity stripped from you through someone else’s abuse is more common than one would think. I decided to show this in the form of a ‘pious’ man stealing an angel from heaven and the events that follow.” - Mia Lehmkuhl, “Deliverance” CW: “I wrote ‘What Boyfriends Do’ to showcase a number of topics, like corrective rape towards the asexual community, stigmatization of male survivors, that rapists are often those who were close to us, that abusive relationships can happen in queer relationships too, and the importance of consent in relationsihips. I wanted to write an honest depiction of a boy who is a survivor of sexual assault, a story that doesn’t center his character around his trauma. As an openly asexual writer, I provide a voice for a community that is often silenced and rarely listened to.” - Brandon Hickey, “What Boyfriends Do” Volume 34.1 1

CW: “I wrote this poem as a way to take myself back, to heal these bruises I thought would be on me forever. Writing helps with wounds, and it has always been a way for me to express them. I hope that those who can relate find a safe space in my words, and I hope they know that bad times don’t last forever. Bruises heal, eventually.” - Cassi Dillon, “Heart-Shaped Bruises” CW: “In this piece, ‘Let Me Cry,’ the speaker plays the role of a victim of sexual assault while the violin plays the role of our society, which tries to silence women who speak out about their trauma. Multiple times throughout the piece you may notice the violin interrupting the speaker to emphasize this point. I hope that this composition allows others to see how important it is that we support women that are brave enough to speak up about sexual assault and be a voice for those that can’t.” - Brooklyn Harpold, “Let Me Cry” “Each poem has a deeper meaning in which readers are free to interpret what their meaning is. ‘SkyBaby, CryBaby’ is a weather themed poem.” -Armani Stewart, “SkyBaby, Crybaby” “This piece was created to express some feelings about COVID-19 and a way to document the experience.” - Cambel Castle, “The World” “‘Wandering Thoughts’ is a poem supposed to encourage the reader to think about common things in a different light.” - Cambel Castle, “Wandering Thoughts”

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“‘Lost In The Past’ is about my feelings and thoughts about the past. It also reminds me, and hopefully the reader, that no matter what you will find your way back.” - Cambel Castle, “Lost in the Past” “‘Living, Loving and Surviving in a Post Apocalyptic America’ is a piece that was written as a form of process and therapy. In the wake of June 2020 I found myself torn between two worlds, amongst new love and old loss, I discovered a piece of myself that landed in the middle.” - CariAnn Freed, “Living, Loving and Surviving in a Post Apocalyptic America” “‘The Keyhole’ is a piece made up of symbols typically seen in ideas of ‘Wonderland’ or fantasy worlds. It was created based on the ideas of escaping into a fantasy world and how even things in our everyday can be seen in a fantastical light.” - Catherine Platter, “The Keyhole” “‘Arise My Soul’ is a song composed to inspire feelings of hope. Amidst each of our struggles and trials, God offers freedom and light. We hope this song brings peace and comfort to the hurting heart.” - Chloe Crockett and Heather Dawson, “Arise My Soul” “‘While My Father Dies’ was written while my father was in a care facility suffering from a terminal illness. aIt reflects my frustrations and fears as I and my brothers confronted his imminent passing.” - Christopher Schmidt, “While My Father Dies” “‘Buried Beneath The Oak Tree’ was written on an autumn day during quarantine. During this time, my brother had passed and Volume 34.1 3

therefore I wrote a poem about death. I didn’t want the poem to be sad though, I wanted it to be peaceful and beautiful.” - Coda Barger, “Buried Beneath the Oak Tree” “‘She Is’ is a poem written using as many different forms of poetry as I could. There’s free verse, repetition, a sonnet, and a simple rhyme scheme. I wrote this with an inspiration of thinking about the amount of writings writers have, including myself, of multiple journals or documents that are filled with words and new creations, but many of them aren’t seen by others.” - Danielle Shaw, “She Is” “I have had the good fortune of being able to visit San Francisco more than any other major city outside the midwest. It didn’t hurt that I have a career in biomedical research, as major research conferences are held there on a frequent basis. However, almost all of those visits happen either in the spring or summer--rarely if ever in the winter time. The combination of the low winter solstice sun and the fog one evening around sunset on Treasure Island just east of the city, or sunrise a day later at Golden Gate, was a surreal experience. Both times, I encountered some local photography enthusiasts shooting in the area, and I took it as a very good sign seeing them get excited! I only hope that I can get back to taking more photos... It’s no understatement to say the Bay Area and San Francisco is a photographer’s dream!” - Dean Wiseman, “Golden Gate Winter Solstice” series “These pieces are both a bit associative for me, and I wrote them almost as someone else looking at my life in a way. These pieces are both about myself and the experiences that I’ve had, but I encourage you to read them as you interpret them.” - Destini Mink, “Shadow” 4 Etchings

“I wrote ‘Catharsis’ as a way to express the inner turmoil of my mind. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which looks different to every sufferer, but for me that means intrusive thoughts that stick and replay in my mind like a broken record. Sometimes it’s hard for me to figure out where my thoughts end and where I begin, so I press into uncertainty because there is no ‘solution’. I just want people to know that they are not alone in their struggle with mental health disorders.” - Grace Carrender, “Catharsis” “All girls are exposed to subtle and overt messages about femininity, feminine roles, and sexuality, often through dolls, clothing, and play. This piece explores the complicated feelings I had toward an impractical doll that represented cultural stereotypes, elusive physical beauty, and the sensuality of flamenco, all of which I struggled to reconcile as a small child. Ultimately, the doll’s façade of perfection did not spare her from damage, loss, and age, which is presciently reflective of real women’s lives.” - Karen Newman, “The Spanish Doll” “Photographed in a small town in Indiana fall of 2020. A simple picture but so much more going on behind the camera. The excitement for hayrides and pumpkin patches can be seen through the child.” - Karina Camacho “Sometimes, people on buses tell the best stories, even when they think no one is listening. I hope this man is doing alright and hasn’t used up all his lives yet.” - Mackenzie Hyatt, “Sometimes We Die A Few Times and That’s Alright” “I don’t plan on having kids, but If I did, this would be for them.” Volume 34.1 5

- Mackenzie Hyatt, “Hydrangea macrophylla serrata” “I don’t think we give plants enough credit for how similar we are to them.” - Mackenzie Hyatt, “Botany” “‘Usable Decay’ is about heartbreak and the pieces left being nearly unusable.” - Maiya Johnson, “Usable Decay” “I wrote this poem in response to feelings of gloom and hopelessness, brought on, in part, by the ongoing pandemic and the political turmoil of our times. The poem is an attempt to show how I often find comfort and hope by communing with nature in all its complexity.” - Mary Redman, “A Vicarious Flight With the Falcon” “This poem was in response to a prompt asking for a poem about opposites. I enjoyed structuring the poem so that the opposites of birth and death could display their parallel relationship.” - Mary Redman, “The Long View” “I wrote this poem in response to a prompt asking for a poem about the moon, a very traditional subject. Though I wrote this a few months ago, it came to me rather quickly but did not seem to require much revision. That doesn’t happen often.” - Mary Redman, “Moonless” “Based on a true story, I wrote this about something a family member used to tell me while I was growing up. This family member and I have a strained relationship, and I use the color red to depict the emotion behind the complexity of familial/pa6 Etchings

rental relationships.” - Mia Lehmkuhl, “Red Nailpolish” “I love the song ‘Free Bird’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and that is what inspired this piece. I use the metaphor of a bird flying to depict a battle with mental health and provided a more peaceful approach to represent someone losing their battle to mental illness versus the morbid depictions of suicide in our media.” - Mia Lehmkuhl, “Free Bird” “‘The Shoe Doesn’t Fit’ describes a powerful step in my process of coming to a higher, more accepting level of self-awareness. As I noticed I’d lost sight of the child I once was, my transness became apparent to me. This perceptual shift offered me an opportunity to forgive myself for past mistakes, to embrace a more authentic version of myself, and to be vulnerable with those around me.” - M.J. Loria, “The Shoe Doesn’t Fit” “We often indulge in unhealthy foods. Life is short. Enjoy it, along with all the foods you love.” - Nicholas Jackson, “Trashy Food” “These poems are the result of my obsession with candles. During Zoom classes I would light a candle to have next to me while I worked. I was writing a poem for a creative writing class and trying to find some inspiration in my surroundings. I looked into the candle and noticed that the way the wick was burning and the pale wax was melting looked like an apple core. This connection led me to writing these three poems. Disclaimer, I know that the last poem may seem disconnected from the first two, but the themes (flames, religion, etc) are all there. Just in a more personal way.” Volume 34.1 7

- Olivia Cameron, “Candles” “‘Fly On the Wall’ is a poem about my recent experience with my family and I learning about my Dad’s kidney cancer.” - Olivia Williams, “Fly on the Wall” “‘Primal’ was inspired by a strange quality that I share with my Dad. When we are at home we both will stand in a doorway and use the corners of the framing to scratch our backs. I realized it was me mirroring his actions since I was a child and is just a weird thing that stuck with me through life. This poem touches the themes of nature, family, religion, and also queerness.” - Olivia Williams, “Primal” “This summer I had wanted to focus on my abilities as an illustrator, and found an accidental muse in my dungeons and dragons character. I think I’ve drawn her more times than minutes spent playing, but I still appreciate her for the help in my growth.” - Pamela Smith, “Punk Goblin” “‘S.A.M’ was an experimental photo with practicing scanography. This allows me to bring old photos and create something new and interesting.” - Riley Childers, “S.A.M” “Sparked’ is one of my favorite photos because of how different and intriguing the lightbulb itself turned out. I’m always drawn to this photo in particular because of the contrast between light and dark.” - Riley Childers, “Sparked” “These pieces are part of an ongoing project called ‘50 Shades 8 Etchings

Freed.’ This project has allowed me to show different sides of my wonderful friend, Cari.” - Riley Childers, “The Edge of Glory” “A couple of years ago, I wanted to exercise my rusty poetic skills by writing a sonnet, and decided to write an updated version of the well-known and loved poem by Spencer, ‘One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Strand.’ How well I did that is up to you.” - Robert Springer, “One Day I Updated Spencer’s Poem of the Strand” “As BIPOC individuals, many of us have a constant sense of ambiguity when it comes to “fitting in”. We embrace our parents’ culture wholeheartedly but have been raised in another culture that we also love. Stereotypes can get in the way of us being able to understand a new culture that we have created. This poem was inspired during a time in which I really felt that ambiguity was overpowering.” - Sabrina Camargo, “Ambiguity” “A rose is associated with theatre and drama, and the red curtains rise before the beginning of a show, so I wanted to play with the wording of the title by incorporating both. As I was writing this poem, I pictured a ballerina with a rose-petaled dress. Her dance is full of life at the start and slowly withers in the end, portraying the life of a flower.” - Sierra Durbin, “The Curtains Rose” “I have always wondered, ‘What if Rapunzel never escaped the tower?’ I was inspired to create a vivid fairy tale poem that expressed the loneliness and hopelessness felt by the princess while watching the world move on without her.” - Sierra Durbin, “The Princess That Rot in the Tower” Volume 34.1 9

“I intended for this piece to provoke feelings of discomfort; just as uncomfortable it was to bite a banana from the side for my reference picture. Although, I do find it easy to relate the discomfort to a big life change, like moving to college.” - Sydney Nichols, “Banana” “I wrote ‘The Glass Window’ first, as an outlet to help get some feelings off of my chest. Once I realized that I liked what I had written out, I was able to understand that this really helped to explain what it feels like to be in a relationship, while having BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Of course, I know that everyone’s experiences are different, so this does not speak for the whole BPD population, but I felt like many people could benefit from reading this poem.” -Sydney Foster, “The Glass Window” “Like a lion, the lionfish is the king of its home, being a top predator of its ecosystem and having a “mane” of its own. This photograph was taken close to UIndy, as it was taken at the Indianapolis Zoo!” - Sydney Smith, “King of the Ocean” “This was written in honor of my best friend’s father, who passed away from cancer. This disease has impacted many people I am close to.” - Trey Nobbe, “The Call” “Throughout quarantine, I’ve been rediscovering my gender identity and coming to realizations about how I want to present myself. I wrote this poem as an exploration of those feelings.” - Zoe Wilkinson, “Masculine Androgyny” 10 Etchings

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