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After publishing the first issue of FLASH THRIVE: In Love Alone over a year and a half ago, the number one question we got was: “So, when is the next one?” If you’ve asked us this yourself, then you’re familiar with our cursory response: a nervous laugh, a smile, a shrug, and unsure mumbles of “Graduation?” or “Maybe never,” before taking a sip of whatever fruity beer we’re learning to like that night. We never anticipated the genuine interest — let alone the overwhelming support — we received from In Love Alone. We were never creating with an audience in mind, and somehow, that honest outpouring attracted a community far greater than we had ever hoped. And for that, we’re grateful. The theme of this issue is THE DRIVE HOME. This is a zine about place — the places we come from, the places we leave behind, and how we get to where we are going. We are constantly in motion, whether by car, bus, plane, bike, or train. But whenever we are moving towards something, we are also, inevitably, moving away from what we once knew. THE DRIVE HOME is about the desire to leave without wanting to leave anything behind. We have always been passionate about place and space. In this time of inevitable transition, we’ve struggled to find spaces that give us room to create, grow, and impact others in meaningful ways. Luckily for us, FLASH THRIVE feels a lot like home; it will be here for us when we need it most. Hopefully, it will be here for you, too. FLASH THRIVE was born out of a need to create, but it thrives off of a need to be seen. Visibility is vital. & FLASH THRIVE is about making space for yourself in places where they never existed before. Because what are we waiting for? Come along for the ride. We’ve got places to be.

this must be the place (naive melody) - talking heads don’t worry baby - the beach boys home - edward sharpe & the magnetic zeros when i come around - green day dreams - the cranberries everything i am - kanye west (ft. dj premier) age of consent (cover) - cayetana biking (solo) - frank ocean smoke break - chance the rapper (ft. future) new friends - pinegrove




michelle li




abigail balingit

“If home is where the heart is, then we’re all just fucked.” My heart, it yearns and pines for the familiar. Driving and driving in this forest, past the hills. My Royal Pine air freshener juxtaposed with the Rosary both hanging from my rear-view mirror. And this green light it beckons me closer to A place beyond the pines. I wish I didn’t have photographic memory sometimes. I let myself drift because... Your face is stitched in my mind, Even though I keep picking at the thread. Drumming my fingers against the steering wheel. I keep scanning the road nervously, Hoping my anxiety will not find me here. As this ‘95 Corolla lurches forward, My body is in this state of inertia. It doesn’t want to keep moving. Evergreens all around me, I’m Forever wondering why I keep wandering... So much time has passed, But why do I feel like I’m still on the run from you? I’m chasing tail lights of vehicles I don’t even know. Suddenly, I see the little tree freshener on the ground. It’s been displaced, uprooted from its usual place. Looking in the corner of my eye, the rosary is lonelier than I remembered. You used to smell so fresh and clean, but now your scent has faded. I almost forgot about your very existence. Has it been minutes or has it been hours? I didn’t even notice that your scent has disappeared. My gaze finally focused. You are disposable; I am not. So I went and bought another pine freshener, Christened my car anew. 16

jonathan flores



rosemarie alejandrino

I. I start the car and the radio turns on. “Can I pick the music?” he asks optimistically. “No,” I reply, bluntly. “Not if I’m driving.” “What about if I’m driving?” “No. Not even if you’re driving.” “How is that fair?” “I don’t have to be fair to you.” “Fair enough.” I turn the knobs with practiced precision, fingertips pushing tiny buttons, maneuvering wires and scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through my songs before picking one that I’m willing to share with him, willing to lose to him if it ever came to that. (I always win them back.) I pick something inconsequential and strictly platonic, which is what I’ve convinced myself that we are. (Whether or not he believes that is another story.) It’s Lorde’s Pure Heroine — not old enough to be vintage, but not new enough to be worthy of conversation. There are no memories here, but the sound and the space are impressionable. We hang in silence and the yellow traffic lights flicker. The beat is inconsequential but there is potential for consequence, if only I would let it happen. (I rarely do).

II. You started the car and the radio turned on. “Is this… classical?” I asked innocently. “It’s a movie score,” you replied, bluntly. I didn’t bother to ask what film or what score. (I knew better than to ask for more.) In my silence, you mentioned that you always listened to movie scores when you drove alone, especially when you were in a bad mood. You said it made you feel like you were in a movie, like you were going somewhere with a 19

purpose. You turned the sound up and suddenly we were swooping and swerving through every turn, your car hovering low against the pavement, one hand on the wheel, your body slouched in the seat. You were driving as if I wasn’t curled up in the passenger seat, knees folded into my chest, body turned to face you as you drove. I loved watching your eyes flicker with every soaring crescendo, every halting stop. You had heard the score a million times before, and you knew how it made you feel. What you didn’t know was how this was making me feel — relaxed and comfortable, like I could rest easy if you fell asleep at the wheel and we drove out into the endless highway, relinquishing all control.

III. “Can I play you my favorite song?” I look at him blankly. We are at a stoplight and “Ribs” is playing for the second time, its haunting, extended chorus droning on into stale air. I wanted to change the song, but I didn’t want to ask him to do it because I was afraid that this would happen. “Please?” He was pleading. “It’s really good. I promise you’ll love it.” “But what if I don’t? Will you hate me?” I laughed. (But I was serious.) “I won’t hate you,” he laughed. (But he was serious.) The light turns green. “Okay. Play it.” He smiles and unplugs my phone. I hit the gas and the next light turns yellow. I speed through and make a right turn instead of going straight. I am winding up the road by the marina as he plugs in his phone and the song plays immediately. Pseudo-melancholia permeates through my car’s speakers. I don’t look at him but I can feel him looking at me, waiting for my reaction like a naive puppy waiting for you to throw the ball in a game of fetch. “Is this… Arcade Fire?” “Yes!” “Oh, that’s cool.” Of course he likes Arcade Fire. I don’t know what the fuck I was expecting.


IV. You got into my car and asked if you could pick the music. “Okay.” I was driving. And there were a lot of reasons for me to say no to you, but my head was gone and so were all my laundry lists, and so I said yes and asked that you at least pick something that we both liked, which proved itself to be a hard task. (I was always trying to find common ground, even when there was nothing to stand on.) You played a song from an album that you liked. I recognized the downbeat and the chorus, but didn’t know much else. “This is my favorite song off of this album,” I said. “Did you know that?” “Yeah, that’s why I picked it.” I barely knew the lyrics, but I was beaming as if the words you had spoken were written on the lines of my palms. ... I only drove us a handful of times, and every time, something went wrong: I rolled through stop signs and stopped in the middle of train crossings. I backed into the parking space at an awkward angle and parked too far, then too close, then too far from the curb. I feigned having control and you reclined in the passenger seat, never backseat driving, but commenting on every aspect of my mistaken maneuvers. You spoke kindly at first, then there was a shift in gear and tone. “Oh, you missed that sign,” you said the first time, your head whipping back swiftly to watch the octagon fade into the distance. “It’s fine, though.” I hit the breaks and we surged forward. “Oh my god,” I screamed. I was fragile and on the verge of panicking over that first wrong turn, but you pointed your finger toward the open road and said it was fine to go. “It’s fine,” you said. “You’re fine.” Every time you said I was fine I chose to believe you, because I trusted your judgment more than mine.



V. “So, what is your favorite song?” “What?” We are parked outside of his house, and he won’t get out of the car. It feels as if I’m supposed to like this, so I let him keep talking until I like the sound of his voice again. “You love music; what’s your favorite song?” I take my keys out of the ignition. I grip them, I squeeze, I take a breath and don’t exhale. He looks at me: eager, hopeful. Familiar. He looks at me from my passenger seat the way I looked at you. “My all-time favorite?” I pause. I name a song. (I lie.) … “Oh wow, I’ve never heard of that one. But I’m sure it’s great.” “Yeah, it really is.” I don’t offer to play it. He gets out of my car and he comes around to the driver’s side window. He kisses me goodbye. It is silent. (I don’t allow us to be soundtracked.) I watch him walk away. Once he’s inside, I turn on the radio and play the song you chose when you asked me if you could pick the music. I barely know the words, but I understand what the song means. It means nothing, and that’s the only thing that has remained the same after all this time.

( ) I have always been very good at sitting in passenger seats, in putting my life in someone else’s hands. It’s easier that way — the only choice I had in the matter was whether or not to get in the car in the first place. The last time I drove to your house alone, I sat on your bed and watched you watch movies. Now, I don’t watch any movies that I hadn’t already seen before you. 23

I still sit in passenger seats, though. I keep trying new ones on for size, yet somehow I’ve never felt as (un)safe as I did, buckled up in your passenger seat, acting out scenes from movies as if you had intended to follow a script all along. (The score was the same. But you preferred to listen alone.)

VI. “Can I play you my favorite song?” It was a bad day. One of those days where the calendar had looked grayer than usual, where the clouds seemed to loom over every last bit of sunlight. It was a bad day, and I thought this would make it better. “Uh, yeah, play whatever you want.” You turned off the radio. (We listened to the radio when I was having a bad day because you didn’t like it when I talked over your music.) I fumbled with the wires and scrolled as if I didn’t already have the song pulled up. It was a bad day, and we drove in circles around random neighborhoods and rolled through stop signs when no one was watching. I played it. I took a deep breath. I didn’t exhale. I waited. … “What do you think?” I asked. (I should never ask.) “It’s not my thing. But if you like it, that’s fine.” (You had stopped listening before the song even started.) “You can change it.”


charisse celestial


haruko ayabe

Hi, I’m Haruko. I’m a Japanese girl born in Tokyo, Japan to a set of Japanese parents. I’m currently 22 years old and live in Tokyo, Japan. From the sentence above and my looks alone, it may seem like I’ve been home — in Tokyo — forever. But the truth is that I’ve spent the majority of my life away from Japan and have just moved back. I’m a Third Culture Kid that spent most of my life growing up in cities other than my own. Third Culture Kids are known for being “citizens of everywhere and nowhere” at the same time. I’ve had a complex relationship with the idea of “home” ever since I’ve been abroad. I don’t think I’ll have a clear idea anytime soon, but I think coming full circle and back to my roots will help me understand what “home” really means.




krista kurisaki



charisse celestial


joshua bote

i. The road trips were always the same. It was the six of us in the van: Mama and Papa in the front with MapQuest printouts in tow, the elder two in the middle two seats — heads always on the verge of knocking — and my third sister and I squeezed in the backseat next to the Red Ribbon pastries and the pasalubong and someone’s pair of boots for when it got chilly in San Francisco. It was always San Francisco. That, or a mid-sized desert city an hour or two away from Glendale, with a casino as its main attraction so that my parents could feel a little bit lavish for once. Or that one time we went to Palm Springs and my parents were nearly cajoled into buying a timeshare, but ended up nabbing a gift card to some D-grade buffet. It was always San Francisco — or Antioch, if you want to get technical about it. My tita had a nice two-story house there, right at the edge of the cul-de-sac. She had two living rooms — one for the TV, and one for just sitting. Extravagant, I always thought. As far as my limited understanding of McMansions went — I think the term must’ve popped up on some latter-day “Simpsons” episode — it was a McMansion. My tita’s home was a respite from the limp two-bedroom apartment we shared, even when we’d all share the guest room with an air bed and a sleeping bag. It was always San Francisco. Fisherman’s Wharf. I always thought San Francisco was perpetually frigid, if only because all winding roads somehow lead back to Pier 39. We were always inappropriately bundled up, with gloves and a Gap puffer jacket and “tourist” scrawled all over us. We’d eat at my tita’s house before we enjoyed the fireworks, because even the bread bowls were a luxury.

ii. Sometimes I think that my selfhood materialized from a car radio and a CD changer. Maybe I was born from these road trips, where Madonna’s greatest hits and the Black Eyed Peas’ Monkey Business seeped from the speakers. 32

There were always three consistent factors for a successful road trip: 1. My whole family would be waiting for us at Antioch. 2. We’d stop halfway through at Santa Nella, where the gas was always cheapest. 3. My other parents, Madge and and apl.de.ap, serenaded us the whole ride. My queer and my Filipino self would meet somewhere at “Borderline” and “Bebot,” and the two would fully converge by the time we got to Golden Gate Bridge. Once the pop station from back home began fizzling out into desert static, my dad would put on one of the two CDs like clockwork. In retrospect, he was better than my uncle, who bought Now That’s What I Call CDs and cycled through years’ worth of pop hits on his CD changer without any discernment or taste. I would only allude to how much the songs Papa picked meant to me when I’d slip in “Borderline” on car rides years later, when it was just me and him. He’d always remark on how much he liked it, but I don’t think it meant much more to him than just that. Maybe I should give him more credit.

iii. You still lose your breath every time you say I love you, as if the words itself could somehow conjure the real thing. You hoped it would, even if you didn’t mean it in the first place. You rarely do. Your parents never really said it out loud. Your parents were molded from the acceptable, hard-working immigrant trope that seems to fuel white liberalism, the same kind that somehow always embeds itself into viral autoplay videos and crummy human interest pieces. Your parents would probably think of the videos as inspirational. Your parents didn’t say I love you, not because they were too busy or because they didn’t have the capacity to. They didn’t because, unlike you, they know that you only have so much of it to lay bare. Words were frivolous. You don’t know how you let your heart imprint itself so blatantly onto every motion, with every word and friendship and romance. You don’t know how you got away with imposing so much of yourself onto your parents, as if they wouldn’t find out. You don’t know how you escaped. You’ve meandered for so long, and you’ve somehow managed to find home, just not with them. Sometimes you ask yourself why you don’t just mold yourself in the same image — brutal and devout and acceptable, always acceptable. You think about sacrifice sometimes, and how you know what it means, but it doesn’t spill out of your mouth the way you wished it would. 33

iv. I sat with my parents a couple of days ago at a restaurant we couldn’t afford, at the table by the window overlooking the streets of Oakland. The nice part, I added, so that they wouldn’t wince at the thought. Mama commented on how nice the surrounding cities back home were becoming, with all the exposed brick and bourgeois ornamentalism. I didn’t have the heart to tell her what it really meant. These “weekend trips to visit their anak” thing is brand new. It is “absence makes the heart grow fonder” in steadfast, full-blown practice. It is a bit like Beetlejuice, except you don’t say it three times; if I miss my mom’s daily phone call once, she appears for a weekend like a vacationing specter. Nearly all of our conversations begin and end the same way: with my mom, in her sage wisdom, preaching hard work and her love of her children and why we should always be grateful for everything we have. We can afford the bread bowls at the Wharf now, I suppose. Dad still drives a van, and our cargo is almost entirely comprised of pasalubong. We shucked oysters. Each one cost as much as a McChicken, I considered with each gulp, the calculating and the budgeting at odds with the impulsiveness of it all. I’m the son of two accountants, and they could never be disappointed in me because I think the same way they do — at least just this once. I don’t know if it was because I winced every time the waiter came around, or if it was because I had committed the cardinal sin of ordering the most expensive thing — a fucking salmon — among present company. But the image of it all took on new shades of vulnerability. Mama told me about her crying in buses over our visas and panicking over money and our lack thereof and how much she loved her sisters and brother for taking care of us, of all of us, and how, nearly fifteen years after the fact, we had finally made it. She brushed off my commentary about the numbers on the right side of the menu. For the first time, I believed her when she said not to worry. My mom said I love you when she dropped me off before they got back in the van to go on the drive back home. We’re not tourists anymore.


justine law



lisa inoue




by jason mai 40

Living in a rootless world I long for a past I was exiled from Living in a ruthless world I long for a future that’ll never come Nowhere to go, I’ve found a home within Sometimes asylum, sometimes a prison And everywhere I go, I look to the stars, Who--we all know--how they sail brilliantly Many secrets written, but never for me Hidden messages for the aliens we are Even then, what I can’t see, I see clearly

Keep telling us to fight for ourselves, but never for our own What can I do for others, when I feel so alone. Fate wouldn’t have it, destiny’s my ride Solitude the fuel, loneliness the guide An aimless direction to a hotbox of depression Inhale another hit which I can’t afford... Exhale fills my lungs, darkness implored. Kiss the devil’s tongue, the price at the door. Paid my way onboard, but still stranded on an island anchored to Mother Earth, but blown astray like birds on the wire in Leonard Cohen Tailwind of Hydra, come take me away

The prison will never break, the haven will never be I don’t want your help, but I’ll always plea. Please forgive me, please let me see what you see murder my Self, please set me free perhaps you can even take a part of me. Let’s marry constellations, form a cosmic dialogue Let’s share misery and end this closet monologue. We’re the traveling light of those who were never meant to be. 41


roya chagnon


roya chagnon


kevin lee




jordan said hmmm. well writing about home is hard because none of the language makes any sense let’s start with homesick. i rarely ever felt that one – but i was so sick of home. sick of parched summers in that dirt-stained desert city. head aching from homogeneity and and down with a feeling of resentment toward every dry heat wave in the summer and every Zia symbol and unpaved road and empty feeling and lack of this and that and this and that . maybe that’s why i was so in love with airplanes and the internet too. instead i craved all those red yellow green orange white lights of the city. instead –– all i had were sunsets. homefree sunsets; not free to go home, but free to find a place that really felt like where i could bloom. Brilliant sunsets, gorgeous and ethereal demonstrations by Nature. And ultimately no city, sanfranciscolosangeleschicagonewyorklondoncapetownhongkongwhatever will ever have a chance of defaming A Southeastern New Mexico sunset. Really. Just google it. but home is not homeland and i am not homemade . i don’t want to remember that i was a fat slab of empty marble, and i was carved and ripped and torn into by yucca plants and desert storms and the sharp wiles of rural society ;;


try to remember that the fibers inside of me are made, instead, of actin myosin microtubules, And i’m not sewn together by the unmistakeable threads Of red and yellow flags and parched air and scorching sunlight and why does nobody look like me why does nobody feel like me and the sense of my non-belonging that permeated every two-lane street of that tiny ci–– — But i am. i am. and disenchanted as i’ve become, My threads were braided in the Land of Enchantment. i am that desolate homeland. and i will always carry that exact home inside of me because in this grand multiverse of possibilities i’m only this iteration, this me, because of that home. A real jab to probability. You don’t have to like where you grew up. But i suppose you can never really erase it. at least there will always be sunsets, and the sparkling midnight blue night skies. adorned with the stars born of a cosmic gravity long ago - perhaps not unlike the gravity that keeps and keeps and keeps and will keep and will keep pulling me back to these deserts. — we always find a way back to places that we love. i wonder if the converse is true too: do we have to love the places we unconsciously stroll back to, on unpaved dirt roads we can’t help but traverse? ... and, if so, why? and the internet too. i miss home when I’m at home. i’m homesick and sick of home . like it’s chronic .



katrina sadang

in east asian culture, there’s a myth that a red string ties you to people you are meant to meet, whether that is as lovers, as friends, or as mere passersby. as you go through beautiful moments and extreme hardships in life you still find yourself tied to these people, somehow always making your way back to them. they call it the red string of fate. i think about how beautiful it is that in this vast place, the universe can conspire for two people to meaningfully share their existence together for days, months, years, or even for brief fleeting moments. that even though the pain of parting is inevitable, so is the joy of meeting. -life moves so quickly; how i have already graduated from college is beyond me. i think about my home in sacramento. my apartment in berkeley. the tables where the light poured into the VLSB library where i studied (and napped) between classes. the setup of first presbyterian church on tuesday nights. the tables and flyers littering sproul plaza every day. the bullpen at my office. the cold and windy alley behind safeway in duboce. but what i think about most are the people i shared these spaces with. the people who made me laugh until my sides hurt, took care of me on reckless nights out, came over to my place to hold me while i cried, challenged me to be better, and made me feel that even in this world of chaos, i have found peace with the people i am privileged to know and love. -what is life if not a story of who and what you love? -people like to think of a love story as one story about how you meet one person and how you fall in love… i think that’s wrong. a love story is someone’s entire life — how people can love you and hurt you… how you love, hurt, and lose others… and how that in turn affects how you change, love, and live. -we are all just learning to love better. -thank you. for john you have taught me so much about love and kindness in a way that i could not imagine or forget. i am so grateful that i was able to be a part of your life for a brief time until the end.


thx to our contributors for inspiring us to stay creative. special thank you to joshua bote for edits, issuu for giving us a home, and zine-tern krista for her physical labor. & thank you to everyone who has supported flash thrive (online, in print, or in person) over the past year and a half. create louder & drive safe


in loving memory of kevin redrico the music plays on 53

@flashthrive issuu.com/flashthrive 54

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flash thrive: the drive home  

ISSUE 02: THE DRIVE HOME is a zine about place, and the places we leave behind in order to get to where we need to go. FLASH THRIVE is a zi...

flash thrive: the drive home  

ISSUE 02: THE DRIVE HOME is a zine about place, and the places we leave behind in order to get to where we need to go. FLASH THRIVE is a zi...