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Fragments A Reflection on Our Lives

Homeless

Shocking true life events by Danny Mentor

Primal Instincts What really goes on in a college gym By Danielle Mohr

Macy’s Day Parade

A remembrance piece By Ashley Nugent

An Older Woman There is no Place like Home

Finding your true roots by Charneisha Pates

A Memoir By Charles Parker

Gay: The New Black? A new cultural issue By Ryan Powell


The essence of writing is to share those moments in our lives that vibrate with such energy and beauty that we wish we could contain it, just for an instant, in a sentence. Some of those moments are tragic, and you write so that others will understand your pain. Others are funny; you want someone else in on the joke. These poignant, sweet, and sad moments make us who we are. They are memories that have been taken out and polished so much they gleam with light and life. They are the fragments of us and our shared experience.


Table of Contents An Older Woman... Pages 4-5 There’s no Place like Home Pages 6-7 Cave Hill Pages 8-9 Gay: The New Black? Pages 10-11 Inexcusable Pages 12-13 Macy’s Day Parade Pages 14-15 Homesless Pages 16-17

Primal Instincts Pages 18-19


E

lizabeth (not her real name) was uncertain when I first contacted her for this interview, mainly for privacy reasons. However, I was able to speak with her briefly in the time period before writing this essay. She’s lived an interesting life, not by her standards but definitely by mine and hopefully yours. During her life, she’s evolved from living the single life to being a mother of two boys and running her own business. Elizabeth runs a daycare center for young children out of her home. Everyday is a chore for any woman in her fifties that operates such a business. Yet it’s also

one she adores and helps her finds peaceful. Previously she worked for the Department of Health for thirty years as an accountant. It’s ironic that as an accountant she followed only numbers. Now as a child care worker, she takes great pride in individualizing and caring for the children under her roof. Scarcely any time goes by without her researching new information about teaching or caring for the kids. And when Elizabeth isn’t looking for new childcare materials, her focus is on improving her quality of life. You see, she lives life with constant pain. The condition she suffers from has baffled doctors at hospitals

and clinics. They can offer her little insight and information into it. Even the specialists at Shand’s hospital in Jacksonville know very little about her illness or how to treat it. The consistent pain keeps her from even sitting down to dine normally or sleeping in a bed at night at times. She’s literally forced to stand to minimize the agony. Elizabeth has undergone multiple different treatment options to lessen or eliminate her suffering. Even the newest prescriptions available while effective, aren’t capable of eradicating the pain. She even underwent a fairly severe surgery to implant a cortical stimulator


An Older woman sitting behind the counter in a small house in a medium town . near her spinal cord to limit her pain impulses. The device operates on the theory that with proper manipulation, a patient can manage or even negate their pain impulses. This surgery was performed locally thankfully for her. This procedure has alleviated the worst of her pain but hasn’t eliminated it. In addition to enduring the pain, she is also highly allergic to virtually everything. A normal trip to dine out is fraught with danger. Scents such as colognes, perfumes, body washes, etc…, can restrict her breathing. She has to be especially careful about what she eats. Any food that contains dairy products she has to avoid or

else flee to the restroom. This dramatically limits her diet and dining options, forcing her to seek out more expensive organic foods. Yet for all the above negatives, she did something that very few healthy people would ever dream of doing. You see, she’s also a parent of two adopted children. Children she adopted from the Ukraine. This tiny woman whose life was one of constant pain even then, made the unprecedented and unbelievably difficult journey to the Ukraine to adopt those boys. Imagine that you have this fairly small, slight woman who every day is racked with an unknown condition that

causes her pain. She is limited by that and her diet in what she’s able to process as nutrition. And yet she makes a journey of thousands of miles into a completely foreign nation across oceans, continents and time zones so she can adopt two little boys and care for them. Today, one of her sons is grown and finding out life the hard way. The younger she has to monitor his schoolwork regularly. All the while, she still runs her business out of her own home, caring for children and doing her best to teach them. -By Charles Parker


There’s No Place like Home

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he hand print remained on the sidewalk in front of my grandmother’s house years later. I inhaled the sweet air and opened the gate that led to the driveway. I was greeted by King. I kneeled down and rubbed his fur; he was one of few dogs that I wasn’t afraid of. As I continued to walk down the drive way I noticed a basketball in the yard. It was odd that it was there because my brother and I hadn’t played here since we were little. I picked up the basketball and aimed for the crate that was nailed to the tree. I missed, but that wasn’t anything

new. “I’m going left, I’m going right, ohhh I just shook you.” My brother Harkeem always thought he was a pro NBA player. The childhood memories of me and my brother replayed in my head. I grabbed the handle to the screen door and opened the door wide like my brother or mother was following behind me. I took a few steps towards the front door and I pushed my Tinkerbell designed key in the key port and turned it to the left. I pushed down on the handle and slowly opened the door. “Grandma, I’m home!” I yelled

to make sure she received the message wherever she was in the house. “Okay, I’m coming Nicey.” I always smiled when she called me that. She had her own special nick name for me. The sweet smell of fruits flowed through my nostrils, and I immediately craved a homemade devil’s food cake. I walked to the red room and slumped into the white leather couch. The red room was the room that contained almost every picture my brother and I had ever taken and awards we had received. I inhaled and exhaled loudly. When I looked up I saw my Associate


of Arts degree hanging on the wall. I got butterflies in my stomach. The only person I ever cared about making happy was grandma. Since I went off to college three years ago, my grandmother has been faced with a few health problems. So since its spring break, I decided to spend my week with her. Plus, we have so much to catch up on: like school, our love life’s, the usual grandmother- granddaughter talks. This was the house I was raised in. The house I skinned my knee at for the first time, the house where I received many lessons and many beat-

ings from my grandma’s belt: “Mr. Persuader.” I’m still not sure what the belt was persuading us to do while beating us. I remember this one time when my brother and I got into a fight with one another. Grandma gave us a beating with her belt and the whole time she screamed at us about why we shouldn’t fight each other. “You’re brother and sister, blood, family don’t fist fight with each other!” “Now tell me yall won’t fight each other again!” Maybe that’s why she named her belt that. It sure did persuade me to not fight my brother so I wouldn’t get

any more beatings. This was the house I could find peace and joy. The silence gave me a moment to reflect on the past and think about future plans. I was sure to make my grandmother proud with whatever decisions I make in life. I looked up and there she stood just staring at me peacefully. “I can’t wait to have your degree posted up there.” My grandmother said. I smiled. - By Charneisha Pates


Cave Hill I

n Belfast, Northern Ireland, you can take a bus tour of the city for five pounds, which is about 8.50 in dollars. There weren’t many people riding the day I came aboard. The summer rains had set in and I found that the few sunny days I had at the beginning of my trip were the exception not the norm. I bought a jacket at the mall while we waited for the bus so I could sit on top in the open air and not get soaked by the cold, misty rain. My cousins sat below in the air conditioned interior sipping tea and ducking down to take gulps of canned beer we smuggled in with our backpacks. I was only here for three weeks and I wanted to get the full effect, even if that meant risking pneumonia and my new camera. The streets were wet and beginning to empty as we pulled off the main roads onto the smaller streets. These were the neighborhoods you wouldn’t

go into unless you were with a group, and even then you lowered your gaze whenever you passed a group standing outside a pub. Shaved heads and hard, lean faces sunk in track jackets stared back at you through a haze of cigarette smoke. This is where The Troubles started. The Troubles, as they became known, was a time in Irish history that still is not completely over. I grew up hearing about it through my mother who was born in Belfast and emigrated due to the escalating violence between Catholics and Protestants. Catholics wanted the Northern Ireland province of Ulster to come back into the fold of the Republic of Ireland while Protestants wanted to remain part of the British Commonwealth. The violence that occurred because of these two political differences exploded in the twentieth century; with each group creating their own militias,

underground armies and terrorist organizations in order to intimidate and kill off the other side. Bombings became almost an everyday day event with most families having at least one person affected by terrorist violence. Two days before the bus tour my Uncle drove me to a street in West Belfast where a bomb had exploded and nearly killed him and his daughter. These neighborhoods with the cobblestone paths and gardens had once housed British soldiers wearing army fatigues and holding sub-machine guns to keep the peace. The worst fighting had taken place in the areas we were now driving through. Murals of police officers and civilians that had been murdered during the fighting were painted in bright colors on the side of pubs and businesses. It was a place where you couldn’t forget what happened. I left my camera in my


bag and shivered as the tour director’s voice crackled through the loudspeaker. I tried not to listen as the list of bombings went on. This place felt haunted. I tried to imagine living here and having to see the faces of victims everywhere I went. Afterwards I struggled with the two contradictory versions of Northern Ireland. My first week we had driven up the Antrim Coast; two hours of driving along ribbons of green that juts out in white stone cliffs against the sea. Fiery red and yellow gorse bushes crowned the hills where sheep grazed and lambs lay nuzzled under the hedges. We stayed in a little town called Ballintoy which was nothing more than a strip of cottages and two pubs that peer out over the cliffs and into the sea. We ate fresh fish and chips and stayed up late talking and drinking and playing pool. Then we stumbled to our beds

with the sound of waves crashing against the cliffs outside our window. I thought about the two versions I’de been confronted with the day after the bus tour when we climbed Cave Hill. The ‘hill’ is really more of a mountain, especially in Floridian terms, the path that twists to the top starts off at Belfast Castle at the base hundreds of feet up to the summit, nicknamed Napoleon’s Nose by the locals. By the time I reached the top I was at a loss for what I would tell my friends and family when I got home. Would this be the most beautiful place I’d ever visited or the most violent and depressing? My cousin and I huffed our way up the steep incline to the summit and dangled our legs over the cliff face. Below us stretched the city of Belfast. The bay opened pointed like an open wedge towards Scotland and far down below I could see Carrickfergus

Castle and the road that led along the coast to Ballintoy. Rain clouds were billowing in the south, brushing the tips of the Wicklow Mountains off in the distance like hazy blue smoke. I realized then looking down at the whole scene that I didn’t have to choose. That actually trying to fit one face on Northern Ireland was to rob it of its past; that to understand and respect a place is to take the good with bad. To never recall the bombed out ghettos or peace walls, the fortified police stations with barbwire ringed battlements, would be to remember a fairy tale, and not the truth. -By Daniel Menter


Gay: The New Black?

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esbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning or LGBTQ rights and culture are on the rampage. It seems every time you turn on the television, or open up your morning paper or even simply going out on the town LGBTQ issues are all the headlines. Multiple media outlets are asking the question; “Is Gay the new Black?” But what do you think? Yes sure I can see the similarities, I am certain anyone can. But perhaps it is because, like the Jim Crow lynchings and barbeques, people who identify (or are perceived as) LGBTQ run the risk of having their face smashed in, being brutally, physically and/or verbally

assaulted. One complication there is with this new saying is that Black people are still physically and brutally terrorized in this country. It’s just that no one wants to talk about it. Perhaps it is the marriage debate that connects Black and gay communities; for just as slaves were prohibited and then encouraged to marry (eventually leading to “jumping the broom” ceremonies), and then laws prohibiting interracial marriage, gay and lesbian couples are eager to jump in on the privileges of marriage (at least in some states). Or maybe it is the code-switching that some Blacks engage in that mirrors the code-switching of our

gender performance, mysteriously hiding or revealing what some see as a marker of our sexuality. After all, isn’t that what sexuality is all about— what I’m wearing and how I’m walking? Despite the many parallels between Black history and culture to LGBTQ history and culture, it would appear the strongest link to these communities, in my humble opinion, are the Black, LGBTQidentified persons. That’s right! Imagine that: someone being Gay and Black. It is mindboggling, isn’t it (read: sarcasm)? As a supposedly progressive society, how can we even ride out on the idea that gay is the new Black when we have folks who occupy both of these


identities?Imagine for one minute that you are Gay and Black. Someone asks you: is Gay the new Black? Wouldn’t a question like that have the potential to force you into feeling you have to choose— being Gay versus being Black? Why are we talking about the “gay Harlem Renaissance” as if it is something separate from the Harlem Renaissance? And why aren’t we talking loudly about rumors that the founders of Spelman College were queer Black women? The relationship between Black and LGBTQ communities is intertwined. We shouldn’t have to separate them to acknowledge the dissimilarities. This type of divisive

rhetoric, pitting Gay versus Black, further divides communities that should be working together; communities that are tied not only in a common quest for liberation, but also tied by the insightful individuals who experience more than one side of things. It not only refuses access to an acknowledgement of Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgendered folks but also of other people of color plagued by white supremacy. It ignores the work of folks like James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Bayard Rustin, Audre Lorde, Barbara Jordan and many others fighting on behalf of human rights (Note: human should not disregard or ignore difference). In

the era of media sound bites that suggest “Black people are more homophobic” than everyone else, where are the people holding queer communities accountable for the racism they spew so venomously? If Gay really is the new Black, why is white supremacy running rampant throughout queer spaces? Where are the public stories and experiences of queer people of color who have been tormented by racism at the hands of other queers? If we’re going to ask if Gay is the new Black, perhaps we should also ask if Black is the new Gay. - By Ryan Powell


Inexcusable

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lut, bitch, hoe, whore, cunt…. “Are you FUCKING kidding me??!” Women have all been called these names before, but why? Drunk and sober moments do NOT excuse these filthy and crude names. I have heard lame ass justifications like; “Oh, I was drunk”, “Oh, I was just trying to be funny”. Hun, you are NOT funny and if you cannot handle yourself when you are drunk then don’t drink, grow up, and make better life decisions. Both women and

men have used these filthy words to address each other; in gun slinging heat of the moment battles, in playful banter around the pool’s edge, and in stupid intoxicated chatter. I cannot say that I am guilt free of derogatory name calling, but why do we as a supposed civilized society choose such undeveloped language selections? More often than women, men tend to use this type of language more frequently when addressing the opposite sex. They do not take a moment to think

about what they are saying until the slimy words slip through their mouths and leave their tongues; and even then I fear that they may not realize. I wonder if these types have men have ever asked themselves why women are not attracted to them but sadly some women fawn over abusive men because that is what this society has come to accept and know. It is these women who probably realize that after a long gruesome relationship it is time to leave the cacophonous situation


they were blindsided with or so ignorantly landed themselves in. This could also be a reason why divorce rates are so high; women who are looking for a decent man stumble upon a diamond in the rough but that diamond turns out to be a cubic zirconium. Fake diamonds are not worth keeping around ladies; they are trash, they will tarnish, wither and decay. We bare children, we hold the precious gift of next generations, and we are biologically compiled and built differently which

encourages us to try and “talk things out”. Abuse is not only physical, it is mental too. The world is a vast and beautiful place; gems are rare to come by but they are worth the solemn wait. Women, do not fear being alone or losing a “stable” man in your life; show society that being treated like a human is worth so much more than being treated like shit by one person, whom you thought cared about you. The wound is cut so much deeper when the knife is held by someone we love.

Stand up for yourselves, throw out the stigma of the battered woman, and accept changes like: “Beautiful, pumpkin, darling, honey, dear”… You are your greatest enemy and most trusted confidant; muster the courage to act on what you already know and demand respect. -By Danielle Mohr


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he day was November 26, 2007. The air was cold and crisp, but smelled like the steam coming from the man holes. We had just walked out of our hotel dressed to a T in the red and white. It was the worst costume ever, but they said it would look good on camera. I guess because it was sparkly it was O.K. then. My instructor said it was a very slimming outfit, but the long johns I had on underneath made me feel puffy. It was me and my three best friends, about to take on a once in a life time opportu-

nity. But we had to take the subway to Central Park, it was quite embarrassing sitting next to Joe Shmoe in a Santa’s little helper outfit. We finally arrived at the plaza where our dance team was meeting. We sat up high on the cement wall watching the parade go by, including the nation’s best marching bands, performance groups, giant helium balloons, and one of a kind float. We were the last dance group, because Santa is always last in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. We

saw Jordan Sparks and Steve Irwin’s wife and daughter; it was pretty cool because we were in the same parade as them. Finally it was time for us to line up and prepare to take the mile long walk to Macy’s. We hopped down from the wall and fixed each other’s hair and took a deep breath. Here we go! The most difficult task was staying in a straight line for the helicopter cams, even though no one would notice in the crowd. It was magical, yet didn’t happen as fast as we thought. What


Macy’s Day Parade

we thought would be a quick walk down 7th Avenue was long, but so enjoyable. There were thousands of people on each side of the street, waving back at us and smiling like we were famous. I could hear the faint sound of the band drums in front of us, and a slight “Ho Ho Ho” from Santa Claus behind us. My mouth was getting tired from smiling but it was so worth it, there were cameras flashing pictures almost every step of the way. We finally reached Herald Square as Meredith

Vieira from “The View” introduced our dance team. It was silent for almost five seconds. I stood in the very back shaking, waiting for the music to start. It started sooner than I thought; before I knew it I was unconsciously going through the dance motions we had been practicing for months. My smile never left my face and my cheeks grew numb. I moved to the front and saw the entire camera crew capturing every single move, every single smile. It was exhilarating. I tried not to think so that I didn’t mess

up, that would be embarrassing. My family was watching; my grandma, my mom & dad and my brother. Not to mention all my other family members in California and Maryland. It was like riding your favorite rollercoaster; so fast and invigorating. And just like that, it was over. I remember thinking in that split second: Darn that’s it? I hope I got on camera and my family saw me dance in the one and only Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! -By Ashley Nugent


I

wish I remembered my house the way it was. I wish I remembered every Saturday morning with light streaming between the blinds, running through the hallway to get the best cereal before my brothers or little sister ate it all. I wish I remembered how exactly the smoke smelled from the neighbors in the back who would gather their fall leaves in great pyramids of gold to burn. I wish I remembered all the good things but I don’t. I remember the house aging as quickly as my mother did after she remarried. The cracks in the walls that were never fixed. The yard teeming with weeds and dirt like open sores. I remember having no one left to care about how nice the house looked or whether or not my mother’s new husband smoked in their bedroom. I wish I didn’t remember having to get a ladder to close the vent in my sister’s room to keep the smell out. I remember lying awake in bed to the roar of a Harley, my mother in-

sisting that John was off to sell pool tables at three o’clock in the morning. I remember losing my home and being completely and utterly separated from my childhood. It was a month after I graduated high school and two months before I started school in Tallahassee. I was working at a greenhouse five days a week to save some money before I moved. It was thirty minutes away so I usually didn’t go home on my lunch breaks; that day I did. When I swung my car onto my street I saw three orange moving trucks outside. Two were parked on the street and one was pulled into the driveway, its loading dock lowered towards the open garage like a gaping mouth. Men were tossing cardboard boxes into the empty darkness to be devoured. I left my car and floated through the house. The unreality of the scene made me feel as if I was intruding on someone else’s tragedy. The dining room table

was gone, so were the high backed chairs and most of the furniture in the living room. I walked down the bare hallway towards the back of the house. My room was dismantled. A few hours ago this was the most private place on Earth; now three men were reaching under my bed, clawing behind my desk, tearing down pictures and rifling through my life. They stopped when they saw me. “What are you doing?” My hands were shaking, clutching the doorframe. One of the guys rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably, the other two looked away. “Listen, you should…we were hired to clear this stuff out. Your mom should be around here somewhere.” He put his back to me and continued to grab huge handfuls of loose papers, crumpling them and tossing them into a black trash bag. I walked outside. I didn’t see my mother until I turned around the


Homeless

corner of the house. They were sifting through bags. She looked up and saw me there. Her hair was in disarray, a few strands stuck with sweat to her forehead. I felt like I did when my brothers and I would play football in the backyard, wishing I was older and stronger after being slammed into the grass with dirt in my face and the air whistling out of my lungs. My voice wouldn’t work and there was a roaring in my head. I think she might have said something. John was over her shoulder, folding his leather motorcycle jacket carefully and trying not to look me in the eye. I didn’t say anything. I got back into my car and drove away, leaving everything. I lived with my dad for the remainder of the summer. My mother and I didn’t speak. A few weeks went by. I visited friends and said goodbye to those who were leaving for school. One night I decided to go home. When I pulled up my headlights flashed across the front windows,

the still palm trees. The inside looked cold and dark. I walked through the grass in the backyard, trying to see in through the windows. The inside was just shapes and walls that had been painted quickly. Whoever had bought the house had replaced the Berber with shaggy tan nylon that looked like dead weeds reaching towards the tile. I wondered when they pulled it up if they saw stains from where juice boxes had been carelessly left then crushed underfoot. I wondered if that solo cup of beer I had left under my dresser had found its way permanently into the foundation. I wondered if I had made any mark at all. Did the walls still smell like my sisters perfume? Did the rooms echo with our ghosts? If they listened closely could they hear my parents telling my brother and me that our Grandpa had passed away? I walked around to the porch. The heavy metal deck chairs were still there, collecting pollen under the

trees. That was my room in there, my kitchen, my good memories, separated from me by a few centimeters of glass. I dragged one of the chairs across the grass and hefted it in one hand, testing the weight. I took a few practice swings, my reflection looking ghostly and pale in the glass. I took it in both hands now and swung it high, then sent it soaring into the large back panel of the living room. I covered my ears quickly, waiting for the crash and shatter. Nothing. Just a quick bang and a slight scrape in the glass and the chair lying like a wounded animal on its side. -By Daniel Menter


T

he habitat is alive with activity. The males of the species strut, necks high, chests out. They size up their competition and grunt to warn other males who approach too closely. They thrash their manes to and fro, trying not to look desperate, to catch a fitting female’s eye. The females prance about chests bouncing and having pawed at their manes to ensure a beautiful shine. Muds of the waters splash their faces, appealing to the male of the species. Their bright colors and sharp claws caution other brazen females from wandering too close to the chosen male of their

liking. Let’s stop right there and make one thing straight. This is not a scene from a watering hole in the Serengeti, but rather what goes on at a college gym. In this particular instance, the stereotypes are there. Nine times out of ten, the people behaving in this manner are part of a sorority or fraternity. To the rest of the gym population, the florescent tank tops with Greek writing, the high pitched giggling, and gossiping between stair steppers and the obnoxious grunts verify the Pan-Hellenic crowd. There is way too much effort put into getting ready

for the gym and how one must conduct one’s self at the gym to appease the organizations that they are so willingly a part of. It seems, to those outside the world of the Pan-Hellenic community that is more of a popularity contest of being accepted into a sorority or fraternity. You could be a part of ∆∆∆, A∆∏, ∑∏, ∏KA, but it is always the same and if you have ever been a college student and a frequent gym goer you would know exactly what I mean. I have heard conniving, and for that matter just plan trashy, stories that consist of sisters telling on sisters. The word is sister, it is


Primal instincts lifetime bond, they belong to the same collegiate sorority and they are ratting out their sister?? Tell me how this makes sense. Oh, it gets better. They report back to their sorority that girls were seen without makeup and their hair was not done. This makes my mind surge with rage and confusion. Don’t you sweat at the gym? Wouldn’t all that time and effort be quickly wiped away? Or are these girls not allowed to sweat either? Where do you cross the line on controlling your supposed brother or sister? Two words come to mind when thinking of the people who insist on control-

ling others’ lives: atrocious and disgusting. Envy is not felt for these poor individuals but rather feelings of pity. Wouldn’t they rather sleep longer, do homework, or something more interesting than spending hours on their appearance only to have all that hard work washed away in a matter of minutes? The gym is no place to have to be surrounded by dictatorship rule; it is a place to release stress, a place of escapism, not a place to create more strain. Comfortable clothes, a ponytail, and a face without harsh make up getting in your eyes seem like a fairly

solid workout look. The criticism does not only extend to the young men and women who allow themselves to fall to this empire but to the sororities and fraternities themselves. Those organizations need to step back and re-exam what they are all about. According to all the paintings across campus they promote living out your morals. It seems a bit hard to live out your own morals when you are being controlled. -Danielle Mohr


About the

Danny Menter Danny grew up in Orlando, Florida with two older brothers and younger sister. His love for writing and literature has been constant throughout his life and now is a senior studying Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Danny loves to travel, although he hasn’t been able to do much yet. He also loves writing about what he sees. Danny chose his memoir and place essays for this magazine because they each were two of the most emotionally jarring yet rewarding experiences of his life. He hopes to continue writing, travelling, and learning and being able to share with others what he sees.

Danielle Mohr

Danielle is a senior at Florida State University. She is majoring in Psychology and English and will be graduating in December of 2012. She enjoys running in charity 5K races and has recently adopted a rescue dog from a recent past race. She spends her time volunteering as a hotline counselor for 2-1-1 Big Bend. In April she played the part of Wrath in the production of Dr. Faustus and will be continuing her role in November when the play will be returning to Tallahassee.


Authors

Ashley Nugent

Ashley is currently a senior at Florida State University, studying English, Editing and Writing. She was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida with her parents and one brother. Friends play an important role in her life, and her love for animals has her hoping to help aid an Animal Shelter in her near future. Ashley has always had a passion for writing, but had endeared many hobbies before finding her niche. She grew up dancing and acting, which she had intended to major in before she found writing and editing. Her main passion is Journalism, and hopes to pursue a career in Broadcast Journalism and T.V. hosting.

Charles Parker Charles Parker is currently in his senior year at Florida State University. Before coming to FSU he attended Lively Technical Center where he received his certificate in Computer Programming (COBOL language) and designed a website for the non-profit group, Visions of Manhood. He then attended Tallahassee Community College and earned his AA. Charles hopes to work with a technology magazine or similar when he graduates.


Charneisha D. Pates The oldest of three, Charneisha was born March 27, 1991 to Tonya King and Fred Pates. At a tender age, her parents separated leaving Tonya King to be a single mother. Growing up in the small urban town of Homestead, Florida, Charneisha was determined to make a better living for her family. She excelled in school and eventually went on to become the first in her family to attend college. Charneisha is now a senior at Florida State University majoring in English, with a concentration in Editing Writing and Media. She aspires to be a journalist in either the print or broadcast industry. She loves Italian food, and is a social media junkie. At the age of 22 she will be obtaining her Bachelors of Arts and moving to New York to conquer the world!

Ryan Powell Ryan is currently an Editing, Writing, and Media Major and Communications Minor Junior at Florida State University. Nothing would satisfy him more in this life than to become a successful Freelance Fashion writer/editor of which he could combine his two favorite passions. He also loves music just as much as writing and fashion. Growing up in Ft. Lauderdale has allowed him to access a multitude of different influences of the arts, so naturally he would love to pursue these expressions. Ryan’s family is from Jamaica and have become very deep, intense but social people. Ryan says he, “grew to become internalized, yet being able to appear attainable, an introvert who appears extrovert, which I find to be useful as I can predict what people want and need and therefore allowing me the best of two worlds.�


Fragments A Reflection on Our Lives