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L E A K I N G H E A RT S VOLUME ONE: A GUIDE FOR STORYTELLING


I feel such a creative force in me. I am convinced there will be a time when, let us say, I will make something good everyday, on a regular basis. I am doing my best to make every effort because I am longing so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things means painstaking work, dissapointment & perserverance. VINCENT VAN GOUGH


PHOTOG R A PH BY RACH E L CL A RK E


WELCOME Everyone loves a good story. It’s a fact. In my family, the living room is the most popular of gathering places. Grandpa tells tales we’ve heard countless times, but never tire of; stories of the days of five cent movies and how he and his friends played cowboys and indians inside the theater. The time that he took Gran on a road trip, her first time to go beyond the Minnesota border. The day his Dad died. The Vietnam war. We laugh and cry and laugh some more, and it feels right. It feels right, sitting here in the living room, surrounded by those who love me and whom I love in return. It feels right, listening to them and learning from them and pushing their buttons. With them, I feel whole, complete, and safe. Because we’re a family. People use the cliché statement, “life is a painting,” all the time. Unlike many, I believe it to be true. Because though messy and imperfect, the Master’s finished work is never less than magnificent. The purpose of Issue One is to unveil the beauty of honest, raw storytelling. The beauty found in unfinished paintings. The wonder in generations gathered around the campfire. The magic in vulnerability. Before you flip the page, inhale deeply. Breathe in the freedom you have to make art. To make anything. Find a comfy spot, a secret place where no one else goes, and dig in. If you look deep enough, you will not be disappointed in your findings. Because you just might find yourself.

CLAIRE GRUVER, FOUNDER & EDITOR IN CHIEF

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Support

THE MAKERS The faces behind Leaking Hearts are no ordinary threesome. Despite having only ever spent a total of four days together, the friendship and camaraderie these girls share is remarkable. Each individual is driven by different interests, yet one common love: embracing the ordinary and magnifying what is pure and lovely and good. Claire Gruver (Founder, Editor in Chief & Designer) is a lover of beauty. Having traveled extensively in three continents and more than ten countries since 2011, this young lady is no homebody. Getting lost under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, a mountaintop car wreck in Positano, white river-water rafting in the Austrian Alps, and mission work spanning the continent of Africa has taught Claire that life lived to the fullest is experienced when viewed from many vantage points; if possible through the eyes of a child. Currently living in South Africa with her family, she has a unique perspective not only of what is important, but of what marks a well-lived life. An entrepreneur at heart, Claire started her first business, MOSO Massage Therapy, at the age of seven. “My parents were my main clients,” she says. “They’ve always been so supportive of my ideas and go the extra ten-thousandth mile to help me make my dreams happen. I guess the idea of starting something new has never scared me because I know that if it doesn’t work out, so what? You live and learn and try again.” Today, Claire continues to pursue developing her musical abilities, lifestyle & portrait photography, and friendships. She enjoys eating ethnic Indian and Thai foods and learning the French language. The launch of Leaking Hearts is “Something that has been a dream of mine for a year now. I am so blessed to have found such lovely friends and co-workers in Liz and Elizabeth, as well as our fabulous contributors.” Elizabeth Bristol (Editor & Creative Director) has been a story lover from the cradle, and can never remember a time when tales were not wildly important to her. “I think,” she says, “it began with that story my dad would tell me almost every night before bed. About a mouse living underneath a refrigerator, venturing out for midnight snacks and being chased by the terrifying Snowball, the cat.” Ever since then her life has been filled with fairy-tales – read, listened to, experienced and told. Despite having lived in Texas her whole life, Elizabeth has a heart all over the map, and plans on living in Europe, Seattle, Boston, Tennessee, Canada, and Africa – chasing

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adventure to its end. She loves rooftop musings, too much coffee, quiet mornings, kombucha, peaches, long afternoons in bookstores, missionary life, and tight hugs. Her passionate love of stories bled over into a zeal for writing, music, dance, and eventually, photography. Being a part of Leaking Hearts has only intensified her opportunity for storytelling. “This magazine has become a way of calling to others – to search for and see truth and beauty. To listen for the good stories, to tell their own.” Liz Rudman (Photographic Editor) is a visual storyteller, enthusiast, and wild, big heart. She’s about people and beauty. She’s about their essence, the remarkable behind their seemingly simple front. She’s an All-Or-Nothing. When Liz was a teeny, bare-foot, grass-stained, bright-eyed little thing, a disposable camera was dropped in her hands. In less than 24 hours all exposures had been spent “trying to take pretty pictures of people.” Since then her passion for photography has grown into a quiet love of showing people the beauty in the simple, and a loud thrill in capturing stories and honesty and joy. She may be a homebody, with woods of her own and joy in family, but she has a heart based in adventure. You should ask her about the cost of a round trip flight to New Zealand (she knows it by heart), or about her dreams of Iceland and a stayin Europe. Indecision can only be seen when she’s in a soda shop with a thousand options, or trying to decide what to Instagram. When it comes to passions, however, she knows who she is and where she wants to be. She knows Christ is the source and center of her, of her joyful interaction with others, of her creations. She’s a sweaterwearing, late-night-hours-in-shop-corners, and gold-evenings girl. Being surrounded by beauty is so important to her that ripping pages out of her favorite books is necessary to keep and stare at them always. And she isn’t sorry. She’s a big laugher, a raw feeler and Liz loves her niche in Leaking hearts. As a team, Claire, Elizabeth, and Liz are passionate about inspiring and helping people around the globe to see and create simple beauty. “We aren’t here to tell you you’re beautiful or that you are unique or that you are talented. We already know those things to be true, and so should you. Rather, we are here to show you that whether you call yourself an ‘artist’ or not, your heart leaks creativity and innovative, world-changing ideas that are longing to be uncovered.”

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TO N H YA K A E

THEMBISA MAKELE SINQE

LIZ RUDMAN

CHLOE LAURELLA

ALEXANDRIA ANNE

STEPH HOGEBOOM

Washington, USA

Kansas, USA

Minnesota, USA

KRISTEN MORRIS

CONT RI BU TO R S

Minnesota, USA

Kingston, Canada

CLAIRE GRUVER

Maryland, USA

Johannesburg, South Africa

ELLIE BERRY

S O N YA B A L A S H OVA R A M I R E Z

Maryland, USA

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Johannesburg, South Africa

Texas, USA


J E SS I K A D E N E TA R R

RACHEL CLARKE

SARAH LANGELAND

CARISSA GALLO

E A S T LY N B R I G H T T O L L E

ELIZABETH BRISTOL Texas, USA

Washington, USA

Minnesota, USA

Ohio, USA

JEN GREENER

Cape Town, Sotuh Africa

Ohio, USA

Oregon, USA

DOLORIS

Illinois, USA

MADDIE HAISCH Washington, USA

CO NTRIB UTO RS

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TA B L E OF

CONTENTS

04. WELCOME 06. SUPPORT THE MAKERS

50. A PLEA TO DISCONNECT Steph Hogeboom

08. CONTRIBUTORS

5 4 . F I N D I N G T H AT “ P L A C E ” Alexandria Anne

12. THE ART OF STORYTELLING Elizabeth Bristol

56. SOMETHING COLD Elizabeth Bristol

18. THEMBISA MAKELE Claire Gruver

5 8 . J E S S I K A D E N E TA R R Claire Gruver

24. EVENINGS ON THE FARM Liz Rudman

64. SEASONS Sarah Langeland

26. CHLOE L AURELL A Elizabeth Bristol

66. DOLORIS, 50’S MODEL Liz Rudman

32. WHOLE Elizabeth Bristol

75. A COLLECTION OF LOVE STORIES Claire Gruver

36. DESERT ROAD: OTHERNESS J e s s i k a D e n e Ta r r

86. AUTUMN ADAGE Elizabeth Bristol

40. YOU DO YOU Ellie Berry

90. DUENDE Carissa Gallo

42. BIRTH Kristen Morris

1 0 0 . T H E D AY I K I L L E D AT E L O P H O B I A Claire Gruver


T H E A RT

OF

S T ORY T E L L I N G

BY ELIZABETH BRISTOL

September 7, 2009. Park Corner, north shore of Prince Edward Island. Just outside a remote museum atop a hill of raging gold. The wind blew through it, blew through me. Turning, all my eyes could see was glittering, shimmery gold. Yellow bristled wheat stirring and quivering, alive and breathing. One with the wind, with the ocean tempo, caressing and crashing on the distant shoreline behind me – the most vivacity I’ve ever known, pervading my chest. I tried to breathe slower, look longer. Make this fleeting moment last in its churning eternity – one second more. I knew I would never experience something like it again. At 12, my life was quite a sing-song, everyday existence. No camera. No business. No photography, no writing. No interest. Not even a journal. I hadn’t come for that. I was young. I came with my mother, aunt, and cousin. To chase my Anne Shirley I adored from L.M. Montgomery’s world. To see a new place, experience the 5-day trip of a lifetime; to recover from a long and taxing illness. I couldn’t know that trip, that day by the sea, that moment of drinkable, saturating gold, that wheatcovered hill would change me. Change everything about me.

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.” Sue Monk Kidd What is storytelling? I mean, what is it to you? Yes, you homemakers, businessmen, photographers, authors, designers, friends, humans . . . I’m talking to you. You college student, living alone, barely getting by. You young mother and homemaker – changing diapers, washing bottles, cleaning spills, battling tantrums. You office worker, inhaling art magazines, reading novels at lunch break, hiding and smothering your love for plots and color and design. You who love beautiful things, but feel like you have no valid reason to contribute, to engage. To really tell good stories – you are limited, you don’t have time, it’s not your ‘job’. You don’t consider yourself an ‘artist’ anymore. Maybe you never did. You don’t have a photography business, or a stacks of

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sketchbooks, or a thriving Etsy shop. But since when did a title or vocation make or un-make you an artist? A storyteller? You don’t need a profession to see, to hear, to feel a story in every crevice of time and place. Where have artists found their boldest tone? In the home. At the table. Near the heart. With loving and being loved. What is closest to you is what will define you as an artist, a storyteller. A human. It’s not the once in a lifetime moments that change you, but the humble, simple, unsung moments. Near the heart. Near home. As individuals we thrive off of beauty and truth. As artists, but primarily as humans. The caverns and hollows of our hearts yearn for filling. Art, creativity, and beauty alone will not fill that void. These caverns need something greater. Simple. But much greater. They need truth. Truth of sacrifice, truth of love, of redemption, of hope. Our world pursues happiness, fulfillment, through the created. But have our hearts ever been filled to the full with the created? By another’s hands, by our own. Have we ever reached utopia? Only in truth do our hearts truly revive, fill, latch on, and breathe. Only the Giver of truth satisfies those cravings in our soul of souls. Stories express, illustrate – truth. They are the way we speak and sow truth back to each other. Hard times come. They do. I remember once – once upon an evening. Driving. When the world wasn’t collapsing exactly, but the dusky pink of the sun, gone from the sky, weighed too heavily on my heart. And I drove and drove and let notes and words wash over me like waves. Maybe it was the long drive or how beautifully the trees hung down and swayed in dying light, or how my chest ached with emptiness and too much air, or how clean and forsaken the kitchen felt when I came home. I still can’t decide which made me want to cry. Sometimes, it’s hard to understand why a story is yours, why it must happen to you, what it means, why it hurts so much. It’s hard to see anything worth telling, worth creating, in all the bleak times of weariness and pain. And maybe it feels easier to let go, to give up. To quit creating, quit telling, quit trying to see and understand the world. Because the world is broken. The world hurts. I know. I’ve been there. I’m still there. But, dear friend, there aren’t always

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times of sorrow. There are all sorts of times. Being an intensely feeling person (and female), I can experience up to 10,000 feelings, ups and downs, heavens and hells – each day. Some hours are so beautiful I can’t imagine why I am allowed to breathe such air, to take in such bliss. Others are so empty, so bleak and dark – I wonder why I must to keep moving, keep waking up to face another day. What are we here for anyway? If only to hurt and spill tears? And then my mother whispers, arms tight, one night when the sky is too big and the future too daunting to face: “We are here to remind each other who God is, darling.” And I know she is right. She is right. Some days I question whether to pick up my pen, my camera ever again. But I know I need to. Some very personal words keep me scratching out words, images:

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.” Ernest Hemmingway When we create, when we tell, when we open our heart of hearts within us and spill out our hopes, spill our hurt, our aching, our joy – we are reaching out to touch, to grasp, the hand of our fellow man. I know. I’m here too. I know it hurts. But we both know this pain has its purpose. There is a reason. We can’t see it now. But there is light. It is coming soon. Sometimes light won’t come bursting and bright at the end of a tunnel. Sometimes it’s like the sunrise. Slowly. Before you know it’s happening, it is sweetly, subtly waxing. And one day you realize you’re staring into it. It is here.

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning…Make some light.” Kate DiCamillo Your story – it matters. No matter who you are. Where you come from. Your stories hold life and they hold truth. Even if you can’t see it just now. That one gold-colored evening, on PEI, in September? It was my beginning. It changed me. I cut an unknown cord, and began my beginning. I began to write, to see the world with different eyes, to tell – the story around me. I could not have known it would bring me where I am now. Our little phrase we use here at Leaking Hearts: ‘Keep Creating’ – is not simply a motto or slogan we say for artistic effect. It is a moral we live by. We are here to create and to speak truth. To each other. Even in darkness, there is still hope. There is still truth, still love that reaches down to touch our souls. Our souls were made for such insane truth, such magic of love.

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“Stories are important…They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” Patrick Ness Tell your story. Each and every fragment. A beautiful sunset, a funny phrase your baby girl is lisping, the way the trees stir in early morning, that busy, brewing hour at the coffee shop, your girlfriends eyelashes while she sleeps; that song that makes you shiver and cry. Tell it, speak it, write it, draw it, sing it, play it out. Whatever it is. Even if only for yourself. Do it from your heart. Tell it – in a private journal, a personal photo series, to your son who keeps begging every night. Do not deny the hunger inside you. These are the things which keep us alive. Some images, pieces of writing, lettering, compositions – are not meant to share with scads of Facebook followers. They are too sacred, too personal for that. For me, these keep me moving. Keep my blood pumping. These I cherish, thrive on. If you don’t create, write, tell these moments, these pieces of joy and hardship…they are lost forever. You want to remember it? You want to see, touch, feel beauty and truth? You want to grasp hope in the dark hours? Tell a story now. Quit calling yourself incapable, incompetent. You know it’s a lie. You have an eye, a mouth, an ear, a hand, a heart. Tell it now.

“Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.” Madeleine L’Engles Stories remind us to breathe, to cry, to draw close. Stories change us, mold us, shape us. They make up who we are. The greatest of stories told by the master Storyteller has changed – is changing – the world over and over. If these are not told, if they are not lived – by you – what then? You cannot simply catch the world as it goes by. You must live in it, move about on it, climb its rocks, breathe air, scrape your knees and bruise your heart a bit. There will be deep valleys, and not all mountains will be beautiful. You will know the rough and rugged. You will know barrenness. But keep moving. Touch these walls and boulders. Move about and feel the souls about you moving through them too. Broken things grow the tallest trees. Sow and reap. Glean, along the way, truth like wildflowers. And seek truth, in heart and in eye.

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THEMBISA MAKELE ARTICLE BY CLAIRE GRUVER, PHOTOGRAPHS BY RACHEL CLARKE

In the history of the world, over 106.4 billion people have walked the earth. Out of that huge number, thousands of people have come to fame. People like Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, and Bill Gates. Now, just for a moment, forget about all of those impactful people who “the world can see” and replace them with all of the ordinary people living ordinary lives. The people who go unnoticed. Those who live in the shadows of others around them. All of these beautiful humans have birthmarks and scars that set them apart from the masses. They are made up of memories; moments and mental images that inform their passions and desires and beliefs. And yet, essentially, they all are on the same path . . . The journey of searching for the One who will satisfy their soul. If you met Thembisa Makele, the first thing that would catch your eye would be the way she smiles, not just with her mouth but with her eyes. You would see the scars that mark her cheeks and forehead, given her in infancy as a cultural healing ritual for bad eyesight. You would see her tall, slender figure, and you would fall in love with her childlike laughter. You would notice her easy personality and the respect she shows to those around her. My mom calls her “a no-problem girl”—don’t we all want this said about ourselves? Deep inside her, though, is an increible story of how her pain met redemptive love. Up until the age of seven, Thembi lived with her father in a township outside of Johannesburg called Thembisa; the village for which she was named. Although he passed away when she was eight-years-old and she does not remember his first name, Thembi does recall her dad’s stature and character. “He was a big

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BOTTOM: THEMBI WITH HER DAUGHTER, PAMEL A


man,” she said. “The other men called him ‘Inkunzi Kabhejane’ which means ‘male rhino’ in our language (Xhosa).” After her father’s death, Thembi and her half-brother Thanduxolo (born 1963) moved in with her stepmother, who was living in Mzinto Village in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. At this time, Thembisa and Thanduxolo switche from their father’s surname, Makele, to their stepmother’s surname, Sinqe. To this day, Thembi regrets that decision and wishes she had kept her father’s title.

“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.” H. Jackson Brown Thembisa Makele Sinqe has lost and loved many things, but nothing so stigmatic as loosing her father and never knowing her mother. As a young girl, she remembers hearing her friends talk about their mamas and feeling completely isolated. “It’s a lonely thing to be without a mother. I had to teach myself to do everything. How to clean, how to cook, and how to be a mother myself.” The year that Thembi’s stepmother passed away was the year that Thembi dropped out of grade ten of highschool. During this time, she fell pregnant with Pamela, who is now a beautiful seven-year-old and perfect mini-me of her mom. Thembi is Pamela’s superhero. “I want my daughter to know that she can always count on me. I don’t ever want to leave her if she needs me. I especially never want her to experience the lonely, abandonment that I am still having to work through.”

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More than anything in the world, Thembi’s biggest dream is to find her biological mother. With no information but the name of the village that her mom was born in, Macheleni, Thembi is determined to find answers. “I will be so happy when I find her,” she told me. “There are so many things I want to ask her. My father was a very dark black color, and I am a lighter brown. I want to know if I look like her.” Like any deserted orphan, she wishes to know why her mother left her and “what happened between her and my father.” No matter how hard Thembi tries to forget and move past the hurt, there are some things that cannot change. “I can’t forget. An element of pain will always be there no matter how hard I try.” So much loss, so much hurt, so much pain, and yet Thembi has found the Giver of Hope. The One who restores and regenerates the weak and brokenhearted has taken over ownership of her heart. One verse has provided unique comfort for Thembi when she feels hopeless and unable to cope: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” “I love that verse,” Thembi said when sharing with me about Psalm 121:1-4. “It gives me hope.” Thembisa Makele Sinque is an ordinary person with an ordinary life. She’s a normal woman. But she has an extraordinary story and an even more astounding faith. Today, Thembi loves to play and watch soccer, listen to RNB, Jazz, and Township music, and cook traditional South African meals. She especially likes pap & beef, as well as umqusho (corn and beans). Thembi’s testimony of loss, courage, sacrifice, and redemptive love has taught me an invaluable life truth: No tragedy is too painful, no hurt is too deep, no regret is too colossal that the Father cannot heal. Although she has no living earthly parents, Thembi finds lasting hope in knowing her Heavenly Father; the One who makes all things new, all things complete in His perfect time.

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E V E N I N G S O N T H E FA R M PHOTOGRAPHS & WORDS BY LIZ RUDMAN

Nostalgia is welcome on these evenings. I reminisce about the summers when I would spend hours in the creek catching frogs and minnows, or afternoons in the woods when I would build forts out of sticks with my sisters and “we were part of a tribe.” I would bring mud pies to my mom to “awh” at with me (starting my wife-y status early). Or the time when I would catch as many chickens as possible. Evenings on this little farm are made up of gathering eggs, cuddling kittens, chasing after goats, and dirty-grass stained feet. They are created from the stories of climbing the roof, falling off the tree swing, picking wild flowers, and running through corn fields. Evenings like these remind me that I’m still a child at heart, though my years beg to differ. These are the golden-covered evenings spent wandering, wondering, writing, and soaking in the last rays of warmth. Summer is colliding into autumn leaving a bittersweetness in the air that fills the lungs. Mama, sun kissed and speckled with dirt, is working in the garden. She is a nurturer by nature. Her garden is her canvas and planting, growing, nurturing is her paint, her joy, her art. Rows of carrots and green beans, lettuce and tomatoes, strawberries and flowers color her garden with vibrant hues. The trees, painted golden, are freckled with faded red and green apples that are waiting to be plucked and turned into apple pies, apple sauce, and apple crisp—to be savored and shared. We dig up vegetable after vegetable while giggling about stories and people and memories. Our bow is overflowing with freshly harvested potatoes and carrots; our hearts overflow with fullfillment and joy. She is my kindred spirit. Dad is collecting piles of wood and sticks with promises of future bonfires and gatherings. Chickens clucking, bugs buzzing, sprinklers running, and loud laughs echo throughout the open fields. The sun hangs lower as I climb to the top of the chicken coop to glance one last time at the sun fading back into the world. Light grays, blues, oranges, and pinks consume every square inch of the earth. These are the moments I cherish. These evenings on the farm.

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CHLOE LAURELLA INTERVIEW BY ELIZABETH BRISTOL, PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANNAH NICOLE

Chloe exemplifies what it means to pursue your art from whatever state you are in, wherever you are. As a young aspiring artist, she relishes in pursuing the ‘lost arts,’ the uncharted or forsaken path. The second oldest of seven children, Chloe lives with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and has a remarkable heritage of artists and dreamers. She is a rare gem amongst the masses - masses of people pursuing creativity for numerous reasons, some truthful and earnest, others unintentionally deceptive or trite. Chloe is truthful to the core with her work, with her aspirations. She does not allow difficulty or doubt get in the way of her dreams, but keeps her mind set on what is before her: to make something beautiful. And to awaken others to the same.

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H OW D ID YOU G E T INTO A RTWORK? DI D YOU START AS A CHI L D? DO ART I STS RUN IN YOUR FA MILY? TE LL M E YOUR L I T T L E STORY . . . I grew up in a very artistic family. My grandfather is a professional cartoonist and just about everyone in my family has always loved and put a lot of time and effort into the arts. I guess I was inspired by the energy of those around me and by the art and music that surrounded me as a child.

W H AT INS PIR E S YOU TO STA RT A SKETCH AND HOW DO YOU BEGI N? Most of the time, when I see a picture or read something that moves me, I get an itch to draw it out. This usually happens when I’m doing traditional art. For every sketch, I will draw out my subject in two or three different colored pencils and then ink over it. I like to use colored pencils to sketch, because they allow me to sketch verily lightly but also allow me to shade easier than with a graphite pencil.

W H AT WOR K D O YOU M OST E NJOYI NG DOI NG? WHAT T HEMES DO YOU PURSUE? My favorite things to draw are those that are almost erie. I like pieces of art that leave you thinking and that haunt you. This is what I strive to create: sketches that leave you wondering, wanting more, feeling.

W H AT M OV E S YOU A S A N A RTIST ? WHAT COUL D YOU NOT BE AN ART I ST WI T HOUT ? To be honest, seeing really incredible artists before and after pieces are some of the most inspiring and moving things, because they show me that even if you start off badly, you can get very good with a lot of work and effort. And it can be discouraging for some people to see really good art, but when i see a piece of art that’s so unbeilevably good, it makes me want to push myself to get as good as that one day. So, as cliche as this answer is, I couldn’t be an artist if there wasn’t already good artists.

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N A ME THR E E A RTISTS YOU A D ORE AND T EL L ME HOW T HEY HAVE I NSPI RED YOUR OW N A RTISTIC JOUR NE Y. Leslie Hung is probably my biggest inspiration at the moment. The way that she does her linework and inking is so amazing and she’s just so good that whenever I see something she’s done it makes me want to draw out my own ideas right away. Van Gogh has also been a huge inspiration in my life, along with Xulia Vicente.

W H AT’ S THE BE ST PIE CE OF A DVI CE YOU HAVE EVER BEEN GI VEN? Someone once told me to draw, draw, draw, draw. Just keep drawing even if you don’t like how it looks.

W H AT’ S YOUR JA M ? Hmm, my favorite bands at the moment are Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Hozier, Marina and the Diamonds, Keaton Henson, and James Blunt. But the one song that really gets me moving is probably How To Be A Heartbreaker by Marina and the Diamonds .

CO FF E E OR TE A? Why can’t we have both? But, if I really had to pick, I’d probably go with an iced coconut matcha green tea latte.

W H AT IS YOUR D R E A M PR OJE CT? I’ve always loved animation, so probably working on an animated movie. Not a lot of people are doing 2D animation anymore (which is my favorite style), and so my goal is to, someday, (hopefully) make a 2D animated movie.

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WHOLE A N OT E F RO M E L I Z A B ET H B R I STO L , C R E AT I V E D I R EC TO R & E D I TO R

We’ve all been told in some shape or form

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t vegans or

by people, papers, advertisements, phrases,

vegetarians or paleo enthusiasts. Healthy

songs, proverbs – how to eat, what to eat,

food is extremely important – donuts are

when, where, and why. You probably heard

also necessary for personal sanity.

it first from your mother. ‘Eat your peas,’ ‘finish your broccoli,’ ‘put something green

As artists and as people, what we consume

on your plate.’ And maybe you obeyed,

is just as important as what we create.

or (like me) stubbornly sat at the table till

Not just mentally, but physically. Call me

eleven pm and was served that wretched

strange, but I actually find inspiration from

squash for breakfast the following morning.

the food I eat. Sometimes it’s a delightfully sticky pastry from the local bakery with a

As I’ve grown, I’ve discovered the

cup of house brew coffee, sometimes it’s

importance of eating well not only for the

a pear and Gorgonzola salad with lemon

benefit of the body, but also for the soul. I

flavored water. What I put in my body sets

bet no one told you what to eat when you

the mood for the rest of my day, and subtly

first picked up a paintbrush, a camera, a

influences the way I create.

tool in Photoshop. Here at Leaking Hearts, we believe in the term ‘Eat Local, Eat

In light of this food mantra, please enjoy the

Fresh’ – a phrase that encourages fresh and

variety of sweet and savory recipes included

balanced eating. It’s a call to wholesome

throughout this issue. And savor every bite.

food, wholesome recipes. Ones that do

Not because someone told you to . . . But

your body good, that do your soul good.

just because it’s that good.

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SWEET

P O TAT O & C R A N B E R RY S A L A D

SA L AD Two medium sweet potatoes

STEP O N E Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Olive oil Salt & pepper Two cups baby salad greens: baby spinich, kale, arugula 1/3 cups dried cranberries 1/3 cup crumbled feta 1/4 cup toasted pistachios, toasted & chopped handful chopped cilantro 2-3 chopped scalions, white & green parts

D R E SSIN G Two TBSP olive oil 1/2 clove minced garlic Two TSP honey One TSP cherry vinegar or white vinegar Salt & pepper, to taste

STEP TWO After chopping the sweet potato into bite sized cubes, drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges start to turn a darker brown.

STEP THREE In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, garlic, salt & pepper. Taste & adjust. Set aside. ST E P FO U R Assemble all salad ingredients, and toss lightly in the dressing for a delicious, healthy meal!

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DE S E RT ROA D : O T H E R N E S S WRITING BY JESSIKA DENE TARR, PHOTOGRAPH BY ELIZABETH RUDMAN

Jessika’s contemplations while driving through the Mojave Desert.

I drove all night without fatigue, my head overflowing with the wonder of our surroundings. My mind processed the scenery not with logic or intention, but in a purely sensory manner. Each gust of wind became a symphonic measure, layered upon the reassuring hum of the engine and the pattering of the tires on the sandy road. It formed a subtle soundtrack to the reeling scenes of mountain and moon. As we sped through the desert, I was filled with simultaneous feelings of loneliness and freedom. Here in the vastness of the world, we were alone and small. With a sponge of a soul, I absorbed each star and glimmer of moonlight. Long forgotten were the vain speculations of my former self. So distant were the lectures and debates bred by my inner-dialogue, dissected and reviewed each night, rewritten and edited each day-- a relentless narrative only I will ever know. Instead, I was filled anew with a simple yet profound knowledge; the sort of understanding too otherworldly for written word. And, for just a moment, I reached an awareness that allowed me to know my true self. I traversed the passages of wind over the never-cooling earth and wandered far away from myself. The further away I travelled, the more identity I obtained.

36


The aged road outstretched infinitely into the dry air, dense with the dust of a thousand stories. But even in my state of ethereal wonder, I struggled with the reasonings of my mind. Why does the mind desire answers when the unknown is so much morepowerful? The terror and beauty of existing at all is enough to intake. Every now and again a feeling of déjà vu swept over me, making me question if the scenes around us were only a dream. I was glad to live in this dream though, and let chronological time fade into the heavens. My eyes became focused on the sky, and I let it spill into my head until I could feel its depth in my fingertips. To the right, the sky was a lake of black midnight slowly lapping over into the shadowy dusk at my left. I imagined the world that lie beyond that dusk, somewhere in the daylight. How amazing that it is both day and night at any given moment in the world. Cool, white moonbeams misted over the jagged mountaintops and crumbled desert floor, yet warm shades of orange reflected from the occasional rock, as if lit by an inner-lantern. Darkness struck suddenly and the cacti and desert trees faded from dusty greens into inky black figures. The only other travelers in our presence, they would trek slowly through the night until halted by the honest rays of daylight. Our car soared alongside their barren figures, headlights briefly illuminating each bristle and thorn on their irregular skins. Unlike them, we had a destination, and our minds occasionally drifted from the present scenery to visions of the lands beyond… the rivers and forests and aromas of pine we’d been told were ahead.

37


All of the world continued to pulsate as the moon rose higher. I drifted from an awed stupor to a more lucid state of wonder. I considered how I might draw the passing rocks: painting their irregular bodies in shades of gold and coral, outlining each vacuity in the milky white of the stars. Their ponderous forms became flat shapes in my eyes, each shadow a piece of architecture build with channels of pigment. Each rock was so significant in itself and I wondered at the endless expanse spattered across the thirsty floor. In a land so deceivingly desolate, there was an opulence of unusual specimen. There seemed more history in each grain of sand than in the city of concrete walls we’d left behind. Unlike the superficial constructions of distant edifice built for vain profit and reluctant necessity, the sands formed organic structures. Vibrating with heroic tales of erosive rains and battering heat, they slept in their graves under the mountains of which they’d once been a part. I was humbled to momentarily become a part of their cycle. As the desert road slowly widened and the hum of our tires on the pavement shifted from a rocky syncopation to a soft and predictable pattern, a gentle sadness swelled within me. I knew that my trancelike state would soon be broken by a passing car and that my mind would be distracted by a practical thought. I would reluctantly offer a portion of my mind to deciding which exit to take or which motel to occupy for the night. I was certain though that when sleep crept gently over me, my mind would not be fixated on the lopsided mattress or glow of the streetlight from crack in the heavy curtains. I’d be back in the desert, leaving my former self to trudge the dry sands with the cacti, running after the moon with only a sponge of a soul to call my own.

39


YO U D O YO U B Y E L L I E B E R R Y, W E D D I N G P H O T O G R A P H E R A N D AUTHOR OF UNFOLDING PASSIONS.

I remember when it clicked for me

I viewed and lived my life.

(no pun intended). I was assisting at a wedding in September 2012

As naturally creative people, we are

when, at a certain moment by the

constantly surrounded by creativity.

Potomac River, as I put my camera

Facebook, photography blogs, posters

up to my eye to take a photo of the

on the street, music on the radio.

happy couple, she laughed, he looked

Often, other people’s ideas can crowd

over at the river, and I knew. I knew

out our own. It is so easy to simply

I had just taken one of my favorite

conform and get swept up in the river

photos. I hadn’t set it up or copied it

that is the “creative industry.” There

from a photo I’d seen on the web. It

are so many fads and trends that pop

just happened. Over the next year,

up along the way and it is so tempting

as I made a lot of changes to my

to pretend to be into some of these

personal life, I saw my professional

trends to seem popular.

work change. As I became more

40

comfortable with who I was as a

My belief is that there are a lot of

person, I became more comfortable

people pretending that they are into

with who I was as a photographer.

a certain trend or fad going through

One of my close friends even

the creative industry so that they can

remarked that my photos looked more

fit in better. This may sound harsh,

natural, more “me.” I hadn’t gone

but I only say it because I have done

to any classes or taken a “creative

it. I know it to be true. A big issue

break.” I had simply changed the way

for me for a while was film. A lot of

L E A R N A B O U T E L L I E ’ S N E W B O O K AT W W W. E L L I E B E .C O M / B O O K


photographers were getting into it,

creative minds. Inspiration is good.

because they really loved it, and then

It’s healthy. You inspire people and

it became “cool” to do film. I really

people inspire you! However, don’t

wasn’t interested in shooting film and

let that inspiration run away down the

it didn’t fit my style, but I desperately

path of comparison. Pause, draw your

wanted to feel included, so I was so

inspiration, and then keep running

close to buying some film and posting

down your own path combining things

the shots on my blog solely because

you have seen and loved with your

I wanted to say, “I shot film!” It

own imaginative mind.

sounds stupid, right? But it’s a reality! As humans, we crave acceptancy

I say this all the time, it’s become my

and we love feeling like we are a part

catchphrase of sorts. You do you. No

of something special. Can I share

one else can do you better. God has

a secret with you? Lean in. Closer,

given you specific gifts and talents

closer . . . You don’t have to do what

and has created you in such a way that

everyone else is doing to be cool.

the best way for you to be effective is

You can do whatever it is you love

by being yourself and doing what you

and what you are good at. You are

love. Iain Thomas wrote, “Scare the

incredibly amazing in my book, and

world: Be exactly who you say you are

in a lot of other people’s books too.

and tell the truth.” It is so life-giving

What you have, no one else has. You

to just simply, be yourself. For sure,

have . . . you.

it is easier said than done. But once you stop giving into conformity and

I have to clarify something here,

start transforming your mind with

inspiration versus comparison. I

the truth that you are a unique human

love Pinterest. I love blogs. I love

being created by God for beautiful

good photography. I am inspired

things, your whole life—personal and

by photographers, artists, and

professional—will change.

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I USED TO THINK OF H E AV E N A S A F A R O F F P L A C E , F A R A B OV E T H E C L O U D S . N OW I T H I N K T H AT T H E C L O U D S A R E H I D I N G A S E C R E T, A N D I T W I L L TA K E D E AT H T O S E E T H RO U G H T H E M . N OW I T H I N K W E H AV E T H E B A C K D R O P O F A B L U E SKY BUT RIGHT THERE, RIGHT BEHIND I T I S A R E A L P L AC E . I B E L I E V E T H AT S O M E DAY T H E S K Y W I L L R I P O P E N L I K E T H E T H I N PA G E OF A B O OK .

B I RT H

BY KRISTEN MORRIS

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Each little part, broken through by a needle, and

This, this description, is my mother in the final

then closed up with thread, stitched together.

moments before her eternal due date. She was

The beam of a nose that grows and creates a

cancer’s feast and it ate her alive. She labored,

changing profile; a bone structure that copies

resisting its physical effect, avoiding its reality.

generations of family before. (What did the first

Times of distress scared one and all. The muscles

nose look like?) Discovering hands! The power

between earth and heaven grow shorter and

to control them! New places to use them, doing

tighter. The nurse was peaceful and calming.

something that matters with them. Learning

The family gathered around, with tears in their

the comforting sounds, the safe places, the

eyes. “You can do it. You’ve done a marvelous

people a heart loves without trying. Struggling

job. We love you.” Soothing music played in

to find a comfortable spot to rest. Little legs that

the background. For just a few moments, both

move; strong and wrinkled. Communicating in

here and there: in the womb, laying in the canal,

wordless manner, over and over, that being alive

but head out in a new world; squirming in the

is beautiful. Rubbing, snuggling, eating, sleeping,

murmured offing. Gargled, watered, deep lungs…

playing, experiencing, growing, thinking, feeling,

took their last breath! She’s here! She’s born!

teaching. Made of valuable currency, pricier

It’s a woman! Delivered into the arms of her

than gold: human skin and magical soul. Full of

Father, who caught her in His arms! She’s perfect

potential, wrapped in personality. Soft, bald,

- really-, healthy and the apple of His eye. All are

small, important.

doing well. “It is well, it is well…” The cord to

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PHOTO G R AP H BY LY D I A JA N E


the Dark Places was cut away. After all that time

much I love my flesh-of-my-flesh, how obsessed I

she could open her eyes -- oh! It was bright. The

am with my child. I know how weird, special and

shadows she had seen before were silly compared

hard it is to grow a child inside me. “The Lord

to true sight now that her face is unveiled.

your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this

“I’m standing on the seashore. A ship at my

place” (Deuteronomy 1:31).

side spread her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She’s an

“For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought

object of beauty and strength and I stand and

forth you, her children,… You shall nurse, you

watch her until the sea and the sky come down

shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced

to mingle with each other. And then I hear

upon her knees. As one whom his mother

someone at my side saying, ‘There, she’s gone.’

comforts, so I will comfort you “

Gone where? Gone from my sight, that is all.

(Isaiah 66:8 -12).

See, just at the moment when someone at my side says, ‘There, she’s gone’ there are other

The weighty, bloody, trembly elixir of life is not

eyes watching her coming… and there are other

lost on me. Only months after pushing a person

voices taking up a glad shout, ‘Look! Here she

into earth, I watched as the woman who pushed

comes!’”

me into earth was delivered into new life. The

(Henry Van Dyke).

resemblance between the two events was uncanny (just like our baby pictures). There is a smell only

I partnered with God in a project last year. It

birth has, and a smell reserved for death. There

was His idea, but He wanted me to help see it

are sounds in both instances, particularly the

through. The idea was a boy named Rowdy (“Full

gasping, that cannot leave your soul. There is the

of Life!”). He borrowed my body, and He knew

punch to the deepest spaces of yourself as you

just how it worked. He was the artist, I was the

realize heaven and earth just shared airspace --

canvas, and together we built a masterpiece. I

and you were a part of it. There was an instinctual

can now pull up my clothes and show you the

celebration that ensued when our son arrived and

scars left behind; the rips that had to happen to

was handed to me.

give life. I am in good company. The Artist has scars on His body, too. The Idea was alive, The

“So it was that when he died, he was carried

Idea was worthwhile, The Idea was something

by the angels to chest of Abraham,” “I looked

beyond me, beyond this world. This project was

up, and I heard around the throne… the voice

also a gift to me; to keep, to enjoy and to see the

of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads

world in new colors. I was somebody’s gift, and

and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud

I tore somebody’s flesh, and I poked my gumdrop

voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,

nose into warm-human looking for comfort. My

to receive power and wealth and wisdom and

mother loved me: she told me so and showed me

might and honor and glory and blessing!’”

so. She cried when I cried, she cheered when I

(Luke 16 and Revalation 5).

was proud, she fed me herself. I’ll never know, dear, how much she loved me. But I know how 45


KR I STEN AND HER M OTHER , S U Z ANNE L EE S NYDER


While pregnant I was quite literally carrying my

Disneyland. It was originally built on 160 acres

child, with him and yet not.

of orange groves in Anaheim on the brand new Santa Ana Freeway. It was a relatively rural

“I have made you and I will carry you.” The earth

area, at the time. Now, however, it is nearly

is, in ways, a womb. A lonely, black world and

synonymous with downtown Los Angeles. The

yet hugged in splendor and stuffed full of wonder.

entire (crammed, honky, kitschy) area is an

Earth is where we begin, but it is not where we

anthill of business, people, cars and lights. I’ve

end. Earth is not home. Once we are delivered

been to the park dozens of times, but my first

from earth, we are finally home. Once we are

trip after mom died showed me something new.

knit together -- physically, emotionally and

We were walking from our hotel to the entrance,

spiritually -- we are ready to become truly alive.

and along the sidewalk you can see the cut-out

Once we leave behind our old hole, we are ready

of backdrops, the rides, the “ugly” backside

to be dressed in splendor.

of the park. In plain view was crummyt-shirt vendors, trash trucks, cheap family meal joints,

“Ingrid’s skin was the smoothest texture, so pale

skyscrapers and famous landmarks of Disney!

that it was transparent. I could see the blue veins

But, as soon as we entered the park, the World

that ran down her arms, and they made her seem

of Anaheim disappeared. The buildings, back-

fragile somehow the way Eric Daniels, my first

drops and trees inside are all specifically placed to

boyfriend, seemed fragile when I laid my head on

hide any view of the city right outside. The jolly,

his chest and heart his heart beating and thought,

heart-warming music plays, drowning out even an

‘Oh.’ People don’t always remember about the

echo of angry drivers and their horns. I believe,

blood and the heartbeat. But whenever I looked at

now, that heaven is near, perhaps even here. That

Ingrid, I was reminded of the things that kept her

we’re living the inverse of Anaheim and a Magic

alive” (Nina Lacour).

Kingdom. We live in this place with deliberatelyplaced eyesores, the trashy city inside the walls.

I think of this world and That World differently

But if we could just somehow peak around the

now -- how could I not? I have visions in my

corner, or if we could get high enough, or if our

head, so clear that I could draw them!, that

eyes could have their scales removed, we’d be able

did not exist before. Have you ever been to

to see the paradise here and now. I used to think

Disneyland? (No, I’m not going to start on

of heaven as a far off place, far above the clouds.

the premise, vision and meaning of Disney

Now I think that the clouds are hiding a secret,

right now. That is a completely different, and

and it will take death to see through them. Now I

utterly important, article.) Not DisneyWorld,

think we have the backdrop of a blue sky but right

47


there, right behind it is a real place. I believe that

72 hours after she died we had her memorial

someday the sky will rip open like the thin page of

service at church. I had spent nearly every hour,

a book.

day and night, after she passed working on the video to show at the church. I went into a trance,

“You don’t think – not possibly? – not as a mere

only stopping to feed my baby. The morning

hundredth chance? – there might be things that

of her service I woke up after only three hours

are real though we can’t see them? If there are

of sleep, before the sun. I never do that. I got

souls, could there not be soul-houses?”

dressed and came upstairs (we live in my parent’s

(C.S. Lewis).

basement apartment). I never do that. I found my dad drinking coffee and thinking alone in the

Before mom died we talked about what life would

living room. He does that every morning, always

be like for her. Does time move at the same speed

while it’s still dark out. We both looked at each

in heaven? Will she be able to ‘time travel’?

other, took deep breaths, and pursed our lips

Likely the earthy-understanding of time will not

in that “Yeah, I understand” sad way. Seconds

exist, right? Will she be able to ‘see’ us or ‘be

later, pink stripes unrolled across the wood floors

with us’? If so, will it be an “all-the-time” sort

and walls. We turned and looked out the front

of thing, like checking into a live-stream? Or

windows and saw one thing: pink. No trees or

will she just have moments where she can see us,

houses or cars. Just pink. I grabbed my phone

and then go back to her activities in heaven? We

and my sister’s boots and ran through the foot

enjoyed talking about our theories, and to end

of snow, crying, yelling “MOM! I miss you! Oh

our conversation I asked her, “If it is possible to

mom, thank you! I miss you!” The earth was

‘watch over us,’ can you let us know you’re there?

dyed an unmistakable, electric, heavenly shade of

Maybe through pink?” We enjoyed talking about

pink. In thirteen years of rising before dawn at

our theories, and to end our conversation I asked

that house and thirty-two years of living in that

her, “If it is possible to ‘watch over us,’ can you

state and fifty-six years of being alive, my dad

let us know you’re there? Maybe through pink?”

had never seen anything like it. I certainly had

“Pink?” she clarified. “Yeah, pink anything.”

not myself. I think mom opened the window to

She promised she would and we lay side-by-side

her new bedroom, in the new house her Father

quietly. A few days later she found out all the

had prepared for her, and He let the light fall

answers to our questions.

onto earth for a bit. He gave us eyes to see the

48


supernatural for sixty seconds before it faded away

All so different, lined up and sprouting like a

into into grey-ish blue.

garden?

I may be an ingénue, but I am sure of this, more

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its

sure than ever, beauty is everywhere because

own time. He has planted eternity in the human

the Artist is everywhere. It’s not trite, it’s not

heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole

charming: it’s true. Feel the smooth surface of

scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

your fingernail, stare into the puzzle of color that

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very

makes your eyeball, lick your tongue against the

good” (Genesis).

sturdy slickness of your teeth (if they’re brushed), squeeze a fat baby ankle between your rather-

As the times of your life rise, fall and ripen under

grown fingers, drink a glass of cool water when

the sun, and as your pains build in pressure, look

you’re hot, wrap a heavy blanket around you

forward to the deliverance that awaits in and with

when you’re cold. Look at people. Look at them.

your Father. And also look around to the pitiful-

They all -- every one of them -- grew inside a

yet-charmed details of your place in history. You

womb and came out to this place. And they all

can find pocketfuls of heaven if you look. Push

-- every one of them -- will leave this place to go

hard, you will break through. Breathe deep,

to Other Worlds. See how beautiful they are? See

you need the air. Sing loud, the world can hear.

how her hair swashes back and forth as she walks

Remember from where you came, and keep in

so tall? See how his beard grows like ivy around

mind that ‘now’ will be yesterday soon. The best

his face and neck (he should probably trim it)?

is yet to come. It has all just begun. Birth awaits.

See how her nose perches like a canary, while her

“If I dream of the eventual drift of the star

nose is more like a steep cliff? See how his hand-

voyagers through the dilated time of the universe,

writing matches his way of dressing… scattered

it is because I have seen thistledown off to new

and short? See how his arms are round, but his

worlds and am at heart a voyager who, in this

are slim? See the shapes? See the sizes? See the

modern time, still yearns for the lost country of

textures? See the drive? See the fashion choices?

his birth” (Loren Eiseley).

The practical people? The whimsical people? The stuffy people? The messy people? The streamlined people? Aren’t they so beautiful?

49


A PLEA TO DISCONNECT BY STEPH HOGEBOOM, PHOTOGRAPHS BY LIZ RUDMAN

When I think back to my childhood, trying to decipher exactly when my creative juices started flowing, I can’t seem to separate my creativity from my vast and unrelenting aptitude for dreaming. As a young woman, my mother, father, siblings, and the other essential people who formed my inner circle all motivated me in a way that made it seem as if my possibilities were endless. If I dreamt it, ‘I could achieve it’, if you will. And you know what? I believed them. The power a young woman yields when she believes she is truly capable of anything is infinite. As a child, I was given the gift of feeling unwaveringly worthy, and intelligent, and beautiful because I was made exactly the way God intended. No freckle or hair out of place, everything just as it was beautifully created. Instead of wondering whether I was enough, I dreamt of big things for my future and prayed that God would give me the courage to whole-heartedly pursue them. My fear of failure was strong, but the fear of not achieving the things I eagerly dreamed of was much, much stronger. I assure you, it’s not lost on me that I was a lucky young woman to have a stable home in a very unstable world. I do not take for granted that my own flesh and blood loved me in a way that made me feel brave. It is because I felt worthy that I dared to dream, which in turn fueled my need to create. If I look closely enough, this is where I believe my creativity originates. It’s a part of my fundamentals, buried deep into my bones. However, that girlish feeling of unwavering worth, intelligence, and beauty could only last so long without a hit. Before I was ready, I learned that the whole wide world did not share the same ‘you can do it’ attitude that my parents had taken such care to establish in each of their children. Along the way, I have met my share of ‘nay’ sayers and disbelievers. I’ve felt stupid, ugly, inadequate, un-sexy, plain, and all the other awful things woman think and believe about themselves. It was during those times of doubt that I lost the courage to dream, to create. Instead of pursuing what fulfilled the deepest parts of me, I opted instead for what I believed would

50


please the masses, garner the most likes, solicit the most praise. We live in a world that is constantly liking, sharing, posting, judging, responding, favoriteing, re-tweeting. Its makes us very vulnerable, all the time. Which personally, makes it very difficult to create anything that feels innately organic. There are times when I haven’t yet uploaded a picture, or put my pen to paper and I find myself already worrying if it will be good enough. “Will ‘the people’ like it?” — weighs too heavily on my mind.

As much as it embarrasses me to say, I get more satisfaction when a stranger likes one of my pictures on Facebook then when my husband looks at an image over my shoulder and tells me that I’m a wonderful photographer. If a photo doesn’t receive enough praise, I question my judgment of posting it in the first place, and more often than not, take it down (even if I really, really love the picture). I am not sure exactly when I let it happen, but somewhere along the way I decided that other peoples opinions mattered more than my own, and not only about my photography or my business, but about what I wore, how ‘Christian enough’ I was, the places I drank my coffee, and the list could go on and on. And, sadly, I don’t believe I’m the only one. I dare say it’s become an epidemic, a constant need to share and compare with one another. I believe, at the heart of it, the issue is we tend to compare our imperfect selves to the very best we see in others - to the best others allow us to see of themselves. We forget the un-posted, the un-tweeted, the unseen. We compare our worst, with their best, and any way you try to spin it, it’s hard to come out on top. I’ve been there, and for lack of a more eloquent phrase, it sucks. It certainly doesn’t foster an organic, creative environment. In my own life, I find it leads to a personal slump, a place where my art is never ‘artsy’ enough, and essentially nothing I do is as cool or fun as the people I follow seem to be. It’s at times like these when I need to separate myself from the masses, disconnect from any device in which an unfair comparison can be made, and spend time with the people and things that make me feel like a creative being. It sounds so utterly simple, but my goodness, it can be so painstakingly hard.

51


This past weekend, my husband and I packed our car, drove two hours out of the city, left our phones at home, and enjoyed a much needed time of social disconnect. It was funny, I ate meals and although initially the urge was strong, I didn’t take a picture of my plate. I read chapter after chapter, totally uninterrupted because there were no obnoxious sounds coming from my smart phone. I went for walks without feeling the need to tell the whole world, ‘Hey, LOOK, I’m being healthy… and active’. It was a wonderful few days of zero pressure; I didn’t have to do or produce anything to be pleasing to anyone. My purpose for being there was simply to spend time away from it all. And you know what? It always turns out to be exactly what I need. Even after just a few short days, I felt refreshed. I felt like I was gaining a clean slate, a new bravery to face the critics. I really believe creativity flows from a place of selfawareness, a true understanding of your own talents, abilities, feelings, etc. I also believe that self-comparison leads me, leads us all, only into re-creation into believing that what we create isn’t good enough. Now, I really don’t want to sound like a social media ‘hater’, because trust me, I have absolutely zero idea where my business would be without it and Instagram is literally one of my favorite things. I cannot however deny that, at times, it has been a negative force in my life. What I am trying to get across is that there is a balance, a time to share the good and the bad, and a time for keeping what happens in your work and personal life to yourself, keeping some parts of your life sacred. Just for those who have earned them. Dear reader, I urge you, give yourself a break. Turn off the distractions and have a little ‘me’ time. Read that book you’ve been trying to get to for months, actually do one of those DIY projects you keep pinning on Pinterest, try a recipe in that book you bought yourself that you just can’t seem to get around to. I promise, it will make you a happier, more content, self-loving, creative person when you stop wondering what others think of you, and worry what you think of you. Fill your heart with what’s important, meaningful, and fulfilling, and be done with the rest. It’s a lesson I have to re-teach myself every single day, but I am always better for it.

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F I N DI N G M Y P L AC E BY ALEXANDRIA ANNE

Alex Anne writes about one of her favorite get-away places: a small coffee shop in Minneapolis, Urban Bean.

I’ve always been fond of coffee shops. For the high quality coffee, of course, but also for the atmosphere. Urban Bean, a small little shop located in Minneapolis, was one I loved right from the get go. It had a different personality than others in the area. Calm, collected, and oh so welcoming. There was a point last winter when I literally visited fifteen times in three weeks. I even ended up getting a complimentary coffee because of it. Case in point, I was literally addicted to Urban Bean. As an artist, it is a place that continually keeps me inspired. Even in the winter months, when the majority of my time spent there was studying chemistry, I was able to snap a few pictures on my phone (an art that I have grown to love). There are days, now that it’s fall, when I’ll visit and simply fill my notebook with sketches and ideas and writings. It feels good to create with no boundaries. I think it’s important to have a place like this. Having never been able to be productive within the walls of my own home, I spend so much time seeking out local coffee shops in my city. In my opinion, each individual needs an environment that encourages creativity and community. Somewhere to can escape to to recharge and focus. So much of my own personal growth has happened under Urban Bean’s roof and I think that is one reason that I keep coming back.

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The other day, I stepped out of my comfort zone to ask a stranger sitting a few tables away from me if I could snap a photo of her for a new photography project I’m starting. It was terrifying, yes, but even more rewarding. And all because I chose to surround myself with different faces. Get out of your house and search for new places where you feel inspired and stirred to create. And even better, a nook that pushes you to do the uncomfortable. It’s crazy what can happen in a place like that.


SOMETHING COLD BY ELIZABETH BRISTOL

This heavenly coffee flavored frozen yogurt is the perfect transition from the warmth of late summer to the whisperings of autumn. Cold and refreshing yet hinting at chilly nights wrapped up in the comfort of espresso & your favorite blanket. Jouir.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup espresso or strongly brewed coffee 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt* ½ cup half and half

STEP ONE

In a bowl, whisk all ingredients together (you can also use an electric mixer or blender).

⅔1 cup sugar 1 tbsp coffee grounds Pinch of salt

STEP TWO

Pour into a freezer-safe bowl and seal.

½- cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (minis work the best)

STEP THR EE

Freeze for 30 minutes, then open and drop chocolate chips in a few at a time. STEP FOU R

Reseal and freeze for at least 4 hours (I let mine freeze overnight) STEP FI VE

Let stand 30 minutes just prior to serving. Makes 2 cups

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J E S S I K A D E N E TA R R AN INTERVIEW BY CLAIRE GRUVER

Jessika, a young and accomplished artist, is going places . . . fast. Having graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Art degree from The Corcoran, Jessika is knowledgeble not only in painting and sketching, but in everything from sculpture to performance to art theory to film studies and more. The Corcoran is both a private art school (The Corcoran College of Art + Design) and a museum (The Corcoran Gallery of Art) in the same building. The school was established by Yale and sits a block away from The White House. She describes her work as playful and dark. It combines illustrative tradition with graphic aesthetics and fine art concepts. Almost all pieces contain narrative elements and draw from the fantastical, whether invented stories or dream-related subjects.

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“I am fascinated by people and often make faces and figures the focal point of my pieces. The majority of my work is two-dimensional, paper-based, and mixed-media.” Currently living in Washington DC with her husband of five years, opera singer Jeffrey Tarr, Jessika enjoys reading, cooking, shopping, spending time with friends and family, and most of all, creating new art. She will often have audio books or podcasts on in the studio, rather than music. Mostly, she enjoys reading and rereading classics (The Brontës!), and especially loves storytelling podcasts like This American Life and The Moth. Her favorite scents are woodsy aromas: pine, cedar, and patchouli. Le Labo and Commodity Goods are a few favorite frangrace-creators. As an artist with an appreciation for fashion, Jessika delights in hunting for designer brands on eBay and in thrift stores. Rag & Bone is a particular favorite. She also recently acquired a pair of tights designed by Chlöe Sevigny and Emillio Cavallini for Opening Ceremony, which she happens to love. In the past, Jessika has had the opportunity to play small acting or dancing roles in a few of her husband’s operas, where she was able to expereience his world from rehearsals to performances and all of the costumes and backstage happenings in-between. Jeffery is her greatest joy.

“We love to cook together and enjoy a mostly vegan diet,” Jessika says. “A few times a year we partake in the Swiss tradition of raclette-grilling which involves much cheese and wine!” Their home is made up of repurposed objects and scrap materials, which Jessika uses to create beautifully unique pieces. She formed her studio desk from an old, wooden sign, a tent over their bed was made from a found branch and linen drape, and many of their shelves are constructed from assembled produce and wine crates.

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WHAT FIRST INSPIRED YOU TO PICK UP A PENCIL OR PAINTBRUSH? WHO OR WHAT HAS INFLUENCED YOUR PATH TOWARDS BECOMING AN ARTIST?

With the creativity common to most youth, I occupied many childhood hours drawing and painting. I retained that imaginative nature into my teen years and adulthood through perpetual creative expression and fortuitous mentorship. My grandfather, who was an artist, writer, and poet, sparked within me an aspiration for a life of artistic devotion. He encouraged me to enjoy the arts and to take my practice seriously. I learned at a young age that art was a valuable pursuit. YOU WERE RAISED BETWEEN SOUTHERN GERMANY AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. WHAT ASPECTS OF BOTH PLACES HELPED YOU TO CULTIVATE A PASSION FOR ART?

Being raised in two beautiful and culturally-rich lands was exhilerating. In Germany, I was surrounded by the ethereal beauty of the alps and the fanciful castles that inspired fairy tales. A multitude of diverse European cultures and landscapes were just a short train ride away. Similarly, California’s diverse terrain of ocean, mountain, forest, and desert enabled me constant visual stimulation and awe. In addition, my ability to visit many International art sites and museums deepened my historical awareness and made art more relevant. Y O U A N D Y O U R H U S B A N D , J E F F R E Y, H A V E E X P L O R E D T H E W O R L D T O G E T H E R . WHAT ABOUT YOUR LOVE FOR HIM ROUSES IN YOU FRESH IDEAS AND FEEDS YOUR CREATIVE SPIRIT?

Jeffrey’s warm nature makes him an ever-welcome presence, whether we are traveling or working on projects. In addition to the revelries of our romantic partnership, we enjoy artistic collaboration and companionship. Our deep connectedness and kindred devotion to art enables us to support one another in all endeavors. Even during seasons when we are both absorbed in our own projects, it is comforting to observe one another’s creative process and commitment to growth.

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C E RTA I N B A S I C S W E L E A R N AT T H E S TA RT A R E L E S S O N S W E F I N D O U R S E LV E S COMING BACK TO OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WHAT BEGINNING TOOLS DO YOU H O L D A S L O N G -T E R M F U N D A M E N TA L S ?

In my work, storytelling is essential. I am inspired by narratives and I find pleasure in creating narratives. In a more tangible sense, good composition is a fundamental at the heart of any aesthetically-satisfying piece. U P O N F I N I S H I N G A P I E C E O F A R T, W H AT I S I T T H AT G I V E S YO U S AT I S FA C T I O N AND INCENTIVE FOR YOUR NEXT PROJECT? WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

I am driven forward by the knowledge that I gain clarity and skill through artistic perseverance. Though I may feel a fleeting sense of accomplishment in “successfully” completed pieces, I shortly thereafter consider ways in which I can improve my technique or concept. As I strive to better sync the ideas and aesthetics in my mind with the mechanics of my hand, I learn and grow. This process seduces me and keeps me hungry. IF YOU COULD TELL YOUR NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD SELF ONE THING, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

I would encourage her to better balance the time she spends alone in introspective creation with the time she spends with like-minded creatives. It takes space with oneself to form sincere concepts, but interaction with others is vital to fostering connections, developing new skills, and simply sharing the joys and frustrations of art-making. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE COMING TEN PLUS YEARS?

I hope to devote more of my time to enjoying my time! Although I prefer living at a fast pace, I sometimes become absorbed in task-oriented thinking and can forget how much I love the things I am doing. There are so many beautiful characters in my life and, although I already enjoy them quite a bit, I would never regret more moments spent with those I love. With regards to my professional future, most of my goals lie within a “just make more art!” mentality.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY TOHNYA KAE


SEASONS BY SARAH LANGELAND

Summer Sometimes love is the slow yet sudden opening of a flower. The bud first, that knot of friendship holding all promise and no proof. Then, a soft cloud of petals, sometime when you were blinking slowly, not even looking. You touch it, your smile shy, and it is perfect. Fall Sometimes love grows in the stretching of the nights. Petals are stolen by chill wind, baring the gray stem and swath of thorns. Deep heart darkness swirls with hurt, finds sweet forgiveness. Yes, learn love when the clouds of the night blot out the blossom. Winter Sometimes love crystallizes in the frost of endless Januarys. The bloom is gone, but the roots still dig stubborn into the frozen ground. A million words freeze on your lips, but you are kissed in silence because he already knows. And in the shallow light, roots tangle together, never letting go. Spring Sometimes love is the rapture of new growth and new mercies. The flower begins to open to the sun, somehow more beautiful than before. You realize that if you could walk through endless fields of flowers, you would always and forever pick this single one. It is yours. It is perfect.

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I F I H A D K N OW N T H E R E WA S GOING TO BE A P H O T O S H O O T, I W O U L D H AV E LEFT MY W R I N K L E S AT HOME. DOLORIS, 50’S MODEL INTERVIEW & PHOTOGRAPHS BY LIZ RUDMAN

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A PHOTOGRAPH OF DOLORIS FROM THE DETROIT “MISS FLAME CONTEST”


If there is one thing you should know about my grandmother, it is that she is a storyteller. Ever since I was little, reminiscing with her has become a cherished tradition whenever we are together. Hours and hours have been spent hearing her stories and sharing some of my own. The silly, the sad, the honest, the beautiful. Whether we are in the kitchen or curled up on the couch, sitting on the bed or walking amidst the garnen, admiring her plants—there is always a treasured tale waiting to be told. Some are about my dad’s childhood and how he was a talker, talker, talker. Others are about my grandma’s childhood; how she raised and nurtured baby deer and how they would wander into her room on occasion. Stories about my parents are thrown back and forth, with giggles in between. There are the stories that bring tears, and the stories that brighten smiles and cause wrinkles to crinkle. This gem of a lady, my grandma, kindly spent an evening with me, sharing about her glory days of modeling. Grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and enjoy hearing from Doloris about what beauty and modeling once was over a half century ago . . .

Modeling for me was just fun. I remember

around to find that I was the only girl with straps

I began working for Argus cameras and they

still on my suit. One of the other models came

noticed that I photographed nicely so they started

over to me and said, “You have straps?” My mom

using me to test the cameras. It was something

decided to cut them off so that I would, also, have

that I enjoyed. The funny thing is, I didn’t try

a strapless suit. It makes me laugh today.

to make it all happen. It just happened. And I

I made it down to the final ten and blew it at

was along for the ride. Before I knew it, I was

the interview. They wanted me to answer their

modeling for local newspapers and pageants.

questions so specifically! Not knowing that

I was Miss Snow Queen and was featured in

they were partial to young ladies in the Detroit

articles. There were a lot of natural modeling

area, I made the mistake of mentioning that I

sessions. Someone who worked for Argus

was from Grand Harbor. I was honest and un-

cameras submitted a photograph of me to the

rehearsed, unlike many of the other girls. After

“Miss Flame Contest” in Detroit. Girls from

the interview, I got sent home.

all over came to compete for the cover of the

My parents later told me that as they were

magazine and I felt lucky to be one of them. I

riding in the elevator, the people from the

remember arriving there and being overwhelmed

magazine got on and were saying something

by the amount of girls that filled the place. I

about how they wanted “the red head” to win.

remember specifically asking myself, “What

Since I was the only red head, they must have

am I doing here? I don’t belong here.” I lacked

been talking about me. I’m still amazed that out

self-confidence. All the other models knew how

of the girls who entered, I somehow made it to

to stand perfectly and walk perfectly and talk

the top ten. You know, I didn’t always aspire

perfectly. I, on the other hand, didn’t know any of

to be a model. Actually, I never realized all the

it. At the Miss Flame Contest, I had to wear a two

opportunities that I had! My bright red hair

piece bathing suit, which I had never done before.

instantly drew attention to me, but I was a naive

I walked into the dressing room and looked

little girl. 69


DOLORIS HOLDING HER HAIR FROM WHEN SHE WAS YOUNG


At one point, I received a handwritten letter

‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ now is so different from when I

in the mail from a man I didn’t know. In the

was growing up. In this day and age, you have to

letter, he asked for permission to photograph

be tall, skinny, and perfectly postured. It seems

me in his studio. I thought he was just some

like everything has become so artificial. Back

stranger, so I denied his offer. One of my co-

then, we were less made-up; we were more real,

workers later informed me of his popularity and

more natural. Deep inside, I feel sorry for young

famous photographic contributions to multiple

girls. The longing that women have to be seen as

magazines. Because of his publicity, he led many

beautiful has turned into a battle of wills. There

young women to stardom. I could’ve been one

never use to be that drive. Modeling was just fun.

of those girls. To this day, I regret turning him

It wasn’t about being the right weight or having a

down. . . I can’t help but wonder what wouldn’t

perfectly chiseled face. Instead, it built a concrete

happened if I had said “yes.” It was just not meant

pavement of confidence inside of me and taught

to be, I guess. God didn’t have that planned for

me how to carry myself as a woman.

me in that time in life. Modeling has changed a lot since then though.

This is hard; I don’t know exactly what I feel or how to explain it. At the end of the day, feeling

When I was young, beauty was more about one’s

beautiful is not about a number on a scale or the

personality and heart and less about physical

amount of wrinkles I have. What really matters is

attractiveness. We didn’t get half undressed,

that which is eternal: people. That I have family

flaunting our figures. The standard of what is

and friends and love. This is enough.

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A

COLLECTION

OF

L OV E S T OR I E S

As soon as I saw you, I knew a grand adventure was about to happen. A.A. MILNE - WINNIE THE POOH

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MADDIE & BENJ HAISCH Love is selfless, uninhibited. Everyday decisions make up a great collection of moments, which portray beautiful stories. It started as infatuation. Days, then weeks of endless conversations, smiles and laughs exchanged, building a foundation of friendship. Each day a new beginning, with an underlying flow of memories from the past and hopes for the future. Intertwining, creating the present. Two minds so different, yet so alike. We don’t take pride in perfection, but rather in the imperfections that make us unique. If after all, we are to live a life together, we must embrace the subtleties that make us individuals. We remember the times we were ignorant, yet we enjoy forgetting what we know now. We love each day, some days more than others. Underneath it all, we seek guidance, refuge from the One who gave it all. Who brought it all together. Who holds, molds, creates love. His love is selfless, uninhibited. Like ours tries to be. In His story we both live.

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PHOTOGRAPH BY KIRK MASTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

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SONYA & JONATHAN RAMIREZ Our story sounds a lot like a romantic comedy movie script - a complete and literal accident. I will never forget April 29, 2013. On my way to school, less than a mile away, another car headed the same direction, same destination --- we almost hit. Eventually we parked just a few feet away from each other on college campus. He waited for me to get out of the car. He fell in love when I did. “Hey, that was a close one!� Still, I was not easily charmed. After months of trying to be a friend, he proposed. I declined. I declined again. And again. Those were some tough months for both of us. Weeks later -- I knew he was the one. I asked him to ask me again. April 3, 2014, less than a year later, I was decorating our first apartment and getting annoyed by his hour-long showers, simply because I missed him so much. Though neither of us realized it, 04.29.13, on the way to school, the almost accident, those couple of minutes --- would change our lives forever.

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STEPH & BEN HOGEBOOM There is a deep scar, an ugly blemish that marks my heart. As a child, I experienced things that will forever haunt the deepest parts of me. For years, I felt unlovable, but Ben saved me. People say that all the time, but I swear, he was created in the loving image of our Father just for me. My husband has seen me at my worst, when the dark and twisty parts of my heart surface, yet he loves me whole-heartedly anyways. True love is more powerful and healing then I ever imagined possible. By far, my greatest gift.

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JEN & NICK GREENER It was a very unsuccessful breakup. It was the 4th of July 1999 in Washington D.C. I worked for a United States Congressman and he worked in the Office of the President. I knew I loved him, but I didn’t think I was ready for this relationship. I told him so, but he didn’t believe me. He was patient and kind, and also confident. I told him I thought we should break up. He didn’t think so, but said if that’s what I needed, then okay. Despite that, he took me with him to watch fireworks from the White House lawn. It was a truly magical night. We laid back on a blanket and watched the fireworks above us. Somewhere along the way he took my hand and held it. I didn’t let go. I have been unsuccessfully broken up now for the past fifteen years to the man of my dreams.

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E A S T LY N & J O S H U A T O L L E And there he stood in the airport lobby, and there I stood motionless, rising on an escalator. I watched him until he disappeared from sight. That was it. That was the last time I would see Joshua for the rest of the summer. Saying goodbye is hard, but this uncertain goodbye wrecked my heart in pieces like a shattered glass. Sitting in seat 19F, with tears streaming down my face, I laid my head against the window and watched the mountains beneath grow smaller. And in that moment, I realized that I didn’t just like him and that he wasn’t just my friend, but that I loved him so deeply that if the ocean could comprehend, it would shudder in fear. After keeping our feelings a secret for almost four years, Joshua and I finally began a relationship. Before I even told him when I started loving him, he told me when he first began loving me: “I have loved you since that day we said goodbye in the airport: July 18, 2008.”

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A U T U M N A DA G E WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHS BY ELIZABETH BRISTOL

Wind ruffles your hair, soaks your skin. “Chill is coming” – your momma said. You’ll need another coat. Let me tell you why you crave the cold. Sun puts you to sleep, but cloud filled overhangs and bending boughs and crimson veins make you feel alive. Like you’ve found a secret just as the rest of us have lost it. Those scattered leaves and old sweaters tinted on your star-filled canvas. You sit in corner shops with warm touches of flavor and garble your words together like scattered springs – purpose that forgot what it was. And you don’t even care that your comrade is listening but not hearting because the way the door blew open just now and gusted in that curious stranger has made your senses whir and spin and given you a goldmine to feed off for months. Remember – courage, victory, those luminous syllables – taste best when they are cold. You remember last year after that cold, ripping, hard-labored day, by the stove, watching the leaves give way outside with steam curled cider between your palms? That isn’t when you touched your strongest bone. No, that was the freezing satisfying dip after the marathon. Your strongest moment was the last boulder before the summit – icy burning in your chest. Right before you stood atop the world you told yourself ‘I did it.’ That was when. It’ll be like that again. When you are terrified of just opening your lips for fear the words will come out too fast, or too silent, or deafening, or not at all. Take the jump – over the lump in your throat. It won’t go away. Jump over or through it. But jump. The fingers of cold will bring you chances. The nights grow longer, the air stronger. The coffee shop will keep longer hours. Buy yourself a strong brew, bring your books, and keep your head up – watch the hinge of the door. Autumn brings much adventure. Don’t let it hide behind an unshared glance.

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DUENDE A PHOTO ESSAY BY CARISSA GALLO

(n.) the mysterious power of art to deeply move a person.

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Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there. ANNIE DILLARD

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T H E DAY I K I L L E D AT E L O P H O B I A BY CLAIRE GRUVER, PHOTOGRAPHS BY LIZ RUDMAN

I’m a sucker for adventure. But not the adrenaline junky kind of ‘adventure lover.’ My deathly fear of roller coasters testifies to that. As a wee little girl, I remember reading Peter Pan and begging Jesus, on my knees, to give me wings to fly, even if only for a minute. Daddy and I would dress up, him as Peter and me as Tink, and together we’d race up the hill behind our apartment complex and pretend to fly to Neverland. To him, it was cute. But to me, it was real. On one occasion, I plopped down on my bum at the top of the rise, huffing and puffing, only to look up to see my superhero-Pan-of-a-daddy crowing—just like Peter. To me, this memory encapsulates the very essence of childlike innocence. Running around in that blue, sparkling, tulle Disney dress. Shouting my secrets to the world without a second though that the neighbors might be listening. Like any little one, I was fearless. I thought that if I ate my lunchbox bread crusts, my hair would grow long and thick. Nothing phased me. And then, in the blink of an eye, my childhood whizzed by and left me standing here: a high school student on the doorstep of college, my entire future just around the bend.

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Somewhere between then and now, the innocence and fearlessness that exemplified who I was disappeared without a trace. Like a sly cat, it faded away without my noticing, and left one deadly villain in its place: Atelophobia. The French word “atelophobia” is, by definition, the fear of not being good enough. It is a combination of perfectionism and purism. By the time I learned to read, I found myself knee deep in my problem. As with everything else I tried, I believed that if I couldn’t ‘get it’ the first or second time, there was something wrong with me. I beat myself up about the whole lot . . . In figure skating in was the double toe jump or the sit spin . . . In cross-country it was the five mile workouts . . . In piano lessons it was the Bach pieces . . . the list goes on and on. It seems pathetic, doesn’t it? This thing called atelophobia? I wholeheartedly agree with you. Nonetheless, every person struggles with it on one level or another. In my case, it turned from an idea into a mindset. And from a mindset to a lifestyle. As a firstborn and strong will, it was and is in my bones. But just because it’s in me doesn’t mean I can’t conquer it. On one cold July winter day in Zambia, I learned a new word that broke down my wall.

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It took five days of cuddling twelve orphans and telling them about their Father. It took five days of jeans so filthy from the red dirt. It took five days of looking into those twelve pairs of eyes. It took five days of watching their lives be transformed. It took five days for me to know the meaning, to know the feeling myself. As I sat there, watching them splatter glitter all over themselves and each other, laughing and dancing and singing and immensely and incandescently happy. I saw it. I saw grace. Grace. What glory. To taste it on my tongue and inhale its sillage. To experience the greatness of what it means to be loved and adored; wholly, completely, and fully. I saw it in the kid’s hazel brown pupils. I felt it in the warmth of their chocolate chip skin. I heard it in their laughter and in their playful exclamation “Muzungu!” (a word meaning ‘white person’ in many native African dialects).

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It isn’t that I had never heard the word or memorized the meaning. It isn’t that I hadn’t wanted to understand. It was that I had never fully experienced the peace and joy that comes from knowing it. Spending time with someone and knowing someone are two very different extremes. The day that I killed atelophobia was the day that I ran wholeheartedly into the arms of my Father. It was the day that I fully received, in my heart, unblemished love. It was the day that I accepted the fact that I am enough because He is more than enough. Maybe there’s someone out there who is just like me in that they are a victim of this thing called atelophobia. Maybe they are reading this and it is causing them to think. And if that person is you, I beg of you—don’t let your life pass you by without knowing the Giver of Grace. You see, I have come to realize that atelophobia is not a package deal. It’s an extra option. It is a choice . . . A choice that I have to make everyday. It is a choice that requires me to die to myself and accept. Accept the grace He gives freely. How I choose largely affects the outcome of my day, my art, my everything. When I have the courage to say no to fear, to take the hard way out instead of the easy way, I experience something better than magic and more vast than the abyss of space. To me, that is worth the choice.

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T H A N K YO U F RO M T H E BOTTOM OF OUR H E A RT S

T O O U R FA M I L I E S !

SPECIAL THANKS TO BETHANY ALESHIRE & BEVERLEY HOLMES. WE COULDN’T H AV E D O N E T H I S W I T H O U T YO U .


It’s not the end of the book, it’s just the beginning of a new chapter. W W W. L E A K I N G H E A R T S M A G .C O M

Profile for Leaking Hearts Magazine

Leaking Hearts Magazine Volume One: A Guide to Storytelling  

104 pages of motivating articles, blissful photographs, inspiring interviews (with Jessika Dene Tarr, Chloe Laurella and more), mouth-wateri...

Leaking Hearts Magazine Volume One: A Guide to Storytelling  

104 pages of motivating articles, blissful photographs, inspiring interviews (with Jessika Dene Tarr, Chloe Laurella and more), mouth-wateri...

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