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FALL 2011 roseann

cima patrick

freeman MATTIAS

LANAS ARMINE

PILIKIAN FRANK

RODRIGUEZ

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Leland Quarterly Fall 2011


leland

QUARTERLY VOLUME 6, ISSUE 1 Fall 2011

Copyright 2011 by Leland Quarterly, Stanford University All Rights Reserved Giant Horse Printing, San Francisco Editors-in-Chief: Jaslyn Law and Katie Wu Senior Editors LiHe Han Elissa Karasik Rachel Kolb Associate Editors Ryan De Taboada Sandy Huang Tim Lee Antonia Madian Sam McLaughlin Ian Montgomery Esther Oh Brian Tich Seth Winger ZiXiang Zhang Art Editors Derek DeRoche Kate Erickson Alberto Hernandez Lilith Wu

Managing Editor Elissa Karasik Production Manager LiHe Han Layout Editors Antonia Madian Esther Oh Armine Pilikian Susan Tu Lilith Wu Financial Editor Ryan De Taboada Illustrators Alberto Hernandez Armine Pilikian Lauren YoungSmith Web Editor Tiffany Shih

Leland Quarterly: A Statement on Literature, Culture, Art, and Politics is a general interest magazine that showcases the very best in Stanford University undergraduate art and writing.

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EDITOR’S NOTE

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here is another Jaslyn Law out there. She is from Singapore and she has a PhD in nanotechnology. When I first discovered her existence, she was 22 years old—older than I was. That was the greatest insult of all: she had been living with my name for longer than I had. I know this all because I Google myself, of course. (And I must Google myself a lot, since I am the Jaslyn Law that the search engine’s autocomplete algorithm suggests first.) Before Google, I was the only Jaslyn Law in the world. I was the only Jaslyn in the world: my parents made up my name, after all, hybridizing Jocelyn and Jasmine just before the filing deadline of my birth certificate. Throughout my childhood, I attempted to convince people that they hadn’t, in fact, known other Jaslyns, as they claimed. I was the only one; they were mistaken. (I am an only child.) But humans are mostly the same—over 99% genetically identical. And surely, within this magazine, Patrick Freeman is saying with elephants exactly what Mattias Lanas is saying with orchids and what Katherine Chen says with seals. Katie Wu is not the first to write about the death of a parent; Roseann Cima is not the first to have journaled from Buenos Aires. Frank Rodriguez may be the first person to write about Ray Bradbury in space with animatronic sex dolls, but I’m sure there’s universality in his story, so he’s not really an exception to this list. The pieces in this issue are carefully curated, though—they stood out to our editorial staff. We have seen conservation photography before, published stories on death and sex too many times, read epistolary chronicles, but we had not seen these works before. It’s no wonder so many artists and writers are eccentrics: they are charged with the maddening job of producing work that highlights, at once, both singularity and universality. But though I tell myself that embracing this contradiction is my responsibility both here and more broadly, I can’t help it: it still pisses me off that there is another person running around with my name, even if we are experiencing the same, shared human experience in two totally remote, diverging lives.

— Jaslyn Law

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contents

editorial statement

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Artist ProfilES Patrick Freeman Photography

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Mattias Lanas Biological Illustration

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ESSAY These Short Years Elissa Karasik

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FICTION Simple Math Katie Wu

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Ray Bradbury and the Corporate Mission to Space Frank Rodriguez

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POETRY Estenopeica Roseann Cima

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Dropped Summer Armine Pilikian

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FEATURE Arts Intensive: Conservation Photography

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INK ON PAPER

LITHOGRAPH Beetles Mattias Lanas

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PHOTOGRAPHY Meteora, Greece Kate Erickson

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Susha in Sydney Charlie Glick

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Out on Balmoral Charlie Glick & Susha Roy

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Dito Tamarind King

Cover

Image Search Result for ‘Nerdy Black Guy,’ Winter 2008 Tamarind King

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Image Search Result for ‘Nerdy Black Guy’ 2, Winter 2008 Tamarind King

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Facebook Feed Tamarind King

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estenopeica — ROSEANN CIMA

5.9.2011 va jugando con el tiempo she the pretty anarcho feminist says of exposures I could take one of Macchu Picchu and then one of you sin girando la pelicula the sun is moving the afternoon is gone se fue. a journal in verse might be a possibility.

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7.9.2011 spectating polo en bici, I am thinking of the 8-year-old in me that comes out, quiet, when it’s so hard to communicate. thats who I am sometimes, me alegre que decidiera no jugar 8 year-old me couldn’t ride a bike.


14.9.2011 yesterday was a good day we went to a monumental apology and a biblical theme park in between a man with one tooth showed us his fish. I can still write as if I were in love. I bought 3 alfajores (I think I forgot the lunch I packed) one for George one for Nick one for me.

9.9.2011 the tango bar was much crazier than esperabamos manana tenemos cita para bailar salsa con: una pareja homosexual nuestro verdudero y the character rachel refers to affectionately as wolfman.

while he gabbed about fishing culture, while the slippery soft catfish spent itself in the dry bucket, I kept an eye on his tooth which was long & off-center it’s a fun mouth to imagine having, and I thought about how I’d package it. I will already be home when the postcards arrive I have already eaten my alfajor I have already boarded the plane.

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Patrick Freeman Major: Earth Systems Year: Junior When taking photographs of a bull elephant at sunset, you are reminded that you are small. Armed only with a camera, you feel exhilaratingly vulnerable. The swish of his leathery skin and his nearly silent footfalls belie his bulk. But, as he looks down on you en route to the waterhole, you see the familiar glow of consciousness. The shutter clicks and he moves on as you let out the breath you’ve been holding for the past thirty seconds. Experiences like this continue to fuel my passion for wildlife photography. As a passionate wildlife conservationist, I feel that I can help to preserve and protect animals by telling their stories to others, inspiring them to recognize the universalities that stretch across species.

“In the Company of Giants” Never had I known the kind of peace that I experienced at the feet of these animals at dusk.

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“Realities of the Bush� A giraffe skull rests in the water hole at Kameel Doring in Etosha National Park, Namibia

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“King of the Trough� Etosha, Bull #100, enjoys a drink at dusk

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“The Gentle Giant� Brendan has some of the largest tusks in the population that we studied. His gentle nature and his penchant for avoiding conflict with other bulls allows him to avoid breaking his tusks.

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Y R U

Y A R DB A R B &rporate ce o a p C S the ion to s s i M

Illustration by Alberto Hernandez 14

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“The first thing I wrote, when I was twelve years old, was a sequel to John Carter, Warlord of Mars by Edgar Burroughs. Got him out of that damn sun prison up there. Mr. Burroughs left him in the prison at the end of one of his books. He was a very sly man: he knew you had to buy the sequel to find out how John Carter got out of that damn prison. I didn’t have the money so I got him out on my own.” —Ray Bradbury

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he four of us—I, Edward Carlson, Captain Jack, and Major McKenny—and some engineers boarded the small starship, the interior of which I hadn’t seen till then. The main cabin looked like something outside time, a shock of white all over and no sharp angles—the beds, the desk, the table were all continuous: it was hard to tell when one stopped and the next started. The air was dry and sterile; I felt the sweat on the small of my back and the miasma of Los Angeles smog I carried in with me infecting it.

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aptain Jack and Major McKenny went giddily to the cockpit, leaving Edward Carlson and me alone with the engineers. There were two seats on either side of the cockpit entrance and the engineers waited for us to get in. “Get in there and they’ll strap you up, Ray,” Edward Carlson said, as if it were his idea. “I’ll just go check on the astronauts.” But when he turned towards the cockpit, it shut with an exclusive hiss of the airlock. I surveyed the cabin. At the ends of the beds, knees drawn up, huddled humanoid robots. “What are those, Carlson?” “Those, Bradbury, are super audio-animatronic sexual girl dolls, courtesy of Texas Instruments.” “I thought you guys were just saying that to promote the damn things, not that we were really having them up here in the shuttle.” “We were very serious, Ray,” answered Edward Carlson. “I’m a serious businessman and this is serious business. This isn’t a military mission; we can have some luxuries. However… we won’t have one for you. Weight requirements, you see.” He gestured toward the space in front of the fourth bunk, which was filled with stacks

of blank paper wrapped in clear plastic, thousands of sheets. “And with the typewriter… we just couldn’t have all that stuff for one man. Energy, you know; efficiency.” The engineers put on our fishbowls and inside those we heard Captain Jack’s voice. “Launching: T minus two minutes, you pussies.”

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oon, we left orbit and were cruising toward the infinite, everything gone according to plan and the mission underway. One last time we looked out the ports at an Earth left behind and then we settled into what would become our routines: Captain Jack and Major McKenny played gin and Edward Carlson read a book, the cover of which he’d painted black. I asked him what he was reading. “It’s Clerical Errors: Their Cost and Cure by William Exton. An excellent book. I usually mar the covers of the books I read so people don’t know what I’m reading. But on this trip who would care?” “Have you got anything else?” I hadn’t been allowed any books. I couldn’t even bring a volume of Shakespeare.

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He pulled another marred book from a cabinet. Motivational Leverage: A New Approach to Managing People, by the same author. I refused it and lay down. Something slapped my shoulder. It was Edward Carlson’s book. He stood over my bed with a soft grin.

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ne day Captain Jack was fed up with gin. “Fuck it,” he said, and his friend Major McKenny, without so much as a look up, set up a solitaire tableau. “Hold on a minute, Captain,” said Edward Carlson. “Maybe we can get some sort of four-man card game going; of course you’re going to get frustrated playing with just one colleague this whole time…” “Fuck it,” he said. “Fuck cards.” And to me, “Bradbury, you write any stories about us yet?” I As Captain Jack stroked her hair the robot stood hadn’t. “You ever write about astronauts?” I had. quite awkwardly and placed a rubbery hand on his I told him about a couple of stories in my last chest. A staticky moaning sound came out of the collection, but failed to capture his imagination. He slid over to the doll, stroked her hair. thing, and Captain Jack led it to the cockpit. He “Horse hair.” The skin was realistic enough, but closed and locked the door behind him. had a rubbery finish. The face had no expression generally. Only the mouth slightly ajar gave it a look of mild surprise. Its eyes were filled by black marbles, so that they seemed to contain the dark universe between the stars. “No time to get mopey, sport. I chose to bring you on this As Captain Jack stroked her hair the robot stood mission because you’re such a good writer. Write your quite awkwardly and placed a rubbery hand on his chest. own goddamned book!” A staticky moaning sound came out of the thing, and Captain Jack led it to the cockpit. He closed and locked fed a fresh sheet of paper into the typewriter. In space the door behind him. paper seemed whiter and blanker. To warm up and asA moment later days had elapsed, with no sign of suage my nerves by filling the page, I typed some ShakeCaptain Jack. Major McKenny still played Solitaire but speare, a speech from King Lear. If I were bored enough Edward Carlson sulked more and more. I could end up with my own custom volumes of Shake“He’s been in the goddamned cockpit with that speare. thing for days now! This is not how a team operates. As for my own writings, I began by describing the interior of the starship. Everything was white, so the deWho decided we would use those… things? The boss of scription should, I decided, parse the white into more the whole enterprise? No! Not me—not me! Not the man concrete objects. I began with the people. Captain Jack paying your salaries!” was easy because of his orange-colored, weathered skin. Major McKenny spoke up. “This is Captain Jack’s Major McKenny’s corn-bred cheeks were swathed with a ship, sir.” permanent rouge. “Oh, great.” He continued to pound on the door of The pages piled up beside me. I wrote slowly but the cockpit. steadily, deliberately. I was delineating the darkness that lay partly hidden in a crack between the doors of a cabiajor McKenny conceded the cockpit to Captain net when my ink ribbon ran out. There were forty pages Jack but did use his robot girl whenever he wantbeside me on the bed. ed right at his bunk. He always took his red spacesuit I asked Captain Jack for the time. off very slowly, giving me and Edward Carlson ample He said, “Listen to your body, that’s all that matters warning. He was animalistic in bed: purring to indicate in space,” and continued to play gin. pleasure and barking out his orders to the robot in terse I tried to sleep. I lay in the bed and closed my eyes, whispers. At these times, Edward Carlson would tell me but sleep would not come. I paced about the quarters and to write something; inevitably I couldn’t think of anythen sat at the bed again and I knew I had slept. Nothing thing and typed more of King Lear. “I can keep honest looked different and I could not observe any passage of counsel, ride, run, mar a curious tale in telling it, and detime but I remembered a dream: I was in the vacuum liver a plain message bluntly.” Tip-tap-tap the typewriter of space trying to read the forty pages I wrote but it was went, and the sounds died on the walls. too dark to read. If I went toward the sun my momenEventually Carlson got Captain Jack to come out of tum might force me into it and I would be incinerated the cockpit, saying it was bad for one of ‘the team’ to be but otherwise I’d be stuck floating alone in space with no isolated from the lot of us. They negotiated a schedule for light to read by. personal use of the cockpit: Edward Carlson on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Captain Jack on Mondays, Wednesdays,

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“Meteora, Greece,” Kate Erickson Leland Quarterly Fall 2011

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“Susha in Sydney,” Charlie Glick 18

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Fridays, and Saturdays; three hours at a time. I didn’t even know what Wednesdays were—Thursdays!? The negotiations seemed silly to me. I couldn’t detect any pattern in the hours. Captain Jack would go in for five minutes and Edward Carlson would disappear for days at a time, if you could call them days.

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room and made up my own nightmares. I just want to be alone.” “Alone and yet not alone.” “Yes, that’s how I feel now with you, Mr. Shaw, alone and yet not alone.” I felt, by the end of the night, a fantastic love for this man, my good friend, from many years back—and, by God, the night. As we finished talking, I felt the night descend upon me and I felt that I had to go to bed. “Good night, Mr. Shaw.” I found Captain Jack’s toolbox in a nook and returned above deck.

he next thing I knew, Captain Jack was telling me about his doll. “It’s broken, Ray. It’s gotta be a gear inside, near the hips. There’s no animation in the middle.” “Hey, shut it,” I said. “I’m not here as a mechanic. I don’t need to hear about this.” “Listen, I’m no John Holmes like Major McKenny very night I snuck down to talk to Mr. Shaw. We out here, performing and whatnot, so you don’t know talked about women, how I missed Marguerite. “The my style. But I need to fix this thing, I need the hips in women I met in America,” he said, “always seemed small this thing working.” He handed me some keys. “Go to potatoes to me.” that hatch in the back, climb down and bring up the One day I asked him if he had ever read any science black toolbox.” fiction. “Ah, yes, yes,” he said. “It was very entertaining The hatch split open with a hiss. I descended down folly. H.G. Welles and such. Welles came to his senses a ladder I judged to be about 10 feet long into the vislater in his career when he wrote some more realistic cera of the ship. I walked in a dark corridor until, leaning fiction. The man who writes about himself and his own against the wall like a broken fixture, I saw the robot of time,” he said, “is the only man who writes about all peoan old man. ple and all time.” I spoke to him: “Mr. Shaw. George Bernard Shaw.” “I wish I could read you the science fiction of today, He sat upright, and he blinked and answered me: Mr. Shaw!” I said. “It’s the literature that holds all the “By God, sir, I do accept it!” modern anxiety of the future with the fervent ambition “What?” of the present. It’s history backwards if you do it right. A “The universe: it thinks, therefore I am!” man is always writing about himself, no matter what he Now I took a seat, leaning against the long wall at a writes about.” right angle to the robot Shaw. A faint red light blinked Then one night he said, “Show me the stars.” I helped somewhere in his white hair, which, along with his beard him to his feet, hearing all the machinery grinding and the whites of his eyes, were dyed green in the light. inside. “Mr. Shaw,” I said, “I hate it here and I want to go home. This is—this is a sci“Mr. Shaw,” I said, “I hate it here and I want to go home. This is—this ence-fiction nightmare. I’m here with the worst of huis a science-fiction nightmare. I’m here with the worst of humanity. manity. How am I supposed How am I supposed to write if I’m here with perverts and some to write if I’m here with perverts and some deranged deranged CEO who only wants me to glorify his space mission to find CEO who only wants me to a better form of goddamned dishwashing soap.” glorify his space mission to find a better form of goddamned dishwashing soap.” “Mr. Shaw, I don’t think you’re in shape to climb the “Nightmares are the stuff of your own stories.” ladder—to walk even!” “Yes, Mr. Shaw, but being in the middle of it doesn’t “It’s better to wear out than to rust.” help. For example, I never learned to drive because that’s I dragged him to the ladder, and he gripped it a nightmare. Automobiles kill and maim one hundred weakly with his metal robot fingers. I held him like an thousand people a year and any society in which natuinjured man before one of the large windows into space ral man, the pedestrian, becomes the intruder and unand we looked at all the stars in the universe, out toward natural man, encased in a mechanical shell, becomes his Andromeda and Alpha Centauri. After a moment I said, molester is a science-fiction nightmare. But I didn’t go “Go on, say it.” around in cabs writing my stories, I just stayed in my

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“Say what?” “Go on, say it. You know what I want to hear.” He seemed, in my arms to straighten up a bit. He said, “What is mankind in the universe? What is this mysterious thing that we are? This flesh and blood that dreams itself human? What are we? We are energy and matter transmuting itself into imagination and will, energy and matter changing itself over into imagination and will. We are the thing that knows itself in the universe; we waken in the universe; we examine ourselves; we are curious at the miracle; and this is what we are.” I sat—Mr. Shaw could now stand on his own power, somehow—enchanted. I said, “Say it again.” He repeated it and repeated it. The others ignored us.

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he next night I couldn’t sleep. And there, in the bunk across from me, was Major McKenny’s sexual girl doll. I leaned forward out of my bunk and put my hand on the inside of her left knee. This is how it worked: you touched it and it started up, started to pay attention. Then, through the motion of your own body and gentle nudges, you coerced it into following you or doing whatever you wanted to do. But the doll was still and the room was silent. “It’s not programmed to respond to you.” It was Major McKenny, who was up leaning on his elbow now. “Captain Jack tried to borrow mine to try a three-somekinda thing some time ago.” “Alright,” I said. I was hot and I felt like my cheeks were lighting up the room. I wanted to get under the sheets. “Sorry about that, Major McKenny.” “Listen....” Major McKenny sat up on the bed now and rubbed the far side of the robot’s neck, massaging it. When she responded, he gently pulled her head down

good when one of our team begins to feel frustration, which only leads to festering resentment.” He stood up now and came to my bed. “You know why I was angry that Captain Jack locked himself up in there that first time? It’s solipsism, sexual solipsism. I don’t like you spending all that time down there by yourself either. Partake in Major McKenny’s offer and I think we’ll be closer for sharing this.” At the last bunk, Captain Jack was now standing, hands on his hips. “You’re not better than us, Bradbury, and you can’t ignore us ’cause—” he spread his arms “— well, here we are. You need people, Bradbury.” I darted toward the hatch but Captain Jack came up from behind and turned me around with his huge right hand as he passed me. He went into the hatch and I followed. Once we were in the dark space I wasn’t strong enough to get past him and he stalked deliberately towards the robot Shaw. “Is this what you’ve been messing with this whole time?” said Captain Jack. I caught a look at Shaw’s bright, green eyes just before Captain Jack kicked him in the neck. “Bradbury, you stupid bastard,” he said, stomping a mudhole in Mr. Shaw’s chest. “You stupid, stupid bastard.” I gathered the strength, all of my strength, to push past Captain Jack into the arms of the robot Shaw. His eyes were dull, he was silent, wires stuck out of his neck. He was dead. Attacked by sobs, I tried to push the wires back inside him, to fix him. Just then all the lights on the ship began to blink red. Major McKenny’s voice came down to us from the hatch: “METEOR SHOWER ALL HANDS ON DECK!” Captain Jack gathered himself and dragged me toward the ladder, pushing me in front of him and forcing me up. On deck, Major McKenny hurried me into my space suit and handed me an oxygen and nutrition tank. The ship breaks and it’s like I’m floating on my back and seeing everything fly away from me, all of the ship and all of the people.

The ship breaks and it’s like I’m floating on my back and seeing everything fly away from me, all of the ship and all of the people. into his chest. “Listen, you can have her. I’ll lead her to the cockpit, get her in position—any position you want—and you can have your way. I don’t mind at all as long as you clean up afterwards.” “No....” “What?” “I said, No, Major McKenny. I’m not going to have my way with your robot.” Edward Carlson sat up in his bed now. “Bradbury, I think you should take up Major McKenny’s offer. It’s no 20

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I’m falling down through space and I realize I only have 180 days to survive with my food and my oxygen, and I keep saying to myself: “Oh Mr. Shaw, Mr. Shaw, Mr. Shaw...” And then like a gift from God this figure tumbles down from space and here comes the robot Shaw end over end, and he speaks to me as he arrives. “No sooner asked for than I am here.” I say, “Mr. Shaw! You’re alive!” He says, “Yes, the accident jiggled everything back together again.” So I hold on to him and we fall down through space together, and I realize I have 180 days of life and he has 10,000 years but what a way to fall through the universe.


dropped summer you, dear, just might have the face of a thousand summers: scratches of sun caked into flakey irises, golden as filo, yes, but stiff overheating because you never cannonballed, knees cupped into a weightless pool never wrapped the moon’s gauze round sweet broken bone no, you sat caged in tupperware like a dried up dumpling life’s oil all sucked out —ARMINE PILIKIAN

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Crimson Columbine (Aquilegia formosa) A perennial native to the Western United States, it has a history of multiple uses by Native Americans as medicine, decoration, and food. Aquilegia comes from the Latin aquil, meaning eagle, and formosa means beautiful.

Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) This genus is known for its hemiparasiticism: it often taps into the roots of grasses. The red parts are actually not petals, but sepals (modified leaves). The true flower is yellow and tube-like, protruding out of some of the sepal clusters.

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Sierra Bog Orchid (Platanthera dilatata) As its name suggests, this orchid grows in boggy meadows and generally moist areas in the Sierras. The small white flowers on its stalk produce a fragrant, sweet perfume that can be smelled from a fair distance away. The plant’s range extends north all the way to Alaska, and it is especially common in the mountainous regions of the Pacific Northwest.

Mattias Lanas Major: Earth Systems Year: Coterminal Senior Mattias Lanas is an Earth Systems major with interests in nature illustration and detailoriented fine art. This botanical series is part of a project to document some of the common flora found at Stanford Sierra Camp, where Mattias spent this past summer working as the art instructor. He hopes to one day launch his passions for natural science and fine art into a career.

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Snow Plant (Sarcodes sanguinea) A robust, fleshy, brilliantly-scarlet plant that protrudes from the earth in wooded Sierran environments, the snow plant is a "mycotrophic wildflowers"—it obtains nutrients by interactions with a fungus (hence the "myco"). This plant lacks chlorophyll, so cannot photosynthesize: it is wholly dependent on its specific fungal association with a species of fungus in the genus Rhizopogon.

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Mountain Jewelflower (Streptanthus tortuosus) This small, inconspicuous plant in the Mustard family is commonly found growing on hot, rocky slopes. It’s rounded leaves are waxy in texture and the purplish flowers are roughly tear dropshaped and delicate. It is native to central and northern California mountains, going into Oregon and Nevada.

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simple math — KATIE WU with illustrations by Armine Pilikian

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hen I was four, my father was in a car accident that left him in a coma. My mother would later say it happened before lunch, but it took her the afternoon to figure out how to tell me. I found out after dinner he probably wouldn’t be home that night, or the next. I was four and dumb, so I made very little of it. The next day, the doctors declared him brain dead. mer, missing having someone to vault me up to catch My mother packed me a peanut butter banana sandwich snowflakes on my tongue on Christmas morning. Isoand we drove to the hospital. For the next five hours, the lated events. Piecing the rest of him together was diffitwo of us waited for him to die. cult, and so hard to separate from my mother, who was My mother didn’t cry. She set out my favorite colornow suddenly her own person. It wasn’t long before my ing book and sat at my father’s bedside. I couldn’t find any memories of him frayed at the edges, became weightless, crayons so I folded boats and airplanes out of paper towlost in the shuffle of everything else. And before I knew els and the nurse on call brought me a juice box. Before it, my father was a brief appearance—a guest speaker we left, my mother unclasped the turquoise in my childhood schooling. He’d come and necklace my father had given her on gone painlessly, and here I was on It was their wedding day and tucked it the other side. basic arithmetic. My into her pocket. I hugged my It was basic arithmetic. My father was a subtraction, father was a subtraction, one father’s sleeping body, and we slipped out the door. one less, and that was the less, and that was the end of it. On the way home, my mothDeath, his death, it wasn’t fair. end of it. er told me that my father was going Just final. somewhere, and I shouldn’t be scared, or t’s 10 p.m. on a Friday evening and my suitemates are sad, because it was a place that we all ended up going to in the third hour of a marathon round of video games. someday. It was just something everyone and everything I’m sitting on my bed waiting for the phone to ring. did eventually, sometimes without even really realizing My phone’s had poor reception all night, which it at all. gives me hope. There’s a chance Sarah has called, and I Like the bathroom? I said. didn’t pick up, which breeds hope that she’ll have found My mother looked at me in the rearview mirror. me less desperate. The downside is, there’s a chance SarHer gray eyes fogged like storm clouds. Yes, in a way. ah has called and I didn’t pick up. I pictured my father perched on top of a giant toilet, “Okay, okay—I’m winning this time, twentieth waving down at me from the rim of the seat. I knew he time’s the charm,” Christian says with finality. From his was dead. I thought I understood. He had been in a car other side, Blake passes me a beer. It’s room temperature, accident, he hadn’t made it. and flat. “Dude, she’s not going to call.” And what was more, his exit strategy wasn’t interI scowl. “She might.” esting, wasn’t unique. My four-year-old brain was full of Gavin laughs. “Ten bucks says she won’t.” battling knights and race cars and dragons and Krakens I don’t take the bet. I’ll lose. “Fuck you.” On cue, my of the sea, and my father the hero had died in the same phone rings. I scramble for it, upsetting my beer onto the beige sedan that drove me to and from school five days couch. It seeps into the cushions and the seat of Chrisa week. tian’s pants, but everyone is too absorbed in the game to I stopped crying after a few weeks. It was hard to notice. know what I was crying for, anyway—missing him was But it’s not Sarah. It’s my cousin Juliet, whose nummissing runny strawberry ice cream days in the sum-

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Facing page: “Out on Balmoral” Photo by Susha Roy, edited by Charlie Glick

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ber I have only by the sheer coercion of family obligaShe pauses. “Still, sorry,” she adds as an afterthought. tion. I let the phone ring a few times, then answer cauThanking her for her condolences feels silly, so I say tiously. “Hello?” nothing. My hands aren’t wet, but I dry them anyway. “Tom!” Her voice is chipper and grating. “Long I scrub the mirror with my paper towel. Still, nothing’s time, no talk.” changed. I get off the couch and cross the room, eliciting loud Juliet’s voice crackles through once more. “So… protests from the guys when I walk in front of the TV. what are you going to do now? With the cabin, I mean.” Juliet squeaks. “What’s going on?” “The cabin.” Our old summer home, where my “Hang on for a second,” I snap, shutting the door mother moved six years ago after she stopped being behind me as a muffled roar rises from the group. able to walk on her own. It was bad timing; I was feeling Now that I’m in the hall, I don’t actually know where temperamental and maladjusted, so I decided to go to I’m going. So I walk into the bathroom. It’s a mistake. boarding school in Massachusetts. To compensate, my Half the urinals are already housing the remains of mother hired a full time nurse to help her around several condoms, floating on the brackthe house. I look ish yellow surface like pale dead “Are you going to sell it? Beat myself in the codfish. It smells like piss and cause we, the family I mean, vomit. I head for the sinks, could really get a lot for it.” mirror, expecting to see turning the tap on and off as Juliet clears her throat for something different than I Juliet clears her throat. “You emphasis. “You know?” good?” She sounds irritated. normally do. Death—the death I stayed away most “Yeah, sure, what’s up? of a parent—it’s supposed to summers, finding excuses I’m kind of busy, I’m waitin flashy internships and prechange you. ing for another call…” I’m being college programs. When I did an ass, but the remnant probability of go back, it was hard to make it seem Sarah, and sex, is enough to trump Juliet, who I’ve spolike home. And every time I did, my mother was weaker. ken to maybe twice since we were nine. She’s simple. She I’d boil her tea, help her bathe, bring her the morning likes Dawson’s Creek. Poor thing never stood a chance, paper. She started weeping for no reason, getting anxlanded with a dipshit name like Juliet. ious over small things. Last Christmas morning she was “Tom, your mom passed away.” afraid of me: she’d forgotten who I was. But most days The faucet is leaky. I wriggle the taps on both sides, she would just stare out the window, folding little doves hot and cold, but the water continues to run in frantic out of napkins and pushing them over the sill. little dribbles down the drain. “Or you could keep it, I guess,” Juliet says, taking my “Tom, did you hear me? Your mom…she’s dead.” silence for disapproval. “It’d be cool. You know. Tom’s Juliet repeats it slowly, carefully, enunciating her vowels. Cabin. Ha, ha.” “I heard you. Yeah.” It makes sense. She hasn’t “What?” emailed in a few days. A couple weeks, maybe. “You know—like the famous book, or movie, what“I’m sorry, Tom,” Juliet says. She keeps saying my ever… about the slave…” name, like some kind of rote incantation. “We were… “You mean Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Dad and I were visiting, you know, since it’s near the “Right, yeah, that. Whatever.” holidays and we figured she should be with family…” There’s a pause. I hear Juliet suck in her breath. “So She stops abruptly and clears her throat. “Not—not that are you going to sell it?” I mean you had to have been there, ‘cause like, you’re in I hang up. college and that’s important and stuff…” Same grimy floor, same desecrated urinals. There’s I look at myself in the mirror, expecting to see someloud music churning in the hallways, screams and thing different than I normally do. Death—the death drunken karaoke from the floor below. I head back to of a parent—it’s supposed to change you. Be shocking, my room. The door opens with an arthritic creak that numbing, life-changing. But in the mirror, it’s just me. I don’t remember being there the last time I used it. Same reflection as always. I need a haircut. Christian, Gavin, and Dan are eating tortilla chips, ap“... She had a seizure this morning and just didn’t parently on a well-deserved break from the battlefield. wake up. I know this is really hard to hear.” Christian fishes his game controller out of the sal“It’s okay, Juliet,” I say. “She was sick. It was… comsa and mutes the game, which is back on the welcome ing.” screen. “Well? Are you getting laid?” “I guess,” she concedes, not bothering to conceal her I hesitate. Blake has taken the controller from Chrisrelief at not having to console me. “Yeah. You’re right.” tian and is scraping salsa off the buttons with a tortilla

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“Image Search Result for ‘Nerdy Black Guy’, Winter 2008,” Tamarind King Ink on map paper Leland Quarterly Fall 2011

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It’s been years, but the minute I see the fish stew I know it hasn’t come out right. has already turned its flaming November golden, tousled like the The smell’s off, the hair of a child by the thick, rattling color’s too light. I wind. don’t tell her The bus leaves me at the edge of the preserve, and I walk the final quarter this.

chip; Gavin is picking his nose. I think, they’re not mature enough for this. “It wasn’t Sarah.” “Ten bucks!” Gavin crows, reaching up for a high five that no one reciprocates. I don’t have to tell them. I do anyway. “My mom… she’s not doing too well.” They look at me, unsure. Gavin’s hand sinks downwards. “What I mean is she’s dead. So, I’m probably going home.” There’s a sharp silence. Then, “Fuck, man.” “Dude, you okay?” “I’m so sorry, man. That’s really… awful.” Christian claps me on the shoulder, awkwardly, delicately, like I might shatter. I sit back down. The room is much quieter now; the chip bowl is empty but no one’s calling for a refill. Gavin hands me another beer without meeting my eye. This time, it’s freezing.

I

decide to take the rest of the semester off and book a flight home. In a duffel, I pack three boxers, two shirts, a toothbrush, a razor, my phone. Enough for a weekend trip; it’s how long I’ve convinced myself I’ll stay. It’s a two-hour train ride to the shore, then forty minutes on a bus to reach the cabin, which sits at the edge of a national woodland preserve. Prime real estate that was a stretch to rent as a summer home and a near fortune to purchase. But my mother had wanted to die here. She at least saw that far. Through the tinted windows of the train, everything looks sharp and bleak. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve come back, but with the seasons moving fast this year, it looks like no time has passed at all. Outside, the grass

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mile to my mother’s home. The cabin sits on a little cliff, tucked behind a grove of old pine. It’s a beautiful spot, really. You can see the sea, the forest, the speckled white beaches shedding coats of sand into the foaming surf. I pause for a moment to look at the ocean. Its surface is shimmering, motionless, thin and taut like the skin of a drum. Above it, the air smells like salt and sand and seals. Home. Kind of. I know when I open the door, Addy will be there. I’ve been waiting for myself to be nervous about this fact, but it hasn’t yet hit me. It’s been years since I’ve really let myself think about her. She was twenty, four years my elder, when we hired her sister as my mother’s full-time nurse. When her sister decided to get her M.D., Addy, who’d gotten her own nursing degree by then, took over. During the day, she cooked, cleaned, changed my mother’s bedpans, wheeled her from room to room. She was efficient and cheery, which was enough for my mother. What’s more, she expected only minimal contributions—boiling water, loading the dishwasher, reading the paper to my mother— from me. I skittered around my mother’s illness while Addy cleaned up after the both of us. We became friends, at first only out of convenience. The age difference was a little crippling; the matter of her employment made things worse. But we somehow managed to push it aside. Looking back on those years, I can barely comprehend how Addy pulled it off—how she made me laugh, how she made me forget I was an angsty


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kid with a sick mom and a crappy attitude. She was, in a way, a blessing. She also had fantastic tits. There’s a key we always keep under the mat. For emergency purposes. It’s a stupid place to keep it—the first place anyone trying to break in would look—but it’s there all the same. It’s cold and grimy on one side from the hard earth, clean and neat on the other, which faced the nylon doormat. I open the door hesitatingly, like a stranger. Addy’s at the sink. She watches me shut the latch behind me; she heard me coming. I take a breath. “Addy.” She smiles, sadly, as she must. “Tom.”

feel like home for you again.” We eat in silence. The soup isn’t my mother’s, really, but it’s not bad—in fact, it’s pretty good. Just different. I watch Addy, sneaking glances as she studies her bowl. I haven’t seen her in almost three years, the summer before I left for college. She hasn’t changed; even her hair is the same dark auburn, parted on the left, always worn down. I remember wanting to sleep with her, badly. That feeling isn’t gone, but it’s lighter now, a little more inconsequential. We’ve barely spoken since I walked in the door three hours ago. I didn’t let her hug me, and I don’t think she was expecting me to. “Tom—how are you doing?” She asks it abruptly; I can tell she’s been waiting for the right moment. This still hat night, we make soup. Or rather, Addy makes isn’t it. She glances at me cautiously, then tries to make soup while I stand uncomfortably behind the stove amends. “I—it’s a dumb question. Obviously, shitty.” She and tell her stop, you really don’t uh have hesitates. “Your mom was fine, I mean, Addy to you know, cook for me, because. she’d been doing really well… there She’s wearing jeans and a green was this one week last month looks prepared blouse just tight enough to rewhere she was lucid almost the to mop up a torrent of veal the slight outline of her entire time. She talked about gushing tears, and I feel bra beneath the cotton. I am you a lot. And you know, she incredibly—uncomfortably— was always so happy when you suddenly bare. aware that I am still attracted to her. called, or when you emailed.” She ladles out a bowl for me, nerI frown, scrape my spoon over the little gritty puddles at the bottom of my bowl. “I vously. It’s an old recipe of my mom’s—a fish stew she should’ve more. Emailed, I mean.” My mother had writmade for me a lot when I was little. You could say it was ten me at least twice a week, every week I was away from a comfort food—something I’d always have after a rainy home. Every time she was lucid she would want to call day at soccer practice, on snow days when we’d snooze or write. They were long, heartfelt emails about the cabin front of the television. It’s been years, but the minute I in, the beautiful sea, how she wished I were here with see it, I know it hasn’t come out right. The smell’s off, the her to enjoy life. I wrote three line responses, always the color’s too light. I don’t tell her this. I hardly care. same thing with mildly different wording: hi, I am good/ “I know it’s not as good as your mom’s, but… I fighealthy/fine/happy, glad things are fine back home, miss ured you might be missing it. I remember you loved this you write again soon, love tom. College, books, girls— stuff.” She smiles, a careful quarter of a smile that casts a fleeting shadow on her jaw. She’s unsure. Not embarthey seemed out of place in that conversation. Not berassed; she won’t be, even if it’s inedible. Addy doesn’t cause they were trivial, though they were. Just distant. really do embarrassed. My mother had always been a completely separate I laugh, a little more dryly than I might have intendsphere of my life, and it seemed perverse to violate those ed. “Thanks, but I think I’ve been over it for a while. She boundaries, even for the sake of typed intimacy. hasn’t made it since I was twelve.” “No—I mean, she knew you were busy.” Addy looks Addy shrugs and dips a spoon into the pot. “All the prepared to mop up a torrent of gushing tears, and I feel better for me, then. Maybe you won’t notice the differsuddenly bare. It’s a tight, ugly sensation in my chest that I immediately despise. ence.” She sips at the spoon, cautiously, puckering her “I’m fine, Addy, really. You don’t need to do this.” bottom lip, and gives me a reassuring smile. “God, I al“Talk to you?” ways tried to cook like your mom, but I could never pull “No. You don’t have to give me unnecessary compasit off. Anyway, like I said… I just wanted this place to

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sion. It is what it is. I’m sorry she’s gone. But I’m okay.” She looks at me, waiting for me to recant my words. A flicker of something—relief, maybe—passes over her face when I don’t. Her eyes meander over to my mouth. “Oh—Tom, you’ve got some soup on your –” She reaches over, almost instinctively, and dabs my chin with her napkin. And it’s this—the physical contact, the maternal gesture—that makes something in me snap. I flinch away from her, pushing off from the table so sharply that I send my silverware clattering to the floor. Flecks of soup spatter the rug, seeping like brilliant crimson blood into the little fibers wound tight beneath my feet. I look at Addy and feel a powerful, insatiable need for her. To lay my head on her chest, let her run her fingers through my hair. I want to fuck her, but even more so, I want to watch her pleasure herself, run her hands down her stomach, between her legs—her perfect body, unblemished by disease or death or sorrow. I shut my eyes and take a breath. Addy’s staring at me like a cornered cat, eyes wide and cautious. I stand, and a shudder runs through my body like a sip of something unexpectedly frozen. “Sorry,” I say. I walk out of the kitchen, down the hall, into my old bedroom.

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y mother is undressing herself in front of the mirror. I watch her from the doorway, timidly, as she unbuttons her blouse. I am seven years old. Her face is slate; nothing moves but her eyes, quick and flashing like the scales of a fish. She examines her breasts as they appear over the descending collar of her shirt, touches the outline of her bra. Her collarbone is prominent, highlighted in the light. I have pictured my mother naked, innocently—simply as a comparison to my own nakedness in the tub or between changes of clothing. Girls and boys are different. But I do not expect the wrinkles, the pale white skin beneath the brilliant blue of her blouse. I came looking for her when I woke up and found her bed empty. But this creature I have discovered is not my mother: everything I see before me is foreign, pale pink and soft like a molting creature from the sea. I am petrified and enraptured all at once. Do not move, my feet say. I cannot move myself. She finishes unbuttoning, but does not remove, her blouse. Next, she slips quietly out of her loose tan slacks and sits, legs tucked beneath her, on the floor. She looks

small: in this position, she is nearly my height. And though she thinks she is alone, her arms still twitch forward subconsciously to shield her body. She continues to examine herself, shyly. Her hands touch each part of her body at least once, a soft, lingering brush of the fingertips, as if making contact with tabooed artifacts. Her eyes rage, and I am afraid she will cry, as she has not dared to do since the funeral. For a moment, she pauses, hands pasted to her stomach. I feel myself unfreeze a little; I picture her getting dressed, coming to find me spying at the door. But as I watch, she unfreezes as well. With her eyes trained onto the ground—as if she is scared to look—she extends her right hand in front of her, as if reaching out to someone in the mirror I cannot see. She stares at her fingers, at this mysterious person on the other side of the glass, watching, waiting. It’s slight at first. I don’t even notice until she inhales sharply. A mild quake in her fingertips, juddering up through her wrists. She snaps her hand back into a fist as if burned, clutching her hand to her bare chest. The folds of her blouse cave in around her like a shielding cloak. With a gasp of defeat, my mother buries her face in her hands, not crying, not even making a sound—just shielding her eyes. Almost immediately, I feel my own discomfort, seeing my mother sick, seeing my mother vulnerable without her permission. I think of my mother laughing, of my mother holding hands with my father. Mother brave, Mother strong, Mother whole. The scared woman in the room, huddled before the mirror, violates any notion of have yet formed of parenthood. And I realize for the first time what it’s like to feel a little older. The heat burns back into my legs; I scuffle out of the doorway and slip away before she can notice I’ve even snuck in at all.

I

decide not to hold a service. My mother’s only living family other than me is Juliet and her drunk father, and it hardly seems worth it to bring them out here just to haggle over a selling price for the cabin. Addy and I bury her in a cemetery that overlooks the sea, just as she wanted. I see my mother’s face once before it disappears beneath the coffin lid, gray and set like a photograph. I cry for the first time since her death, but they feel like an involuntary front. I am disembodied, watching some disheveled doppelganger of myself weep in an ugly suit I fished out of a closet at the last

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“Okay,” she says carefully. She picks her way through the room as if wading through a reef and pulls a large box off the shelf. “But this stuff… it was your parents’ life. You should at least take a look at the family stuff before you sell it all.” She peels the yellowed tape off the flaps and peers inside. “I mean, god. Look at this stuff—this is old. It’s valuable.” She sets the first box down on the floor and reaches for the one My next to it. “Addy,” I say helplessly, “It’s all mother used to useless stuff, don’t…” But it’s too always laugh like that— late. Out comes a set of beautilike she was surprised at ful long-stemmed candles, a her own joy. It only made set of first edition books that look like they could be from the her laugh harder. 1800s, some willow-patterned china, a beautiful set of silver spoons that minute. I wonder when the tears will end, I recognize from my grandparents’ old home, how they even began. As an incentive for sorrow, I and my mother’s turquoise necklace. Addy immediately try to think back to some happy memory of my mother takes the necklace out of its casing and runs her fingers and me, but all there I get is a whining tightness in my over the turquoise, eyes sparkling. “Wow, Tom. Was this chest that squeezes once, twice, and leaves me just as I your mom’s? It’s so beautiful. I don’t know why she didn’t was. By the end, all I’ve managed to come up with is rewear it more often.” lief that it’s finally over for the both of us. I scuff my heels crankily against a small box at my As her coffin descends into the earth, I feel there’s feet. “My dad gave it to her,” I mumble. “She stopped something else too, a weighty soreness at the back of my wearing it after he died.” head that I suspect is the beginning of grief. But I don’t Addy’s face crumples. “Oh, that’s so sad. It must have know grief. And because I can’t quite place it, the emohurt so much, seeing it just sitting there in its box…” tion doesn’t bother to linger. “Yeah, I bet,” I cut in. I crouch down to open the box I’ve been kicking as noisily as I possibly can, peeln the way home from the cemetery, I ask Addy to ing the tape off in a loud, slow screech. I just want her stay for a few days, to help me sort out my mothto stop talking. I don’t know why my mother stopped er’s affairs, what’s left of them. I offer to pay her, but she wearing the necklace. For all I know, she didn’t even like scowls in disgust and I don’t push the matter. it. Maybe she only wore it to please my father, and then “Let’s just start with her bedroom,” I suggest the after he croaked, it was goodbye to marital obligation. minute we’re back. I feel hollow and I don’t like it. If I “Oh, wow, Tom—this box.” Addy hops over the wall come across a picture of my mother and cry, I might get of cardboard between us and reaches into the box I’ve to feel a little more human again. opened. In my surly tantrum I haven’t even bothered Addy stares at me. “Are you sure you’re ready? We to look inside; it’s filled with notebooks and yearbooks just buried your mom like, half an hour ago.” and photos of my parents from when they were young. “Yeah, no, I’m fine,” I say, nodding vigorously. I feel There’s even one of me as an infant. I look like a slimy, cartoonish. “Let’s just start, get this over with.” pink little alien shaking its fists at the camera. We begin with the bedrooms. When she moved Addy grabs my baby picture and bursts out laughhere permanently, my mother quietly claimed the guest ing. “My god. This is great. I want this one—I’ll keep it bedroom that overlooked the far side of a little ocean and tell people this was my boss taking a shit.” I can’t cliff. The master bedroom, where my parents used to help but smile too as I try to pry the photo out of her sleep when we spent summers here, hasn’t been lived in fingers. Addy rolls away from me, holding it out of reach, for nearly two decades. Now it’s a storage space, jammed and grins back at me victoriously. Her eyes are a late auto the corners with boxes and rolled up rugs and odd tumn green. My heart pounds a little. I want to pull her ugly furniture that didn’t belong. face closer and kiss her, but I don’t, I won’t, not over a “Jesus,” Addy whistles. “What are you going to do box full of dead mommy and dead daddy. I drag my eyes with all of this?” away from her, down to my nails, which I start to pick I laugh bitterly. “What else? Get rid of it. I mean, at guiltily. what would I do with it? I don’t want it.” “Whatever, screw you,” I say, forcing a laugh. “What

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else is in here?” With my photo safely stashed in her bag, Addy dives back into the box and pulls out a photo of my mother and father. They look to be about in their early twenties, maybe a few years before they got married. With his arms around my mother’s waist, my father looks confident and happy; he hasn’t shaved in days. Addy reaches back to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, like my mother is doing in the photo. Other than that, they look nothing alike. Addy’s hair is a straight caramel brown, my mother’s still rich and yellow, whipping around her head as she laughs. She seems mildly embarrassed by the photograph: her other hand is waving the camera away. My mother used to always laugh like that—like she was surprised at her own joy. It only made her laugh harder. When Addy laughs, she is always sure. “God, they look so young,” Addy murmurs, running her fingers along the frame of the photograph. “Your mom’s gorgeous, Tom. You should keep this.” She slips the photo out of its frame. Someone, probably my father, has scrawled on the back: “Pearl Beach Aug 83.” They were twenty-five. Addy’s age. I don’t recognize my parents like this, and the thought of keeping the photo seems disruptive to memory. I take it anyway, just to make Addy smile. We spend the next three days straight moving boxes, clearing a path to the older stuff in the back. Piles appear in the living room, organized by year and utility. Most of what we find is typical: old plates and silverware, photos and textbooks, cassettes and a radio, boxes and boxes of eighties clothing. But we also come across a box of funny hats and waste an afternoon in front of the bathroom mirror, only making things worse when Addy drags over what looks like the costume set from Grease. Being with Addy makes things bearable. The heaviness and confusion of everything seems so much more distant when I talk to her. Because in spite of everything, she’s still a tourist here. She cared for my mother, but her affection was necessarily muted by hierarchy. For Addy, this death and this house are all just a part of passing through this shit town. Being with her makes it easier to take everything less seriously. The lighter perspective is foreign, almost abrasively so, and it’s refreshing. If I’m brave enough to consider my mother—consider her absence—all I come up with is shallow, frustrated confusion. My mind has emptied all but two of its beakers, and someone keeps siphoning water out of the Addy beaker and dribbling it into my mother’s. A careful, steady dilution: my feelings, whatever they are, towards my mother diminish as those for Addy—platonic, romantic, whatever—grow more and more concentrated by the minute. It’s easy to settle back into the old familiar of our

friendship. It’s not sex, or any kind of intimacy. But it’s a relief to not feel like I need it. he night we finally finish, Addy and I get drunk. We unload a box of fluffy pillows with artsy fruit patterns on them and sprawl out on the porch with an assortment of alcoholic beverages we unearthed from the corners of the cabin: red wine, a few beers, and, unfathomably, an ancient bottle of rum. We talk for a while, mostly about nothing. Addy puts her head on my shoulder. “What are you thinking about?” I stare at the lights from the next city over flickering across the ocean water. “I don’t know. Everything. Nothing. All that shit, in those boxes. I can’t tell what year I’m in anymore.” Addy laughs thickly. She’s a messy drunk. “You need to get out of this house.” “Uh huh. And go where? The post office? Or the movie theater in, in, fuck, it’s like three towns away.” I feel wonderfully foggy. It’s amazing, not having to think about what I’m saying. “No, no, let’s go… out there.” She points to the darkness before us, stretching into the glinting woods. “There?” “Yeah.” “Oh. Okay.” I get up and follow her, stumbling down the porch steps. She waits for me at the bottom, grinning. Then, almost gracefully, she peels off her jeans and her top and sprints down the path. “Hey!” I call after her. My voice echoes off the trees, and I run after her, tripping over myself until I’ve caught her around the waist. We strip off the rest of our clothes and streak into the woods, howling like animals. The dirt is sharp with pine needles and rocks beneath my feet, but soon we’re running fast enough that it hardly matters. We are insane, inhuman. The shame I should feel dies in some fiery hole in my chest, replaced by the thrill of abandoning civilization, of letting loose every ugly dark confused emotion I’ve had in the past week. Fuck death, fuck misery. Fuck everything. We reach a ledge, barely catching ourselves in time. The surf rages below us, spraying the rocks with brilliant, heady white foam. We heave in gulps of air, collecting salt on our tongues. I grab Addy’s hand and drag us to the very edge. My toes grip the rock; it’s sharp, a true edge that cuts into my joints. I can see all my knuckles going white. “Do it,” I say. “What –” “Do it, jump!” “No!” “Together, on three, we’re jumping, one.” “You’re crazy –”

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“Two.” “Tom.” “Three!” “Fuck!” “Fuck!” We scream together as we launch over the edge. “FUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK!” The water slams us unforgivingly, smacking our flailing limbs. I go under, far deeper than I’d been sober enough to expect. When I break the surface, a wave smashes against the side of my head and I gulp in mouthfuls of freezing, powerfully briny water. To my left, Addy resurfaces, shrieking and laughing. “Oh my god, oh my god!” We throw our heads back and wail into the night, screaming

run my hands forward, over her hip, down a little trail to rest on her thigh. But as if on a trigger, she gasps and pulls away sharply, sending a rush of salty water into my eyes and mouth. “Oh god, no.” She shakes her head, swimming away from me in fast, pumping strokes. “No, no. Bad idea.” “Addy, wait,” I say helplessly. I don’t follow her, but she’s stopped only a few feet away. “Tom, we can’t.” She’s catching her breath and her sentences are clipped and rushed. “We’re drunk, and we’re out in the middle of the ocean… your mom just died, you just left school, you’re not thinking clearly…” She trails off. I stare at her dumbly. Her hair, stained black by the water, fans around us, a shimmering vacuum. We’re both breathing hard. We’d forgotten to fight the current and drifted closer to shore. I can see the edge of the cliff we jumped off of, a triangular point cutting into the The water slams us sky above us. unforgivingly, smacking our flailing I want to say, I’m fine. I want to say, you’re making a mistake. But instead, I just limbs. I go under, far deeper than I’d been keep looking at her, and she gazes back at sober enough to expect. To my left, me with pitying eyes. Addy resurfaces, shrieking and Finally, she says, “I’m sorry, Tom.” And that’s it. laughing. She swims away from me in a contained breastuntil we’re hoarse—because it’s freezing, stroke, her bottom bobbing in and out of the water. I because we’ve each swallowed a pint of filthy ocean wawant to scream after her, tell her she’s a bitch, tell her I’m ter, because my mother’s dead and we’re fucking alive and furious about being left buck-naked in the ocean with there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it. my last set of clean clothes strewn god knows where I catch my breath, abruptly sobered, and swim clumin the forest. It’s my own damn fault. I feel stupid, sick, sily in Addy’s direction. She waits for me, treading water guilty, like a kid caught crapping in the pool at grandma’s evenly beneath the inky waves. My arms snake around birthday party. The humiliation is crippling. It’s all I can her—she’s naked, we both are—I’ve barely understood do to keep treading water in the thrashing waves, keep this properly. We’re human again, sentient, but it’s too myself afloat against the current. Give myself a moment late and too useless to be self-conscious. to catch my breath. I stare unabashedly at her, the curve of her waist, the fter my father died, I spent nearly every night of space between her legs. Her body is every bit as beautiful the next year in my mother’s bed. I lay awake beas I could have imagined. side her, listening to her snore lightly under the covers. Addy wriggles out of my grasp, splashing me. She I wondered if she noticed the difference, now that it curls her legs back into her body and dives forward. I was her son next to her and not her husband. A lighter catch her by the shoulders and she wraps her arms weight, less contact. There was simply less of me; it made around my neck, laughing and spraying my face with it easy, to forget. water. I pull her in closer and kiss her hard. She melts Sometimes she would have nightmares, ones that into me, pressing herself up against my chest, legs kickwould make her seize and writhe. It terrified me to see ing fast in the churning water. I run my fingers up befear in my mother. I would shake her until she woke, tween her breasts, skimming her collarbone, feeling the tell her she’d been dreaming again. Each time she would faint beating of her heart chiming dissonantly against emerge as if breaching the surface of a pool, breathing the sound of the surf. in thick gulps of air. She would stare at me as if for the My hands are inept in the water. Somehow I muster first time. I was foreign to her in those moments; I would up the courage to trail my fingers down her back. Heat wonder if she dreamt of my father, of his death, of hers churns through my blood and I tread water more confior mine. dently, making the two of us more easily buoyant. Addy But then, as if I had been the frightened one, she sighs into my mouth, and I’m braver, brave enough to

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would spend the next half hour stroking my hair and singing me back to what I convinced her was sleep. Most of the time she’d simply doze off, fingers still entwined in the soft hairs at the nape of my neck. I would lie there for hours, bathing in the static of her touch, staring into the darkness of our broken home.

I

wake up the next morning with cottonmouth and the ghost of a hangover. The night before comes crashing down on me and I curse under the covers. I figure I’ll have to face her sooner than later, and drag myself into the hallway with the resignation that I’ll act as normal as possible and hope she catches on quick. Addy is reading Rebecca on the couch with her bare feet propped up on the coffee table. “Good book?” I say. She starts, banging her heel against the table. “Oh—uh, yeah, yeah it is.” She smiles cautiously. “Your mom gave it to me. It was her favorite.” “I know,” I say, annoyed that she assumes I don’t. My mother’s favorite book. It belongs on her nightstand, where it’s been ever since I can remember—or with me. Not with Addy, never with Addy. Addy gives me a reproachful glance, then looks me over and raises an eyebrow. I’ve forgotten to put on pants. Out of the corner of my eye, I watch Addy. Part of me is still angry, but I’m not sure at what anymore. I try and place the feeling. It’s not the sex, or lack thereof, that much I know. But beyond that, all I have is a displaced anger rocketing around inside my head. Addy has barely looked up from my mother’s book. Until now I haven’t realized how much I expected her to apologize, at least be as wretched and uncomfortable as me. The casual interaction I’d pictured before now seems silly and naïve; her indifference rakes at me. I snatch at a few of the boxes in the living room, going for a particularly heavy one that I half hope will fall and make a lot of noise. “I was thinking I’d make French toast when you woke up,” she says cheerily. “I forget, do you hate French toast? You hate something. Belgian waffles?” I shove my hand in the box and rattle it around. It’s the expensive heirloom box with the books and the spoons and the candles. But it’s not really clunking in the way I want. “I’m hungry, though. What do you think?

I can just make pancakes. Everyone likes pancakes, right?” Addy shuts her book at looks up at me. “What are you doing?” I pull the box off its pile and begin to sort through its contents. The books. The candles. The willow-patterned china. My mother’s necklace, in its velvet case. The spoons are missing. “Addy, where are the spoons?” Something flickers across her face. “What?” “The spoons, Addy. The silver spoons that were in this box yesterday.” I dig through the box more vigorously, now just for the hell of it; I know they’re not going to appear. And I’m starting to have a sneaking idea of where I’ll find them. “I put them in here myself, next to these books, and my mom’s necklace, and these candles. Where are they?” “I don’t—I don’t know, Tom –” “You took them.” I say it simply. She doesn’t meet my eye. “So.” My voice gets louder, angrier, and I let it. I storm over to where she sits, still holding my mother’s copy of Rebecca. “Where the fuck –” I grab the book out of her hands and hurl it across the room. It lands with a wet smack in the sink, catapulting a dirty spatula onto the dining table. “Are they?” I storm into the kitchen and start to tear drawers open. I’m hardly looking where my hands go, and it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. Whatever I touch I fling aside. Things break and it feels incredibly empowering. I go to the door and fling Addy’s coats aside, kicking them away from me with my feet. I am insane, running around the room throwing things in the air screaming about spoons. Addy has followed me, and stands behind me with a sad little pitying look in her eyes. And I know. I go to the couch, grab her bag, tear it open. The spoons, still in their worn wooden case, are inside. I wrench them out and fling her bag into the fireplace, where it lands in a smothering puff of ash. I turn on her. The anger has built on itself productively within me, multiplying, dividing, running its spawn to my hands. I undo the clasp of the box and the spoons spill onto the floor. “Why did you take them?” I ask her, evenly. My voice wavers. I want so badly to scream again. “Tom, calm down,” she says. I laugh crazily. “Calm down. Calm down— you stole from me. To, what, make some extra cash? What were you going to do, run out of here and never come back? Make a fortune off some ancient dessert spoons that my grandma

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ate pudding with?” mantel and it shatters across the floor, pinging against She doesn’t look afraid of me. I hadn’t expected her the hardwood like the plucked keys of an untuned piano. to. She says, “Come on, Tom.” Dust settles across the floor, eerily ashen; the urn was I shake my head. “No. Why did you take them?” empty, but I can’t help but feel as though I’ve actually She just looks at me, her green eyes glinting. They tarnished the remains of the deceased. Addy’s eyes are don’t look so charming now, pained and pitying like this; fixed, unblinking, on the fragments of ceramic scattered they look false, bland. at her feet. For the first time, she looks afraid. I pick up the case and hurl it against the wall next And I can’t help it. I laugh. I laugh at Addy and her to me; it splinters and cracks down the middle. Addy fear, at the ruined kitchen and the things I’ve strewn winces. “Are you that pathetic—you’re stealing from a across the floor, broken against the wall. I laugh at my dead woman now?” I snarl. The words echo painfully in own cowardice, at my mother’s death and how little it the room. It’s the first time I’ve said it to her face—dead, really changed things at all, at how I can’t even accept dead, deaddeaddead. my own morality and how it clashes with bravery and “Tom,” she says evenly. “Don’t overreact, okay? It’s sorrow. I stumble over to the box of precious things, still not like you would’ve done anything with them, or…” gasping with laughter, and pull out my mother’s neckShe hesitates before continuing. “She’s gone, Tom, and lace. none of that stuff in attic—none of it—seemed like anyNow Addy looks completely petrified. As I apthing you cared about.” proach her, she takes a few lurching steps backwards, as I stare at her, trying to decipher what she means. if afraid I’ll attack. I give her a twisted smile and hold out She’d always idolized my mother in a strange way; she the necklace, free from its case. “Take it.” was both a caretaker and a daughter, both sides “What?” Her voice is small. I’ve never seen of the relationship my mother had failed to her unsure before—meek, cowering. But Addy’s forget with me. It’s as if she was peeling I no longer feel empowered. Just tired. eyes are fixed, me open and picking out the parts of And I realize I don’t care. me that still tie me to my mother, “Look, I broke your prize.” I unblinking, on the as if they never belonged at all. laugh again, haltingly this time. fragments of ceramic “Besides,” she says, more “Go ahead. Take this. Wear it, sell scattered at her feet. coldly this time. “This isn’t just it, I couldn’t care less.” about the spoons, and you know She continues to stare at me, For the first time, she it.” worried I’m baiting her. looks afraid. She catches me so off guard I al“Honestly. Take it.” I shake the most forget to be angry. “What?” necklace, and the turquoise clinks plain“I didn’t sleep with you. I’m sorry. You were hurting, tively at her. and I left you vulnerable, but –” “I, I couldn’t,” she says uncertainly. But her hand is “Christ, Addy, you can be so self-centered! This has already inching unconsciously towards mine. I see her nothing to do with that!” fingers flex with yearning. She gives me a look. “Come on, Tom,” she says I shake my head in frustration. “Yes, you can. I’m again, coaxingly. I feel like an insolent child, being entirely sure that you can.” I toss the necklace onto the scolded gently for asking for an unreasonable amount of table. It hits the wood with a clack and slides to the opice cream after dinner. posite site, dangling innocently over the edge. The stones I look at the spoons, languishing between us. waver back and forth, as if it’s considering whether or They’re tiny and fragile, hardly even appropriate for stirnot to take a plunge. “Just take it,” I say wearily. “And ring sugar into tea. The stem of one is already chipped leave. Please.” I put my hands up. I concede. “I really, and bent. Pretty, worthless things. really don’t care.” I grab the broken case and clench it hard in my She does the easy thing. Slips the necklace into her hands. Little flecks of wood embed themselves in my pocket, takes her things, walks out the door. She leaves skin like little teeth; I squeeze harder, force them into my the spoons, broken and sullied amidst the fractured reblood. I want to hurl the case at Addy, smash her skull mains of the urn. in, watch her scream—anything to wipe that look off her She shuts the door quietly. And I know she won’t face. I’m in control. She doesn’t get to pity me—fuck her, think of me again. the spoons. wake up in my mother’s bed at five in the morning. I hurl the case, banking it left. Its trajectory is It’s freezing, and the room is wonderfully warm, but I headed far from her, but Addy squeals and ducks all the pull on a coat and head outside. The ocean is like glass in same. The case smashes against a decorative urn over the

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“Beetles Lithograph,” Mattias Lanas

the early light, almost fiery in the way it shines. From the porch, I exhale, watching my breath fog, then dissipate over the lawn. I walk to my mother’s bedroom window. From the outside, the room still looks well lived in—as if my mother will come take her place at the window any moment. At my feet, there’s still a small pile of seven paper doves, cracked and yellow from the dew. They never made it past the crabgrass, beaks tipped down into the dirt in a display of defeat. As the wind picks up, three of the doves tumble forward, haphazardly, onto the toes of my boots. Their little wings beat against my laces, crinkling from the force. I pick them up. The first two are larger and more impressive than the third, their wings more carefully constructed, their tails and beaks folded meticulously to perfect points. They looks a couple weeks older—more grayed, more chapped from the wind and rain—than their part-

ner, which more resembles the confused first product of a child. These two I release first. The wind whips them up and they part from each other almost immediately. The doves careen upwards, bucking back and forth in the currents, billowing over the steely water. It’s only a few seconds before I lose sight of them, drawn into the thick creamy white of the rising sun. From between my fingers, the third dove rattles thinly in the wind, as if desperate to join them. I press it flat and slip it into my coat pocket, exchanging it for the cabin key. Addy still has hers, but she won’t be back. This one was my mother’s. I walk back around the house, slowly, careful to tread on the same path I took before, until I reach the front door. The key is still warm from my palms as I slip it under the mat, leaving everything just as it was before.

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Arts Intensive:

Conservation Photography

“The nature photograph shows a butterfly on a pretty flower...

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Katherine Chen

Leland Quarterly Fall 2011

Katherine Chen


...The conservation photograph shows the same thing, but with a bulldozer coming at it in the background.� - Joel Sartore

Katherine Chen

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Arts Intensive programs allow Stanford students of all academic backgrounds to explore their creative sides during the two and a half weeks before the start of Autumn Quarter. The eight programs comprising Arts Intensive 2011 spanned many artistic disciplines. One was “Conservation Photography,� taught by Professor Susan McConnell and Neil Ever Osborne.

Christine Khademi

Some of the Artists

Katherine Chen

Major: Computer Science Year: Senior

Christine Khademi

Major: Biological Sciences Year: Senior

Wending Lu

Major: Electrical Engineering Year: Sophomore 42

Leland Quarterly Fall 2011


Katherine is interested in UX design, health, and mobile technologies. She defines herself as both a designer and a developer, and hopes to one day work in an environment in which design and technology work together seamlessly to better reflect how they occur in our culture.

Christine is studies neurobiology. Her artistic interest in photography, stems from her enjoyment from viewing the world with a keen observer’s eye and a love of science and nature. She hopes to attend graduate, medical, or business school after graduation and to start her own nonprofit.

Wending is interested in sustainability, technology, and design. He hopes to produce technology to mitigate human impact on the environment. Recently, he has “become obsessed� with the photography. He likes to play around with studio/strobe work as well as take pictures of nature and landscapes.

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Katherine Chen

Katherine’s Thoughts

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F

or the first week, I recited that Joel Sartore quote to anyone who asked me what conservation photography was to hide the fact that I didn’t know. Here I was, a CS major with no demonstrated interest in the natural world nor any photographic experience, enrolled in a 2-week arts intensive course specifically on the topic. The class moved fast. Photography basics were covered in 3 lectures: POV, composition, and light. After that, we let ourselves be inspired by the experts, stunning award-winning work by world-famous photographers and our professors. We watched Frans Lanting’s visual depiction of the earth from the beginning of time. We marveled over Paul Nicklen’s close

Leland Quarterly Fall 2011

encounter with a leopard seal beneath the slowly melting Arctic ice. We read about how Carlton Ward, Jr. showed Africa that Gabon was more than just oil wells and raw materials, how Ansel Adams galvanized the American government to set up a national parks system, and how Peter Domobrovskis halted a proposed dam construction that would have destroyed the Tasmanian ecosystem. Every 6:30am, we wiped the sleep from our eyes to photograph in the morning golden light. We made night trips to the observatory to capture the moon and the hills after dark, sat in silence as our cameras recorded the stars. Our expeditions spanned the Bay Area: Marin Headlands, Moss


Wending Lu

Landing, Monterey, Hopkins Marine Station, and Half Moon Bay. The heavy tug of the camera strap became comfortable, and switching between different lenses became routine. Each day we’d take a few more shots, wait a few more half-hours, climb a little higher, stay for the sunset. See the world through a lens, position what was before us in a frame. We were always ready. And suddenly this hodgepodge of images started to mean something. For every 100, there was one shot good enough to set aside for some greater purpose. In pairs, we each tackled a theme in nature and explored it through a series of 10-16 images. My partner’s and my photo essay explored vulnerability in the natural world: in life and death, in beauty, destruction, and man’s impact on nature. When shooting, we originally searched for portrayals of strength and fragility but found later that the concept were trying to illuminate was more

subtle. Because big things can break and small things have strength. As humans, we have the power to protect, and I believe that this is the essence of conservation photography.

W

hat does it mean to me now? It’s beauty and urgency wrapped into a frame that happens on purpose. It’s a decisive moment and a call to action, touching hearts and changing minds, making a statement that is not easily ignored. It’s showing people the wonders of this world and what they stand to lose. The images of a conservation photographer are images the decision makers of this world need to see.

You close the shutter. And that’s when the real work begins. Leland Quarterly Fall 2011

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Katherine Chen

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FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

These Short Years — ELISSA KARASIK Illustration by Lauren YoungSmith

Thou hast nor youth nor age But as it were an after dinner sleep Dreaming of both.

T.S.

Eliot, that infamous philosopher-poet and dandy ex-patriot, was a sucker for a good epigraph. He prefaces his poem “Gerontion” with the three lines above, borrowed from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. The art of the Eliotic epigraph is a popular notion, and most criticism will tell you that the connection between his poems and their assorted exordia crucially informs his texts as a whole. But even more striking than the epigraphs’ authority is their sense of belonging to their poems, as if excerpted canonical titans such as Dante and Conrad wrote with Eliot in mind, and not the other way around.

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FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE

S

o too do these lines befit “Gerontion,” but I am more interested in the conversation between epigraph and poem because it illuminates the powerful “hype” surrounding higher education in America – these mythologized four years widely believed to be the apex of human experience. Let’s be well-behaved new-age critics and do some close reading. A surface-level interpretation of the epigraph provides an ironic truism that you’ve probably heard before: We spend our youth yearning for adulthood, and our adulthood dying to be young again. But stop and sniff this guy out, as one of my professors used to say, chivvying our drool-soaked

nature of life, but in a nation where a college degree is the new high school diploma, and a grad degree is the new standard of academic and professional proficiency, four years of undergrad become suspended years of exploration and self-discovery, and a glorified interruption of an inglorious path towards the abyss of responsibility and “reality,” on the brink of which we are afflicted with our own (albeit more petty) brand of premature nostalgia. We begin college weighed down with the knowledge of its temporary quality—school is the dream—not the lifetime that it ostensibly, in the most ideal vacuum, allows us to grasp and mold to our liking. My Latin teacher in high school, a morbidly obese woman with a dirty mouth and a thick The conversation between epigraph and poem Brooklyn drawl, was somewhat stuck in her better days, spent at Hunter College in upstate New illuminates the “hype” surrounding higher She still has her belly button ring, pierced education—these mythologized four years widely York. after a frozen night of bar hopping with her freshman dorm. We would get brief glimpses of the believed to be the apex of human experience. stud amidst the flab, flirtatiously glinting beneath undersized cheap chiffon shirts as she stretched chins to attention. In the second line, the entirety of a her hand towards the topmost corner of the white board. human life is represented by the pronoun “it”—an inOur translation of the Aeneid was punctuated with stoexpressive, inhuman placeholder that robs the indiries from her college days, as if it were just yesterday that vidual lifetime of its texture and meaning. Our lives she and a hairy character named Mooseknuckle were are not only fleeting but wasted, the epigraph intones; kicked out of the Lazy Eye, and not twenty years ago. I life is actually sleep, a liminal state of unconscious conwas always struck by how precious that time of life was scious, perhaps referencing our inability to appreciate, to her—none of her adult triumphs, milestones or hapand thereby live fully, on either side of an ambiguous pinesses seemed to compare. And after I had graduated, boundary between youth and age. in the squirrely months and days leading up to my maBut how does this speak to the poem itself, and to triculation, my dad began an ongoing habit of telling me college students in our fair nation states? This becomes how lucky I am, and how he wished he could go back— clearer if we consider the authorship of the poem. “Geto college in particular—not the years before and after rontion” features a host of emotionally dislocated indiit, in an expression tinged with something more serividuals in a post-World War world, men and women ous, and more deeply sad, than mock jealousy. Somehaunted by the horrors of a war-torn century. But the how, college has become synonymous with the best part most dislocated character introduced by the poem is of youth, the confident, beautiful period following ugly, the aged speaker himself. He is a man so enfeebled that hormonal tenures under the watchful eyes of authority he cannot even read without the help of a young boy. figures, and proceeding the almost certain mediocrity He stews, “swaddled with darkness,” thinking “thoughts of our mid-20s. Before ever setting foot on Stanford of a dry brain in a dry season,” helpless and angry. Decampus, there was something in the back of my mind cay, listlessness, and futility all come to the forefront telling me that this was it—these would be my best days, of this dramatic monologue, as well as a slew of other so I better do them right. early poems Eliot published in 1920—poems laced with If we read backwards, returning to the epigraph the shameful, painful process of becoming old, and the after reading the poem, it becomes easier to translate cruelty of convalescence. But in 1920, T.S. Eliot had just the “dreaming” as dreading—young people don’t long turned 22. He was healthy, at his mental and physical for adulthood as much as they fear it. I see it here at peak, and already renowned as a poet. Why, then, does Stanford. Kids who break out in hives at the mention of he adopt the voice and perspective of wrinkled, inefgraduation, and apply to coterminal master’s degrees in fectual old men? Not to draw an offensively neat comsubjects they don’t really want to study just to prolong parison, but Eliot exhibits signs of a premature nostalgia the expiring window of safe, carefree schooling. I don’t that we might identify with. Eliot’s historical moment mean to overgeneralize the experience of higher eduexplains his sensitivity to the fragility and ephemeral cation—many students embrace the reality beyond col-

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The best years of our lives, on Facebook: Tamarind King once decided to draw her entire Facebook feed on a paper towel roll. She mused: “Most of us don’t really read our Facebook feed—we just skim it for the parts that catch our eye. This project made me have to read every single word, and it’s amazing how much detail I’ve missed when just skimming casually.”

lege, and some work their way through school, and others view their education as a means to a much-anticipated vocation or way of life. But I do think that our generation, which will statistically never reach the level of success that our parents did, faces a terrifying economic landscape and a somewhat shaken social infrastructure, and college, often subsidized by universities or family, is our new golden age. College, for many, is just—it. Is this view of our cynicism too cynical? I’m not sure it is. But I also want to take a moment to rewrite what college is. The rhetoric is rosy, but the experience is multidimensional, and different for everyone. And it’s not all roses. I’ve seen “the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked…” using their newfound access to illicit substances to self-medicate, avoiding deep-seated insecurities and feelings of inadequacy in a way that seems normal in their immediate environment but is considered alcoholism anywhere else. I’ve seen mental breakdowns, academics turned shallow social climbers, godcomplexes, and bouts of collegiate acne that even our high school selves would shudder to behold. I’m not trying to say that college is the hollow opposite of the self-bettering, enriching Eden that society seems to deem it and publicize—but these are also unstable years, years of learning in every sense of the word—and they are not perfect, and there is no perfect way to do them. Stanford students know better than anyone the draining, demoralizing vortex of positive pretense. We are consistently rated among the top ten happiest schools in America, but I might argue that the “Stanford Duck Syndrome” fools US News in the same way it fools me daily. There is nothing worse than feeling like an unhealthy, unproductive version of yourself, but feeling even more terrible because there is something wrong with you if you’re not 50

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as happy and successful as everyone else has convinced you they are. But of course we don’t want to leave college. These are beautiful years, formative years—years in which we are exposed to the most diverse, brightest, people, people who will change your mind and change who you are. Years of good clean fun and dangerous experimentation, years in which it is our job to try as many different pathways of intellectual discovery, to have our brain-spaces stretched and pulled by the smartest men and women in the world. Years for the simple joys of being young around other young people—and feeding off of each others’ unique talents and endlessly surprising personalities. But college is not the end, and it would be so much better if we didn’t believe that the day after graduation was something like a 15th century horizon—the boundary of the end of the world. Even if we have to crawl back into our parents’ houses with our tails between our legs, or work the jobs we didn’t want to, I think that we have some things to look forward to—things we cannot know for certain, but should force ourselves to imagine as being special in their own way, and equally special as this moment in our lives. Who knows? Nobody knows really. Furthermore, we run the worthless risk of stunting our post-edu growth and opportunity if we have already decided that our lives are over. I think we need a heavy dose of hope to chase our precarious cocktail of hedonist despair, and I’m definitely including myself in this prescription. I’m scared shitless of graduation, and yes, I might apply to be a creepy, crusty coterm. But I want to spend the rest of my senior year doing the gift of my education justice by trusting the gift of the future into which it funnels me. Good shit is to come. Hopefully. Elissa’s essay was originally published on our blog. See more great online content at www.lelandquarterly.com.


Contributors

KATHERINE CHEN is a senior from Yorktown Heights, NY ROSEANN CIMA is a coterminal senior from Fort Worth, TX KATE ERICKSON is a senior from Carlisle, MA PATRICK FREEMAN is a junior from Valley Springs, CA CHARLIE GLICK is a junior from Yorklyn, DE ELISSA KARASIK is a senior from Pacific Palisades, CA CHRISTINE KHADEMI is a senior from Mill Valley, CA TAMARIND KING is a senior from Albuquerque, NM MATTIAS LANAS is a coterminal senior from Mullburn/Short Hills, NJ WENDING LU is a sophomore from Newtown, CT ARMINE PILIKIAN is a junior from Los Angeles, CA FRANK RODRIGUEZ is a senior from Bronx, NY KATIE WU is a junior from Pasadena, CA

contribute

• We consider work by current Stanford students only. • Submissions are reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year. We publish on a “Stanford quarterly” basis—that is, three times a year (fall, winter, and spring). • Submissions must be original, unpublished work. • To avoid redundancy, please do not submit any work to Leland that you are also submitting to other campus publications. • We accept submissions from all genres: we are concerned first and foremost with quality of expression, not in the genre of the work itself, so feel free to innovate. • All submissions are reviewed anonymously by the editorial staff. If selected, contributors will work one-on-one with Leland Quarterly editors to produce a polished piece for publication.

Ready to Submit? Visit www.lelandquarterly.com Leland Quarterly Fall 2011

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Volume 6, Issue 1 Copyright Š 2011 by Leland Quarterly Stanford University www.lelandquarterly.com

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Leland Quarterly, Vol. 6 Issue 1, Fall 2011  

Featuring Roseann Cima, Patrick Freeman, Mattias Lanas, Armine Pilikian, Frank Rodriguez, and more...

Leland Quarterly, Vol. 6 Issue 1, Fall 2011  

Featuring Roseann Cima, Patrick Freeman, Mattias Lanas, Armine Pilikian, Frank Rodriguez, and more...

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