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Etcetera 2014 Spark of Creation

Whippany Park High School 165 Whippany Road Whippany, NJ 07981


Creativity at Your Fingertips | Divya Vemulapalli | Acrylic

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he Hindus believe in something called reincarnation. My friend’s mom Anu Thuremella once said “Your body is like a pair of clothes you put on and take off,”. To them, the soul has always been walking somewhere on this earth. Since the dawn of time, we have created so much that has changed the world forever. The same souls that created the wheel could have been the ones who created the iPhone. The spark of creation is always within us, whether it be a thought, a piece of art or writing, or literally, life. Sometimes it’s not as easily found, but when it is, it’s always something miraculous. I thought my spark had died out when I first entered high school, during a flute performance. I had hit a wall in which I couldn’t improve, and I felt extremely dejected over it. But I found someone who helped me find that tiny spark and fan it into a flame - Ms. Chia-Hsiu Wang. She helped me love the flute even more and her passion for it made me want to practice, practice, practice. In this year’s issue of the art-literary magazine, you, the reader, will find the spark of creation that occurred within all of our contributors. I hope this issue will help you find that spark, too.


ETCETERA 2014 Lucy Wu, Editor-in-Chief | Susan Kim, Assistant Editor Jason Jiang, Technical Editor | Rebecca Hu, Assistant Technical Editor Matthew Raghunauth, Art Editor | Alana Bichutsky, Assistant Art Editor David Mayans, Prose Editor | Alissa Depiro, Poetry Editor Jennifer Kim, Public Relations Director | Maggie Esposito, Assistant Public Relations Director Ms. Donna Raguseo, Mrs. Catherine Maurer, Advisor Special thanks to Jason Jiang for his layout design expertise. Etcetera 2014 was printed by Twill Printing Services. The Staff thanks Ross Newick for his support and advice.

Kathleen Chen Sarah Matrisciano Audrey D’Souza Erica Gbur Julia Hark Ryan Kim Preston Lai

Contributing Staff

John Kotchkowski Sabrina Scotti Tina Lu Alexis Mincolelli Julia Nixon Lauren Noble Divya Vemulapalli

Neil Patel Emily Kwon Bradley Ritschel Megan Rojek Laura Tecza Divya Thuremella Katherine Wainscott

Etcetera sponsors annual contests to recognize writers, artists, and photographers for their talents. This year’s theme, chosen by staff vote, was Spark of Creation. The Etcetera staff thanks Ms. Meskill and Mrs. Gregory for judging the writing and Ms. Caridad and Mrs. Wolf for judging the art and photography. The staff is especially grateful to Ms. Raguseo for all her support. Her continued optimism, helpfulness, and dedication to Etcetera are greatly appreciated. Etcetera’s Mission is to showcase the creative faculties of Whippany Park students, thereby inspiring others to pursue the arts both in and beyond the classroom. The publication is provided free of charge to the entire school community. The editors and staff members anonymously judge all submissions. All prose, poetry, art, and photography appearing in this magazine are the original work of students.

Etcetera uses Adobe InDesign. This issue features the following fonts: Goudy Old Style, NOVA, Caviar Dreams, Minion Pro, High Thin Light, and Sweetly Broken.


Spatula

Eric Jones

The Silence Abby Davidson A Girl’s Best Friend Jessica Glinkin Impulse Julia Nixon Youth Bradley Ritschel Hair Lori Fong My John Doe Julia Hark Created, Existed, Destroyed Julia Hark Little Red’s Mum Has Had Enough Bradley Ritschel Inspiration Alissa DePiro

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Prose

Poetry

Cigarettes, Babies, Fireworks Sabrina Scotti Blood Diamond Maggie Esposito Wisps of White Julia Hark Untitled John Kotchkowski The Eternally Sleeping Beauty Erica Gbur But How? Iliana Thierwechter The Cloak of Nature Julia Hark

Fall

Susan Kim

I’m Just a Fool Evan Plaza What I Did Kathleen Chen The Epiphany Matt Grasso Ring Ring Maggie Esposito Polaris: The North Star Chloe Tai Heart Shaped Box Evan Plaza Everything and More Carolyn Ernst

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Area 51 Alana Bichutsky Rosepop

Lucy Wu

On a Shelf Shayna Miller Masquerade Divya Thuremella Linear Toreador Emily Kwon Candyland Alana Bichutsky Elegance, Echo Tina Lu Flight Divya Vemulapalli Remixed Lover Tina Lu Birth of a War

Tina Lu

Minty Fresh Katherine Wainscott Noire a Blanc Preston Lai Itinerarium Maraudentium Megan Rojek Rising Up Inhibition

Rebecca Hu Rebecca Hu

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Photography

Art

From Afar Rebecca Hu

Investigation or Future Lucy Wu Death in the Dark Jacob Cohen Traveller

Haylee Berry

Evolving Action Neil Patel I Have Somewhat of a Creative Mind Julia Cobleigh Wanderer Jamie Rehus Looking Through Lauren Miller Dandy

Megan Rojek

Lava Bubbles Lisa Romano The Blair Witch Toy Erica Gbur Butterfly Wings Lucy Wu

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Cigarettes, Babies, Fireworks Sabrina Scotti Cigarettes. Babies. Fireworks. Ideas spawning in our minds. A word or simple phrase can give an idea. Even if the flame dies, the ash remains. Inspiration will never die. No matter how hard you try to dull the flint Or douse the flame in liquid, the spark will find a way to ignite. The light bulb flickers on and off with constant inspiration. Its ability to light up our minds will never cease. There are roles that have great purpose. Things that keep us warm give us the ability of creation. Comforting us while forming a spark of creation Because inspiration will never die.

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Investigation or Future | Lucy Wu | Photo


Death in the Dark | Jacob Cohen | Photo

Blood Diamond Maggie Esposito

A while back you called me a blood diamond And told me I was special And rare (I think what you meant was a diamond in the rough) And I told you about unethical mining And child labor And financing conflict And that old Leo DiCaprio movie And your smile sort of faded And I wondered why I can’t just say “thank you” Etcetera 2014

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Fall Susan Kim I always loved fall. When the leaves stained in crimson and amber filled the trees, Johnny and I would lay at their feet. The whole backyard would be alight in color. And the glow of the setting sun from between the leaves? Simply breathtaking. Really, it was a sight to behold. Johnny used to say it looked like they were on fire. It was fall when they told me. Waiting in this same room, I stood at the window. They rattled on—sarcoma, teratoma, melanoma. The words rattled in my head like coins in an empty jar. Sepsis, carcinogenesis, metastasis... The view from this window isn’t all that great. The windows are filthy with grime, and it’s the building’s policy to keep them shut. Idiotic isn’t it? Yeah, I always thought so too. There is one gem, though, outside my tower of gloom. Outside is a great, big oak: right now, it’s stained in crimson and amber. I don’t know when it truly hit me. They say it flashes before your eyes, you know—quick like a subway car hurtling past a stop. I was on that stop, and when the train zipped by as fast as lightning, there was fear in my gut. Johnny shaved his head that day; he said he did it for me. Then he asked Dr. Swender when I’d get to go home. She gave him a strained smile. That’s when I knew. Etcetera 2014

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They we’re talking about getting me on IL-2. There was hope—I know there was. But like my poor trees run out of their leaves, it ran out. *** I was at the window again. Johnny was putting up the snowflakes that he had made at school. I remember laughing because they were the ugliest snowflakes I had ever seen. We looked out at my tree together and smiled; it still had one leaf. It was holding on. But then it fell. Suddenly, the ground began to spin beneath me. They tried to pull me back; they tried so hard. But I wouldn’t budge. The window was just too tempting. And then I was falling. He was holding my hand when I jumped. It broke my heart to pull away, but I know he’s in good hands. He’ll be okay. He has to be.

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Wisps of White Julia Hark

Oh! The long-waited cool crystals of caress, Smooth slumbers of silence: A superb consequence. Worth waiting for, you are, don’t you see? Visions of bright presents, You have in store for me. Silently, and softly, Gracefully, and slowly: It descends from the sky, That beautiful snow, Of hateful love, And ceaseless blows. Over the streets, And through the alleys, Atop the houses, And across the valleys: Oh, white blankets of winter, So smooth and so bitter.

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Oh! The beautiful mountains of light, Filled with cherry red sleighs, of fun and fright; All these children, all around, Filled with fragile delight, And upside down frowns. The hills have been used, And the gifts have been passed; Now it is time to sing our blues: Farewell, Oh crystals of sparkle and ebb, Your tale is now done at this season’s end: When the blooms fade away, And distant heat comes to pass, We will meet yet again, Oh long-waited clouds of play.


Evolving Action | Neil Patel | Photo

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Untitled John Kotchkowski Generation Rx, the Peter Pan generation made a Faustian deal with inspiration the system failed us, but I’m a damn good pickpocket.

From Afar | Rebecca Hu | Digital

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Area 51 | Alana Bichutsky | Digital


The Eternally Sleeping Beauty Erica Gbur

Once upon a time, A prince came to save the Princess from her prison’s grime.

So the prince quickly left For he feared the fairy’s magic. But planned to return, while she slept.

The beauty was asleep. He tried to awake her, But the dream was deep.

But the fairy was not trusting. She placed a spell on the body In case he came back lusting.

Her lips were cold and gray. Her skin was so pale, as if She never saw the light of day.

At midnight, he arrived. He touched her lifeless skin And brushed her golden hair aside.

Her fairy hovered in the door And used her tiny voice to say, “The royal’s life is no more.”

But when he could not restrain From planting upon her lips a kiss, She awoke and promptly ate his brains.

“Yet still so attractive. With her body I desire To be sexually active.”

So listen up, and listen quick! Even if her body is appealing, Never mess with an undead chick.

The fairy wished to give a smack “Be gone and never come back! You dirty necrophiliac.”

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I’m Just a Fool Evan Plaza They say that love is blind; that it’s so overwhelming that you’re so oblivious to the world around you, or even keeps you away from realizing that the one may not be as gorgeous as you think. That was my problem. There was this girl by the name of Claire Reschante. She had more money to her name than oxygen to a human being. She was like a cool breeze during summer, the kind that gave you chills. I remember seeing her walk by my dumpster dressed as if she was model. I had asked her for some spare change to afford for my next meal. She didn’t just offer her money, but she took me to dinner at a very expensive place. I must’ve caught her eye or something; there’s no reason for her to waste her time with somebody like me. Afterwards, she took me into a mall and bought me expensive clothes to change out of my rags and razed cloth. At the time I did not realize it, but she had a crush on me. I was so oblivious. I just thought that she was being a Good Samaritan.

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As time went on, I started developing feelings for her too. It was almost like she took me in and loved me like the parents I never had. When I was born, they got rid of me and left me in a dumpster, the place I then called my home. Claire and I spent a great deal of time together; from driving around town in her jeep wrangler to spending weeks on a cruise around the Bermuda triangle. Everything was simply perfect.

Rosepop | Lucy Wu | Gauche

If only I had that happy ending; that thing that every human being desired and hoped for, but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Eventually, she stopped taking me onto cruises, she stopped driving me around. She slowly detached from me like the petals of a flower in bloom. Her mood changed from bright and happy to bitter and annoyed.

This went on for weeks. Etcetera 2014

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Sooner or later, I had to know why she was acting this way; it was killing me. She told me that she had found another man, one who can provide for her already well-taken-care-of self. “I don’t know why I even liked you; you’re not rich, you aren’t even handsome”, she said. And just like that, she was out of my life. All I had was my dumpster, and two broken pieces of my heart. I couldn’t bear to be without her. This emptiness in my soul covered my whole body like clouds. Pretty soon, my life was just a tempest of emotions. I don’t want to live like this anymore. I don’t know why I let her play with my heart like that; I’m such a fool. If you’re reading this now, I’m long gone.” And there were no remains of the body found in the river. The End

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Oh a Shelf | Shayna Miller | Acrylic

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But How? Iliana Thierwechter How could you choose this life for yourself, for us? I am not being selfish when I say I wish you did not enlist, because, dear, my dear, this is the life you want. This is not the life I want. You see, I do not want this lonesome life, or lonesome relationship for that matter I do not want these brief, stinging letters. I do not want these I do not want those tear invoking, thirty second phone calls. I do not want those. I want those late summer nights back. I want those endless FaceTime calls back. I want those memories back. I want you back. You may ask why I haven’t left yet. Why I am still here. And that, my love, is a simple answer. Because I love you. And I have hope that you will be back. Trust me I know. All I want is to have you back. Back here with me. It was last night, I tossed and turned in my lonely bed. I could not fall asleep, how strange? It seemed as if something was forcing me to stay awake. What could it be? I did not know until my phone rang. It was you. You sounded upset. worried. lost. confused. You told me that there was something in the mail, something really important Something I had to see right away. A million thoughts raced through my tormented mind. Are you okay? Are you hurt? I run to the mailbox, worried and scared. But, the box was empty. I look left and right and left again. Then out from the darkness of the night, I see my handsome yet beautiful, fearless knight.

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Masquerade | Divya Thuremella | Acrylic

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The Cloak of Nature Julia Hark There are nights when clouds suffocate the sky, With long blankets of gray, And the moon, taken by shadows, Is hidden away; There are nights when trees are hushed, still, Waiting for a breeze to rustle their leaves, And the ground, a slick plane of black; There are nights when crickets sleep, silently, In the grass, And there is not a sound, nor a peep. There are days when the sky, an empty sea of blue, Is sad, And the clouds begin to cry aloud; There are days when the grass, a glowing green, Holds the first tears of morning, And the soil, a slimy brown paste; There are days when the flowers, drooping, Don’t dance in the wind, And their bright petals, thinned. And it is in these days, and in these nights, When minds, tricked by eyes, Wonder aimlessly: The deathly skies of gray, The grieving clouds of tears, The cloak of nature depicting the truth within. For without the broken hearts, And the pain and fright, And endless ends, Our canvases, Identical paintings of deception they would be; The truth of the world-gone, And emotions dead with it.

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Linear Toreador | Emily Kwon | Acrylic

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Candyland | Alana Bichutsky | Digital


Spatula Eric Jones Some people think all I do is flip food To be honest, I think that assumption is rude It’s true that I flip pancakes, patties, and such But that’s not all, I can do so much! Part of my problem is that dumb yellow sponge Who displays me to the world as a tool that makes lunch So the thousands of kids who watch him after school Believe that flipping patties is all that I do Did you know that I can also be used to scrape Batter out of a bowl or food off a plate I can also level a measuring cup If you thought only knifes could, well now you’re wised up In addition there’s a stainless steel version of me That is frequently used in a laboratory I’m needed to mix, scrape, and transfer chemicals Without me a scientist could never be credible So as you can see, I’m not so 1-D There are tons of ways in which you can use me And not to be confused with a scoopula I’m a good old reliable spatula

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I Have Somewhat of a Creative Mind | Kaitlyn Krause | Photography

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What I Did Kathleen Chen The white walls in the room are so bright they are dizzying. I blink to clear my head but all I can focus on is the sound of the machine. The steady beep is reassuring. It means she is still alive, but how long will that last? We don’t know. The doctor doesn’t know. No one knows. It all happened so fast. All I can remember is screaming her name, and then everything went black. I spent the rest of the night in the hospital by her side, but in the morning my parents make me leave for school. “She will be okay. We’ll watch over her,” they said. And so I believed them. She looked so young, so fragile, so tired lying in her bed. We were only one year apart, but in that moment I felt as if I were eight again, defending her against the mean girls in her grade who tried to make her cry by calling her names. She was my baby sister. I felt numb as I walked through the halls. People called out my name and tried to ask me if I was okay but I ignored them. I knew that they knew. After all, we lived in a small town where people liked to talk. It was later on that day that I appreciated the numbness I had felt before. I pulled into the hospital parking lot and climbed the stairs to the second floor and that was when I knew. I saw my parents as I turned the corner and their faces said it all. Despair. Grief. Loss. Then the pain of loss hit me like nothing ever has before. I got into my car and drove. I didn’t know where I was going; I just drove, as far and fast as I could. I would find who did this to her. As I drove, I saw a man. He was dressed all in black and every corner that I turned he was there. “I know what you did,” he seemed to whisper. “What are you talking about?” I demanded as I rolled down my window. But there was never an answer and yet he was always there. Every street I passed, he would be there too. My anger grew each time I saw him standing on the street corner.

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“It was him; it has to have been him who hit her with his car” I whispered to myself. He was always watching me, always whispering the same thing. But when I asked, he never gave me an answer. Finally I couldn’t stand it and at the next corner, instead of going straight, I turned the wheel, directing my headlights at the man in black. I heard an crunch and knew in that moment that it was all over. I breathed a sigh of relief. The whispering would stop now I told myself. I had gotten my revenge.

Elegance, Echo | Tina Lu | Watercolor

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I ended up in a bathroom somewhere. The sun had already set and the grey – blue flickering light above the sink cast an eerie glow over my face. I gripped the sides of the sink so hard my knuckles turned white. I took out the familiar orange bottle from my pocket and tipped it over so that just a few white pills fell out. How long had it been since I had last seen that bottle I wondered. Three hours? Maybe four? I swallowed them quickly, an action that had become second nature. As I looked into the mirror, I was shocked by what I saw. I didn’t even recognize myself. My eyes were bloodshot and the circles under them a purplish blue. My face was hollow and my skin unnaturally pale. And then there was a flash as I remembered. I remembered the headlights of that night. They were so bright, I couldn’t see anything else. I saw my eyes in the rearview mirror and I felt the steering wheel in my hands. But worst of all, I heard her scream.

Oh my god what have I done?

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Flight | Divya Vemulapalli | Pastel

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Remixed Lover | Tina Lu | Watercolor

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The Epiphany Matt Grasso It all started 5 years ago, when I became friends with a girl in middle school. I should rephrase that; we were not friends, but friendly rivals. In academics as well as athletics, we constantly tried to outcompete one another. Eventually, this childhood rivalry dissipated, but we moved on to making fun of one another. We would go on bike rides to our favorite park and call each other “poop face” or “dweeb,” and because of this humorous yet sour banter, we became very close friends. During this phase, something changed in my heart. I began to act nicer to her. I became more of a gentleman than an idiotic high schooler. I don’t know what it is, but I believe this young lady is my soul mate. I know we are destined to get married and have a wonderful life together, but I have one problem to deal with: she hates me. I am not a bad person. Any girl with a functional brain would be lucky to claim me as their soul mate. So why doesn’t this person adore me? I sit next to her at lunch, we have history class together, I drove her home one time, we share common interests, I make up cute nicknames for her, and I even bought her roses for Valentine’s Days. Despite my efforts to make her realize our love, she finds my existence repulsive. I’m running out of ideas and I’m running out of patience. I know we are destined to live a long and happy life together, but she I guess she really doesn’t grasp the concept of soul mates. Ya know what? I don’t need her. There are plenty of other fish in the sea. I’ll just move on and find someone else. Someone who won’t call me “loser” or “stupid” or “dummy.” Someone who says thank you after I buy them a bouquet of roses or drive them home from school. Someone who appreciates all that I do for her. I have been playing her games for far too long. From this point on, I will stop chasing this childish fantasy and focus on more important things. I can start focusing in school. I can get a job. I can hit the gym more often. I can do whatever I want!!! Oh who am I kidding. She is my soul mate. I can’t just let her go. I guess I just have to try harder.

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The Silence Abby Davidson I am here to give my full confession And speak of what happened on the first. It happened so quickly, the progression Of events that showed me at my worst We were eating lunch, just the two of us. We just sat down when he started his spiel. He kept talking, but never did discuss What I think, what I like, or what I feel. Not once did he pay attention to me, “Be quiet!” to him I wanted to plea. His voice was an unending, painful sound That caused my patience to become unbound. Suddenly, I felt a warm splatter And his mug hit the ground with a clatter. My shining knife felt heavy in my hand And I was scared. I could barely stand. My hands shook as I cleaned up his bloody mess Fortunately, no one saw my egress. My hands still shook as I went through the door, But when I stepped outside, my fear left me And all I felt was happiness galore. The silence was total serenity. The end of his noise was like a plugged leak. I was full of giddiness and relief. But all of this changed after a week And his murder became my greatest grief. And so I’ve come to the station today Because I can hear nothing but silence And all thoughts are of his corpse in decay So I’m here, ready to face my sentence.

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Birth of a War | Tina Lu | Watercolor

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A Little Girl’s Best Friend Jessica Glinkin His name was Baxter. He was my first dog. I loved everything about that tail-wagger He loved me back, With a heart ten times the size of my own. For six years he let me climb on him, As if he were a jungle gym. For six years I watched him grow into his paws, And he watched me grow into mine. For six years I threw him the tattered green tennis ball. He loved that tattered green tennis ball. It was the two of us against the world Only the world was not so easily beaten. They all told me that he was in pain, That I did not understand. I understand now. They tell you, if you love something let it go; If it loves you it will come back. I let him go, but he has yet to come back. They tell you time heals a broken heart. But they do not tell you how much time is needed. I am still trying to figure that part out.

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Wanderer | Jamie Rehus | Photography

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Ring Ring Maggie Esposito

Okay. Okay. You can do this. It’s just a phone call. Just a phone call! You’re cool, you’re collected. You are…the ice man, er, ice lady. This is gonna work. It’s gonna work…Oh crap it’s ringing… Hi Mrs. Kaczowski, is your son home? I have, uh, a question about the German homework. Can I talk to him? Great, thanks. Justin? It’s Erica. Forget the German homework for a second, I just…I have uh, something to tell you. It’s kind of important and…no it can’t wait. It’s kind of urgent. Well, we’ve been friends for a while now, it feels like it was just yesterday when we were in kindergarten and I was doing your homework for you, and I feel like I just gotta tell you this now before I explode. I…I love you. I’ve loved you for so long, I think I remember being like seven and wanting to be your girlfriend. I mean, I can understand why you wouldn’t see me that way-you’re so smart and handsome and talented and you can make me laugh just by looking at me and I’m just me-short and dumpy and I make a lot of stupid, dirty jokes no one finds funny. You…you’re gorgeous. You’re an 11 and I’m…I’m a 4. But, you make me so happy and whenever you touch me my heart just starts doing the Macarena, but it feels…it feels like home. I feel like I’m in a bad sitcom and there are people on their couch at home yelling at us to make out already. I wanna be the Juliet to your Romeo, the Hermione to your Ron, the Ketchup for your Hot Dog if you know what I mean. Etcetera 2014 38

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Let me make this abundantly clear… I would be totally open to the idea of bearing your children. … … Say something. You’re making me nervous. What was that? OH Shi-I mean darn. Alex! I’m so sorry. That was for your brother. You’re too young for most of this stuff. I’m so sorry. Oh god this is embarrassing. … Please forget what I said about wanting to bear your children.

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Looking Through | Lauren Miller | Photography

Impulse my breaths are rapid and uneven, my heart, so fiercely beating, hammering into my chest, reverberating through my body; blood rushes to my face, images in my mind flash back to that place, mistakes made, leaving me a disgrace, when it all could have ended with a forgiving embrace; the love was overpowered by sudden hate, now my fists pound against the stone slate, regretting immature mistakes that left you feeling betrayed; our love now decayed, but maybe someday, it will be remade, like a sinking ship saved

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Julia Nixon


Dandy | Megan Rojek | Photography

Youth But one resource cannot be bought or sold. Even right now you sit and read and spend. You spend your precious asset, growing old. How you use this asset, it all depends.

Bradley Ritschel

Some use it to become wealthy and rich. Others are just trying to have some fun. One way or another, we find our niche. Feel joy with what you did, when day is done. Mortality is both vice and virtue. It motivates us to spend our lives well. Everyone shares a final curfew. Where do we go after life, perhaps hell? I use mine to make a couple of rhymes. But in the end, we all run out of time.

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Minty Fresh | Katherine Wainscott | Watercolor & Pen

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Hair Lori Fong Mama made me. I couldn’t escape! Mama made me. I didn’t deserve this fate! Mama made me. Snip, snip. Mama made me. Clip, clip. Mama made me. She took me there. Mama made me. She put me in the chair. Mama made me. I said good bye to my hair.

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Polaris: The North Star Chloe Tai A 1986 Ford F-150 truck pulls up to a traffic light in a deserted street, nowhere near the highway, dinged up. Through the passenger windows, rusted brown and covered with cracked lines, a women in the passenger seat and a man in the driver seat are arguing. The woman throws her arms into the air in frustration, while the man bangs his fists on the dashboard. A muffled shout leaks from the truck and the woman mouths the words, “Then what the hell am I supposed to do?” The man sits up, grasps the women by the shoulders, he roars, “Damn it, just love me like I love you!” She looks at him in complete shock, rage registering in her features. She starts to cry, “How am I supposed to show my love? You’re right that I won’t be able to understand, but I work night and day for you…night and day…I can’t anymore. I just can’t…I can’t…I love you. I truly love you and I didn’t ask you to go on a drive with me to argue about our problems, I wanted to tell you that…that…Frank, I’m pregnant!” Tears stream down her cheeks as she looks at her husband, wanting confirmation that they could somehow be a happy family, the family that she had always dreamed of. All she could pray for was a child to bring back the Frank she once knew. She is tired of fighting wanting what could never be. Frank must’ve felt the same way, because he let out an inaudible sigh. He nods, looking straight ahead, he nods because he still cares for Sally and did want the same dreams, but wasn’t sure how to accomplish them, yet ready to try. He slams on the gas and drives away. Standing a block away from the scene are three old, wrinkled-with-age women. They stand side by side. They watch as the car speeds away. The three ladies now stand in absolute darkness. The first woman on the left extracts a tiny box from her coat pocket and strikes a match across the rough exterior of the matchbox. Once. Twice. The third time sends a little fire bursting from the end of her match, no bigger than her pointer finger. The flame burns brightly and angrily, yet delicately in a way that seems out of this world. Then the match is passed onto the second lady and, through her, to the third lady. The third lady begins to hold the match up to her lips. Before blowing it out, she looks up at the North Star, the spot where a special little girl intruded on the scene, and winks, extinguishing the light with a small outtake of breath. 5 years later on a very special girl’s birthday A husband and wife work side-by-side in the kitchen, laughing and holding hands. Upon hearing a screech of excitement, they both look outside of the open patio doors, their little girl running with all her friends out in the backyard. The birthday girl skips around

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with her two braided pigtails hanging from the side of her head and her beaming, freckled smile. ‘She is my little angel, the heavens will just have to find another in her place,’ vowed Frank, the dad. He knew he didn’t deserve her, the precious gem that she was. Later, after all the craziness of the birthday party, when it got dark out and the sky turned black and the stars were tiny pinpricks of light, impossible, yet still there, Frank was convinced his little birthday girl looked like one of them. She was the North Star, the brightest of them all, glowing her way on Earth. He wanted to keep her aglow forever. When the cake was finally taken out, he got the matchbox and went to light the candles. He looked into the flame he had ignited at the end of the matchstick and saw images of his past, of the misfortune that had lent to him a hard life, of his personal actions that had been consumed with hate and revenge... Then he slowly lowered the flame to the nearest white candle and behind the red and orange ball of fire was his little girl, staring at him with a sad, but nevertheless angelic smile. 16 years later, the night before her 21st birthday Ding! The message reads: “Happy Almost Birthday! We can’t wait to party all day and night with you!” She groans in annoyance and gets up from her cotton-down bed, the softness and loneliness starting to make her feel dizzy. She walks over to the mirror on top of the dresser and looks at her disheveled reflection. What stares back at her was blond curly hair, compliments of her mom’s looks, and multi-colored eyes that changes depending on her moods, a quality she admired from her dad. For a while now, people had been speculating on a future she didn’t believe in. She was like a flame, beautiful, yet dangerous when left out too long and only alive when needed. She dressed into a sweatshirt and skinny jeans and headed out into the street. She needed a walk to clear her head. 11:35 P.M. She trudges down the main boulevard where all the adults were still singing their hearts out at “Karaoke Palace.” Around her, it is mostly empty except for some stragglers smoking or listening to the world outside. The North Star shines bright tonight, illuminating the sidewalk across the street where three old ladies stood. 11:47 P.M. She watches as the three ladies stumbled over the road, no cars in sight in either direction, yet still going too slow to be safe. She is wary of why the senior citizens are traveling this late at night, but she feels an inexplicable curiosity towards them, like a magnetic pull, so she picks up her pace and jogs out to the three ladies. “Hi, may I help?” The one on the right smiles and clenches onto the arm that is held out to her. The girl leads the old ladies tenderly towards the other side of the street, until the middle one tripped on thin air, landing hard on her knee.

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“Oh! Are you alright?” gasped the girl. She tries to approach the middle old lady, but the first woman doesn’t let go of her arm. She tugs harder, moving to where the middle lady kneeled, but the first woman doesn’t budge, it is almost brutal, her grip. “Child, do you know about your parents’ past? Do you know about their trials and sins? Do you realize the impact you have on their lives?” “What? My parents?” she asks, confused now. Still struggling and starting to sweat tears into her eyes, the girl pants, “I don’t know and it really is none of your business.” She marvels at the strength the old woman had to yank so fiercely on her arm. “You were never curious?” The girl, exasperated now and frightened at the prospect of being run over on the street, decided to answer truthfully. “You mean about my parents’ pasts? The way they cherish each other like the next day could be their last? The way they care for me like I’m the only reason why they still live? Yes, the pressure of their love is scary to live up to, but I try hard every day and plan to forever. Now let GO!” cried the girl, yanking her arm out of the lady’s vise-like grip. She is in a frantic state now and she realizes that it was because she is scared. Scared by the feeling that she would only live a short time; scared by her mission to help her parents; scared because she knows every mission came to an end, always coming to an end too fast. “You are scared, but you still guard your parents from harm. Good. Bless you, because they are awake right now looking at the sky waiting for their daughter to turn 21 and their wish will be granted, but at a price. You have always known this day would come, you were created by their prayers and now that their prayers have been satisfied…” 12:01 A.M. The bus had had a brake problem for over five weeks, but the company had neglected to fix the old, malfunctioning vehicle. As it skids around the corner, sliding on a puddle from last week’s rainstorm, there is never a chance for it to stop. The bus driver only gets a glimpse at a blond teenager pushing an old woman onto the sidewalk before the world turned black. Accounts from that night will tell of something weird that occurred with the North Star: some say that it blinked three times and was then enveloped by a black cloud. The others, the ones who know the North Star, the parents of the star, say it blinked three times and shined brighter than it had ever shined before.

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Noire a Blanc | Preston Lai | Collage

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Heart Shaped Box Evan Plaza

Sorry what was that? ...you like me?...you, you like me? Ah...I...I don’t believe this...you like me...you like me....are you kidding me?! YOU like me??? What kind of sick joke is this and who paid you? I can’t believe you right now. Do you really think that I’d wait almost all of my life for you to say that? I’ve moved on. I’m so over you that it’s not even funny. I don’t understand why you couldn’t tell me earlier. Were you scared of people judging you? To be with me? Sorry I didn’t know popularity was an important role in romance. I’ve wasted so much time on you, thinking that I had some sort of chance with you, thinking that I was actually worth it. I couldn’t go to sleep at night because I was thinking about you. I was crazy for you. I loved everything about you. Every little thing you did I adored. I was gonna ask you out too. I always thought “today was the day” everyday but I was too shy to ask due to the fear of rejection and mock. Now here we are, I’m heading forward while you live in the past. Stop crying. You had as much of a chance to be with me as I did with you. I’m done here, I’ll see you later, if not, ever.

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Itinerarium Maraudentium | Megan Rojek

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My John Doe Julia Hark In years or in months, In decades or in hours, I will become a new Mrs. of desire; My hand will be full of love and of bling, But my heart will be different, For that you cannot see. So hear me John Doe, Hear me before you leap: This beating, glowing, tired Heart you’ll have, It will not be the same, When you take my handBy the time we wed It will have ached and it will have bled. By then there will be doubts and worries, Questions of trust And answers of disgust: “Shall I follow my heart or be led by my head?” So please, listen hear kind sir, For I cannot go through this again: If your insomnia returns, From your dreams and your turns, Open arms will be there, They’ll settle those fears; If you are burdened with news of disaster, Of death or of war, I’ll be there, I’ll listen and I’ll care; If your mind begins to wonder Thoughts of way passed yonder, Or if your heart starts to break From thoughts of that face, My soothing prayers will bring repairs. But one thing I will not do, One thing I will not fall victim to, Is changing who I am, Just to be with you.

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50 Rising Up | Rebecca Hu | Digital


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Created, Existed, Destroyed Julia Nixon Like everything, their love was created. Shy smiles, quick eye contact; Finger-crossed that the other notices them. Roller coasters in their stomachs – Ups and downs, twists and turns. Like everything, their love existed. Hands holding, secret sharing; Laughing at the other’s lame jokes. Thinking only of the other, and the dreamy kind of joy that’s felt. Like everything, their love was destroyed. Feet stomping, eyes rolling; Hands up saying it’s all done. Tears streaming, heart-wrenching – Knowing it’s too late for forgiveness. But love is a cycle of life. Before long the feeling starts again – Shy smiles, quick eye contact, Fingers-crossed that the other notices them; Praying the new love will last longer.

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Lava Bubbles | Lisa Romano | Photography

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Everything and More Carolyn Ernst -Oh, but honey, you just had to see the look on her face yesterday. You know how much Sophie loves Mr. Bubbles. She peers into his bowl at least four hours every day just watching him eat his flakey-food and flex his gills. He’s been a part of the family for over a month and Sophie’s just so attached to him! I swear, sometimes I over hear her singing “Little Mermaid” songs to him at night and she tells secrets to his beady black eyes and orange “ears;” at least she calls them ears, I don’t know if he can actually hear. Anyways, that’s not the point. You know how Sophie’s been begging for a dog, right? And we repeatedly tell her no because you have allergies and I don’t like things that have tails. Well, I think we should get her one. Don’t give me that look. You didn’t see the look on her face yesterday after the accident!

-Oh yeah, right, I forgot, you weren’t home yet! Sophie tried to take Mr. Bubbles for a “walk.” Ha ha! Poor girl thought tying a piece of string around the fish’s neck would be his “leash” and she dragged him around the block. Oh, don’t look so horrified; naturally, I replaced Mr. Bubbles 1 with Mr. Bubbles 2 so Sophie doesn’t have to deal with the pain of losing another pet.

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-What do you mean there’s nothing natural about that? Would you want to be exposed to the concept of death at the tender age of 14?! Anyways, this whole episode just shows how much Sophie wants a dog. I mean, she’s willing to treat her other animals like dogs, even at their own expenses.

-Why, don’t give me that look, I know Sophie didn’t kill Mr. Bubbles on purpose. It was an accident. She’s such a silly girl she would never do that. But to prevent this from happening again, we simply have to get her a dog.

-Defiance? What does that even mean? My little Sophie would never act out like that to get something she wanted. -Sophie’s my little girl and she deserves everything and more. I’m taking her to the pound right now.

The Blair Witch Toy | Erica Gbur | Photography

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Inhibition | Rebecca Hu | Acrylic

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Little Red’s Mum Has Had Enough Bradley Ritschel

Little Red and the Wolf crossing paths was no coincidence. I had put careful planning into causing their incident. The wolf always hangs around that same little tree. And if I sent Little Red right by it, no more would she be. A parent can only take so much of their teenager’s attitude. I was sick of her actions, she was always quite rude. I gave the wolf a heads-up that she was coming his way. When I asked him if he would make her his meal, he replied “Okay”. I thought she wouldn’t return, I was jumping around dandy! But to my surprise, the wolf had instead eaten her granny.

DANG NABBIT!

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Butterfly Wings | Lucy Wu | Photography

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Inspiration Alissa DePiro

Dreams compose the world around me. Some have flourished. Touching the sky with open arms, They kiss the sun good-morning and the moon good-night. The others, still small, not yet fully formedLook up with awe and wonder Will such a life ever be mine? Will they feel the heat from a ball of fire And the breeze from the wings of a bird? Will they dance in the night with the wind And paint in the sky with the clouds? Or will they remain on the earth, Veiled by shadows?

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Cover art by Matt Raghunauth



Spark of Creation