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Mirage 2018


MIRAGE LITERARY & ARTS MAGAZINE 2018 Cochise College Cochise & Santa Cruz Counties, Arizona Faculty Advisors Kristen Welch Alex O’Meara Ella Melito Virginia Pfau Thompson Ken Sikora Junea Sanchez Ron Hyde Designer Ilse Severson Sierra Vista Campus Cochise College ii


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Cover Art and Design: Front Art, “Sin Titulo,” Chelsea Schlarbaum Back Art, “Folklorio,” Maggie Irwin Cover Design, Cassandra Carter, Cochise College Student Submission Guidelines We now take submissions on an ongoing basis. For information on the new submission guidelines for your original writing or artwork, please visit www.cochise.edu/mirage. A link to our new Facebook page is also available online. Questions should be sent to mirage@cochise.edu. When hard copies of the Mirage are available, announcements are posted on the website and on our Facebook page. Copies are available at many locations, including the Sierra Vista and Douglas campus libraries. The Mirage is also available in a digital version on our website. Acknowledgements The Mirage Committee would like to thank Gary Lawrence, the Huachuca Art Association, Eric Brooks, Andi DeBellis, the Digital Media Arts Club, and all who encouraged their students to send us their work. Creative Writing Celebration Winners The Mirage publishes the entries of first-place winners from the previous year’s Cochise Creative Writing Celebration contests in poetry, fiction, and memoir. Poetry, “I Remember,” Natalie Sudman

Memoir, “Thunderfoot and the Great Mouse Infestation,” Cappy Hanson Fiction, “Angst,” Pamela Lee

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Mirage Mission Statement The Mirage Literary & Arts Magazine has a three-part mission: 1. Mirage serves the Cochise and Santa Cruz counties by showcasing high-quality art and literature produced by community members and students. 2. Mirage serves Cochise College by establishing the college as the locus for a creative learning community. 3. Mirage serves Cochise College students by providing them an opportunity to earn college credit and to gain academic and professional experience through their participation in ENG 257, Literary Magazine Production. This course is offered each spring. Design Cochise College student Ilse Severson chose Palatino Linotype as the font for this year’s edition. She also designed the layout and arrangement for the magazine. Disclaimer Mirage and its staff are not responsible for the veracity, authenticity, or integrity of any work of literature or art, or for any claim made by a contributor appearing in the publication. Copyright Notice All rights herein are retained by the individual author or artist. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the author or artist. Copyright law dictates that if a portion of a work is used, it must include the full acknowledgement of the title, author, and magazine. Printed in the United States of America. Š Cochise College 2018 v


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Fall 2017 Student Writing & Art Contest Winners Poetry:

First place: Zihna Gordon, “Girls Who Don’t Like Fairy Tales”

Second place: Zihna Gordon, “Resolution”

Third place: Stephanie Chips Dolores, “Scintilla”

Fiction:

First place: Tyler Sheley, “Freedom”

Second place: Kyah Vanderdasson, “Her”

Third place: Angela Parker, “The Sun is Not a Star”

Non-Fiction:

First place: Zihna Gordon, “Bones”

Second place: Zihna Gordon, “Dialog in the Dark” Third place: Jay Melzer, “The 1001st Stair”

Art:

First place: Zihna Gordon, “A US for All of Us”

Second place: Chelsea Schlarbaum, “Sin Titulo”

Third place: Itzel Madrigal, “Border”

Special thanks to the Student Government Association, Andi De Bellis, and the Digital Media Arts Club for sponsoring our student contests. vi


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Spring 2018 Student Writing & Art Contest Winners Poetry:

First place: Sarah Fenter, “The Soul of a Girl”

Second place: Grady Butler, “Pleonasm”

Third place: Gaia Schrimpsher, “A Minute to Breathe”

Fiction:

First place: Eimilee Simpson, “Spring Cleaning”

Second place: Otis Luttschwager, “Lights Out, Arnold Boxley”

Third place: Owen Crowlie, “Flirting With Cigarettes”

Non-Fiction:

First place: Marvel Moore, “How to Make My Mother’s Apple Pie”

Art:

Second place: Jay Melzer, “I Remember the Riverside”

First place: LaKwanda Hawkins, “Blue Cho’kolat”

Second place: Otis Luttschwager, “Rotten Pumpkin”

Third place: LaKwanda Hawkins, “Bauhaus Boy”

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Table of Contents

I Remember Natalie Sudman 1 Faculty Spotlight: Colored Girls and Controlling Images: Using Multiracial Feminist Theory to Transform Pedagogy 2-13 Celeste Atkins How to Make My Mother’s Apple Pie Vernon (Marvel) Moore 14-16 Tree’s Morning View Sean Yeterian 17 A US for All of Us Zihna Gordon 18 Border Itzel Madrigal 19 Rotten Pumpkin Otis Luttschwager 20 Blue Cho’kolat LaKwanda Hawkins 21 Little Market Ranya Hereira 22 Folklório Maggie Irwin 23 The Match Ashley Savage 24 Mountains and Me Torren Brozovich 25 The Blue City Ranya Hereira 26 Sin Título Chelsea Schlarbaum 27 Irrigation Backup Plan Linda Ekstrum 28 Cochise College Fall 2018 Student Contests 29 Train Robbing Posse Marshall Trimble, 30-32 Arizona’s Official State Historian Spring Cleaning Emilee Simpson 33-35 Lights Out, Arnold Boxley Otis Luttschwager 36-38 Building Bridges: Calligraphy & Adult Ed. ESL Students, Taught by Gabrielle LaFargue 39-40 Monocular Cues Chelsea Schlarbaum 41 Main Street Morning Carol Chandler 42 Army Men Roderick Stevens 43 Sitting Proud Karri Fox 44 Bauhaus Boy LaKwanda Hawkins 45

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Arizona Wildlife Mya Mejia 46 Sunflower Karri Fox 47 Cross Purposes Linda Ekstrum 48 Tiger Joengeun Park 49 Icarus Zihna Gordon 50 Desert Winter Larry Milam 51 Barb the Orc Donna Brown 52 Soul of a Girl Sarah Fenter 53 Angst Pamela Lee 54-56 2019 Creative Writing Celebration 57 Thunderfoot and the Great Mouse Infestation Cappy Hanson 58-63 Winners of the Arts and Humanities Commission’s Visual Arts Award: The Hummingbird Stitchers Quilt Guild Kristen Welch and Ilse Severson 64-68 Got Up Late-Where is the COFFEE? Martha Sprenkle 69 A Kindness of Ravens Linda Ekstrum 70 Ducks Zihna Gordon 71 Cactus Splendor Andrea Savage 72 Turner Burning Ronald Fritts 73 Home Field Steven Ortiz 74 Sky Painting Beth Ann Krueger 75 African Style Vase Jose Ponce de Leon 76 Dance Lizard, Dance Elizabeth Riordon 77 What a Waste of a Lovely Night Ammi Robles 78 Rose in Hand LaKwanda Hawkins 79 Just Words Roderick Stevens 80 ENG 257 Literary Magazine Production

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Biographies

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I Remember Natalie Sudman Creative Writing Celebration, 1st Place, Poetry i remember the feel of grass blown against lean thighs, hot scent of dirt. i remember each breath we breathed of each other’s under the blanket. i remember you and wonder who am I, who am I now: pale, lost. i remember language of seasons, timber cracking of cold, rivers sighing. now I have nothing. no one now knows the thread counts woven together, breath of one wind, our beat of one old earth heart, one longing cloud’s soft moan... i remember when i belonged against the earth, brown and dusty. oh...

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Colored Girls and Controlling Images: Using Multiracial Feminist Theory to Transform Pedagogy Celeste Atkins Abstract This reflection is the culmination of an innovative, graduate level, group independent study created and led by students focusing on feminist works by women in traditionally marginalized groups. The author, a Black, female sociology instructor and department chair at a rural community college now embarking on a doctoral program in higher education, explores her own experiences as a marginalized student and how that influenced her approach to teaching. Throughout the paper the author shares her journey from a pedagogy based on “I hated that as a student; what can I do differently?” to struggling with the idea of giving up power (a central concept in feminist pedagogy) to a broadly inclusive and learner-centered pedagogy based on empirical evidence, yet shaped by multiracial feminism and intersectionality. And the colored girls say Do dodo do do dodododo Do dodo do do dodododo Do dodo do do dodododo ooooo This simple refrain, from a poem entitled “The Black Back-Ups” by Kate Rushin, in the seminal, multiracial, feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back, led to a pedagogical epiphany which changed the course of my teaching. This reflective essay is the culmination of the most challenging, enlightening, illuminating, disheartening, reinvigorating, soul-draining, reaffirming, isolating, empowering, frustrating, exhausting semester of my entire academic career. My first semester of graduate school after a decade-long hiatus has inspired me to critically reflect on my teaching philosophy and practices. My “aha” moment, about which students tend to star in the classroom and which students are relegated to backup roles, coupled with the realization of how controlling images 2


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drove much of my teaching, has driven me to four main conclusions about my pedagogy as well as a personal revelation about my character and core values. Let me back up a bit. I am a forty-something, Black, female sociologist and single mom, fortunate enough to have my mother live with me and co-parent my four-year old. I am in my seventh year of teaching full-time at a rural community college in Arizona and in my fifth year as department chair. I terminated at the Master’s from my PhD program in sociology at the University of Southern California (USC), so it has been a goal of mine to complete that degree. I made some inquiries about sociology at the University of Arizona (U of A) but was led instead to the Center for the Study of Higher Education where I began my doctoral studies this fall. As a college instructor who doesn’t earn enough to begin to pay off her previous college debt, I knew that I would not be able to rely on loans for tuition. I was fortunate enough to land a graduate assistantship as the first graduate assistant for the U of A’s Office of Instruction and Assessment (OIA) where I would be able to hit the ground running having worked on assessment and teacher mentoring as a department chair. Here it is my first semester, and I am teaching five classes (three face-to-face and two online); I am also working a twenty-hour a week grad assistantship; and I am taking four graduate classes, plus I have a four-year old. This is me in a nutshell (emphasis on nut). This paper started as an abstract, a pretty good abstract, written early in the semester when I was full of naiveté and boundless enthusiasm. I was taking an Introduction to Higher Education class with about forty students who varied from non-degree seeking, to Master’s students, to doctoral students. I was taking Sociology of Community Colleges, an intimate class with four students. I was taking Learner-Centered Teaching as part of my work for OIA, a class of graduate students from all different disciplines across the university. Finally, I was taking the class I was most excited about, a graduate student created and led class on multiracial feminism. We designed the class and we chose the readings. I still haven’t met the instructor of record because the class time that worked 3


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for all of us happened to be one during which she was already teaching another class. Now, the stage is set. You know a bit about me, you know a bit of the context, let’s move on to the epiphany. I commute an hour each way to work, which gives me a lot of time to think about students, teaching, and now that I am a student myself, the previous night’s classes. On my way to work the refrain from that poem kept coming back to me... And the colored girls say Do dodo do do dodododo Do dodo do do dodododo Do dodo do do dodododo ooooo And it struck me...that is the perfect analogy for traditionally marginalized students. Whether we are students of color, differently abled students, non-genderconforming students, gay and lesbian or queer students, we are the background singers. They show us in the catalogs and talk about diversity, but our voices are rarely, if ever, centered. We are the richness that makes the music amazing, but is never seen as important. We are just the “colored girls” saying “do dodo” or “la la la” or providing harmony. Without that harmony, without those background vocals, the music is bland and all too forgettable, but the lead singer gets all of the credit. Students of color are the Supremes, the Pips, the Revolution, Destiny’s Child (depending on your age), but we are rarely the star of the show. This analogy gave me a way to connect all of my feminist and sociological readings to a concrete idea. Building upon Patricia Hill Collins’ (1990) argument that centering traditionally marginalized groups, such as Black women, is important to understanding that all social groups both enjoy privilege and suffer oppression in varying forms, I began to wonder what my teaching would look like if I stopped trying to “include” traditionally marginalized students and instead began to center them and their experiences. Around this time, in my Learner-Centered Teaching class we began discussing pedagogy, particularly feminist pedagogy. In one of our readings, Weimer (2013) asserts that feminist pedagogy “finds 4


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that most teaching is too authoritarian” (p. 19) and argues that radical pedagogy “challenges teachers to explore ethically responsible ways of sharing power with students” (p. 19). I really found that difficult. As a woman of color teaching sociology, a subject often not seen as a “real science” by many students, teaching challenging and uncomfortable subjects such as racism, sexism, and white privilige, I frequently found my biggest struggle was getting students to see me as a subject matter expert and an authority. As a woman of color with very little power to begin with, it felt simplistic and frankly, a very middle-class white feminist approach, to talk about “sharing power.” I have wrestled with these ideas all semester. What is it about the concept of giving up power that makes me so uncomfortable? I truly want my students to be empowered. I want them to be adults and make decisions and take responsibility for those decisions. I want them to be accountable. Why then is the thought of giving up power so terrifying? I then began to reflect on my pedagogy. I have a clear pedagogy developed during my first semester of full-time teaching: The mission of a community college and more specifically a community college instructor should be to meet the needs of the students and the community as a whole. This entails a paradigm shift from being the dispensary of knowledge to being part of a larger learning community. We achieve these goals by creating an impactful, interactive learning environment, creating a safe learning environment for students and nonstudents alike, making cultural competency and inclusiveness a priority, and becoming an active and vital part of the larger community. (Atkins, Self-Reflection, Fall 2011) However, as I got deeper into teaching, my day-to-day practices were driven by student interactions and student feedback. One area of student feedback that was the most challenging and frustrating was repeatedly being called intimidating, aggressive, domineering. As my Master’s thesis 5


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was about how big Black women are perceived, I naturally connected this to Collins’ (2009) concept of controlling images. Collins posits, “As part of a generalized ideology of domination, stereotypical images of Black womanhood take on special meaning. Because the authority to define societal values is a major instrument of power, elite groups, in exercising power, manipulate ideas about Black womanhood” (p. 76). Seen as domineering and intimidating by my students, I typified the controlling image of the matriarch. Collins explains, “[a]s overly aggressive, unfeminine women, Black matriarchs allegedly emasculated their lovers and husbands” (p. 83). Wally-Jean (2009) builds upon this stereotype to discuss the “angry Black woman” stereotype, referring to the work of Taylor (2004) who asserts, according to Wally-Jean, “that because more powerful and higher status individuals have anger privilege...subordinates (in this case, African Americanwomen) are often accused of unjustified anger or irrationality if they express anger directly” (p. 71). Wally-Jean posits “that the ‘angry black woman’ stereotype arises from this foundation of negative images and the position of subordination of African American women that seeks to restrain their expression of anger by negatively labeling it” (p. 71). This is the story of my life. Raised to speak my mind and to advocate for myself, privileged by a middle-class upbringing and educational success, I could not escape the “angry Black woman” label. Passion, frustration, enthusiasm have all, often, been perceived by others as anger and aggression. As a new instructor, I came into the class knowing that my gender and race would color my students’ perceptions of me, but as I began to get student evaluations stating that I was racist, intimidating, and, most hurtful, uncaring about students, I realized that every semester I would again have to overcome the angry Black woman stereotype before I could get on with the business of teaching. I worked on this in different ways. I changed the textbook to one that focused more intentionally on intersectionality so that my use of my personal perspective as a “big Black woman” would make more sense sociologically to the students. I also worked with my strengths, my big 6


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personality and my sense of humor, to make class engaging and fun. Finally, I addressed the elephant in the room at the beginning of the semester saying to each class something to the effect of “while some of you may see a big Black woman and be intimidated, I am here for my students and I want you to be successful so please come and see me.” However, at the same time, students pushed my limits and my boundaries and tried to get away with things as students are wont to do, so my syllabi became increasingly dictatorial and interspersed with rules in BOLD, RED, and ALL CAPS! As I became a student, taking Learner-Centered Teaching and other minicourses within OIA, I realized that their syllabi were warm and welcoming and treated me as an adult with the expectation that I was going to do the right thing, instead of as a child who needed a list of “don’t you dares!” This made me reflect on my own syllabus and I was horrified. I had a discussion with my face-to-face classes asking them if my syllabus was an accurate reflection of my teaching style, and the students indicated it was not. Many also indicated that they were wary and taken aback by the syllabus until they got to know me as an instructor. That is not the first impression I wanted to make on students. My pedagogy, although student-focused, was not necessarily student-centered. It was more a combination of “this is what I hated as a student, so I won’t do that to my students” and “how can I get them not to see me as a big scary Black woman.” This led to my first conclusion. I need to move from a fear and contradictory pedagogy to a proactive, deliberate pedagogy grounded by theory and evidenced-based praxis. What does a deliberate multiracial, feminist, learnercentered, evidenced-based pedagogy entail? I am still working on that. According to Carolyn M. Shrewsbury (1987): Feminist pedagogy is engaged teaching/learning – engaged with self in a continuing reflective process; engaged actively with the material being studied; engaged with others in a struggle to get beyond our sexism and racism and classism and homophobia and 7


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other destructive hatreds and to work together to enhance our knowledge; engaged with the community, with traditional organizations, and with movements for social change. (p. 6) This idea gives a good starting place. Feminist pedagogy is not a single act– it is a way of approaching teaching (and life really), continually reflecting on what you have learned, how your students perceive you, and what you can improve. I would also say that my focus on intersectionality reminds me that I need to remember and acknowledge my own areas of privilege as a well-educated, middle-class, cisgender, heterosexual woman. Another challenge is being learner-centered. Those of us who are “called” to teaching (and for some it is a calling, an art form, not just a profession) teach because of the students. They make it worthwhile, even with the endless grading. But evidencebased, learner-centered teaching means going beyond a true dedication to students to move away from what is most comfortable for you as the instructor, to what is proven to work best for learners. This is difficult for me because a lot of my teaching practices are based on my own likes and dislikes as a student. However, not every student is like me, so I also need to accommodate their needs and preferences. For instance, I have begun to incorporate group work because although I disliked it, others do like it. I have learned to make it my goal to do group work in a way that addresses some of the issues that made me dislike it as a student. This is an example of growing from learner-centered teaching to evidence-based, learner-centered teaching. My second conclusion centers on the notion of power in the classroom. For me, the most challenging aspect of feminist pedagogy was the idea of giving up power. As an instructor who is female and of color, it is often difficult and paramount to establish my authority, particularly in the area of sociology where many students don’t even understand that it is a science and it’s not all based on opinions and personal experience. Weimer (2013) asserts, “Changing the balance of power in the classroom requires a bigger conceptual stretch. Teacher 8


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authority is assumed...The challenge for learner-centered teachers is finding those strategies that give students control and responsibility commensurate with their ability to handle it” (p. 10). As a female and a woman of color, I deal with push-back and disrespect from students that males, particularly white males, rarely face, so the idea of giving up any degree of power was anathema to me. I struggled with this idea throughout the semester, until it occurred to me that increasing student autonomy did not have to be synonymous with giving up my own authority. In fact, I had done so in the past by allowing students a choice in the assignments that they did. When I first started teaching Introduction to Sociology, I allowed students to choose from two grading tracks, the first (for students like myself who are good at writing and tests) was only quizzes, tests, and the main writing assignment, the second (for students with writing issues or test anxiety) had the same tests and writing assignments, but they were weighted less and they had study guide homework assignments that both helped them prepare for the tests and gave them lower stress opportunities to gain the bulk of their points. For Track One, the homework was extra credit, and for Track Two the quizzes were extra credit. This was a very popular approach, but recently I had begun to feel that the study guides made the exams too easy, so I stopped doing this when we changed textbooks. However, as I revamp my classes for next year, I am looking at ways to create a “self-serve menu” of assignments that students can choose from to earn the points they need to get the grade they want in the class. This leads me to my third conclusion, I was doing some things right already. Each semester my only goal for the first week of school is to create a safe learning environment, one in which students acknowledge their differences but feel important and empowered to share their ideas in a respectful manner. Rosenbaum, Deil-Amen, and Person (2006) found that in their study, “[o]ver 70 percent (sixteen of twenty-two) reported that community college faculty were critical in helping them become confident” (p. 55). Particularly in the community college arena, faculty interactions are key factors in student 9


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success. Furthermore, they discovered that “[c]ontact with faculty over academic matters not only can provide needed academic support, it can also enhance feelings of belonging for marginalized students” (p. 79). The students who are often overlooked, who slip through the cracks, can be engaged and encouraged through faculty efforts. During teacher appreciation week, I received a note from a student who stated, “You’ve made me realize my importance as a person.” My students know that I care about them. I hold them to high standards because I know that they can achieve those standards. Students come to me with personal concerns and for academic mentoring because they view me as someone they can trust who will guide them in the right direction. This need for a safe space was reiterated to me this semester in my own graduate classes. One class consisted of forty students with various levels of maturity and academic experience. A professor I truly respect had the challenging task of engaging and managing (not to mention teaching) this class. Some of these students in their activist fervor created a classroom that, for me, felt unsafe. They “called out” white students while ignoring their own class privilege, and when anyone, including myself, had a different perspective, it became a personal attack about how “you don’t understand” instead of an academic debate about perspectives and theories. I had a similar experience in my graduate student led independent study. While I really liked the students as individuals, I found myself dreading the class because I felt constantly policed in my word choices. The situation became untenable when one student continued to interrupt me and “correct” my word choice until I couldn’t even make my point. When I protested stating that this class should be a safe place, that student asserted: “There are no safe spaces.” I fundamentally disagree with that statement. If learning and growth are to occur, there have to be safe spaces. Safe doesn’t mean comfortable, because it is often uncomfortable to learn truths about ourselves and our world that change our perspectives, but every student deserves to feel safe. I found myself shutting down in these classes and acting against my 10


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nature because I was so wary of being personally attacked. In the independent study when I protested being policed, the student responded, “You always get angry so fast.” I found it ironic that after being chastised for using words that this student perceived as “racist” against Black people (as the only self-identified Black person in the room) that then the stereotype of the angry Black woman was used against me when I tried to defend myself. It was a no-win situation, and since none of the other students intervened to say, “no matter who is in the right here, if Celeste is feeling personally attacked, perhaps we should table the conversation,” I felt that I had no choice but to leave the room and the class. Unfortunately, the class that inspired the upbeat, positive abstract above ended up being the most personally hurtful and unsafe experience I have lived through as a student. In the independent study class while we briefly discussed ground rules, we didn’t formally set them down, which in hindsight was a mistake. In the professor-led class we didn’t address ground rules at all, which leads to my final insight about training students to become academics. I have come to the realization that we do students a disservice by not directly and specifically teaching them to become academics. We teach them methods of correct citation. We teach them proper research methods. We teach them to write academically. Why are we not teaching them how to debate in an academically appropriate manner? I do not remember when I learned how to debate a topic, concept, or perspective instead of personally attacking, but it is core to academic dialogue. I was frankly shocked at the lack of respect and appropriate conduct in graduate level classes. Students whose passion and enthusiasm were to be applauded when speaking up in class, created an environment which shut down dissent because they would personally attack anyone who disagreed with their perspective. The diversity of experience and perspectives in the class should have led to great discussions, but, for me at least, led to frustration and feeling disengaged. Moving forward as an educator, instead of just talking about agreeing to disagree and respecting each other, I am going to build into my classes skill building 11


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exercises on academic debate deliberately teaching students around them. As activists, they insisted that intent is not how to focus on the concept instead of the individual. Finally, dealing with these graduate student activists, I came to the conclusion that I am not an activist, particularly not as this specific cohort seems to define it. My interpretation of their goal is to call out and shut down anything they perceive as wrong or racist or inappropriate. They are the radicals, the agitators, the marchers, the “flip the table over” protestors, as my professor referred to it. In contrast, I am an educator. While both they and I work toward a more socially just world, my approach is to focus on collaboration, tolerance, understanding, and communication. My goal is to help individuals learn, become more open-minded, and think critically about the world important; however, for me, individuals who make racial faux pas while they are trying to learn or understand intent is key. While I will not hesitate to address intentional discrimination and racism, when individuals genuinely are seeking to learn, understand or connect, I want to “call them in” as it’s been termed. My intent is not to shame or embarrass individuals who are genuinely trying to understand a perspective different than their own. This world needs radicals, but it also needs teachers. I am called to teach, to create opportunities for learning, to help people think about the world in a different way. Hopefully, between the activists and the educators, our efforts will lead to a better world for my daughter and the children of the world.

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References Atkins, C. (2007) Big, Black mamas: The intersection of race, gender, and weight in the United States University of Southern California Atkins, C. (2011) Self-reflection: Fall 2011 Cochise College Collins, P. H. (1990). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment Boston, Massachusetts: Unwin Hyman. Collins, P. H. (2009). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment (2nd ed.) New York, NY: Routledge. Moraga, C. & Anzaldúa, G. (2015). This bridge called my back: Writings by radical women of color. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. Rosenbaum, J.R., Deil-Amen, R., & Person, A. E. (2006). After admission: From college access to college success. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation. Shrewsbury, C. M. (1987). What is feminist pedagogy? Women’s Studies Quarterly (15) 3/4, 6-14. Weimer, M. (2013). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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How To Make My Mother’s Apple Pie? Vernon (Marvel) Moore Student Contest, Spring 2018, 1st Place How to make my mother’s apple pie? It’s a simple recipe. Step 1: Prepare base ingredients. 4 whole red or green apples, 1 cup cold water, ½ cup all-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, both brown & white sugar, a tsp of lemon juice and a tbsp of salt. (Now, in place of salt, your mother can substitute a thrust open door, & a young boy’s tears). Questions and queries. A collective disheveled youth and an idea that shouldn’t exist. Step 2: Take the flour, mix-in the ice cold water, knead as needed, and be sure to wipe the young boy’s excess tears from the batter lest its taste turn oppressed, overly bitter, and singled out. Step 3: When your son asks with red eyes, why they are so mean to him and what is a porch monkey, a darkie, a coon, and a spade, tell him they are just bad words that still seem to slip through the cracks. Just impolite nicknames that one human should not say to another. Tell him the folly of ears and hearing is that you cannot willing turn them off and shut them down. Tell him, “Mother knows best.” And please don’t forget to sprinkle some cinnamon sugar onto the dough for enhanced sweetness of flavor. Step 4: Take the apples, skin them, then dice them into sections, spice them with the cinnamon, nutmeg, & white sugar. Pause for a moment, make eye contact with your son and tell him he is beautiful and you will always love him. Stroke his forehead gently, warming the location for your incoming kiss. And if I neglected to mention, please do not forget to pit the apples, there can be no seeds in my mother’s recipe. 14


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Step 5: Preheat your oven to 425°, grab your dough and prepare it for flattening, then turn suddenly with shock. When your son comes home with bruises blacker than his hue, you do not ask him: “What happened?” Because you both already know. Instead, ask him if he is okay. Instead, tell him you’re sorry; sorry that the monsters under his bed have somehow managed to enroll in his school, ride on his bus, and sit next to him in class. You’re sorry that he must have skin so thick because, much like the layer of your pie crust, theirs is so very, very thin. Step 6: Reassure your son that the words shouted from the car passing by, when you walked to the grocery store for the missing eggs, were just urban slang for “Hello.” You tell him to go to aisle five and grab himself some fruit snacks because he deserves it. You tell him that you hope the forget-me-nots sputtered from their two lips turn to tulips and sweet nothings, so he may sleep on a bed of roses. Step 7: Your dough finely kneaded into two sections, then you place the first section into the pie tin, appearing to concentrate too hard to hear your son’s question. Next, pack the spiced apples into the bottom of the tin, avoiding eye contact with your boy. In a saucepan, combine the remainder of the ingredients on a low heat, then pour over the apples and apply the top crust layer evenly. Be sure to double-take at your sweet, sweet child as he reaches towards your sleeve, and parts his lips to ask his question for a second time. Turn and put your pie on the lower rack, realizing that you have run out of a means of escape. Step 8: Brace yourself. Fortify your voice for what you know he needs to hear when he asks you, “Will things always be this way? Will people ever change? Will I always feel like this?” Give him a small spoonful of that pie you’re already baking. Say, “Yes, of course things will change. This is just a fad, a passing trend that won’t last forever. Tomorrow, you will definitely feel better.” 15


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She hopes the dreams she tells will cocoon and sprout wings overnight. Step 9: Bake for 45 minutes; remove the pie from the oven. Cut that kid an extra large slice, then kiss his forehead so hard that the spoon misses his mouth. Tell him you love him and that he is beautiful. Hide the worry that there may not be enough pie to last the week. That the same recipe will be needed for his children in the future. Tomorrow you will have to go grocery shopping once more. And that is how you make my mother’s apple pie.

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Tree’s Morning View Sean Yeterian Photograph

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A US for All of US Zihna Gordon Photograph

Student Contest, Fall 2017, 1st Place

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Border Itzel Madrigal Photograph

Student Contest, Fall 2017, 3rd Place

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Rotten Pumpkin Otis Luttschwager Photograph

Student Contest, Spring 2018, 2nd Place

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Blue Cho’kolat LaKwanda Hawkins Digital Art

Student Contest, Spring 2018, 1st Place

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Little Market Ranya Hereira Photograph

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Folklorio Maggie Irwin Photograph

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The Match Ashley Savage

Watercolor, Watercolor Pencil, and Acrylic

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Mountains and Me Torren Brozovich Photograph

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The Blue City Ranya Hereira Photograph

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Sin Titulo Chelsea Schlarbaum Acrylic

Student Contest, Fall 2017, 2nd Place

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Irrigation Backup Plan Linda Ekstrum Infrared Digital Photograph

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Cochise College Student Contests Fall 2018

Please consider submitting your work in poetry, prose, or art for the Fall 2018 Cochise College student contests! We are accepting submissions through the end of February 2019. Please send only original artwork or writing. Entries can be emailed to: mirage@cochise.edu Art should be photographed. Please save your file with the title of your work. In the email, please list the titles of each piece of art and the medium. Poetry should not be longer than 2,000 words. Please edit carefully and then save in a Word document. Please save your file with the title of your work and remove your name from it. Prose (fiction or non-fiction) should be no longer than 4,000 words. We are looking for creative work, such as a memoir, travel narrative, or reflection. We love short stories! Send in a Word document and save the file with the name of your work. For all entries: Please send a 2-3 sentence biography with your entry and indicate which campus you are on (Sierra Vista, Douglas, online, etc). Also, please remove your name from the document. Entries are blind-reviewed by a panel of three judges. Winners will be notified in March of 2019! Please note that winning does not guarantee publication in the Mirage. Often, poetry and prose must be revised before it reaches publication standards. First prize: $50 Second prize: $25 Third prize: $15 There will be a winner in each category. 29


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Train Robbing Posse Marshall Trimble Arizona’s Official State Historian

Burt Alvord was not the sharpest knife in the drawer; his IQ numbers would pretty much match his waist size. His hobbies included practical jokes, beer, poker, horses and guns. He worked for a time as a deputy for Cochise County Sheriff John Slaughter who claimed he didn’t know the meaning of the word “fear.” Slaughter also said he checked Burt’s school records and he didn’t know the meaning of a lot of other words too. During the late 1890s, Burt was serving as constable of the town of Willcox during which he planned and staged a train robbery on the Southern Pacific. Burt’s plan was to use his job as a lawman to screen his moonlighting as leader of a gang of train robbers. The plan included his drinking cronies, Billy Stiles, Matt Burts and Bill Downing. His alibi was cleverly planned. The four would be playing poker in the back room at Schwertner’s Saloon when the robbery occurred. On the night of the robbery, the boys were sitting in the back room of the saloon playing poker. Every few minutes a porter would carry a round of drinks into the room and emerge with a tray of empty glasses and announce to the local imbibers that Burt and the boys were having a serious game of poker behind those closed doors and didn’t want to be disturbed. Meanwhile, Burt and his friends exited a side window, mounted their horses and vanished into the night. They robbed the train, stashed the loot and re-entered the back room of the saloon through the side window. Meanwhile, the engineer backed the train into Willcox and gave the alarm. Someone suggested they alert the town marshal, who was playing poker at Schwertner’s Saloon. Burt was noticeably shocked when told of the robbery. “Great Scott,” he shouted pointing at his three fellow robbers, “I need volunteers for a posse, you, you, and you.” Announcing to all within earshot, Burt declared, “We’ve 30


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got to run down those nefarious skalawag’s,” and the posse rode off into the night. The next morning they arrived back into town wearing weary faces and claiming they’d lost the trail. There were a few eyebrows raised and rumors floating around town. Some of those rumors pointed to the constable as the ringleader. Burt tried to defuse the gossip by claiming everyone knew he was too dumb to pull off such a clever caper. Burt was feeling pretty good about himself. For now it looked like he’d planned and executed the perfect crime. In all the annals of train robberies in the Old West it was the only time the robbers and the posse that chased them were one and the same. The Burt Alvord Gang would attempt one more robbery, on February 15, 1900 at the train station in Fairbank. They didn’t figure on the famous ex-Texas Ranger Jeff Milton riding shotgun in the Wells Fargo Express car. Milton peppered Bravo Juan Yoas in the seat of the pants with a load of buckshot and the other mortally wounded Three-Finger Jack Dunlap. Before he went on to his great reward, Jack fingered the rest of the gang and the boys all wound up behind bars. But that’s a story for another time.

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From Marshall Trimble’s Collection: 1893 Bisbee Orient Saloon

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Spring Cleaning Emilee Simpson Student Contest, Spring 2018, 1st Place Starting is hard. Actually getting up the motivation to start somewhere is the hardest part, but once you get going, it’s almost as hard to stop. My bleary and stinging eyes reel open. I try to focus on the cherry numbers on my nightstand. They float and bob in a sea of empty ginger ale cans and cigarette ashes. My back strains and protests as I make my way through our small kitchen. A white plastic cup and silver butter knife fall and clatter onto the faded and peeling yellow linoleum. I begin to shuffle bowls and silverware into the dishwasher. The light blue mug on the sink is also dirty, but it’s not mine and looks so safe there, I leave it. A few more dishes drip and puddle by my feet and I once again remind myself of the new mop and old vacuum cleaner in the garage. One day I will mop and get rid of the dust bunnies, but today the garage smells too much like pine and cigars. Plus, it’s too dark to see in there without lightbulbs. Your mom’s voice is suddenly in my ears telling me to call if I needed anything and for a second I think of picking up the phone. If I call, though, I think she would hear my voice swelling and crashing. Then, she would come to mop and vacuum and change the lightbulbs, but then I know she would see. She would see and her eyes are too familiar and too blue. I know I would fall right in and sink. Besides, I need to go through the closet today. I turn and walk back up the stairs to our bedroom. They creak like my knees and I shiver as I pass the open window in the hallway. The bed is a Venetian island in the dark room. It is piled with clean clothes that I have neglected to put away. If I close my eyes, I can almost pretend they are warm and breathing. Most of the time though, it is too big for one person and I’ve taken to sleeping on the green loveseat in the living room. It is smaller and less empty. My eyes tumble past the picture in the gold frame on the 33


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floor. I’ve counted the days since your mother gave it to me and offered to hammer it into our bedroom wall. She really is trying to help me through this, but I’ve always done everything myself and I don’t want you to see me like this. I’ve been trying to count things recently. Days, red cars, my breaths. Ken said it will help keep track of everything, you know. Sometimes I feel as though my head is filled with icy depths, icebergs. Numbers are safe. Numbers make sense. Many other things do not. Ken says I need to know when to let things go and move on. It’s funny because he’s had the same sad, wilted, African lavender on his desk since we met. Yesterday he congratulated me on making it to the Anniversary. Then he had to remind me how to breathe. Maybe he’s right. I ball up the limp grey socks from your mom’s old chest of drawers and dredge the size thirteen running shoes from the closet. They crinkle as they fall into the black plastic trash bag. I won’t take everything out, I promise. I’m not getting rid of you. I just need some space. Your eyes watch me from the frame as I bring more shirts from the closet and they cascade into the bag. I’m there too. That day you told me you didn’t care if anyone else showed up as long as I was there. I rolled my eyes, which I suppose was your least favorite habit of mine but I really, really don’t look good in white. A few of your shirts I leave tucked in-between mine so maybe your smell will stain them. I thought if I wore them enough, it’d stain my skin like blood soaking into the highway, but washing machines are really good at getting the woods out of fabric. Finally, half the closet is empty again just like it was when we bought the house and the bare white walls pull me in and hold me. Salty water leaks down my face and rises over my arms and legs. It’s an ocean the color of your eyes pulling me down. I am Sinking. The ocean around me turns green depending on your 34


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mood. Maybe if I just had something to keep me from going under, but the only things I have are ships in bottles and notes on my refrigerator reminding me to eat today. But I haven’t eaten today and I don’t remember the last time I have and I’m not hungry and I’m so fucking cold and all I’m looking for is a light house. I am drowning. Salt stings my lips and burns the back of my throat. One tumultuous breath crashes after another as I remind myself to breath. One of your red flannel shirts slips off its hanger as I secure it across my shoulders. Maybe it would be warmer in here with this life vest.

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Lights Out, Arnold Boxley Otis Luttschwager Student Contest, Spring 2018, 2nd Place Lights out. Cameras on. The Box began to rustle. The face that was permanently carved into its cardboard exterior held a look of lifelessness. It was anything but lifeless. It shuffled along the floor of the back room, half awake. It was gathering other remnants of cardboard. Attaching its trash extremities. “It’s go time.” Said the man behind the camera. The Box pushes through the swinging doors of the back room. It marches. Up and down the aisles of the store where it spends its time. It moves with sureness, with purpose. The man behind the camera watches every night. He can’t figure it out. He won’t tell anyone. He tried that once with the guy that takes over after him. He still gets the occasional passing joke on his way out. It is a tall tale afterall; sometimes he doesn’t believe it himself. Occasionally the Box will stop his march and stare at an item on a shelf before it fumbles to try and hold it in its shakey fingerless trash nubs. Some days it can put the items back where it found them but most days it drops them. “C’mon, lil fella. You can do it.” Dropped. “Damn.” The Box stares at its mistake. A lone pack of Sharpies, now on the ground. It moves on as if the markers were always meant to be on the floor. About halfway through the night the Box stops marching. It saunters casually to the fridges by the checkout and pulls out a soda. Then it grabs a magazine. It sits down. “Fifteen minute break already?” The Box doesn’t drink the soda. Why would it? Could it even open the bottle without fingers? It flips through the magazine. Some nights it even holds it the proper way. “Oh, you picked up an issue of Cosmo today? Branching out, I see.”

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The man behind the camera talks like they are friends, but the Box doesn’t even know that he’s there. Why would it care? The Box leaves the unopened soda and Cosmo right on the floor where it sat. The march resumes. The pace is quicker. After the third full walkthrough, the Box walks into one of the bathrooms. The man behind the camera can’t see what happens in there. It’s probably better that way. What happens in the bathroom should stay in the bathroom. What the man behind the camera can see is the green glow that comes from under the bathroom door. Nothing abnormal. The march re-resumes. There’s a glow outside the store too. It’s almost morning. Still too early for the employees to start showing up for work. Click. Click. The back door is being unlocked. The Box is alarmed, not that you could tell by looking at its face. “It’s still too early.” The store manager walks in slowly. The Box watches from a hiding spot high up in the shelves. “That a boy. Out of sight, out of mind. Wait no, don’t do that.” The Box moves from its hiding spot and follows the manager. It walks differently now, trying to mimic the person it follows. The manager turns around. “SHITNONONONONO.” The stillness is impressive even for a box. The manager gives a tired chuckle and chalks it up to the pranks of the store employees. The manager grabs some papers from the office. On the way out the manager passes the Box again. Another chuckle. Click. Click. Gone. “Oh God, that was a close call, bud. Very, very close.” With the status quo restored the Box does another walkthrough of the store. Not a march anymore, but a tired slow walk. Like the manager. The sun will be up soon and the Box makes its way to the back room. It dismantles itself. An arm there. A leg there. It nests its head in the corner where it will be overlooked like every other day before. When the sun rises the Box is still. 37


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The man behind the camera is still watching. He will keep watching every night. He will keep caring about an entity that doesn’t even know he exists. The man behind the camera checks his watch. It’s three minutes after six. His coworker walks in ready to start his shift and says tauntingly, “How was Arnold Boxley tonight?” “Boxes don’t have names.” He replies on his way out of the door. Lights on. Cameras on.

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Building Bridges: Calligraphy & Adult Education ESL Students Taught by Gabrielle LaFargue

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Special thanks to Susan Morss, Rebecca Dennis, Janet Breen, and Gabrielle LaFargue. This workshop brought a wonderful teacher from the community into the classroom, giving the students an opportunity to work with language in a new way. 40


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Monocular Cues Chelsea Schlarbaum Charcoal

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Main Street Morning Carol Chandler Oil Painting

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Army Men Roderick Stevens Mixed Media, Found Object

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Sitting Proud Karri Fox Digital Photography

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Bauhaus Boy LaKwanda Hawkins Digital Art

Student Contest, Spring 2018, 3rd Place

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Arizona Wildlife Mya Mejia Photograph

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Sunflower Karri Fox Pottery

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Cross Purposes Linda Ekstrum Photograph

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Tiger Joengeun Park

Water Color, Mixed Media Paper

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Icarus Zihna Gordon Acrylic

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Desert Winter Larry Milam Linocut Print

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Barb the Orc Donna Brown Adobe Animate

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The Soul of a Girl: Told by a Bedroom Sarah Fenter Student Contest, Spring 2018, 1st Place There was a flower on the wall in her mug is leftover tea old shells of creatures from the sea the sound of the white wing dove’s call green trees soft leaves rest on the floor dust floats through light like stars at night a space so empty yet so bright clothes lie at the foot of the door papers litter the old cracked desk at the corner an empty glass backpack stuffed with textbooks for class the moleskin notebook holds her best in this moment, hour of stillness the peacefulness of the present blesses the air and basks within The aura of her innocence

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Angst Pamela Lee Creative Writing Celebration, Fiction, 1st Place Shit! Shit! Shit! No blood on the toilet paper. No spotting. Not even a smear. And God knows I’ve always been regular as clockwork -- every twenty-eight days, since I was thirteen. Dear God, don’t let me be pregnant! Please, don’t let me be pregnant. Papa would kill me, and there’s no way I could ever tell Mama. She would die of shame and disappointment -- all her hopes of having spawned a college graduate now focused on me since ‘Duardo got himself shot. Did I miss taking a pill? The dispenser says not. Aren’t these things supposed to be almost foolproof? Am I to be the “almost” statistical exception? Two missed periods now. Jeez. Maybe it’s stress. God knows a Freshman is under enough! So much homework! I stay sleep-deprived and survive mainly on peanut butter and Cheez-its. College is ten times harder than high school ever was. So please let it be stress. Or just maybe that bout of flu stopped the flow, so to speak. Damn you, Lowell! Where are you! Out with some blonde bimbo with big boobs you’re hoping to score with? (How’s that for alliteration, English major?) You couldn’t/wouldn’t help anyway, if one of your wiggly spermatozoa has actually won the swimming race to my ovum: no money for an abortion, and then there’s your aristocratic reputation to uphold. A Brahmin from Boston, where the Lowells speak only to Cabots and the Cabots speak only to God? Give me a break! I won’t think about how sweet and thoughtful you were when we were “courting.” Courting. Such an old-fashioned word. I thought you really liked me as well as lusted for me. But raging teenage hormones (mine included) being what they are.... Of course I knew better. Or should have. Should never have agreed to go to your room. Girls are warned about what guys want by the time we get our permanent teeth. 54


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If I really am pregnant, what can I do? I don’t think spontaneous abortion is that easy. Falling from a horse? I never even rode one. And no risking septicemia with a coat hanger for me! Jesus! An abortion clinic? How do they work? I could get blown up or shot by some Right-to-Life nut who kills adults to save fetuses? What an oxymoron! (Or maybe it’s irony.) Then again perhaps death by some Right Wing extremist might be less damning than suicide. I know there’s a day-after pill. Might there be a twomonths-after pill by now? Fat chance. My all-knowing Mac would have the answer if I Googled the question. Probably not worth the asking. All right. If I really am pregnant, what’s my future? Diapers instead of a degree? No career in Journalism. Okay, I never aspired to be an anchor on ABC, but I’m probably bright enough — even pretty enough with my big brown eyes, high cheekbones, and raven-black hair — for a local station. No house in the ‘burbs with Lowell, or whoever. (Shouldn’t it be whomever?) I guess the three kids and a cat are still a possibility even if I wind up working at Walmart or McDonald’s. Could I actually kill myself if it came to that? And if so, how? There’s no way I could come by enough sleeping pills to do the job. I wonder if Valium and Vodka would work? I’ve heard that a plastic bag is effective, but I’m not sure I could stand the suffocation before unconsciousness. Slashing my wrists in a bathtub? I’m haunted by that painting by Jacques-Louiss David of Marat’s death we saw in art class, but Marat’s death was a murder, not a suicide. Besides, I don’t have a tub — just a shower. Sylvia Plath stuffed towels under the doors to spare her children when she gassed herself in her kitchen. Where on earth could one find a gas stove these days? Drowning and freezing to death are supposed to be reasonably painless. Is anything “reasonable”about dying? Virginia Woolf put a heavy stone in her coat pocket and walked into the river Ouse. (Ah, the information one can glean from the ‘net.) But there’s not enough water in the San Pedro (though they say a cupful 55


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would suffice), and there are no extended hard freezes in southern Arizona. I’m becoming maudlin. Stop it, Maria, with the suicide chatter. Hey, little-voice-in-my-head, “Take a rest!” All this talk of death is making me tired — and, fortunately, sleepy. So, “Good night, Mama. Good night, Papa. Good night, ‘Duardo, wherever you are. Good night, Lowell, you bastard.” Now that I think about it, I’ve not had any morning sickness. Nor any cravings, for that matter. At least not yet. A good sign? Like Scarlett, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” And, if I’m lucky, tomorrow I’ll bleed.

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2019 Creative Writing Celebration Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus Save the dates! Friday, April 12 to Saturday, April 13, 2019 The Cochise Community Creative Writing Celebration brings published writers in several genres, such as poetry, novels, creative nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and screenwriting, to present hands-on workshops to aspiring writers from the community. Celebration participants are also invited to enter a writing contest in three categories: poetry, short story (fiction) and memoir (nonfiction). Cash prizes will be awarded. Writing Contest Deadline: April 1, 2019 Students and Senior Citizens can sign up for just $25! Visit the website for all of the information and the links to register:

www.cochise.edu/cwc

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Thunderfoot and the Great Mouse Infestation Cappy Hanson Creative Writing Celebration, Memoir, 1st Place It was a sunny May afternoon in the valley north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. At last, the Southwest spring gales that had shimmied the Siberian elms and cottonwoods for weeks had calmed. I walked through my mobile home, opening all the windows for the first time since the previous autumn. My South American parrots, Peaches and Maggie, had flown to the dining room curtain rod and were grooming each other. From there, they could also engage in squawky conversations with the wild birds. The parrots were larger than the sparrows and finches, smaller than the mouming doves, and noisier than any of them. The last window I opened was in my office. The air was pungent with lilac. I settled at my desk, pleased at the prospect of an uninterrupted hour to work on a new poem. Before I could finish experimenting with the line breaks in the first stanza, Peaches and Maggie broke the quiet with terrified screeches. My head snapped up. All thought of line length, enjambment, and other esoteric issues vaporized. Despite the urgency of the parrots’ cries, I made myself take a deep breath. I let it out slowly and shook my head before pushing myself out of the chair. I knew what the parrots were raising a ruckus about. It was a mouse. Probably not just any mouse, either. It was likely to be Thunderfoot. Again. Thunderfoot was part of the Great Mouse Infestation of 1997. It had begun the month before, when a pair of mice had built a nest in the cinder-block footing for one of the awning supports in front of the house. Virginia creeper vined in and out of the block, making a secure and charming rodent haven. Once the baby mice opened their eyes at around two weeks of age, they joined their parents on the walkway, where I scattered seed for the wild birds. Adult mice and youngsters alike were shy at first. A goldfinch taking off would send them darting for cover. 58


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In short order, however, the mice were chasing the birds off what they considered their seed. Then they moved indoors. Leaving droppings, dried urine, and chewed-up food packages as evidence. Then I saw the culprits themselves, streaking across the floor, brown blurs with tails. Peaches and Maggie, unfamiliar with mice, screamed every time they saw one. Ours wasn’t the only home being invaded. A neighbor picked up what she thought was the string from the previous night’s tea bag. She found herself holding the tail of a mouse that had fallen head-first into her cup and drowned. One day, I was indignant to discover a mouse in Peaches’ cage, gnawing on a piece of bird kibble. Peaches and Maggie were in the kitchen, eating corn, so they missed my clever capture. I stuffed a rolled-up bird magazine into the cage door and taped an empty mayonnaise jar to the end. A couple of bangs on the cage scared the mouse down the tunnel and into the container. After screwing on the lid, I gave myself a couple of attagirls, left the jar by the front door, and went to put on my shoes to escort the mouse out. When I returned, the mouse had knocked the jar over and was rolling it across the floor like a gerbil in a plastic ball. Peaches and Maggie had never seen anything like it. Judging from their shrieks and the speed at which they flew past me to hide behind the chair in the bedroom, they never wanted to again. They were not so fortunate. It was obvious that the mice had moved in for the duration. I had to figure out how to deal with them. My first line of defense was to make my house inaccessible. On a Saturday morning, I examined the exterior, nearly exhausting a tube of caulk on the many small gaps that my thirty-year-old mobile home had acquired. Inside, I applied the remainder of the caulk around the water, drain, propane, and exhaust fan pipes where they passed through the walls and floor. The Sunday edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican carried an article about the burgeoning rodent population. A biologist contributed the fact that a mouse could squeeze through a space 59


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a quarter of an inch wide. What were the chances I had located and sealed every single gap? They seemed slim—a quarter of an inch slim. Next option: make my home uninviting. I secured all my packaged food in glass or plastic containers. The parrots were notoriously messy eaters, so I cleaned their cage trays and the surroundings of leftover kibble, fruits, and vegetables every evening. The problem was that the birds munched throughout the day. I could put their food away only at night. That meant delicious scents wafting to little rodent noses during all the sunlit hours. Hoping to find out how to make my house unappealing to mice, I scoured the Internet. All kinds of home-made, scent-based repellants turned up. Most used peppermint oil as a base, which made me immediately skeptical. Several years before, we had had a single mouse in the house every night, jonesing for the bottle of peppermint extract I kept on the kitchen counter, along with the spices. In apparent ecstasy, he (she?) would lift the bottle and pound it against his face and chest until he dropped it. Then he would pick it up and repeat, over and over. It was impossible to sleep through his noisy ritual. Forming a barrier around the skirting of the house with peppermint, chili powder, mothballs, and a host of other odiferous substances proved ineffective. Poisoning the mice indoors was obviously out of the question because of the parrots. Poisoning them outside could add link after link to the chain of death. What if a roaming house cat, hawk, or coyote ate one, then was eaten by something else? Where would it end? Spring traps weren’t an option, either. Peaches and Maggie wouldn’t hesitate to walk right onto those deathtraps, either out of curiosity or to eat the bait. The birds had always slept where they wished, usually on top of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. One option was to lock them in their cages at night before setting out traps. The too-vivid picture of what might happen if I missed a trap when I picked them up in the morning put an end to that plan. At the local hardware store, I examined one-way-door 60


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traps that captured mice alive. They were pricier than spring traps, especially because they could not be emptied and re-used. The mice would die of starvation and dehydration, presumably after cannibalizing one another. Way too grisly for me. And if Peaches or Maggie got in there . . . My options were dwindling. Even glue traps posed a risk. The parrots wouldn’t hesitate to go after the bait and get their scaly reptilian feet and exquisite green feathers stuck. They would struggle until they were exhausted. I would probably find them before they died, but even so, they’d be traumatized. So would I. I posed the problem to my boyfriend. Joe was the clever soul who had designed and built a custom brace out of box steel, hinges, and garage door springs, so I could ride the lifts at Santa Fe and Pajarito Mountain and snowboard with my bum knee. Joe, having no pets, had defaulted to traditional spring traps. He rubbed his chin as I described my dilemma. The next time he came over, he brought half a dozen cylindrical oatmeal cartons. He taped the lids on, sliced the cartons in half lengthwise, and cut mouse-sized openings too small for the parrots. By nightfall, these contraptions squatted like colorful Quonset huts over glue traps in every room. The nice thing about glue traps, from my soft-hearted point of view, was that I could take the mice out to the arroyo behind the house and dribble vegetable oil on the stuck parts. They would pull themselves free and scamper away. I figured the glue-trap-and-vegetable-oil treatment would be traumatic enough to discourage them from returning. Thunderfoot proved me wrong. Maybe he’d become a veggie oil junkie. He apparently relished leading me in a merry chase around the house, scaling one piece of furniture and leaping to another, landing with a whump all out of proportion to his size. Eventually, he would dash into a Quaker Oats Quonset hut and get stuck on a glue trap. At the peak of the Infestation, I was taking him out to the arroyo five or six times a day. I supposed I should have been as willing to throw the occupied glue traps into the trash and ignore the suffering of 61


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the mice. Most people did. After all, the rodents showed less regard for my health than I did for theirs. Thunderfoot and his kind were, potentially, the Mice of Doom. They might carry disease-transmitting fleas that accounted for a common local bumper sticker: “Welcome to New Mexico, the Plague State.” The Centers for Disease Control website had lots to say about Thunderfoot, et al., and their associated diseases. Plague came in three distinct flavors: • bubonic: swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, prostration; • septicemic: fever, chills, prostration, abdominal pain, shock, bleeding into the skin and other organs; and • pneumonic: fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, shock, death if not treated early. Then there was hantavirus, spread by infected mice via urine and feces, that caused fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, acute respiratory distress, low blood pressure, and high mortality rate. I’d pooh-poohed the risk until a friend’s daughter-in-law had died of it earlier that spring. Plague and hantavirus notwithstanding, Walt Whitman’s line about the mouse being miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels came to mind often. The little critters delighted me with their adorable round ears, bright eyes, and active whiskers. I had thought that all mice looked alike. Now, because I was observing them up close, I knew that each one was distinct. Thunderfoot, for example, was unusually small and pale, with a dark, raccoon-like mask, the only one I saw with such a marking. Once I experienced him as an individual, I was like a soldier who suddenly saw the enemy as a human being. I would have allowed the mice to keep popping up on the pile of books on my desk and snatching the odd crumb I’d missed on the kitchen counter had they followed a few simple instructions for my safety, theirs, and that of my parrots. To get some amusement out of the Infestation, I posted this on my refrigerator:

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MOUSY RULES

1. Eat only what I put out for you. You’ll eat organic and be the healthiest mice in Santa Fe County. 2. Don’t fight the parrots for their food. One of you bit Peaches on the thigh while he was defending his kibble. Unacceptable! 3. Allow yourselves to be flea dipped. This is for your good as well as mine. 4. Go outside to relieve yourselves. I wouldn’t mind if you used the toilet, but I keep the lid down to prevent the birds from falling in, getting waterlogged, and drowning. You could suffer a similar fate.

Maybe the mice couldn’t read or were anarchists who rebelled against rules. Or maybe, as Joe suggested, I wasn’t speaking to them in a language they understood. Eventually, I found something that did speak to the mice: an electronic rodent repeller. The last time I saw Thunderfoot was out by the arroyo the day UPS delivered the device. I dribbled vegetable oil on him. He pulled loose from the glue trap and scampered away. As I walked back to the house, he paused and looked over his shoulder. I imagined him calling, “See you soon!” That was not to be. As advertised, the rodent repeller didn’t bother Peaches or Maggie. They walked right up and nibbled on its metal housing and plastic knobs while it was running. It did, however, send mice retreating from the house by the dozen. I left the repeller running 24/7 until an early October freeze closed the book on the Great Mouse Infestation of 1997. At last, I could expect to write in peace. Peaches and Maggie could expect to groom each other and converse with the wild birds without alarming at brown blurs dashing along the wall beneath them. We never saw Thunderfoot again. I missed him and wished him a long and prosperous mousy life somewhere else. 63


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Winners of the 2018 Arts & Humanities Commission Award for Visual Art: The Hummingbird Stitchers Quilt Guild by Kristen Welch and Ilse Severson In my dining room, a quilt cross-stitched by hand adorns one wall. My grandmother spent years sewing the roses and greenery onto a crisp, white background. In my office hangs a small, African-themed quilt of rich purples, oranges, greens, reds, and gold that I made from scraps left over from a quilt I made my mother. In a bedroom, a quilt made of pieced stars assembled out of a variety of patriotic fabrics hangs on the wall. None of the blocks line up, but the reds, creamy whites, and blues pop against a bright white background. My ever-changing, imperfect, eclectic, but much treasured collection is not unique. Quilts are an important part of our lives in America. In fact, quilts are one of the most common types of folk art, and they are still made by busy Americans of all ages and of all backgrounds who love the challenges of piecing them together. Quilts are treasured and passed on in families. They tell our stories; they also tell the stories of those who shaped us. A museum curator once said: “Examining a quilt is like reading a historical document…The quilt tells the story of a time and the story of a life, sometimes multiple lives.” So, what is it about quilting that inspires so many women (and even some men)? This January, the Hummingbird Stitchers Quilt Guild won the Visual Arts Award from Sierra Vista’s Arts and Humanities Council. Ilse Severson, a Cochise College student, joined me to interview Gail Staples, Wendy Seals, and Janet Wilcox before the awards ceremony began. We discovered that these women had been quilting for decades. But when we asked about the quilts they had made, they first spoke enthusiastically about the quilts they had given away. Recently, the members had made over two hundred 64


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quilts they had donated to Casa, a local home for children. At the awards ceremony, they posted a list of organizations they donated to which included Cochise Oncology (for cancer patients), Cochise Foster Care, the Forgach House (for abused women), Hacienda Rehab, Life Care Center (a retirement home), the WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) program, and many, many others. In fact, the guild has distributed over 2,300 quilts to nearly forty-five agencies since 2009. They also shared the story of how a woman named Judy, who had passed away, left all of her fabric to her son. He contacted the guild to see if they wanted the fabric and other quilting supplies. They imagined they would get some material, but they were very surprised when truck load after truck load came. The Quilt Guild sold much of the fabric and was able to hand the son a check for $21,000. What they kept was worth about $18,000, so they gave him a tax receipt. The materials are of excellent quality and anytime they are used, they label the new quilt a “Judy quilt� to honor a woman they never knew, but whom they deeply appreciate. These quilts are a continuing legacy to this quilter. As we talked, Gail shared that the Art Association came up with a theme to challenge the quilters each year. One year, the theme was songs, so Wendy made the Delta Dawn quilt, inspired by a song by Tanya Tucker.

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My favorite was the one for pie. If you study the quilt, you will see Eskimo pie, cow pie, American pie, pumpkin pie, shoo-fly pie, pizza pie, moon pie, banana pie, and blueberry pie. Gail shared her quilts as well, including one where pictures were printed on fabric to commemorate travel.

In addition to the quilts they brought to share, Janet proudly wore her quilted jacket. It looked so complex that we asked how she had made it. She explained that she pieced each section of the pattern before putting it all together.

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Another quilt featured a bird against a blue and purple background. I touched the bird to see if it was printed on the fabric or if Gail had made it, and I could feel the edges of the fabric. The intricate work of the black bird and the cattails is shown below. Finally, the quilters described how they also made “community quilts” at the guild. Gail said that their community quilts might start on a design wall, and they might take months to create, so it was nice to see them finished. These quilts are the epitome of collaboration and inspiration. Janet said that the design wall gave them ideas for other quilts when they could see the way the colors flowed and when they could see other patterns. Wendy said that unfinished projects are often integrated into a community quilt in progress. The guild is a place to work together, and Gail and Wendy shared how the quilters sometimes go on a retreat to Ritter Ranch, a place where they can spend a weekend quilting and enjoying each other’s company. Events like these help the quilters to focus their energy. They described how they enjoyed waking up and going straight to work on a quilt—or being able to quilt at almost any hour of the night. They also gather several days a week at the Rothery Educational Services Center for classes taught by people from both near and far although some days are just for open sewing. They also participate in the Quilt Documentation Project, which is affiliated with the Michigan State Museum and a partnership with the Henry Hauser Museum. The February 67


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2018 newsletter for the guild notes that they’ve documented over five-hundred quilts so far. The Hummingbird Stitchers were honored this year as the recipients of the Visual Arts Award given by the Sierra Vista Arts and Humanities Council.

To sum up, they have nearly two hundred members and were organized in 1978. Each year, they compete at the quilt show held the first weekend of March at Buena High School and ribbons are awarded in thirteen categories. They have a website where prospective participants can view upcoming workshops and activities at www.hummingbirdquiltguild.com. They invite quilters of any skill level to join them as they work together to engage in their creative work.

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Got Up Late -Where is the COFFEE? Martha Sprenkle Oil on Canvas

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A Kindness of Ravens Linda Ekstrum Photograph

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Ducks Zihna Gordon Photograph

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Cactus Splendor Andrea Savage Photograph

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Turner Burning Ronald Fritts Mixed Media

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Home Field Steven Ortiz Photograph

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Sky Painting Beth Ann Krueger Photograph

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African Style Vase Jose Ponce de Leon Segmented Woodturning

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Dance Lizard, Dance Elizabeth Riordon Colored Pencil

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What a Waste of a Lovely Night Ammi Robles Digital Photograph

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Rose in Hand LaKwanda Hawkins Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop

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Just Words Roderick Stevens Mixed Media, Found Object

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Biographies

Ammi Robles is a 20-year-old international student from Agua Prieta, Sonora. She is currently studying Communications at Cochise College and believes photography is a powerful medium to transmit ideas and stories. Andrea Savage enjoys experimenting with different techniques and working in a variety of genres. Savage didn’t set out to be a photographer, but her passion to express herself evolved into a pursuit to document her world through photographs. Ashley Savage is currently completing her Bachelor’s degree in Illustration and Design at the University of Arizona. Beth Ann Krueger seeks Canyon Towhees, Acorn Woodpeckers, and roving agaves in the Mule Mountains of Bisbee, Arizona. Her calico cat, Sheena (the punk rocker), enjoys observing birds from an indoor window-box seat. Cappy Hanson is a self-published author. She lived in California and New Mexico before moving to Cochise County. Carol Chandler is an Old Bisbee resident and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a degree in philosophy. Celeste Atkins is a dedicated educator with a passion for sociology. She has been a sociology faculty member at Cochise College since the Fall of 2011 and was promoted to department chair shortly thereafter. In the Fall of 2017, Celeste embarked on a doctoral program at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Study of Higher Education and has been working on faculty development as a graduate assistant in the Office of Instruction and Assessment. Chelsea Schlarbaum traded snow for cacti. She aims to reduce her ecological footprint with the use of recycled materials while embodying veganism, environmental advocacy, feminism, and music in her pieces. Elizabeth Riordon believes that art pushes itself into life through her whenever there is a blank canvas, paper, slice of wood, scrap of metal, shed snake skin, useful trash, hunk of rock, lump of clay or scrap of fabric. 81


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Emilee Simpson is a Cochise College art student who has lived in Arizona her entire life. She is inspired by the environment and the organisms which thrive in the Southwest. Gabrielle LaFargue was introduced to calligraphy shortly before retiring as an elementary teacher in New York. Calligraphy has become one of her passions, and she enjoys creating art pieces and wedding invitations. Itzel Madrigal received her inspiration for her photographs through her DMA 266 Digital Photography class, which is based on the people who are located in the helping center for immigrants in Agua Prieta, Sonora. Joengeun Park is from South Korea and has a wide range of artistic interests. She especially enjoys creating abstract art. Jose Ponce de Leon was born and raised in Puerto Rico. He served in the military for 21 years and retired in Sierra Vista, Arizona. He enjoys woodturning and hopes to continue for a long time. Karri Fox is originally from Tooele, Utah. Shas lived and worked in the Sierra Vista area for fifteen years. Her art passions include: photography, drawing, painting, and ceramics. LaKwanda Hawkins is currently enrolled at Cochise College. She is a selftaught, freelance illustrator who was born and raised in Alabama. She likes strawberry lemonade and thinks that cryptids are “groovy.� Larry Milam lives and works from his home in the hills of Old Bisbee. He is a professional freelance illustrator creating simple iconic images by hand. He has done many logos and sign designs in Bisbee and Cochise County. Linda Ekstrum is a resident of Pima Country. She was born in Cochise County and considers it home. Maggie Irwin is a native Arizonan. She has shown in various venues and has had solo shows at the Douglas Art Gallery. Maggie is also a member of both the Douglas Art Association and the San Pedro River Arts Council. 82


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Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s Official State Historian. Trimble is a noted historian, author, folksinger and humorist.A former Marine, he is in the Arizona Veterans Hall of Fame. Martha Sprenkle is an Award winning Arizona Artist and Instructor currently in four art galleries, Huachuca Art Association, Tombstone Art Gallery, Endeavors Art Gallery and Creative Spirit Art Gallery. Martha paints various types of subjects, portraits, still life, animals and landscapes, specializing in oils and watercolors. Mya Mejia is currently a Cochise College student pursuing a Fine Arts degree. She enjoys drawing, ceramics, and nature photography. Otis Luttschwager is a Cochise College student and a self-proclaimed procrastinator. Ranya Hereira is passionate about education and the expansion of global knowledge. She has dreams of traveling the world and exploring new cultures. Her dream job is to become a dermatologist. She hopes to one day help people affected by skin disease across the globe. Roderick E. Stevens is an artist of multiple disciplines, having won dozens of awards as a filmmaker, painter, mixed media artist, cinematographer and screenwriter. Ronald Fritts has led a life motivated by the creative impulse. He was always making things, drawing and having to produce art. His goal remains: to capture the essence of life in each and every product that emerges from the extraordinary impulse to create and reflect on and awaken the need for all to share in developing their creativity. Sarah Fenter is a staunch environmentalist with the useless, yet beautiful, skill of poetry. Her highest hope is to be a student for the rest of her life, metaphorically and literally. Sean Yeterian is currently enrolled at Cochise College majoring in Media Production Arts. He is a combat veteran and retired Army Sergeant Major. Taking what he has learned at Cochise College he has started his own photography business named “Arizonan Yeti� Fine Arts Photography. 83


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Steven Ortiz is from Bronx, New York and currently attends Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona. He loves playing baseball and hopes to one day play Major League Baseball. Torren Brozovich is the proud son of Paul Brozovich and Michelle Mirabelli. He loves baseball and taking long walks on the beach. He was born in Las Vegas, Nevada. Vernon Marvel Moore recently moved from Long Island, New York. It wasn’t until high school that he had ever touched poetry. He really resonated with it and its ability to help him express himself. Since then he has come a long way and met many people through it. He says when he cannot write it out he dances it out. Poetry has become a part of him, and he has no plans to stop now. He hopes to continue to improve and share his writing. Zihna Gordon is a recent transfer to Arizona. She is learning art, Spanish, and how much life there is in the desert.

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Profile for Mirage

Mirage 2018  

Mirage 2018  

Profile for mirage14
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