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Volume 28

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CONTENTS POETRY Katherine Lang Lillian McGuire Maryam Alarcon Briana Walton Killian Moore Kristen Toney L. E. Hornbuckle Autumn Hutson Starr Pierre B.N.L Alexis Little Patrick Joshi Seth Ellsworth Faith Ellen Lam John R. Marissa A. Joyce

An Afternoon in Rotterdam | 4 Fuck it Mom I am the fucking best | 7 In Mourning | 8 A Diffrent Kinda Docter | 10 Choices | 11 The Dancer | 13 Cocoa Eyes | 33 Carolina | 14 Buried Parts | 16 how do you make a new you? | 17 My Block | 19 Big Bang | 22 fractatus | 24 my nature of torture | 27 music’s moment | 28 You are Perfection | 30 To Rebuild a Home | 34

PROSE Maryam Alarcon

Our Patterns | 36

VOLUME 28

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ART & PHOTOGRAPHY Olivia Vermane

Killian Moore Isabella Whitney Grant Schultz Briana Walton Joanne Tang

Michaela Reilly Jaimee Elizabeth King Seth Ellsworth Ala Al Sindi

Rise | Cover Sola Scriptura | 31 Broken Pieces | 35 Hamburg | 5 Phoenix | 6 River Edge | 20 Drowning Refugee | 9 Brown Skin Girl | 12 Gold Bones and Black Love | 32 Flying Towards Freedom | 15 What angel wakes me from my flow’ry bed? | 29 Symmetry, Balance, Harmony | 23 Suffocation | 18 Hickory, Dickory, and Doc | 25 Censoring of Senses | 26 Attachments | 38

MISSION STATEMENT Volition serves to elevate the creative capacity of the Mason community by fostering freedom of expression across diverse mediums.

FALL 2019

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An Afternoon in Rotterdam A full band plays. Children’s laughter accompanies the jazzy tune. The bigger ones climb the sculpture playground, parents run after their young in the grassy outcrop of a high-rise city. A crowd has gathered, sitting on the green lawn. People drink, people smoke, no brown paper bags needed in a city lined by “coffee shops” and open bars. A crane on the left betrays the construction sprawling across the town; for this moment, it stands still. Houses jut out in yellow angles meters away from the old church whose clock tower reaches into the sky, its spire staring down the new, shining, skyscraper heights, as if to whisper, I was here first, young men. A child runs after a seagull’s feather, tries to catch it; the wind carries it away. The music hits a crescendo. Behind the crowd a building leans back, giving deference to the spinning Ferris wheel carrying customers toward the crowded sky. An ambulance blares past in the distance. All around the lawn a hustle and bustle of people shopping crawl, their credit cards competing with the skyscrapers for upper limits; in some stores, one doubts the patrons are much dwarfed. Towards the front, a newly burdened customer leaves a shop and stops to see the band. The Ferris wheel slows to a halt. The church bell tolls in the background. The music simmers to a quiet and then stops. The lazing, grass-laden crowd claps. A father sits down, his son in his arms. The conductor raises his hands.

| Katherine Lang 4 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 4

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Hamburg | Killian Moore | Photography 5 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 5

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Phoenix | Isabella Whitney | Art 6 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 6

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Fuck it Mom I am the fucking best They call her the phoenix, the watching The knowing one – I call myself queen I am an army of intellect, a fine wine waiting to Be made drunk with fire

| Lillian McGuire 7 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 7

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In Mourning Some little things burn, though you wouldn’t think so. Sometimes –

more than big things.

I wondered how it felt to be my grandmother when my grandfather died. Maybe it felt like endless burns: and when I gave her little child kisses, little child hugs, it was like pouring water against the fresh wounds –

causing delicate pain to sprout into a weed you cannot pull out.

| Maryam Alarcon 8 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 8

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Drowning Refugee | Grant Schultz | Art 9 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 9

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A Diffrent Kinda Docter well here i am the first day of first grade my name is bri my friends call me red I only eat red foods red foods are my favorite and red is the best color i like it so much that i tried to make my body red that is how i got my nickname i even made my hair red but the marker is the kind that lasts forever its a big word i think its called permentent marker so my hair is red but my eyes are a lot of colors they look like they exploded they are green and blue and brown and lots of pretty colors my brother says that my eyes aren’t special he say’s they are lame tom is old he is like 10 years older than me and his name is tom and he is a meanie i am 6 so that means tom is 13 he goes to middle school and he says that it sucks and sometimes he calls the older lady a mean word because she makes him do work that he does not like he treats me bad but i treat him good like mom told me to she told me that tom is just a butt but she used a different word and told me not to say it and i asked why and she said its bad anyways i am happy to start my first day and i hope that i will make some frends tom told me that no one will want to be frends with me and i got sad and i criiid but mom told me that i will make frends and that tommy is just telling me that sinse he has no frends and sometimes i see tom crii and he yells that his life sucks and then he criis til he falls asleep and mom takes him to see a doc sometimes and i asked to go but mom said no sinse its not the same kind of doc i see she said him and his doc just talk i relized then that maybe tom has a problem

| Briana Walton

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| Killian Moore

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Brown Skin Girl | Briana Walton | Photography 12 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 12

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The Dancer Pays no mind to the sweltering lights above her or the scrutinizing gazes of the audience. She is not confined to this wooden platform but rather to sticky Georgia nights in June when the only orchestra practicing was the crickets with their self-taught renditions of Mozart humming and buzzing from the fields to her bones as she jetéd across the kitchen floor. She recalls the incessant ticking of the clock hanging in the adjacent room that kept time better than any metronome in the studio. The dancer swallows back the growing knot of nostalgia as she pictures the way the creamy fabric of the hand-sewn leotard her grandmother made seemed to glow in the mirror’s moonlit reflection; its embroidered details more intricate than any spider’s wispy webs. She has come a long way since the nights of barefoot balancés on creaking floorboards.

| Kristen Toney

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Carolina Sun-dried ochre. Ombre sky melting into tree tops. Golden kisses here and there, patches of Heaven – rose glowing liquid ambrosia. Heavy lids dragging, my top lashes meet bottom, reluctant to kiss goodbye each time. Ramshackle barns, hen coops long empty, Wind’s howl caught in his throat. Noble roofs throw shadows onto fields of orange: whispering grass, reeds and brambles. Fleshy stalks caress one another when the wind suggests it

| Briana Walton

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Flying Towards Freedom | Joanne Tang | Photography 15 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 15

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Buried Parts The worst thing I could do is visit my catacombs with the intention of bringing something back up to the surface—as if it could belong with the living. I had my reasons for burying parts of myself down there: they were of no use to me. Dead weight dragging behind me, a funeral procession that no one came to. Only I mourned the death of those parts and only I came back to see them, bouquet in hand—sometimes. I make the mistake of turning over the hardened soil to exhume what I thought I remembered about those parts. I just wanted the good times back! But I forgot that when you bring something back from the dead they bring others with them—guests not invited. I should have known better. I wasn’t in my right mind. The bones are starch-white and lovely but they are of no use to me outside of this body. Keep them buried.

| Autumn Hutson

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how do you make a new you? calloused hands pull the clay from the deep earth the fingernails caked in older material. the lumps spread out and hidden are gathered scavenged and laid bare in the unfamiliar. those hands make the little pieces whole again and is molded cared for until it is the wanted body. that is the longest part because the hands are impatient and the clay is a bit stubborn. after the clay is heated hardened and made into the permanent perfection needed it is put on the shelf left pretty and dry to be part of the grand collection.

| Starr Pierre

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Suffocation | Michaela Reilly | Photography 18 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 18

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*Trigger Warning* Child Abuse and Sexual Abuse

My Block The world, sometimes Feels small. A boy that has lived on my very block our whole lives Is kept awake at night by the same monster that visits me. The world, sometimes Seems cruel. He tells me what happened to him when he was a child And I see the weight on my shoulders Reflected on his. I drive past his house at night and all the lights are off. And I drive past every other house on the block, each a twin of its predecessor. The world, sometimes Is vast. I think about all of the other houses on our block, looking exactly the same and wonder how many other children we used to ride the bus with Have the exact same scars we do? Our suburban lives With their suffocating sameness Backyard barbecues with the men who found their ways in and will never leave. The boy from my block doesn’t look at me when he tells me that he was sexually abused as a child. And I don’t look at him. I hold his hand tightly and I tell him Our world sometimes seems cold, The world we’ve been exiled to Seems empty Seems alone Seems impossible. But I tell him that there is a girl that has lived on his very block our whole lives Who is kept awake at night by the same monster that visits him. The world, sometimes Is not lonely.

| B.N.L 19 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 19

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River Edge | Isabella Whitney | Photography 21 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 21

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Big Bang Atoms wrap around the tips Of quark-encased fingers Bonding together To form the elements Of creation It’s hot and cold All at once A cognitive dissonance In the space of now And never The pencil moves The universe explodes And time immemorial takes its first breath And from it became the life of poem The first to start The big bang

| Alexis Little 22 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 22

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Symmetry, Balance, Harmony | Joanne Tang | Photography 23 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 23

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fractatus topologico-poeticus 

— les t ly ric cause asymmetry to bend, to iterate, refractalong a gush of screaming Chaos — Ruminate and rend this Cosmic cloth inked with numeric brush. the Mandal brought a transcendental rush — a set complexed converged in bounded twain. a hum of ordered tumult, cracked and lush, fractatus topologico-poeticus described the void with shattered shapes arcane. 

— les t lywere ric cause sublime notesasymmetry that made to thebend, self-efrain to iterate, refractalong a gush upon the firm atonal floral base. — Ruminate and rend of screaming Chaos O choral fugue, your tessellation stain thisspread Cosmicthrough cloth inked with numeric brush. the manifold of dreaming space. the Mandal broughtasa dust transcendental Oneiric colors flowed and lace - rush — a set complexed converged in twain. spin with thin drew manic spirals, dark ofbounded n a hum of ordered tumult, cracked and lush, case looped quantum states. beyond the Pcrimal described void emerged, with shattered shapes arcane. strangethe Beasts Imagined from the din sublimenow weresteeped notes that made the self-efrain of pointz in Computat’nal sin. n upon the firm atonal floral base. to halt the vast {draconic} curval trend, choral fugue, tessellation stain the final function Ocalled that, deepyour within spread through the manifold of dreaming — the Quαds Erratic, Demon’s Trand m endspace. Ω

Oneiric colors flowed as dust and lace Patrick Joshi drew manic spirals, dark of spin with thin n looped quantum states. beyond the Pcrimal case strange Beasts emerged, Imagined from the din of pointzn now steeped in Computat’nal sin. to halt the vast {draconic} curval trend, the final function called that, deep within the Quαds Erratic, Demon’s Trand m end — Ω

Patrick Joshi

This work was produced in LATEX specifically to create the unique formatting. The author requests an exact reproduction of the complete text and typesetting (excluding this footnote) if the work is chosen for publication.

| Patrick Joshi 24 Magazine Fall 2019.indd

This work was produced in LATEX specifically to create the unique formatting. The author requests an exact reproduction of the complete text and typesetting (excluding this footnote) 24 if the work is chosen for publication.

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Hickory, Dickory, and Doc | Jaimee Elizabeth King | Art 25 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 25

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Censoring of Senses | Seth Ellsworth | Art 26 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 26

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*Trigger Warning* Sexual Assault

my nature of trauma Imagine being shot The gunman, unknowing of the potential trauma, shoots. Bullet penetrating skin, entering and exiting with ease. My body, a victim. What is a body if not victim? What is a victim if not infiltrated? Did the bullet ask? Did the gun allow? The bullet cannot understand entering and exiting with consent. To enter my body in ignorance, the damage may not be seen, but that shit still burns. What if the bullet doesn’t exit my body? The evidence is left, trapped, hoarded inside my body. The bullet’s effect grows, It sprouts leaves and vines, Tangle my speech, Tangle my mind, Tangle the heart strings that wrap around my inherent desire to deny self-love I deserve

These vines TIGHTEN I can’t breathe TiGhTeN Emotions woven into my skin tIgHtEn What is my body if not tortured? tighten tears wrung out by my nature of trauma bottling up, and forcefully drinking the sorrows of my sexual trauma. When the bullet entered my body, I knew I was shot. When the rapist entered my home, I said welcome. So I lifted my bitch bottle, and drank.

| Seth Ellsworth 27 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 27

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music’s moment wisps of air unite in glorious sound spilling from the hearts of those on stage; time freezes in the calmest, deepest way five hundred watch, connected to one breath, the spirit of one flowing, yearning line, straining to hear the sorrow put to rest farewell, mine past-- come later, future, too-this moment is ours and music our divine.

| Faith Ellen Lam 28 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 28

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What angel wakes me from my flow’ry bed? | Joanne Tang | Photography 29 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 29

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You are Perfection I don’t mean perfection as in without Fault, I mean You are perfection, with I mean that from the sunlight of your body to the beauty embers of your soul I mean from the soil of my heart to the grain of yours You are perfect. You are the sweetness of God’s love You are the kindness of a child’s face You beloved, careful beauty You are the richness of my life and I love you, in all that you are All of it. All the quirks All the shyness that will dissolve with age All the silent strength that you contain the drive, the stamina within I admire all of you, I love all of you every inch of body and mind – you are perfect You are God’s gift to my life and I want to possess every inch as I want to be owned and loved and possessed by You.

| John R. 30 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 30

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Sola Scriptura | Olivia Vermane | Photography 31 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 31

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Gold Bones and Black Love | Briana Walton | Photography 32 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 32

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Cocoa Eyes How do you explain to the man with gentle hands and a hesitant smile that when you look into his pale blue eyes, flecked ever-so-slightly with honey-colored hope, you still find yourself associating love with captivating cocoa eyes and sugar-coated words? How do you tell him that although he smiles at you like you are a vibrant red flare dissolving into a hazy, fourth of July sky, you can still feel yourself unravelling beneath the tip of another man’s thumb softy tracing your lower lip or that your heart still sinks when you remember the warmth that radiated from those cocoa eyes as his lips wrote riddles on your skin that to this day you have yet to solve? How do watch the sunshine hit his face while he laughs and tell him he is all you want without your voice shaking?

| Kristen Toney 33 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 33

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To Rebuild a Home If your body is your home, Like people often say, There were days she wanted to Tear hers apart, brick by brick. She envisioned watching it crumble To its very foundation. And amidst the devastating rubble, She would wield a baseball bat And shatter every window. Leaving a blanket of broken glass. She would paint the exterior over, Again and again In thick, buttermilk coats. And she’d will it to be a beautiful house With indisputable charm and grandeur. But not even the pristine paint Could hide the truth.

She’d stomp about like an ill-tempered child, Screaming until her lungs caught on fire. But eventually, she’d curl up in surrender on her decaying front porch. A shuddering, sobbing homeless stray. She’ll plead her apologies To the only home she’s ever known. To the familiar, protective warmth Of that home which she tried So desperately to extinguish. And with shaking hands, She’ll gather those broken pieces And one day, She will rebuild.

So she’d allow the patches of flowers to wither away into russet nothingness. She’d tear up the grass in great, juniper-green clumps And let them stain her hands emerald.

| Marissa A. Joyce 34 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 34

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Broken Pieces | Olivia Vermane | Photography 35 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 35

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Our Patterns Leona was a beautiful woman in her youth, and she had it all- the short curly bob cut, bangs, and round red lips which highlighted her dimples. I was told she was also a loud lady who would protest the Vietnam War and wear bell bottom jeans and smoke in the city coffee shops while sporting bright blue eyeshadow. It was no wonder that when my grandmother died giving birth to my uncle, my grandfather married Leona. Leona became what I liked to call, my step-grandmother. My mother told me she hated Leona when she was little. I don’t tell her, but I think this is still true. I can see it when my mother drops me off on Sundays to spend the afternoons with Leona. But then I don’t know why they still talk, even after my grandfather died. My mother is often hard to talk to anyway, so I don’t bother her about it. They hug stiffly on those Sundays, and ask the common questions- “How are you? Are you feeling okay? Have you seen the doctor?” Then we disperse, and Leona and I go back into the empty small house where Leona now lives alone, a widow of sorts. My mother leaves, but she comes back later to pick me up. I spend almost five hours with Leona each week. We watch TV and follow the colorful glossy knitting pattern books that take up much of the bookshelves in her small house. We always follow those pattern books together. Leona likes to find new styles to create, and within a week she finishes a scarf, and sometimes a blanket which would normally take much longer than that. Her fingers work quickly, and she eyes each stitch cautiously. It starts with one of those Sundays in the fall when we knit with all the windows open in the sun room that I begin to learn more about Leona and my mother. I decide to ask Leona how long she’s known how to knit. “I picked up knitting when I was thirty-three,” Leona remarks loudly to me as we sit on the sofas eating lemon bars and drinking root beer. Her hands are frail and knobby, but I like to stare at the bright colors she chooses to paint her nails- sometimes sparkly maroon, sometimes baby blue, often a light lavender to match her large cat-eye glasses that hang from her neck. Her once black hair that had been swept into bangs, now sits in a silvery long pony-tail on her shoulder. For the first time, I begin to wonder how Leona has become so skilled at looping and stitching with her needles. In the past, I had never really inquired about this with her, though it was all we did together. “Who taught you?” I ask, watching our breathes condensate in the cold air. I imagine the mist of our voices building a foggy cloud, but Leona speaks again.

| Maryam Alarcon

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“Oh, your mom of course,” Leona smiles, and I feel myself pause, and stare out the open windows. October pours into the room- the cold, the leaves, the smell of the wet trees, and the sounds of the squirrels scurrying out in the grass. “My mother?” I ask confusedly. I have never seen my mother near any of the threading tools. “I think she doesn’t like to talk about it anymore. But, yes. She taught me to knit, crochet, to be an old lady, yes,” Leona laughs, and sighs. She puts the needles down. “And to return the favor, I taught you, I guess,” she smiles again at me, and the picture of my mother awkwardly checking in on Leona as I get dropped off comes to mind. I think about them then. I imagine my mother, my own age, teaching the replacement wife something she knew well. I’m not sure if my mother and Leona would ever be truly bonded by a maternal relationship, but I feel my heart swell for both women. I watch them the next week again. I stand by the side of the car and observe the women who I think care about each other but cannot even execute a simple or warm conversation together. “Mom,” I say at the dinner table after school, “Why don’t you knit anymore? Leona told me you used to.” My mother stares curiously at me for a minute before rising to place her finished dish in the sink. “When your grandmother died,” she says watching me watch her, “I knit all of her away, until I couldn’t stand to touch yarn anymore.” She walks over to pat my shoulder, before moving to the kitchen, never speaking of it again. That next Sunday evening, as the sky darkens to night, Leona turns off the TV, and turns to look at me with bright green eyes. “You’ve gotten so good with the needles, with following the patterns, I think I want to give you something.” I follow her weak hobbles over to the bookshelf, where at the top she pulls down a small shoebox decorated in a floral print. After opening the lid, Leona pulls out a binder book, where in bright red sharpie and in handwriting that looks like my mothers, “OUR PATTERNS,” is written on the cover. “Your mother gave this to me when she married your father and left the house,” Leona says, and hands it to me. I flip through, feeling a warmth spread through my fingertips and I tighten my grip. Each page is beautifully scrap booked and contains a knitting pattern with a photograph of the finished product. The first section holds a tab with the name of my grandmother, after that lies my mother’s section, and the third tab is Leona’s. The fourth and last tab sits at the back of the binder and lies empty in my hands. “The last section is for you. To make your own patterns,” Leona says and hugs me. I hug her back and smell the scent of our lasagna dinner on her, and her perfume that smells like roses. “Your mother told me about it- gave it to me as a truce. The knitting was her truce to me when we fought when she was little. It’s for us women of the family,” Leona whispers to me in our hug. “So, we can make our own patterns for each other,” she says, and pulls back so I can see her wiping a tear back from the crease of her eye. “So, we can know each other,” she finishes.

| Maryam Alarcon

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Attachments | Ala Al Sindi | Photography 38 Magazine Fall 2019.indd 38

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STAFF

In Association with the Office of Student Media

Executive Editor Zaria Talley

Faculty Advisor Jason Hartsel

Prose/Poetry Prose and Poetry Editor Madison Hoffman

Malek Salhab Leigh Norman Joseph Massa Emma Starustka Zach Arlt Kim Bartenfelder Emma Evans Sally Deen Solomon Oyombo Kamryn Crossman McKenna Martin Randi Roy Catherine Middleton

Art and Photography Art and Photography Editor Macayla Smith

Graphic Design Design Director Holly Nguyen

Sarah Gwynn Elisabeth Angeley Maggie Eason Hannah Brennan Marina Li Fatina Al-Qutob Ashley Ruben Rita Mulugeta

Public Relations Public Relations Officer Candice Wong

Magazine Fall 2019.indd 39

Leia Pequignet Valerie Larrieu

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Magazine Fall 2019.indd 40

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Profile for Student Media George Mason University

Volition - Fall 2019  

Volition is George Mason University’s official undergraduate literary and arts journal, publishing original student poetry, prose, photograp...

Volition - Fall 2019  

Volition is George Mason University’s official undergraduate literary and arts journal, publishing original student poetry, prose, photograp...

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