Page 1

issue 01 february 2016


curated by jordeen chang lisa inoue

trouble sleeping...............2 a brief introduction...........3 flight.....................................4 a daylight goodnight.........8 untitled 3............................10 midnight munchies........16 night crawlers.................20 fantasy...............................22 six-word stories.............24 nod and smile................30


trouble sleeping corinne bailey rae

it’s late and i’m feeling so tired having trouble sleeping this constant compromise between thinking and breathing could it be i’m suffering because i’ll never give in? won’t say that i’m falling in love tell me i don’t seem myself couldn’t i blame something else? just don’t say i’m falling in love some kind of therapy is all i need please believe me some instant remedy that can cure me completely could it be that i’m suffering because i’ll never give in? won’t say that i’m falling in love tell me i don’t seem myself couldn’t i blame something else? just don’t say i’m falling in love ‘cause i’ve been there before and it’s not enough so nobody say it don’t even say it i’ve got my eyes shut won’t look, oh no, I’m not in love could it be i’m suffering because i’ll never give in? i’m falling love tell me i don’t seem myself good enough for something else just don’t say i’m falling in love falling in love just don’t say i’m falling in love oh, yeah falling love ooh oh, oh, don’t say that i’m falling in love, don’t say that, oh just don’t say that i’m falling in love, just don’t say that i’m falling in love


During a floor dinner freshman year, Lisa and I struck up a conversation that led to me accidentally promising her I would run with her the next morning. I didn’t wake up. Naturally, we’ve been best friends ever since. The shit show we call our lives has been the foundation for our burgeoning friendship. You’d think that sometime in the past four years we would have run out of drama to get into, but life is a box of chocolates. Sometimes you end up with a box where half are coconut-filled chocolates and sometimes you end up with a box where all are coconut-filled chocolates. And so to document this exhaustingly ridiculous friendship, we decided to start a zine dedicated to our favorite song, a zine of everything we haven’t learned, a zine that celebrates how much fatter and funnier and stupider we’ve become throughout the years— hence the birth of Trouble Sleeping. Of course, being as neither of us are artists or writers, we wouldn’t be able to pull this off ourselves. We’ve invited a handful of our very talented friends to grace this otherwise shitty publication with their stories. You’re welcome. So here we have it. Experimental, imperfect, and honest: Trouble Sleeping celebrates all the nights ever spent awake. - Jordeen 3

jimmy wu

I had just switched into mathematics, and had to stay an additional year to earn the degree. During this time, all my friends grew up and moved from the old wooden jungles, to their new monkey zoos and indoor labyrinths. You can probably imagine that it was hard to watch for an entire year as most of my class became mildly rich overnight, while I descended further into debt. In the evenings, they soaked up Murakami novels, while I spilled pasta sauce on Fundamentals of Algebraic Topology. Weekends, my friends spent with Madeon; I, with Erdős. And indeed some days were awful; some days, I could not help but think what a foolish choice I had made. But most days were nothing of the sort. Most days I would wake up at nine-thirty, wash, eat some fruit, and head to class, where I marinated in theorems and their proofs until well into the evening. 4

I listened to waltzes. I had developed a particular affinity for them as a child in youth orchestra—they were always fun to play, and typically not too difficult. I liked to start my mornings with Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings, the second movement in C-sharp minor. I would pass anonymously through the halls, conjuring up a ballroom, with all the students waltzing about me in a steady triple meter. The velvety tones of a Czech melody, wistful yet restrained, set them all in motion. With no acquaintances in my midst, I danced solo, 1–2–3, 1–2–3, from lecture to lecture. In the evenings I would pick up dinner on the walk home and down it while reading the week’s problem sets. By the time my progress was satisfactory, it would be well past midnight, and my body would crawl eagerly towards a dreamless sleep, though my mind was indifferent. In the spring, sometime in the middle of March, I came home to a slight feeling that something was missing. I wanted something more, but not money, or time. As I was working on a term paper, my mom called to ask how I was doing. I said I was fine. “It’s friends, son. You need to get out there and talk to people, make new friends.” “I know. I’m trying,” I lied. But that was not it. And that night as I slipped away from Earth, the unresolved yearning grew and grew.

I found myself sitting at a table for two, chatting with a young woman of similar age. The setting was blurry but familiar: a small, quiet cafe in the student district of Nagoya, where I had spent a semester abroad. I had always despised dates, but she and I both seemed to be enjoying ourselves. And though the dream-state never exposes its details, I had a strong sense that the two of us talked about anything and everything: the savoriness of the street food, phases of depression we had experienced in high school, the university subjects we studied with such mild enthusiasm, and how we wanted to make our parents proud (a corny thing to be driven by, we knew). We must have been 5

chatting for many hours, as the dome over the dream-world turned a deep violet-blue, and she and I both had to leave for home. On the train ride back to my host family’s apartment, all the selfawareness I lacked during the day came out to play. I began to feel a hopelessness burning like a mild acid, only slightly at first but crescendoing to a wicked agony, at which point I woke to a clock that read 6:52 AM. I breathed deeply, then got out of bed to start the day early.

In the weeks and months that followed, the dreams came in many variations. Sometimes I was again on a date—they were always in Japanese cities I had visited—though surprisingly no dream was ever sexual. Other times I was in California with long-lost friends from junior high, or occasionally with family. What never changed, however, was that each day when I woke, the slate was wiped of any trailing sense of longing, connection, bitterness, or gratification, and the waltz continued precisely as it had left off. At school, job fair season came and went, but I did not notice.

Before long, it came time to graduate. The morning after the last day of exams, when others marched on stage in medieval robes, I boarded my flight back west. I put on a pair of old Sony noise-canceling headphones that I brought only on flights, and summoned my waltz playlist, starting with the Dvořák. Why not, I thought. I could not shake off the need for a routine anyway. The customary announcements were made, and passengers were seated, and the plane made its way toward the long runway. The stranger to my right glared disapprovingly, but I glanced at my phone, and noticed a message. It was from a woman I met in Nagoya two 6

years ago, who I had hardly spoken to since. At the cafe, it occurred to me. Or was it? Had I not gone there alone to study? It had been too long, and I could not be sure anymore. I began to write a response, but there was no time; with a jolt, the plane began to roar forward. Dvořák’s Serenade gave way to the rude opening of Khachaturian’s Masquerade. As if it had taken the jolt of takeoff to awaken me, I felt as though I could think for myself for the first time in years. And my first original thought was that in that moment, I was thankful for being on a cheap flight. Not a car or bus or cruise line—somewhere I could text a friend, or call an ex, or talk to someone sympathetic—though everything in me wanted to do so. For the time being, I could do nothing and be nothing but myself: a jobless fresh graduate confined to the window, clutching in hand a message that would have to wait a good six hours. I sat back, closed my eyes, and let the unrestrained longing of a Soviet waltz carry me into the clouds.


tiffany ko 8

Sometimes there are daytime slumbers A paradox of clarity and foggy mirror memories, of warm winter blankets and frosted pavements, blended into one immersive experience. And so life passes marionette-like with only good intentions at the strings. Each movement pulling away from forest fires and dreams set aflame. The kind of run where eyes fog up like thick rimmed glasses on a cold day and legs move to the rhythm of passing miles. Finding relaxation in forward momentum. Eventually the distance clocks in adequate And feet find committed grounding. Puffs of smoke escape a labored breath Dissolving into crystal air. Heartbeat anxiety deepbreathsinhaleexhale —  pause. Suddenly incredibly awake, eyes refuse to shut and the calming cloud of dreaming Does not pass.


Untitled 3 atsu kakitani








alton zheng

2:38 AM People have made tougher decisions in life. Like that Soviet soldier who ignored his computer telling him America was nuking the shit out of his country, chalking it up as a glitch in the system. Nuclear armageddon, avoided. Nice job, Soviet dude. But that’s history, and history is only relevant on a full stomach. A full stomach is something I lack. First, a geological survey. I’m in my bed. Beyond this cozy sanctity, across my room, down a flight of stairs, and through the frozen tundra also known as my kitchen tiles lies the Cupboard. This is my destination.

2:45 AM I stick out a probing hand, feeling the conditions like a sailor navigating the seas on nautical intuition. It’s cold. But not too cold, my stomach growls. I hesitate. Breakfast is a only few hours away. “It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor,” I tell my stomach, giving myself a mental fist bump. “Seneca.” “Feed me you little bitch,” my stomach counters. Even the Stoics don’t have a rebuttal to that. I solemnly hug my blanket, pillow, bottom pillow, and side pillow goodbye. I slither out from under my blanket’s wistful embrace, like escaping an ex-girlfriend’s hug. I pad through the plush carpet of my room. This is the DMZ. Beyond this, lies the wilderness. 17

2:46 AM It is quiet outside, illuminated only by the sinister gaze of the moon. I fumble around for the lights. I push one, and the loft lights up. I turn that off, and push another switch, turning off my room lights. Damnit, this always happens. Finally, I push the right switch, putting an end to the impromptu light show. The stairs, illuminated, descend into the darkness of my kitchen. Something beckons devilishly. “Wouldn’t it be really fucking scary if a face popped up in that window over there?” My brain innocently asks. “Well, yes, but that’s highly unlikely.” “But it’s still technically possible… right?” My heart thumps loudly in agreement.

2:47 AM In front of me is the Cupboard. I open it and scan the shelves. Not much, but I procure an anticipatory jar of Nutella.

2:48 AM I’m refreshing my Facebook feed. How did I get here? Alas, I tentatively wait for the spinner to do its spinning. No new notifications. Right, people are asleep; I’m not in college anymore.

2:50 AM In front of me is the Fridge. I open it and scan the shelves. Not much, but I extract a questionable loaf of bread.


2:55 AM Nutella-frosted stale bread complete. A hallmark of culinary innovation. The proverbial breakfast of champions. Michelin recommended at the very least. I casually turn off the kitchen lights. A sudden chill sweeps through the empty space. I am in an entirely different world now, a world I do not belong to. I sprint up the stairs, bounce my hand off the light switch and slam the door to my room. I dive into my bed, under the sheets, heart pounding, but safe. I am greeted by the residual warmth my bedding has carefully guarded for me.

2:56 AM I eat my bread and Nutella. Crumbs fall on my bed, but I do not care. Life is good.


elizabeth lin 20


Fantasy 22

lisa inoue 23

blueprint e-team 24

I need to be tripping harder. kevin wu


I fear the unknown of tomorrow. nikhil narayen


Now empty, this space was yours. soo song


I wish I said that instead. daniel li


Orange teslas orange teslas orange teslas !!! anonymous


jason won 30

to our contributors

alton zheng atsu kakitani elizabeth lin jason won jimmy wu tiffany ko blueprint e-team

and a huge thank you to you for reading—we hope you enjoyed it - jordeen & lisa 31


Trouble Sleeping  
Trouble Sleeping  

Issue 1