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[ S u b ] u r b a n

W h e r e

A r e

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Y o u

R u r a l :

F r o m ?


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volume 06 (2011-2012) → Staf f Editor-In-Chief Jessica Lamb Managing Editor Bekki McCoy Arts & Visual Editor Katrina Grabowski Associate Editors Heather Dennis

→ Re v i e w Pan el Poetry & Prose Alethea Cook

Natalie Boldt

Colleen Little

Katherine Schafer

Derek Witten Michael Biornstad

→ Fac u lty Ad v is or

Ryan Froese

Lynn R. Szabo

Leah Cummins Will Davies

→ Ad v i s or y B o ard

Cameron Reed

Vic Cavalli

Justin Poulsen

Susan McCaslin

Mike Kozowski

Connie Braun

Natalie McNeill Tanja Johnson Jacob Maude Art Dylan De Jong Rebecca Sellers Kenji Skulstad Mathew Braun


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F R O M

T H E

E D I T O R

We are privileged to have two of the finest guest contributors for this year’s edition. Jonathan Auxier, former student of Trinity Western University, graduate of Creative Writing from Carnegie-Mellon University and practicing writer has recently published his first novel Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes with Penguin Press. He has contributed a short personal essay entitled, “Bookshelves.” Paul Quenon, a monk of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, and a previous Writer-in-Residence at Trinity Western University, has contributed both poetry and photography reflecting his unusual and intriguing life and environment. In the process of editing this year’s journal, I have had the opportunity to work with a team of remarkable associate editors. Bekki McCoy, the managing editor and my right-hand woman has given her time, expertise and advice to make this possible. Additionally, Heather Dennis, Katy Shafer, and Natalie Boldt have spent hours carefully poring over submissions, offering their time and editing wisdom. “(Sub)urban or rural: Where are you from?” is the theme of this year’s journal; and in fact, this is the first year in which [spaces] has had a theme. The contrast between (sub)urban and rural encapsulates much of the human experience which forms identity. It is my hope that this year’s volume of [spaces] offers a glimpse of the journey of identity. Editor-in-Chief Jessica Lamb


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→ Po e tr y 07| Sp a d e

Na omi Mu l l er

08| Five A l ar m Natu re

M i c ha el Bi orn st a d

09| Th e Masti c ating Hi l l

He at her D en n i s

10| S ow n in Sti l lne ss

C hri stoph S an z

11| Th e T hird C o ast

Me g an D re ve t s

12| Orig in

An n a B erg en

13| Trowels

Nat a l i e Mc Nei l l

14| S c ho ol hou s e, Gre y Hor s e, Ok l a homa

C ameron Re e d

15| C r af t in Ko otenay

R i c hard B erg en

16| L ast Stop

Wi l l D av i es

17| Re g arding Gr amma

B ek k i McC oy

18| C apitu l ati on

C hel s e a B e yer

19| A Hipster Hobbit’s Manifesto

Justi n Pou l s en

→ Pros e 22| Forge t-me -not

R reb e c a B esiu

25| Of Me asu re and Me aning

M i ke Ko z owsk i

28| E xc er pt f rom “O d e to the S e a”

Tanja John s on

31| E xc er pt f rom “C of fe e and C ons ci enc e”

Trent D e Jong


→ Ar t 35| 29t h and Nanaimo

Ian Gr a h am

36| Th e G lint of Wi l d er ne ss

E l i z ab e t h E l l i s

37| Ob sr u c ti ons

Nat a l i e Mc Nei l l

38| Untit l e d

Reb e c c a S el l ers

39| Fo g g y Mor ning at Su nnysl op e

Ti m An d ri es

40| Mom ento Mor i

D y l an D e Jong

41| Isl om ani a

Katri n a Gr ab owsk i

42| Untit l e d

Br a d en Jon es

43| Pan el 2

Mat he w Br aun

44| Mem or y

C hel s e a D av i d s on

→ Gu est C ontributor s 46| B o okshelve s

Jon at han Auxi er

48| Vari ou s Hai ku s

Br. Pau l Q u en on

50| Hi ker ’s Gu i d e to the Monaster y

Br. Pau l Q u en on

51| Fe ast of St . John’s L ater an’s Basi li c a

Br. Pau l Q u en on

[spaces] accepts fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, drama, photography, artwork, etc., by current students and alumni of Trinity Western University. For all submissions guidelines, please go to twuspaces.com. All pieces are subject to a blind reading by the revieweing panel, excepting the works of guest contributors. For more information, please contact us at s p a c e s . l i t e r a r y j o u r n a l @ g m a i l . c o m


p o e t r y → Poets Naomi Muller Michael Biornstad Heather Dennis Christoph Sanz Megan Drevets Anna Bergen Natalie McNeill Cameron Reed Richard Bergen Will Davies Bekki McCoy Chelsea Beyer Justin Poulsen


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S p a d e Naomi Muller

A prong of wood, a metal head, And I, your brutal garden spade, Spit dirt upon your honoured dead, And mound the ground where they are laid. Yet I am soft to bury life, And hide in earth the trembling seeds That hardly grow for fear your knife Will murder quick for table needs. You own me not, though you may wield; I strike at stones with ringing laugh, By thirds I triple garden yield, And double kindred worms by half. I work for you from north to south, Yet coldly still I aid your trade And bite the earth to fill your mouth, For I am it: the garden spade.


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F i v e

A l a r m

N a t u r e

Michael Biornstad

there once was a boy of five alarm nature bear claw and dad's saw, hammer and tooth he ran through the woods to hunt out the good to find what, and for, a mystery stood he'd jump in the stream and tear through those trees a fort he would build, hammer nail with ease the mystery elude, imagine to wander a forest walk, mind stumbles, feet saunter youth teaming potential and act in the making a child, a dreamer, man's mind world-forsaking go back to the woods, to your pocket-knife youth to the hoopdowlow summers of your skinned knee truth there once was a boy of five alarm nature bear claw and dad's saw, hammer and tooth but I ran from those woods and behind left the good a good mystery to heal, free passions of should o' how to go back to the tree climbing days to the spirit-led mind and childlike ways? And if I knew I would tell you from atop the oak of god's unanswerable word so mysteriously spoke


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T h e

M a s t i c a t i n g

H i l l

Heather Dennis

In the grain stubble spaces between urban auroras and expansive night, there is a hill beside two others like the ancient high places, a sanctuary in the sky. Generations of immigrants mount the hill, while proximate elk call and milk-drop stars listen to the masticating hill digesting life into loamy land. Sacrifices of worry and grief, choice cuts of mirth, banquets of rumination — Memory’s first-fruits feeding the hill our fleeting beginnings, middles, and ends, offered up, spilled out, chewed down, swallowed into deep earth belly as cumulonimbus rut across the sky.


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S o w n

i n

S t i l l n e s s

Christoph Sanz

We walked through the rows of dirt, and you talked about seasons and seeds and Indian arrowheads. I glanced at your hands as we walked, your fields mapped out in the criss-cross crevices of your palm, weathered and strong. I kept my hands in my pockets. Somewhere between these lines of growth, you were whispered wisdom. Quietly you received, now quietly you give, and out of your stillness you plant. When my feet touched the warm soil I realized: All my life I had only been walking on pavement.


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T h e

T h i r d

C o a s t

Megan Drevets

Water falls into Lake Michigan from summer thunderstorms, from the St. Lawrence River, sifted through series of great lakes, waterways fins of lake trout and talons of blue herons, but it doesn’t leave. Two hundred years they say the water molecule stays swirling in the undertow, crashing on wind-pierced piers and lighthouse keepers’ doors, churning against factory shores, Chicago skycrapers, and remote cabin docks, forming dunes and shaping trees, where Chippewa carvings still recite odes to the sun-soaked horizon and cicadas grind their sandpaper teeth to the syncopation of August light. So I dive off the dock, the water of centuries filling my eyes and ears and mouth. I can taste the stale iron rust of sunken freighters, ashes of the Great Chicago Fire, gun powder of eighteen twelve, arrowheads and flint,


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and dirt washed from the hands of my ancestors, who drank this fossil water and let it flow through their veins and into their legends and stories, birthing their children and their children’s children out of the windy womb of Lake Michigan and into its sorrow and songs. and the dirt washed from the hands of my ancestors who drank this fossil water and let it flow through their veins and into their legends and stories birthing their children and their children's children out of the windy womb of lake michigan and into its sorrow and songs


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O r i g i n Anna Bergen

I hold Him for whom The whole world calls. The trees whistle and whisper as the wind Flows down between their branches, Rushing all across our country, up through the plains The wind rolls In every corner of wood and hill Still there is found creation reaching after Him for whom the whole world calls. Now bending to the ground From where I have been plucked, I feel that driven wind upon my back, See it gusting shaven wheat across the plains. Soon I shall return here to the ground To lie beneath the planting when the sickle comes Save some rapturous miracle prevent And yet I came from Him, and will return to echo back To Him for whom the whole world calls.


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T r o w e l s Natalie McNeill

The garden started late, far into the warmth of summer. Dark earth hung in my hands—almost weightless, before I dropped it into the native soil threaded with clay. Being so eager to protect its newness (To save the top heavy delphiniums from their own gravity, the phlox from the curious lips of the neighbouring deer), I accidentally uprooted all the progress I had made, just to feel those spindly underground legs— naked and warm.


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S c h o o l h o u s e ,

G r e y

Cameron Reed

Playing on forgotten playgrounds, running where all the kids have run away, we were turning over windswept pages, looking out across the plains. We will sing out in these ruins, our voices run on down the halls. Underneath the open ceiling, we prayed to heaven with our mittens on. Turning the latches of some dark cellar, doorframe crucified with trees —opened up, we rushed inside, uncovered all the darkness sees. We will look back on these ruins, our bodies flying through the air. Turning circles on rusty hinges, we told broken walls to repair. We will sing on until the day when these stones all rearrange, rising up above the highway, rising up above the plains.

H o r s e ,

O k l a h o m a


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C r a f t i n

K o o t e n a y

Richard Bergen

Subsequent to generations of wanderers and water-travelers, observant and obstinate, I have happened across a threshold– a distinctive beauty that coalesces.   The lake’s arms reach sparingly to the penetrable beach-like grasslands flooded by the fingers of waters, as if to fit an earthen glove. The field appears not suddenly, but is summoned even before it planes on the plains. The mountain, though mighty and tall, stoops to point to what lies at its feet and beneath – just as in concurrence it calls overhead with confidence, to the heavenly bodies, which in equal height and equal motion, do not seek pre-eminence or an elevated platform, only to light generously a darkening twilight. And the companions of starlight come winsomely to whisper “goodbye; for now...”


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L a s t

S t o p

Will Davies

Last stop on this line A tip and tap down through the track Without a soul to see Electric chill shoot up your spine Forgot what this place was The back end of the ticker tape The side of the city you never look at Topography is formed here It flows out like vines across our earth-crust roof Air sticks in mouth and refuses to be spent Inert it makes you move to keep the red pumping This place is still like crimes committed Chalk outlines the very act of creation Walking here and careful not to stray too far from the platform Drifting around your feet a wisp of auburn It seems on the edge of sight But you reach down for it Arching your back across those cavernous miles A dead leaf from the head of Yggdrasil1 Your hour finally past A steel train to steal you back With not another soul To see the world unfold from black 1 Nors World Tree


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R e g a r d i n g

G r a m m a

Bekki McCoy

Remember: who she has been is not who she was. So when you tell people that your grandmother has died and they reply, “Oh, I’m sorry, were you close?” don’t mince words with “kinda.” Don’t say something like “we used to be,” or “not at the end, I suppose.” I know you weren’t close to the paranoid, fearful, extravagant, frustrating woman who lived in our house the last few years, but remember that her mind was not her own. Let the gramma from your childhood be the gramma you remember now, and let her madness rest with her. Remember the woman who spent hours in the garden, who watched Pride and Prejudice and Anne of Green Gables over and over, and milked her cows until she was 92. Remember the woman who loved you. We know that our gramma died long before her body followed, and the confused woman we gave a cookie to and sent back to bed at 1 a.m. did not help our grieving her loss, but she was lost nonetheless. Don’t be bitter now. Don’t be resentful. Thank God that the madness is over and remind yourself that beginnings would be meaningless without endings. Tell them you loved her.


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C a p i t u l a t i o n Chelsea Beyer

Remember when you built little snowmen on the hood of your car and dusted snowflakes from my hair and shoulders and nose and we laughed side by side, flecked in icy white, abandoned to the magic of each other and of the sky: both opened up with winter. I shook those loose, but you, not quite so freely. Instead melting and dripping, seeping heavy and trapped, clinging to my cheeks neck breastbone. The stillness aches gaping where you used to stand next to me, fingers tangled with mine. And then I remember that my fingers, cold again, are fine on their own.


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A

H i p s t e r

H o b b i t ’ s

M a n i f e s t o

Justin Poulsen

I come from the underground, and ahead of the sound that’s already been found I tread. And with an air, I am he that stalks the music scene. I am the indie-finder, the pop-shunner, the judging eye. My culture is stolen and broken asunder. I am he that curses what my friends admire and frowns on them and guffaws at their inferior ken of the post-modern. I come from the douche of bag, but no messenger bag fits my DSLR camera. I am the trend of stares and the pest of regals. I am style-chagrinner and tastedespairer; and I am label-denier and1 1Democrat-voter Irony-lover Anti-showerer Frequenter of bars that are dirtier on the inside than the outside Grandma’s sweater-wearer (Grandpa’s sweaters aren’t gender neutral enough) Dubstep-spazzer Beard-grower Moustache-groomer Watcher of only movies that require subtitles or who’s directors names cannot be pronounced Tumblr-writer Helvetica-typer Vintage-thrifter Buyer of skinnies, TOMS, v-necks, scarfs, toques, and non-prescription-thick-rimmed-glasses Quinoa-cooker (rice is so mainstream) Mac-user Pitchfork-peruser Bieber-loather Name-defyer


p r o s e → Writers Rebeca Besiou Mike Kozowski Tanja Johnson Trent DeJong


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F o r g e t - M e - N o t Rebeca Besoiu

Between my pointer finger and thumb, I gently twirl a withered flower; it is the color of loss and remembrance. * When I was five summers old, I walked into the Vancouver airport for the first time, fingers tense with apprehension. My father, walking beside me, pushed a trolley with four modest suitcases piled atop each other; decades of life condensed within leather rectangles. I stood barely an inch past my mother’s knee, holding tightly to a cream-colored bear. A stranger met us at the airport and asked us to stand for a photograph. I smiled boldly, gapped teeth and chubby fingers forever engraved by a flash of light. Eyes heavy with exhaustion, we weaved, half-confident, through a tangle of foreign words. I nudged my mother and asked, “What language are they speaking?” “English,” she said and I nodded, feigning comprehension. I had heard German at the city school and my grandparents’ soft-spoken Romanian in the countryside, but never these harsh, quick sounds that stung my ears and left them ringing. I had become but a word in a foreign language.1 * I used to roll the ‘r’ in my name like my grandmother Buni rolled dough – back and forth, the tip of my tongue on the roof of my mouth. But in this new country, the rolling ‘r’ phoneme did not exist and instead I was spoon-fed words that clung to the back of my throat, refusing to reappear. At first I begged my tongue to continue forming the A-breve, a mid-center unrounded vowel, and the ‘tz’ sound made by the ‘t’ with a palatal hook. English dictionaries emptied me of the innate ability to clothe words in gender; masculine and feminine identities were obliterated and all words melded into a genderless state. I wrestled with introductory vocabulary, my tongue thick, unmanageably large within my mouth. (In the process of learning, are we also forgetting?) 1Margaret Atwood Disembarking at Quebec


* My grandfather Moşu was a storyteller; he learnt stories by heart and narrated them to the village children. My sister and I were his best audience. As winter began to nuzzle the windowpanes and lick our fingers cold, we would rush indoors and burrow between the endless layers of Moşu’s bed. Like a good gardener he nourished my mind with stories, immersed every bit of skin in a language I began to crave. We tell stories and give ourselves existence. * I spent my summers as a child collecting flowers. Some, I pressed between the heavy covers of encyclopedias and waited until they dried, thin as paper. Others, I would dip into cold water mixed with fragrances from my mother’s upper shelf, believing myself a distinguished perfumer. When I was ten summers old, Buni came to visit and I proudly showed her the flowers in the neighborhood. She walked with me, pleased at my enthusiasm; only I could feel the darkness seep into my mouth as I struggled to pronounce the words of her language. * Let us split time at the seams, like Moşu split open pods and dropped peas into a cauldron of boiling tomato sauce. Let us unravel time, like Buni unraveled my inconsistent knitting, pulling at one woolen thread and freeing my awkward fingers. Let us lay time out, like a map and pinpoint where it was that I gained that which I fought against, and forgot that which I held closest. To lose your mother tongue is to forget who you are. * When I was fourteen summers old, Buni sent me a thick envelope for my birthday. Inside I found a card and tiny black specks. She gave me clear instructions to plant the tiny seeds in soil and to water them daily. I was filled with wonder; between the thick fold of a stiff envelope, Buni had managed to send me a piece of a long-forgotten home, a clipping of her azure garden. * When I was a child, Moşu taught me about poverty. He told me about sharing a pair of shoes with his brother in the winter and growing up in communist Romania where the state owned everything but your soul. He remembered being in elementary school and having to color a picture of a tree with crayons. The only color he had was brown. Moşu asked a wealthier classmate who had a green crayon if he could use it, and the boy refused. Are trees without green branches lifeless? Surely the winter will end and spring


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will bring color once more. Oh grandfather, if only you knew, if only I could understand, that there is beauty in brokenness. I hunger now for stories that no one else can tell. * One Saturday morning, my mother told me that Moşu had suffered a stroke. The sickness robbed him of his ability to run, to garden and to speak. As the days morphed into weeks, and those into months, news of his complete recovery never came. I watched in silence as the forget-me-nots withered in their pot by the window. Their seed, like my tongue, could not contain such alienation from home; while I adapted, they could not. Oh that the earth would split open and spill out in grief for the storyteller reduced to babbling! Oh that the earth would nourish the brown tree and give life to the blue flowers dried between the covers of encyclopedias. Dear Moşu, we have withered: I from neglecting my inner language and you from the inability to tell stories. There is such soundlessness in our loss. If only language could be released from some inner storehouse; if only it could inundate this barren mouth and tongue, awakening sounds lost to slumber. In my dreams that little girl is a seed, tucked between the thick fold of an envelope, sent back across the Atlantic Ocean; when I awake she is a black and white photograph – gapped teeth and chubby fingers – staring at me. On these pages, in this language, I give her existence. •


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O f

M e a s u r e

a n d

M e a n i n g

Mike Kozowski

Snow, Singing my fall; Touch of soft coldness. Artless it covers the earth. Moving through emptiness, It settles and drifts In my soul. Beginnings and endings are fantastical: lines of consciousness and serendipity that fade as soon as you move close, like the end of a rainbow, or the snow that falls on the ground. Are the colours real? The patterns imagined? It’s hard to know with certainty, yet we pick a spot: a genesis point of beginning. Then we imagine another point for the ending. In fact, we pick many moments: points along a timeline of occasions and events which, when strung together, support the story of our lives. A timeline is, after all, the way we mark the motion of life. A series of consecutive points which plot nicely on a line by which we measure, and assess, a person’s lifewithin-time. Common as apples. From here. To there. Except that it isn’t that simple. Nothing is as simple as it seems to be: that’s part of its ‘seeming.’ Would it surprise you to know that representing time as a straight line, so essential to our modern consciousness, has only been around since Galileo? It’s a couple of hundred years younger than apple pie. That may seem like a long time, but it really isn’t: Not when we have to include folks like Parmenides and Pythagorus in the conversation. In fact, there may be no more important moment in our Western history than this brilliant discovery by Galileo. Just think of E=MC2: how would we ever know how to measure the speed of light without the factor of measured, linear time? Without


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this innocuous yet earth-shaking insight, we have no modern physics. So much for all those pastoral homilies which carefully and insightfully draw out the distinctions between ‘kairos’ time and ‘chronos’ time. I can’t complain too much, though. I’ve been a pastor myself, and am a past master at drawing distinctions where none exist. Most of us were taught just enough Greek to be dangerous. Fact is, this linear representation of time is a modern idea. Aristotle was primarily concerned with time only as it relates to change; which was vital for his epic notions of causality. And the biblical account was concerned with time in terms of Genesis beginnings and apocalyptic endings. Neither were concerned with time in terms of personal, embodied experience. But this is now the only way we can conceive of time: as closed past and open future. Before Galileo time was conceived of differently. There’s no way to get around it: personal time, and personal space, had not occurred to either Plato or Paul. Yet, for us, time (and space) is nothing if not personal. It’s a bit odd actually, if you think about it. For the ancients, with the cosmos itself evoking thoughts of gods and goddesses, and theogonies and theodicies, had little enough need of the personal; the cosmos was, for them, already personal. Every stone and every tree, every river and every star were material reflections of divine life and presence. The planet lived, the universe breathed: God and man were in a forever courtship, each seeking to woo the other to his ways. For us, now, it seems like it was a bit of a fatal attraction: we’ve sent God out of the room and man to his therapist. On the other hand, for us, the universe has been found out; the game’s up, the emperor is blushing to his earlobes. There are no fauns in the forest or elves in the night. Trees and rivers are no more than wood and water; and stars, rather than being brilliant points of celestial agency, are infernos the like of which would make Dante go pale. Their reflection in the water stops at the surface; they are an image with no substance: an epiphenomenon. I often consider, wondering as I go, if this impersonal universe is much more awesome than the old enchanted cosmos. And much more interesting. But what I want to point out is that we’re choking on ourselves: to the degree we’ve emptied the universe of personality, we’ve found that we have to fill ourselves with such a measure of the personal that we’re ready to burst. We’re Narcissus on steroids. We’re drowning in our own image, filled with loneliness, angst, and boredom; frantically telling and retelling our stories so that, as we listen to our own telling, we remember our own existence. We’ve fallen, and we can’t get up: we have become the ground of our own being.


So what meaning do I have? Not much, apparently. Or at least none that extends beyond myself. I am epiphenomenal to you, and you are epiphenomenal to me: shades and shadows of our own necessity, needing and using one another to complete our conversations with ourselves. It’s no wonder that, following Nietzsche, we’re left with little more than a discourse of power. If you don’t exist as fully as I do in my own mind, it simply doesn’t follow that I should commit to you ethically or ontologically in any significant sense. You become an end to my means: a tool for my use, a commodity to be consumed. This is what happens when you begin measuring things: their ‘thing-ness’ obliterates their ‘other-ness.’ Measuring the sea destroyed Leviathan. Measuring the heavens emptied them of, well, just about everything: either you have ether, or you have . . . space, emptiness, nothing at all. God became matter, and now matter is become nothing but energy. Beauty to ashes. This is not the stuff of which dreams are made. You have to be careful when you measure things; you can lop off more than you ever dreamed. You can even lop off your dreams. And dreams are the stuff of which life, true life, is made. •

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E x c e r p t

F r o m

“ O d e

T o

T h e

S e a ”

Tanja Johnson

Always I have been surrounded by a tame-less body: sleepless in its everlasting pursuit, gentle in the breath of its whispers. When I do not feel its solicitous tug or fall asleep to its rocking lullaby, I sink into an uneasy slumber. Some say that in every person’s heart there is a hole that can only be filled by God. In my heart, I discover another hole. Four months away from the West Coast and its gap continues to widen until the plane touches down in Victoria. A breath of life greets my lungs, as I step into the crisp December air. The egress opens my heart to healing as the salt breeze kisses my lips, the mountains enfold me, and the horizon winks hello. Here, I am whole again. Growing up on Vancouver Island, stretching 460 kilometres in length and 80 kilometres in width, cradling the capital of British Columbia in its southern tip and my home an hour north in the city of Duncan—I am enveloped by the arms of the sea. Living five minutes from the ocean, I bask in its proximity. Drifts of sea air waft up to my house whenever the south eastern wind curbs its trajectory over the mountain. The saline enters my nostrils and rests there, as I sit on the top step of our front porch and watch the sun tuck itself to sleep behind the twin camel humps of Mt. Prevost. The gentle sunset breeze whispers its evening prayer. I breathe in deeply. As a child, I often hear my mom talk of the sea, of how she can stare at it for hours and how she dreams of retiring to it. In its presence, a deep joy effervesces within her and lays a clear blanket over her blue eyes. Her joy expresses my own. Ironically, though captivated by its presence, we visit it rarely. When we do, its cool edge and consistent breeze often keep us in the car. Grandma, mom, and I sit warm in the Buick, looking towards our source of longed for refreshment, joy, and perfect peace. Growing older, I now seek the ocean as treasure. This summer, I discover an emerald bay, where rocks are green and jewels glitter beneath the polished edges of the shore. Seeking a place of respite, to repose, I meander along the ocean’s rinsed bed, pebbles working their way into the recesses of my rubber crocs.


29| At the shoreline time breathes. It inhales as the ocean rolls and folds and strokes the stones along its soles. The cove envelopes the sea world in echoes of love, life, and salt-sweet traces of seaweed, fish heads, and gasoline air. Hope lies in its wake and caves echo joys to come. I visit the emerald bay once, and again thereafter. My pilgrimage starts with a short stint from the top of the road, down the steep cement path, down five steps and onto the freshly sifted floor. I might stop here to rest on a nearby log or perhaps dangle my feet over the edge of the creaky jetty, but this is not where my journey ends. Tucked away on the northern tip of the beach lies my treasure, where my heart is, lapped in the folds of the sea. At night I come with friends for camp fires and chilly dips, after hot nights of Ultimate Frisbee. Jumping off the public pier, two friends and I plunge into the dark. We trust the water to catch us and not swallow us whole. Alive, and trembling with adrenaline, we shoot up from the shallows and make a beeline for shore. There awaits fire and friends to exult in our wetness and warmly congratulate our courage. The ocean shimmers beneath our rapid strokes. As our bodies touch the molecularly laden water, its electrons excite, affecting the spin state of atoms, emitting a light whose glow, like a first kiss, persists after the exciting source is removed. At night, the ocean’s euphoria lights a path for sea lions and all bold swimmers. As I forge velvet ripples through its starry blanket, I recognize that in this body I touch the edge of every body in the world. The summer after grade four, I go to camp for the first time. After a night game, my three closest friends and I return to our cabin to find our counsellor standing outside with a blanket and flashlight. “Get your pyjamas and coats on quick,” she says. “Meet me out here in five minutes.” Our counsellor leads us down the forest path to the ocean. It is August and the stars form waves of light between the trees. Usually campers are not allowed onto the pier after dark. Our counsellor carefully lifts the rope obstructing our path and we follow her under it. She places her blanket near the edge of the dock, and we gather there in a circle. The water laps against the wooden planks of the aging wharf, as we listen to her share about the wonders of God’s creation and his love: as deep and as wide as the ocean. Then, she walks over to the edge of the dock and crouches down, motioning for us to come and see. Fourteen heads peer over the black liquid as her hand enters the pool and a swirling figure eight lights up the water. Exclamations of wonder and gasps of delight accompany our surprise. We are privy to the secret of the sea.


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I am eleven years old when I see phosphorescence for the first time. Later, I learn that the phenomenon is the result of bioluminescent and photosynthetic dinoflagellates responding to stimuli, that their release of light is a defence mechanism, and that their encounter with a large ship can produce a wake seen 32 kilometres away, but to me it is my first sight of a miracle. •


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E x c e r p t “ C o f f e e

f r o m a n d C o n s c i e n c e ”

Trent DeJong

On the eighth day God created coffee --- Zazzle Mug from zazzle.com. I’m not sure why I recall coffee time at Grandma’s with such reverence and affection. Perhaps it was grace—inclusion in a ritual, when too young to partake of the eponymous element. At the farm, coffee time never varied. It always meant cookies, the same cookies: homemade chocolate chip and store bought. The latter were always those chocolate-covered, marshmallow-puffs filled with a bit of raspberry. But I liked the homemade cookies the best and I miss them the most; I’ve never eaten a better cookie. Coffee time was a regular and holy mystery—the conversation was as incomprehensible to me as the stuff the adults drank. In something so ordinary and as regular as coffee time, I experienced what Father Capon calls the “unutterable weight of glory.” • The coffee plant is particular as to where it grows, for it desires heat. A mysterious force draws it up mountains onto green slopes where it hides in the oppressive humidity of the world’s jungles.  And it likes rain—lots of rain.  The earth and air flavour the fruit. In Africa, the seeds draw in essences derived from rich black soil, evening fog and very hot days. In Central and South America, mountain vistas and heavy humidity suffuse the beans.  Coffee grown on the slopes of the Pacific Islands is filled with the vastness and verve of the surrounding ocean.  Because of its capacity to absorb its setting, coffee has some of the most complex and varied flavours of anything that human beings eat or drink. Furthermore, all the flavour of a particular bean is present at the time of its picking. Nothing will be added, but without due care, much can be lost. Something as extraordinary as a coffee bean is surely entitled to at least a moment’s pause to appreciate its exceptionality. •


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All this variety from bean to bean is extraordinary, but then the human creator fulfills his mandate to innovate. There are various methods for extracting the flavour from the grind. The most common in coffee houses is the espresso which is brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee. Once you have your espresso, there’s so much to do with it. You can add water to make an Americano, steamed milk to make a Latte, lots of steamed milk to make a Macchiato and equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and frothed milk to make a Cappuccino. Each of these has variations as well. For instance, a Cappuccino can be Dry with less frothed milk and no steamed milk at all. It can be Mocha with chocolate syrup and Breva if made with half-and-half, instead of whole milk. My personal favourite is “A Shot in the Dark”—a shot of espresso in a cup of drip coffee. All of the above can be upgraded to a Double which means you can use two espresso shots rather than one. Further, there is a plethora of syrups, flavorings, and spices that can be added. Chocolate is the most common, either sprinkled on top or added in syrup form, while other favorites include cinnamon, nutmeg, and Italian syrups and nearly any alcoholic beverage. And you need not drink your coffee hot; have it warm or even iced. • Starbucks has over 170,000 beverage possibilities. I was standing in line. In front of me was a young guy casually dressed in nothing but black and white. His track pants were black with white stripes, and his jacket was black with white sleeves. His backpack was black with white detailing, and his shoes, white with black detailing; bracelet, black; ear buds, white. Interestingly, from the position of a customer, he was writing on the side of a Starbuck’s cup (white) with a pen (black). With the flourish of a calligrapher, he wrote something in every one of those instruction boxes, except the one labeled “Decaf.” He passed the cup to the barista. “They let you do that?” I asked. “I work here,” he explained. “It looks complicated.” “May I help you?” the barista asked me. “16 ounce Americano, please.” “Would you like room for cream?”


“No thanks.” I sipped my coffee. The guy in black and white still waited for his. Such extravagance takes time. I asked him if he could write his recipe on my cup. He did so gladly. Shots: 1 Aff, 1 Ris Syrup: 4pV Milk: S Custom: 140° x C Driz Drink: CM And then with the pride of the artist, he signed his masterpiece, “Scott Hancock.” “Did you invent this drink?” I asked. He nodded proudly. Three days later, I tried Scott’s masterpiece. How could I not? It was great to try something new, but I will stick to my simple Americano for now. • “HEY! Coffee time.” Don, our boss, almost came up behind his crew and barked, “Hey!” I think he liked to see us jump. He was a landscaper and when it came to landscaping, he knew the right way to do everything, and every other way was wrong. If we were shoveling, he’d yell, “Hey!” and sternly and impatiently show you the most efficient way to move dirt. And if we called it dirt, he’d snap, “Hey! Dirt is what’s under your fingernails; this is soil.” He knew we were on edge and he seemed to derive some pleasure from it, because twice a day he’d come up behind us and bark, “Hey!” followed by a much softer, “Coffee time.” When we sat down for coffee, everything changed. He told us stories about the Vietnam War and laughed at our stories about college life. The breaks were supposed to be fifteen minutes, but if the mood struck, he’d sit there much longer, and we’d enjoy the grace of a few minutes holding coffee and not a shovel. •

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a r t → Artists Ian Graham Elizabeth Ellis Natalie McNeill Rebecca Sellers Tim Andries Dylan De Jong Katrina Grabowski Braden Jones Mathew Braun Chelsea Davidson


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2 9 t h Ian Graham

a n d

N a n a i m o


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T H E Elizabeth Ellis

G L I N T

O F

W I L D E R N E S S


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O B S T R U C T I O N S Natalie McNeill


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P L A Y Rebecca Sellers


Tim Andries

F O G G Y

M O R N I N G

A T

S U N N Y S L O P E

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M O M E N T O Dylan De Jong

M O R I


I S L O M A N I A Katrina Grabowski

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U N T I T L E D Braden Jones


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E L E C T R I C A L Mathew Braun

P A N E L

I I


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M E M O R Y Chelsea Davidson


g u e s t c o n t r i b u t o r s → Writers Jonathan Auxier Br. Pau l Q uenon


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B o o k s h e l v e s Jonathan Auxier

Book collectors are a breed apart from normal readers. Robertson Davies describes them as combining “the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with those of a miser.” For better or worse, I was born into a family of book collectors. And when I look back on the places I have lived in over the last thirty years, I do not see kitchens or hallways or bedrooms—instead I see bookshelves. First were the living room bookcases from my infancy in New Jersey; these unvarnished giants that were the fuzzy backdrop to my earliest memories. Next came the dining room-turned-library in my Arizona home—a sort of improvised torture chamber in which I was forced to complete hours of homework. By the time we moved to Canada, my parents had taken great pains to prune their collection. I recall my father hauling black trash bags filled with books to the local used bookstore; any volumes he couldn’t sell were blithely tossed into the dumpster. I realized then and there that my parents’ shelves were no longer a safe place, and so (with the help of my mother) I began to build my own bookcases. Any time I have moved to a new place, the storage of books has been a primary concern. When I left home for graduate school, two large bookcases were my only real furniture purchase. By this point, my collection had expanded, and I had to store books two-deep. I spent hours negotiating which volumes deserved to be in the front row and which should be banished to the back. I somehow managed to dismantle those same shelves and fit them inside my tiny Corolla when I moved to Los Angeles. Again I found myself in a new city without job or friends, and those bookshelves represented some version of home. I married a woman whose reading habits put mine to shame. We spent most of our engagement discussing how to merge our libraries—a union I anticipated almost as much as our wedding ceremony. We registered for new bookshelves, which were quickly filled


to capacity. We developed a knack for re-purposing old furniture to better hold our collection. Wardrobes, end tables, shoe racks, and cupboards were transformed into bookshelves. To this day when I enter someone’s home, I can’t help but silently study the placement and construction of their bookcases. Let me be clear: my fixation is on the furniture itself. Furniture, I might add, that is wholly unnecessary in our current age. Book collecting is inarguably frivolous. Any quotation or reference you seek can be found online. Any story you crave can be downloaded or borrowed from a library. Moving books is prohibitively expensive. Storing them wastes precious square-footage. And yet a room without bookshelves—my bookshelves—will never feel like home. This fixation, I think, speaks to the broader idea of what makes a “home.” Even the most sensible among us line our living spaces with totems and fetish objects. Who needs framed photographs on the mantle? Who needs tchotchkes in the china cabinet? (Frankly, who needs a china cabinet?) We keep these things near because they create continuity between the different places we have lived—objects from our different worlds come together to tell the story of who we are. When describing the Garden of Eden, John Milton observes that it contains “Nature’s whole wealth” in a “narrow room.” That is to say, paradise does not force one to choose between geographies. In our world, however, we are very much forced to choose. To love the sunny coast is to shun the snowy mountain. To pursue a new career in the city is to abandon one’s roots in the country. Carrying objects between these places helps ease the pain of separation; the trinkets become surrogates for the people and places we have lost. Presently, my wife and I are in the midst of another relocation—moving back to Pittsburgh in anticipation of a first child. We have bought our first house, which we will no doubt one day outgrow and leave behind. The stairs creak, the windows sag, and the floors have decided slant. We should be spending money to repair the cracked chimney and century-old wiring. Instead, we are building bookshelves. •

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V A R I O U S

H A I K U

Br. Paul Quenon

Hill town so sleepy when a dog walked down the street it was an event.

Patches of fog shape Chinese landscape paintings here in Kentucky hills.


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Each shrub in this yard bright with the green flame of life might hide the I Am.

I’m a man in bed dreaming he’s away from home seeking where to sleep.


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H i k e r ’ s

G u i d e

Br. Paul Quenon

In case you’re lost: Streams go down. Follow that. Upward trails go towards the sun Follow that. Old trail leads to a lost colony of Mayapples. In parts unknown inhabited by redbud and dogwood– trust these familiar friends. Budding beeches dismiss dry leaves to wind in conversation with time, puzzling over seasons past and present forgetting which is which.

1Hills

t o

t h e

M o n a s t e r y

K n o b s 1


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F e a s t o f S t J o h n o l d e s t c a t h e d r a l

L a t e r a n ’ s i n R o m e

Br. Paul Quenon

A no-uncertain November cold sets greyish on the Kentucky air. Locust leaves shuffle underfoot, sighing lowly as straw. Slow as a ghost I pace the court, awaiting the bell for Lauds. Monks, white sheeted in Cowls, pass through with purposeful steps a wraith - uncertain - lacks. Bell strokes drop liquidly into silence deeply pooled, and soundly implore a gathering of hearts. Monks attend familiarly at doors held open as of guests welcomed at a house that’s faint reminder of a house older still, sacred and distant, itself a ghost of the further home not made by human hands, where a no-uncertain warmth ever sets upon the season.

B a s i l i c a


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JONATHAN AUXIER (BA ’03) is a writer and illustrator living in Pittsburgh, PA. He recently published his first novel, Peter Nimble & His Fantastic Eyes with Penguin Books. MICHAEL BIORNSTAD is a student at Trinity Western University. ANNA BERGEN graduated in 2010 with a BA in History and English and is currently in the MA TE SOL program. RICHARD BERGEN is a 22-year-old 5th year English Honours major with a concentration in Christianity and Culture and a minor in History CHELSEA BEYER is a little bit of blonde that tries to go a long way... usually while sipping Starbucks through a straw and preferably in heels. MEGAN DREVETS, a 4th year Linguistics student from the blustery blues of Chicago and the forested foothills of Southern Oregon. HEATHER DENNIS is a third year Bachelor of Arts in English Literature student and aspires to grow prize-winning tomatoes. WILL DAVIES is in his final year and owns twice his weight in books. HEATHER DENNIS is a 3rd year English Major, Linguistics concentration who just learned how to knit, and is addicted. DYLAN DE JONG is not himself but also not not himself. (5th year, Art & Design and Interdisciplinary Humanities double-major). ELIZABETH ELLIS is a 4th year art major. KATRINA GRABOWSKI is a 4th year Art + Design major who likes stuff and does things. IAN GRAHAM is a 4th year International Studies major, falling in love with Christ, trying to be a better person. TANJA JOHNSON is a Masters student in Interdisciplinary Humanities who delights in words and small blessings. BRADEN JONES is a 4th year Art + Design major who does what he can to stay creative. BEKKI MCCOY is a 4th year English Honours student, who comes from a family farm in rural Ontario and someday wants to own a house and fill it full of books to appease her chronic bibliophilism. NATALIE MCNEILL is a 4th year Communications student minoring in Art, who enjoys Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, and when she was dead broke she couldn’t picture this. NAOMI MULLER is a 2nd year Education student with teachables in Bible, English, and TESOL who comes from the rural, northern, 30-person community of Germansen Landing. JUSTIN POULSEN is currently advocating against the dubstep trafficking industry and its unregulated abuse by mainstream artists. CAMERON REED studies Geography at TWU and in his spare time wanders through neighborhoods wondering where the people are. CHRISTOPH SANZ is a 3rd year English major learning to practice resurrection. REBECCA SELLERS is a 4th year Art major who can ussually be found painting with burnt umber and ultramarine blue. DEREK WITTEN enjoys Canadian novels and driving Astro Vans in the snow; he will finish his English degree soon.


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Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Humanities

Deep and wide An MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities allows you to focus on English, History or Philosophy while experiencing the breadth of all three at a graduate level. Call, e-mail or visit us to learn more.

Program Director: Dr. Bob Burkinshaw burkinsh@twu.ca twu.ca/humanities


$7

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[spaces] volume 6  

2011/12

[spaces] volume 6  

2011/12

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