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wildflower magazine Ashley Noel Hennefer Editor Contributors Susan Botich Melanie Copeland Sandy Finelli Michael Gines Stephanie Gines Margie Klein Nicole Melvin Jessica Ross Tim Stobierski
Ashley Dodge Jessica Farkas Rachel Quinn Scarlett Caitlin Aly Thomas
Life and Food Columnist Get Reel A Network Timeout Scarlett Speaks Fight Like a Girl
Members Kelley Hodges Anna Belle Monti Allison Young Rachel Casiano Jessica Ross
Wild Member Rebel Member Rebel Member Rebel Member Wild Member
Published by Desert Underground | Independent Publishing and Media Email: email@example.com Copyright ÂŠ 2011 by the artists published and Wildflower Magazine. All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions. Your support of the artistsâ€™ rights is appreciated.
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table of contents featured artists stephanie and michael gines
8 drink it in by meredith white
16 self-made woman: Q&A with susan botich
18 super mario paints degas by tim stobierski
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desert rain by margie klein
24 girl, isolated by jessica ross
26 contrast: images by melanie copeland and nicole melvin
30 general information
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I don’t consider myself a summer person - the heat makes me irritable, the bright sun gives me headaches, and I like the business of the school year. So when the first grey sky appears and the subtle bite of cold greets me in the morning, I get excited. Fall is my favorite season by far, so I guess I’m a little biased about this issue. I like transitions, natural and personal. The autumn is where I feel most at peace with my environment. I love spending time outside amongst the falling leaves and in the rain. I love making meals with rooted vegetables that make up such a colorful plate. I love a hot glass of tea and a good book. It’s a very literary season, and many of my favorite stories and poems take place in the fall. Like every issue, a theme emerges completely unintentionally. I noticed the pieces in this issue address the idea of a personal ecology. Through the diverse creative work you’ll read about women in various habitats. Featured artists Stephanie and Michael Gines photograph women, men and children in various settings, the models’
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beauty highilighted against backgrops of the earth or manmade. Jessica Ross discusses the experience of a young woman who feels out her element with others who share a passion for the same hobby. Sandy Finelli celebrates National Recovery Month and helps people find themselves in the midst of hardship. And Susan Botich discusses where she finds inspiration for her stories and songwriting. I hope this issue encourages you to reflect on your ecologies. Where do you find peace? Of what are you afraid or intrigued? Where is your place in the universe? Happy reading! Ashley Noel Hennefer, Editor
A special feature from Sandy Finelli, director of the Empowerment Center in Reno, Nevada Every September, the Empowerment Center, along with numerous other safe and sober organizations, celebrates National Recovery Month. Recovery is an undertaking that is accomplished one day at a time and every year the Empowerment Center joins the community to acknowledge yet another benchmark on the path to long-term sobriety. National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month is hosted by the national Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. The 2011 theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Recovery Benefits Everyone.” In collaboration with Join Together Northern Nevada (www.jttn.org) the Empowerment Center and numerous community agencies seek to carry the message of recovery to men and women who are suffering from the devastation of addiction and alcoholism.
The professional recovery network in Northern Nevada is launching a fundraising effort for a heroin media campaign. This campaign is spearheaded by Join Together Northern Nevada. Why heroin? It’s cheap, it’s in our community, and it’s a problem. Our kids are using heroin at alarming rates. We want to help parents identify the signs and symptoms of heroin use before a drug problem turns into a deadly problem. Click here to find out more. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from learning more about the rewards of recovery, please contact us at info@LaunchingPadNV.com or www.LaunchingPadNV. com . Finally…the Empowerment Center has spread its wings and is trying out Social Media! Be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow Us On Twitter. Join Our Mailing List to keep up with “The Buzz” at the Empowerment Center.
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habitat Husband and wife team, Stephanie and Michael Gines of BLINKit Productions, capture women in diverse surroundings.
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How long have you been in the business? Mike has been doing video production for fifteen years but its has been only a year for us together as BLINKit Photography. Mike bought me a camera for Mother's day when he saw that I enjoyed taking photos of our two daughters. At first we just wanted to find something that we both love doing, which led us to what is now BLINKit Photography.
Where do you get inspiration for your photoshoots? We look at a lot of magazines, like PDN, After capture, and high fashion magazines like Vouge, and Cosmopolitain. Also, trend changes like the Apple iPod; we try to just be inspired by others, but not mimic them. We believe it's important to be ourselves and create our own masterpieces. A lot is preparation and experimenting on what works for the shoot. We try to think out of the box.
What are your educational back grounds? Mike has a bachelor of computer sciences and graphic designs. Stephanie started her schooling to become a registered nurse, but the interest and passion of photography changed that. We are both self taught in photography and try to educate ourselves by going to workshops and seminars, learning from the best in the industry like Joe McNally and Zack Arias. They really made us better photographers. We have had to step out of our comfort zone in many situations. And of course lots of practice. How is it working as a team? It's great! Especially when our client is female, it makes them feel more comfortable having another female to take their photos. The funny thing is, when we shoot together, a lot of the other photographers and models laugh at us because we know when one another is ready to shoot and we always finish each others sentences when we pose someone. We also give a goofy and relaxed vibe to each other, not to mention we support each other on ideas and compositions. However, after twelve years of marriage there are times when spouse mode takes effect and we know each other pretty well how to handle those moments. I can just give Mike the look and he knows to tread carefully.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as photographers? Within the a year we were very blessed to be published in multiple publicastions like Glam Rock Magazine, Lowes, Costco, Kawasaki, and Hard Rock Hotel. We designed and photographed a couple of indie movie posters along with new designers clothing lines, like famous hat designer Sarah. Next month will will be doing a shoot for a cover for The Dark Beauty Magazine. We also created a group called The Inland Empire Photography Group (IEPG). We do shoot outs with other talented people in the photography industry such as photographers, make-up artist, hair stylist and models . What makes us different from the other
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group is that we try to make our workshop a two to one ratio. Meaning one model to two photographers. The photographers will have the opportunity to pose, light and do their own unique shots than a regular paparazzi shoot out to were everyone has the same shot. You also do video production. How is the film process different than photography? The big difference is handling a crew and a array of equipment on set. Post production is longer and not to mention render time on color correct and effects added on the clips. With photography we try to do all the effects and color correct in camera so at post process we do little Photoshopping. What are your upcoming projects? We hope to start our pre-production which is a movie entitled, "Whisper My Name," which Mike wrote and will possibly co-direct. Are your children involved in the photography process? Our girls love coming with us to our shoots and at home we experiment with lighting, composition and angles quite a bit with them. They are interested in modeling as well. Both of our girls, Katelynn and Layla, are very artistic. They have gotten multiple awards and have an interest in photography and video. Time to time they do take photos with our DSLR. Any fun facts about yourself? We like playing Wii dance with the girls. Stephanie always like to eat Jack in the Box tacos before a shoot. Mike loves frozen yogurts and tries to brain freeze himself. Overall we try to think were pretty normal.
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d rin k it
b y M eredith W hite 8 . 5 . 11 A youth abroad is a ticking, homemade time bomb. Self-obsessed yet simultaneously oblivious. Lusting for life and adventure but lacking in the wisdom to slow down and absorb it. “Yes!” you exclaim, affirming every offer you are given. This is not the time to say no. This is your life, you had better hurry up and do it all! Fevered, dangerous, and full of joy. You meet strangers speaking unfathomable languages. You let your guard down and drink it all in. Literally. Cheers! You relish every new acquaintance with a celebratory cerveza. Happy to have “friends” to spend your every waking moment with, you are very careful never to be alone- because alone is the same as lonely, right? One day you find yourself leaving your apartment at one in the morning, walking to a pub with some acquaintance, ignoring the voice saying you don’t want to. They asked! Turning this down would be to face the quiet, and quiet also means // Wildflower Magazine | 16
lonely, right? Excitable, confused, and shutting down at the first sign of trouble because every support system you’ve ever known is now on the other side of a very large and seemingly misnomered “pond.” Globalization be damned, that e-mail from your parents or boyfriend doesn’t make it feel any less lonely when you sit at a bar sipping cafe con leche alone with a book because you are exhausted from fractured conjugations and impossibly slow conversations. You’re 21. It’s supposed to be the time of your life, so you won’t slow down. Don’t take time to notice that you barely know the “friend” sleeping on the hostel bunk below you, enjoying new adventures next to you and learning your secrets. When the absinthe clears, you write to someone, anyone, at home. It gives it a sense of permanence, a tie to what you know. If you’re writing, you aren’t alone with your thoughts. If you’re writing, the words and feelings go away, over the sea, undone. A blur of days, a whole week goes by. Parties turn into walks at dawn in the city’s center. A weekend is
spent on a bus to the south and you wake up on Monday in the wrong city. Your youth blinds you to consequences, and the consequences are easily repaired by your convenient youthful denial. You tell yourself you always wanted to spend a night in a strange hotel after the second missed flight of the day. After all, you haven’t had a fixed shower head for months, and the hotel and dinner are free! This is the life. If you get lost, at least you’ll be kept busy finding your way home. After yet another weeklong bender with friends, you explore a most dangerous new game. One day, you spend hours in a cafe, alone, eating up the quiet. You start to eye up the people around you and suddenly, ecstatically, you start to enjoy the details. Rejoicing that the bartender knows how you drink your espresso and remembers your favorite vegetarian tapas. You spend an evening nursing a beer, getting to know the expat bartender at your neighborhood pub. You walk around all day observing the familiar local ladies, the abrasive schoolchildren, and the amorous teens on the metro. The slowed pace becomes less scary, and you hear your intuition for the first time in months. This intuition metes out little orts of wisdom to you. Or maybe its your mom or dad’s voice finally making its way to you after months lost in translation. From wherever it came, you start to appreciate both time with friends and time alone. You can enjoy meeting new people or saying no to the occasional outing. Instead of hiding in bed with instant coffee and precious e-mails every morning until noon, you start venturing out into the sunny streets, exploring and absentmindedly finding your way to places you didn’t even know you would remember. A day at the museum is a quiet reflection, no longer an escape from time alone with just you and your thoughts. When you stop being afraid to be alone with yourself, that’s when those little people you’ve been filling your days and nights with start to actually matter to you. Giggling in the park with a school friend, you find yourself amazed with the person you have been stubbornly keeping an emotional distance from. After months of defensively insisting to yourself that the company you were keeping were only makeshift replacements for your “real friends,” you backpedal, sheepish, when you real-
ize how special they have become to you. With only a few months before your return to real life, the tides turn. Torn, you consider for a moment accepting every cocktail, every study date, every jaunt to the coast. After all, you have to live it up, right? Your real friends will be waiting at home, so why should you be talking to them now? A different day, you don’t want to spend another minute with these prepackaged “friends” you’ve been given. Take care of yourself, young lady. Think about the future. Reeling, you relate this nauseatingly inane quarter-life crisis to your new heavy metal loving Spanish friend (in Spanish, no less!) After all, you can’t tell this problem to your “real friends,” and you surely can’t relate it to your “makeshift friends.” A new tier of your social world is born... the friendly stranger. Amazingly, simply, the Spaniard makes it clear. His words, both Spanish and slang-filled, strike the air in the room with truth. In between intense strums on his electric guitar, that is. “Just enjoy the rest of your time.” He pauses with focus through a chord progression. “Why so serious, rubia? All that matters is that I teach you to make tortilla (espanola).” Amazingly, simply, he is right. This self indulgent navel gazing needs to stop. If there’s one thing you should remember, it’s to have fun! There will be plenty of time for an existential tantrum in my mid-twenties. For now, I ought to learn to make a few simple Spanish dishes, for crying out loud! A year later, I sit in my new boyfriend’s apartment distributing groceries to their appropriate cupboard spots and eye a bag of potatoes and some onions. I slyly root around a bit and detect olive oil. We are in business. For the next few hours, we listen to dub music while chopping dicing, and frying. Flip! The tortilla makes it out unscathed, saved from an untimely and dusty demise on the floor thanks to both my plate flipping practice and the grace of the gods. Then I sit, tasting a dish I first sampled with a makeshift friend, taught to make by a new friend, and now could enjoy with a real friend. Finally, the understanding comes to me: they are all friends, or they are all strangers. They are the people I surround myself with throughout the journey. I am not alone when they are with me, but I no longer feel lonely when I am alone. 17 | Wildflower Magazine //
Author and musician Susan Botich talks about inspiration, publishing and her creative process
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When did you first discover a love for writing? I had fallen in love with reading novels in the 6th grade but it didn't occur to me that I wanted to write my own stories until high school. In high school, I had a great English teacher who taught poetry and classic literature - Homer's "The Illiad" and "The Odyssey," Shakespeare's "Hamlet" and others of this sort. It was part of our class assignments to write and that's when I really got the bug. Also, in my sophomore year, I took a theater class and loved it! My drama teacher was another amazing educator who made us learn every aspect of theater - not just the acting side, but also designing sets, working with makeup and costumes, directing and writing. We had to each write a one-act play. I loved it! I'd taught myself to play guitar the summer before high school and I started writing songs pretty soon after that. During high school, I fantasized about writing stories for a reading audience but didn't really believe that I could. But as I got better on the guitar, I started writing songs which I'd play for a few people. They were in the style of folk songs - story-songs basically. After high school, I worked as a professional musician (from around 1974 to 1988) and played my original songs as well as popular songs and traditional folk. I focused all my creative energy into writing those story-songs and poems. It wasn't until after I'd married in 1987 and had a child that I felt strongly drawn to writing longer pieces. I tried my hand at writing children's stories and short stories. I started writing my fantasy versenovel, Enchantments. That became quite a project that took years to complete.
How long have you been writing professionally? After moving to Northern Nevada in 2002, I stumbled onto a wonderful poetry critique group, Ash Canyon Poets. Through one of the Ash Canyon poets, Ellen Hopkins (who is now a New York Times best-selling author), I was intro-
duced to the international children's writers group, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). That started a whole new writing life for me! I was going to writers conferences and writers events regularly. I learned so much! Ellen kept encouraging me to try my hand in freelance writing for magazines and news publications. I had done quite a bit of business writing by that point so I kept myself open to the idea. In 2005, the opportunity opened up for me to write for Nevada Home Magazine. That started the ball rolling for me to write for several regional publications, including the Reno Gazette-Journal and Custom Publishing Group. Then I managed to get a few article pitches accepted with other magazines that were outside the Northern Nevada region. I worked as a freelance writer pretty actively until around 2009 when the economy took a dive. A lot of magazines and publications I'd written regularly for went under. The ones that survived were barely hanging in there, with little funds to pay freelancers. I believe that's when I started really working on The Dream Star. I got a call from a dear writer friend who said, "I'm going to do NaMoWriMo with a few other friends. Do you want to do it with us?" "What's NaNoWriMo?" I asked. "National Novel Writing Month," she said. It was already five days into the month (November) and I didn't know what to write. But I remembered an outline to a story I had started years before. I found the outline and started writing the story. It turned into The Dream Star. Of course, it took longer than the month of November to finish the story. It needed lots of revisions. But that's how The Dream Star got started.
Who are some of your favorite authors? I have so many! But, to name a few, I'd say: J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, T. H. White, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Isaac Asimov, J. K. Rowling, Phillip 19 | Wildflower Magazine //
book begin, and what was the inspiration behind it? Well, I mentioned that I actually started writing The Dream Star during NaNoWriMo, November 2009, but what actually inspired the idea for the story? That happened during the time I lived in Alaska, somewhere around 1993. I wrote the outline for what I thought, originally, would be a short story. I wanted to tell a story about two different types of human beings, one very intuitive, the other very analytical, and how they find balance within themselves by developing qualities that the other naturally possesses. I also started writing my fantasy verse-novel, Enchantments, around that time. It started out as a collection of structured verse poems that each told a Pullman, Markus Zusak, Suzanne Collins, Suzanna Clark, story. These were The Unicorn, The Faeries, The Elves, Jane Yolen, Laini Taylor, Ursula K. Le Guinn, Cormic McThe Dragon, The Quest, The Wizard, and The King. What Carthy, Anne Lammott, Daniel Quinn. This list could go on inspired these story-poems is hard to explain. They kind of and on. Another couple of authors I admire tremendously just unfolded as I wrote, revealing feelings I had about life are Ellen Hopkins and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, both of and the truth-seeker's path, all cloaked in metaphor, using whom I know personally. I played music Arthurian myth as a backwith Maya for about 10 years in my late On music: drop. teens and twenties, and Ellen was my Again, Ellen Hopkins mentor in many ways when it came to helped me a great deal. working on getting The Dream Star reShe read what I had and fined. Actually, now that I think of it, there told me, as I recall, that The story is conveyed not just are quite a few other SCBWI authors it was some of the most lyrically but through the melody who I admire, as well. I read their books beautiful poetry she'd ever and the musical voicing, i.e. the and look forward to their next pubs. read but it wasn't a novel. But that gives you a little idea. I'm fairly chord arrangements, the rhythm, It was individual poemeclectic. how the song breathes, so to speak. stories strung together - an interesting idea but not a The rest of it is left to the listening novel. She encouraged me Where do you find ideas or audience to go where the song to write in a storyteller. I inspiration for your writleads them. Different folks hear agreed with her idea. ing? So, I created a human the same song differently. Or, the character to tell her This is an interesting question. Terry Joy same person might hear the same story, in prose, that wove (KUNR radio host) asked me this during song differently, depending on their in between the structured an interview about poetry writing. mood at the time. verse poem-stories. I liked I think my answer is still the same. "Life. the idea behind it but the Everything in life." Even though I am storyteller and her story drawn to the genres of science-fiction and fantasy, it's what is happening around me that inspires never felt quite right. Again, it was Ellen who suggested I try having one of the elves be the storyteller. As soon as the stories. she suggested that, the proverbial light bulb went on! I started immediately. And as soon as I sat down to write, You recently released a science it seemed to just flow. I thought of the middle daughter of fiction novel called The Dream Star. Lady Claire, a human woman who goes to live with the When did the process for writing this elves, and her husband, Gle'anden, the elvin prince, and
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[I’m inspired by] life. Everything in life. Even though I am drawn to the genres of science-fiction and fantasy, it’s what is happening around me that inspires the stories.
E'lienna came alive! She wanted to tell her story! I'm still amazed at how the writing process works. You never know from where you'll get the final piece of the story-puzzle that pulls it all together. This process still fascinates me. You are also a musician - how is the
songwriting process similar and different to writing prose? Another really good question. As I said before, I tend to write "story-songs." I tell short stories in songs. Because you only have a few verses and maybe a refrain for lyrical storytelling, it's more about suggesting a story to the listener and letting the musical audience fill in the spaces. Also, the story is conveyed not just lyrically but through the melody and the musical voicing, i.e. the chord arrangements, the rhythm, how the song breathes, so to speak. The rest of it is left to the listening audience to go where the song leads them. Different folks hear the same song differently. Or, the same person might hear the same song differently, depending on their mood at the time.
and playing them at my gigs here in the Bend, Oregon, area. I'm still freelance-writing, too. If I see that enough readers are interested, I'll expedite work on The Dream Star - Book II. I've got the basic outline for the story. All hell brakes loose in Book II. It's still going to be personal and introspective, from Kalindi's POV, but the uprising on Terra is going to take place, General Tyus gets very dangerous, and the romantic element gets more complicated. I just need to see that it's a good place to put my creative energy before putting aside that much time to get the second book on the page. I hope I get to write it. It's itching to come out. But I need to see how The Dream Star - Book I sells before committing to the next one. My fingers are crossed right now on that.
Where can readers find your books or learn more about you? My website is a good portal for that. It's http://www. susanbotich.com.
What are some upcoming projects? Well, there's marketing The Dream Star. I also would like to publish a print edition of Enchantments. Right now, I've got The Dream Star available in print and as an eBook. But Enchantments is only available as an eBook. Once I have it available in print, I'll be marketing again. Then, I'll work on another book! I'm not sure yet what book project I'll tackle next. I'm always working on something. I also write poetry. I've published in several poetry journals and literary magazines and I'm always sending poetry out for publication. I've been working on a collection of themed poems that looks like it's going to become a poetry book. We'll see. I'm still writing songs 21 | Wildflower Magazine //
super mario paints degas
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by Tim Stobierski in the back-alleys of the Mushroom Kingdom
and there’s a softness in the landscape, in
in-between his excursions to save Princess Peach.
the young woman’s body as you capture the curve
He’s got a plumber’s palette – rusted-pipes red, mold-under-the-sink green,
of her dance. He paints en plein air
ruddy-backwash brown – and the same dexterity of the hands
a portrait of turtles playing, fuses his canvas with the ferocity
that is cultivated by holding a brush
of flowers, their fiery zeal. Even the old curmudgeon himself
can be cultivated by turning a wrench.
couldn’t help but smile if he stumbled across
When you’ve seen what he’s seen, done the jobs that he’s done,
the hero’s still-life of mushrooms hanging in the salon
there’s just no end to the muse: the brushstrokes flow like water from a freshly unclogged pipe,
next to his cotton office, or his young Spartans playing, their bodies bent, eager to touch a world unlike their own.
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desert rain a poem by Margie Klein // Wildflower Magazine | 24
Desert rain starts as a feeling, the air humid, moist, a change coming. Then a wind blows the clouds in, arriving fast, no time to run.
Lakes appear on concrete flats, dry lake beds from ancient oceans made vibrant and alive again. Birds floating, amphibians swimming.
Slowly the drops begin, making a spotted pattern on the rocks. Then hitting the dry earth so hard, they rebound and bounce a few times before they stay on the ground.
Tortoises soak in cachements made, snakes drink drops that trickle down their scales. Mammals large and small drink their fill, the humans dance in it.
It starts with a “drip, drip,” then roars to full-blown. Pouring down hard, buckets and arrows.
Monsoonal rain, blessed event, months upon months we wait. Every dry cell yearns to be quenched, parched from dessication.
Drops become puddles, puddles turn to rivulets, and rivulets to streams. Soon a raging river rides down the rocky wash rocking, rolling, splashing.
Replenish, rehydrate, renew, fill the earth up with the fluid of life. Drench the craters that have spread so wide, reawaken shriveled skin of soil, animal and plant. Then, abruptly stopping as quickly as its start. Gone for days or months, we don’t know. All we can do is hope.
Get out of the wash, get out of the wash! Torrents slam living things into blockages. Get high, get high! No machine can outride the wave.
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girl, isolated More and more women are joining the ranks of gamers. But are they welcome?
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As anyone who’s ever fallen in love with a video game (but not in a creepy way) knows, video games are the greatest thing since sliced bread. Unfortunately for girl gamers, the vast majority of the gaming world population seems to consist of guys. That means that if a girl wants to play video games in a group of gamers, she usually gets stuck doing so with male companions. While gaming with males is not a terrible thing, it seems that most female gamers would like to have other females to game with once in a while. This seems to be especially true in the case of female PC gamers, since the PC gaming world seems to consist of fewer females than the console gaming world. This creates a tragic case of girl isolation, where girls are stuck with guys and are then overcome with the need to experience female companionship. Unfortunately in this case, the easiest way for someone like me to find new friends that are my age and have similar interests is through school. I recently found out about a gaming club on campus and I decided to check it out to try to find a place where I could play games in the company of others instead of in my dark apartment. The UNR Computer Gaming Club has been around for about six years. The current president, James Allen, has been a member for three years. The UCGC is open to all students, from incoming freshmen to graduate students and the club has a mix of students from all years; however, one graduate member mentioned that they tend to have more members in the beginning of the semester and then as time goes on and more homework is assigned, they slowly lose members. Allen said that one great thing about UCGC is the social aspect: he is able to play games he loves while conversing with and
making new friends. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for every member. Jessie Limjoco, one of the few female members of UCGC, seems far less pleased with the social aspect of the club. While there is usually at least one other female member at every meeting, she remains the only active female member, which means that she has the misfortune of being the one girl gamer in a room full of guys. Often, she feels awkward and as if she’s being judged, but she tries not to let that deter her. Not only is Limjoco the only female that actively participates, but, as the current Vice President, she is also the first female officer in the club. Limjoco believes that other female members remain inactive (i.e. don’t show up on a regular basis) because they are put-off by the male members.
This particular case is an excellent explanation for why many girls don’t join clubs like these: they know that they will be male-dominated and most girls want to focus on what they went to the club for (playing video games) instead of being hassled for being the only female in the room.
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Often, when new females show up, they tend to participate less and they flock to Left 4 Dead instead of the games that the male members usually play, such as Counter Strike and StarCraft. This lack of group participation contributes to females remaining inactive as members. Allen mentioned that the UCGC is thinking about introducing consoles such as the PS3 and Xbox 360 into the meetings. Limjoco worries that, while consoles may attract more female members at first, other females will not become active members because of the largely male-occupied meetings. Limjoco considers herself a PC gamer, and, in fact, doesn’t own any consoles, but it seems that females are usually more interested in console gaming than PC. In clubs like these, there is a tragic lack of female attendance, which contributes to other females not becoming active members because they don’t want to experience girl isolation, which perpetuates the lack of female attendance. This unfortunate cycle seems to have no visible end. At the first meeting of the semester, Limjoco was the first female to arrive and, when the meeting began, this was pointed out by someone requesting the attention of everyone in the room by saying “Gentlemen and lady.” Often, Limjoco doesn’t perceive herself as different from anyone else in the room, although sometimes she is singled out and treated differently. Since she is the only active female member, the male members are all fairly familiar with her and they treat her differently, often calling her over for trifle needs and acting as though she is their servant. Limjoco ignores this behavior, though, and continues attending meetings because she doesn’t go to the meetings to be the only girl; she goes to play games and make friends, just like any of the male members. Unfortunately, unlike the male members, Limjoco has issues that the males in UCGC don’t, such as picking an outfit, and maintaining her femininity. Limjoco said that she considers her outfits very carefully on the days when UCGC meets because, while she likes dressing sort of girly and wearing what she wants, she doesn’t want to be ogled by the male members and has to take that into account when she dresses. Also, being around men all the time (she works in the IT department and is an Engineering major) often frustrates her. This particular case is an excellent explanation for why many girls don’t join clubs like these: they know that they will be male-dominated and most girls want to focus
on what they went to the club for (e.g. playing video games) instead of being hassled for being the only female in the room. I almost didn’t go to the UCGC meeting because I was apprehensive that I would be the only female in attendance. I was relieved to see that I wasn’t, but disappointed that there were only 7 girls for the 29 guys that were there, and only 4 of these girls were actually participating in the gaming (the other three just seemed to be there to hang out and get ignored by their boyfriends with they were gaming). Allen did mention that out of the 200 members on the mailing list, about 50 are female, but the mailing list does not very accurately describe the number of active members. Many of the active members were surprised at the large turnout and there are usually only 2-6 girls in attendance at the meetings, with Limjoco being the only female that attends meetings on a regular basis. Many of the female members do not attend a second meeting after experiencing the male-dominated atmosphere of their first attendance. The cycle of females not attending clubs like the UNR Computer Gaming Club on a regular basis needs to be broken and only can be broken by other females. If more females attend more regularly, then when new female members join, they will see that they won’t be the only female there, causing a new cycle that will encourage female membership. Unfortunately, the cycle of female nonmembership cannot be fixed overnight and, in most cases, it’s very likely that it won’t be fixed at all. I’ll admit that I’m still apprehensive about going because I don’t want to be one of the only two active female members in a maledominated club. At the same time, though, I’m not the kind of girl to be scared away from gaming just because I’m feeling isolated from my fellow girls. Gaming is male-dominated, but girl gamers shouldn’t be discouraged by that. Hopefully, someday soon, girl isolation will no longer be a problem in the gaming community, but until then, it’s up to us to keep girl gaming alive.
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contrast Melanie Copeland and Nicole Melvin use painting and photography to recreate the imagery of nature.
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above, painting by Nicole Melvin; below, photograph by Melanie Copeland.
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below, photograph by Melanie Copeland, right, painting by Nicole Melvin
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left, photograph by Melanie Copeland, this page, painting by Nicole Melvin 35 | Wildflower Magazine //
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