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Behind the Masquerade


Why do people wear masks? Is it to put on a good face for the people that are in front of us, no matter what may lie beneath? Is it because we are vulnerable and seek to protect ourselves? Do we just want to show others what they want to see? No matter the reason, every single person wears at least one mask on a daily basis…

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By Rebecca Allison

The jack-o-lantern’s glowing smile
The shimmer of new fallen snow
The blaze of candles on a birthday cake
The floating lights of Divali
The flickering candle of a menorah
The glistening Christmas lights
Each a light in the dark
The light of each day
That breaks the norm
Slays the ordinary
And allows the celebration
Of the new and the wonder

By Donnique Williams

Dust
Boxes
Lights
Anticipation
Shopping
Food
Family
High
Aftermath
Dark
Dust
Boxes
Time

Repeat.

By Cinthya M. Fernandes

The snowflakes fall
On my porcelain skin
Making me feel so small
Where I begin
To reflect on it all.
Taking deep breaths
I feel the reality of my life
Knowing that all my strife
Was not for naught.
To keep fighting
To continue growing
To dream about the future
And celebrate where
I started from.
The road so far
Has been rather hard
But I would not change
The person I’ve become.

By Brittany Bennett

The sound of big red shoes squeaking across the driveway
get lost in the midst of giggles and cheers from within.

Knock, knock, knock
and the cheers turn into screams.
An exhausted mother sheds a sigh of relief.

“HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE!”
and the children run up with smiles.
A saddened single man suddenly forgets his sorrows.

Pump, pump, pump
and out comes a flower;
a lonely little girl’s heart lifts as she gets the first balloon.

Pump, pump, pump
and out comes a giraffe;
a hyper little boy sits down for the first time in hours.

Pump, pump, pump
and out comes a puppy;

a pretty little birthday girl has her last wish come true.

By Amanda Scheifele

She shook the sieve again and another blizzard drifted down onto the flat bells. Icicles winked at her from the shop window and snow sparkled on the panes. The Jolly Bell mocked her at it sang Hello! to the woman entering the bakery. Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas. Any news on your boy? No. I know letter’s stopped coming a few weeks ago, but that can only be because of- I don’t know- postage or something. Sure. Anyway, I’m here to pick up my order please dear. Of course. Oh come now, it’s Christmas darling!- Hope is in the air! -It shall be my personal goal to get a smile on your face by Christmas Eve. Here are your cookies. Yes yes dear, thank you, you know you’re a hero for running this place on your own, honestly I don’t know many women who would be able to, but you, you are a saint. Have a good day. …Yes, yes, you as well darling, and Merry Christmas. And to you. The Jolly Bell burst out in chorus again and the door shut.
She pounded away at some dough. Hope in the air indeed. If hope was in the air, it was snow and if snow was in the air, it was falling. Falling thick and fast. A saint. Humph. The only saint around her was the Virgin Mary. And the Virgin Mary was wooden and smiling a carven smile to all passersby. Never changing. Ever.
A tear gathered and fell. She brushed it away instinctively before she even had a chance to register her emotion. There was flour on her face now. She hated flour on her face. It was unprofessional.
She gathered her apron and brushed away the wet and dry. The Virgin never seemed upset. Always serine and smiling. She sniffled and added more wood to the fire. She bet that if the Virgin talked now, she’d have a different story to tell. Of dust and pains and hurt and frowns. She had to watch her son go away as well. She had to watch her son die! She went back to abusing the dough. Smiling indeed. Christmas indeed. Home by Christmas indeed. The only ones who would be home by Christmas would be the ghosts.
She hiccupped and almost sank into the pathetic lump of dough. Oh Mary Mother of God, please don’t let him come home for Christmas.

Blueprint1

Sex. We all do it at some point or another, so why is the discussion around ‘sex’ still so taboo? Speaking from a personal standpoint, the majority of my knowledge surrounding sex didn’t come from what I learned in school. It came from what I learned during my lived experience. Why is this? Is it natural to learn as you go, or should there be some foundation of knowledge before you reach your first sexual encounter?

Illustration by Andrew McNamara

I have never hidden who I am and where I am from. I grew up in a small city of 14,000 and had a strong rural influence in the earlier years of my life. Being born and raised in the Ottawa Valley does that to you. Once I reached that time in my life where it was time to move on to university, I had many choices to consider. I could have gone to a place similar to my home of Pembroke, Ontario. There would be little to no culture shock and I would fit in well. When it came down to decide, I went a different way. I wanted to be exposed to more. Around four years ago, I decided to embark on a four-year-long exploration in none other than Waterloo, Ontario.

Photography by Brian Limoyo

Devouring bold coffee bean with milk, sweating shamelessly from the heavy heat, I begin to prepare myself for the day of reading ahead. Once I find a place to rest my back, I observe the enormity of the text in front of me. Tracing its worn, elegant spine, I am not intimidated by the endless scrawl inside. If today there are images to be seen and pondered about, I make sure to spend time looking. I contemplate the cover art, tail end synopsis, remarks from critics, and, finally, the “dedicated to” section, glimpsing into the life of a writer I am already in awe of by virtue of insisting on the tangibility, complexity, and relevance of storytelling…

Katie Parkes

How do you visualize meditation? Just as you may have seen in Hollywood films, is it someone sitting cross-legged humming “ommmm”? Or are you thinking of those most enlightening moments when you have flushed anger from your heart while sitting in complete silence? …

Ethels-2-greyscale-Nick Lachance

Nostalgia isn’t a feeling, a marketing scheme, or a certain aesthetic style.

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By Rebecca Allison

The jack-o-lantern’s glowing smile
The shimmer of new fallen snow
The blaze of candles on a birthday cake
The floating lights of Divali
The flickering candle of a menorah
The glistening Christmas lights
Each a light in the dark
The light of each day
That breaks the norm
Slays the ordinary
And allows the celebration
Of the new and the wonder

By Donnique Williams

Dust
Boxes
Lights
Anticipation
Shopping
Food
Family
High
Aftermath
Dark
Dust
Boxes
Time

Repeat.

By Cinthya M. Fernandes

The snowflakes fall
On my porcelain skin
Making me feel so small
Where I begin
To reflect on it all.
Taking deep breaths
I feel the reality of my life
Knowing that all my strife
Was not for naught.
To keep fighting
To continue growing
To dream about the future
And celebrate where
I started from.
The road so far
Has been rather hard
But I would not change
The person I’ve become.

By Brittany Bennett

The sound of big red shoes squeaking across the driveway
get lost in the midst of giggles and cheers from within.

Knock, knock, knock
and the cheers turn into screams.
An exhausted mother sheds a sigh of relief.

“HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE!”
and the children run up with smiles.
A saddened single man suddenly forgets his sorrows.

Pump, pump, pump
and out comes a flower;
a lonely little girl’s heart lifts as she gets the first balloon.

Pump, pump, pump
and out comes a giraffe;
a hyper little boy sits down for the first time in hours.

Pump, pump, pump
and out comes a puppy;

a pretty little birthday girl has her last wish come true.

By Brittany Bennett

 

This here is my love,

Or shall I assume. She whispers

From above,

So my heart can resume. The thoughts

In my head

Scream loud and absurd. I lay here

On top my bed

Wished I could be cured. You arrive

With a smile,

A pen and a pad. You coax right on through

My petty denial.

You act as if glad, that I speak

Of her again.

I try to show you, you cross your chest

And mumble amen.

She is not new, she stands here

Beside me.

You nod your head, and jot down your

note and then flee.

I come out of my bed, and run

To the door,

Look back at my love, and look

Down to the floor.

My sweet morning dove, they will never

Get to grasp

How real you are, as long as you

Wear that mask.

I look at how far, you are down

That hall.

And wish that once soon, this locked

Door will fall.

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By Amanda Scheifele

She shook the sieve again and another blizzard drifted down onto the flat bells. Icicles winked at her from the shop window and snow sparkled on the panes. The Jolly Bell mocked her at it sang Hello! to the woman entering the bakery. Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas. Any news on your boy? No. I know letter’s stopped coming a few weeks ago, but that can only be because of- I don’t know- postage or something. Sure. Anyway, I’m here to pick up my order please dear. Of course. Oh come now, it’s Christmas darling!- Hope is in the air! -It shall be my personal goal to get a smile on your face by Christmas Eve. Here are your cookies. Yes yes dear, thank you, you know you’re a hero for running this place on your own, honestly I don’t know many women who would be able to, but you, you are a saint. Have a good day. …Yes, yes, you as well darling, and Merry Christmas. And to you. The Jolly Bell burst out in chorus again and the door shut.
She pounded away at some dough. Hope in the air indeed. If hope was in the air, it was snow and if snow was in the air, it was falling. Falling thick and fast. A saint. Humph. The only saint around her was the Virgin Mary. And the Virgin Mary was wooden and smiling a carven smile to all passersby. Never changing. Ever.
A tear gathered and fell. She brushed it away instinctively before she even had a chance to register her emotion. There was flour on her face now. She hated flour on her face. It was unprofessional.
She gathered her apron and brushed away the wet and dry. The Virgin never seemed upset. Always serine and smiling. She sniffled and added more wood to the fire. She bet that if the Virgin talked now, she’d have a different story to tell. Of dust and pains and hurt and frowns. She had to watch her son go away as well. She had to watch her son die! She went back to abusing the dough. Smiling indeed. Christmas indeed. Home by Christmas indeed. The only ones who would be home by Christmas would be the ghosts.
She hiccupped and almost sank into the pathetic lump of dough. Oh Mary Mother of God, please don’t let him come home for Christmas.

By Carina Rampelt

 

We’re in Venice and I’m eavesdropping on German tourists.

There’s eight of us in a shop that’s tiny even by Venetian standards. The shopkeeper-slash-mask-maker, a greying Italian in a black apron smudged here and there with gold sparkles; two middle-aged German women; my family and me.

Clumped together in a corner so we’re almost touching, my siblings and I admire a wall of masks. A sun-face, a moon-face and a star-face beam down on us. A cello-woman gazes lovingly at a saxophone-man. A cat and a dog hang unblinkingly side by side. Each one is carefully crafted and unique. It’s breathtaking, but I’m only half-absorbed. The other part of me is listening in on the conversation between the German women.

They admire the masks, discuss their itinerary, disapprove of the disorder of the Italians in general. It’s funny, and strangely comforting. I mean no harm. Having lived in Germany the past eleven months I can hardly help but understand what they’re saying.

I feel like I’m undercover: playing the Canadian while hiding the part of me that can masquerade as a German. A disguise over my disguise. I’m Rosalind playing Ganymede playing Rosalind.

It’s not that I was in any way ashamed of my Canadian identity, but not drawing attention to it was just easier while I was abroad. People treat you differently if they know you’re foreign. One of my housemates came to me once, asking if I had a hairdryer. I paused briefly, trying to think of the words to respond and she continued impatiently, Hairdryer? You knowhairdryer? and mimed drying her hair complete with sound effects. I had understood her fine. It just took me a moment to figure out what to say. Im not stupid, I wanted to shout, just give me the chance to answer you!

            Other people think it’s hilarious to make fun of your home country. Hey, isnt Canada just basically the 51st state? Or how about this gem: You know what Canada sounds like? Keiner da!* Its true, right? Theres, like, no one there.

My disguise was almost a way of marking my progress. If people were surprised when I told them I was Canadian, it meant my German was getting better—that my accent was less noticeable, or I was culturally adept enough to pass as a native. It felt like success. And when you’re culturally confounded, feeling like you’re stumbling around in a dark that everyone else has no trouble navigating, those tiny moments of validation are the bits of light that keep you going. You might not understand everything. You might not always feel like you’re understood. But you know you’re getting closer.

Now, with my family again, I feel foreign. My English comes slowly, difficultly. I didn’t believe it was possible of my mother tongue. I construct sentences backwards, used to German grammar. I forget words. It’s not the same language it was a year ago…I have to learn new slang and cultural nuances. I have no idea what a ‘selfie’ is. I’m with the people who should make me feel most at home in the world, but I’ve never felt so alone. I’m Rosalind pretending to be Rosalind, and I’m not even sure who that is any more.

I turn around to leave the shop.

Entschuldigen Sie, bitte. I tell the German women, as I scoot around them. Excuse me, please. Their eyes widen in surprise, but they smile with the unexpected delight of stumbling across someone who speaks their native language. It gives me hope. Maybe I can learn to reconcile my two identities. Maybe I don’t have to pick one or the other. Maybe I can be both Rosalind and Ganymede and still be Carina.

So tell me, I ask my sister as we depart, what exactly is a selfie?

 

*German for ‘no one there’

By Amanda Scheifele

 

The butler’s white head poked through the door after a smart tap, “Your wife wishes an audience m’lord.”

The man put down his pen and moved in his chair, motioning for the butler to allow her in.  He had been meaning to see her since he came home from his trip and he felt a little guilty that it had been left to her to come to him.

As she entered, he reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a little present.  When he looked back up, his eyes relaxed as he saw his beautiful wife, dressed and ready to go to the opera, verily dripping furs and pearls and her soft brown hair done back in puffs of waves.  Her appleblossom lips curved up delicately as she curtsied, glad to see his handsome face as well.

He stood and kissed her hand and she said sweetly in her hushed voice, “My lord.”

He suddenly remembered the present and he fumbled for a moment as he reached around and handed it to her, “I-I found while I was on exploration on the islands and thought of you.”and he handed her the large spiral sea shell.

She turned it in her small hands and felt its rough exterior and twisted frame, “It reminded you of me?”she asked, though her smile never changed.

The man grinned back brightly and was glad she liked it.  He stood straighter and she fingered the shell, the pause in conversation stretching.

It had been necessary, she reminded herself, necessary. And both were devoted to duty and thought the other lovely and sweet and noble and kind and… and kind…

“I was wondering if Your Grace would like to accompany me to the opera?”She asked as she always did, her eyes liquid and looking up.

He bit back his immediate decline this time.  He disliked opera and theatre and still she asked for his company faithfully every time she went.  It had almost become a game of sorts.  Every time she asked, he would decline with a kiss to her hand, which he did so now, but answered instead with “I would be honoured.”

Her eyes lit in surprise, but she just curtsied, “Then I shall see you there, my lord.”

From the balcony, the singers on the stage looked like light on water, as the audience glittered in glass and gemstone.

The singing was so fluid and magnificent, like the wind, and brought tears to her eyes.

He watched her from her side and smiled, realizing how the tears from her eyes hung on her lashes, glinting in the candlelight before they shone down her cheek in smooth lines.

Without thinking too much about it, he slipped his hands into hers. She almost started, looking down suddenly, causing tears to drop like diamonds on to his hands. Staring at the hands, she blinked slowly as if squeezing away the rest of the tears, and looked back to the stage, contently listening to the music as it grew to a crescendo.

vcm_s_kf_repr_832x624 (12)

“Have you been here before?” Franca asks her brother while walking towards a strange house.
“¿Has venido aquí antes?” Franca pregunta a su hermano mientras están caminando hacia una extraña casa.

photo

“If I understood your dreams, I could tell you. Maybe you should see one of those flea-market women with the crystal balls.”

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IMG_20130706_045434

I find it hard to believe that the woman staring out at the ocean could be my younger sister. How could she possibly have been the young child that used to love tickling her nose with the ends of people’s hair? How could she possibly have been the young girl that scared me into running out of the house when she intoned in an ominous voice, what’s the password, from The Crack, a secret hiding place that we had created by pushing our beds together?

collage 19.apg

It’s an ancient to-do list, written with glitter pen on a purple sticky note, a ghosting of dirt where the stickiness had been. She always hopes she’ll discover love letters, or snippets of poetry (it does seem like that sort of place), but she rarely does.

final 130%

The sun does not rush to meet the dusk, or hurry to catch the dawn. It glides so smoothly through the sky, suspended, illuminating everything it can touch before sliding down to meet the western horizon.

5_ONVIT

These individuals pride themselves with their ability to cause harmless trouble, and without a single thought crossing their mind, would take a bullet, or scarf down a concoction of duck tongues and Sasquatch snot if the occasion called for it, to protect all that they love.

IMG_0171

Your diamond earrings can glimmer the sun’s hope, or they can pierce unkindness in a stranger’s ear.

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wildcovers

There is a blur between human and animals that doesn’t seem too jarring in the middle of the jungle and has always seemed perfectly normal in my imagination.

grillotechnology

Smart, visual comments on Technology that stimulate thought!

covertech

When people think about technology, they often tend to look to the future. Instead of going forward, I stepped back and looked into the past for a little bit.

Transnational

When I first thought of ‘Transnational’ I wanted to convey borders being crossed and worlds interacting with each other.

fb

We evoke a sense of style in everything we are, think, and do: it makes us unique.

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In This Issue

  • Light of the Moment - By Rebecca Allison The jack-o-lantern’s glowing smile The shimmer of new fallen snow The blaze of candles on a birthday cake The floating lights of Divali The flickering candle of a menorah The glistening Christmas lights Each a light in
    Read more ›
  • Simple - By Donnique Williams Dust Boxes Lights Anticipation Shopping Food Family High Aftermath Dark Dust Boxes Time Repeat.
  • Awaken - By Cinthya M. Fernandes The snowflakes fall On my porcelain skin Making me feel so small Where I begin To reflect on it all. Taking deep breaths I feel the reality of my life Knowing that all my strife Was
    Read more ›