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The Brain Issue


You have a beautiful brain.

Under the Sea

Looking Forward, Looking Back

The Meta Issue

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By Victoria Macedo

As the wind blows gusts of crisp air,
Howling through the window sills,
You will find us here.

As the snow falls, flurries of crystals,
Decorating the branches of the old maple tree,
You will find us here.

As the sun dies early,
And the moon rises soon,
You will find us here.

Here is where holiday cookies are baked,
Where gingerbread is decorated,
And where hot cocoa is topped with mini marshmallows.

Here is where friends and family are gathered,
With open hearts of laughter and thanks,
And where cold winter days turn into warm winter nights.

Here is the space, or place rather,
Where hibernation exists.

Here is our home,
Short-lived or everlasting,
It is where we are found.

Live in it,
Love in it,
Eat in it,
Sleep in it.

As the wind blows gusts of crisp air,
Howling through the window sills,
You will find us here.

By Rebecca Allison

A season by any other name. Ideals. Crystals dripping from branches. Light dancing across refractive diamonds. Frozen collections of Dihydrogen monoxide. A state. Temporary in form. Constant in memory. The call of a lonely blue jay breaking the white desert. A soloist on a vast frozen stage. The call for but one more vocalist.

By Ashley Hynd

Dear Humanity,

I take extreme offense to the socially accepted discourse surrounding my current reputation! I am not all ‘gloom’ and ‘doom’ and ‘hibernation’ and ‘frost’! I am capable of warmth and compassion and love! I bring out the best in you. Connect you. Pull out your kindness with those ugly wool sweaters and the laughter they invoke. I bring out your co-operation! With snowmen building and hot cocoa making and Christmas carolling… but do you ever recognise it? Noooohhhhoooooooo! I am still not good enough for the species who spends the other three seasons destroying the earth! Yet I am the one you associate with bitterness? Storms? Stillness? Death? I am NOT the salted grey you impose into my landscapes. I am the angels that you make upon my back.

Sincerely,
Jack Frost

By Maria Kouznetsova

The sun shines down; it’s making me see spots.
So trust your skis, they’ll take you through the snow;
This silent snow absorbs resounding thoughts
Which echo lonesome dog cries far below.
‘Tween scattered trees we blaze our two-lined path
And up hills, down hills, ‘round hills we do glide;
To choose which way to turn, we use some math.
Our fearless leader guides us as we slide.
Our faces frozen, trying not to stop,
We come to the hardest part: the biggest hill.
The climb is tough, but when I reach the top,
I am as free as wind, which blows at will.
As I look out o’er fields as white as day
My heart proclaims, “Dear world, remain this way.”

By Aaron Thomas

Cold, as is the reaches from the nether;
The breach of warmth,
The tarnishing of green.
Oh behold, the blankets of rest;
May the ground below rest for a while.

Oh thy, my sun; radiating!
Thee powerful ember in the sky
You once grew life
But now no seed sprouts under your guise.
Instead, your powerful rays weakly shine
upon a field of white.

Whiteness and nothing but;
A disfigured landscape,
Void of all other shades and colours.
I call to each flake.
Are you one of beauty or crass?

Bring forth a world covered in polar rage.
Construct your icy prison;
For I am your prisoner.
Bring forth with you, the echoes of stillness;
The notions of an end.

By Matthew Kettles

“How do you lose a ship in a lake?” This is inevitably one of the first questions asked when describing the shipwrecks of North America’s five Great Lakes to those unfamiliar with the region or the subject. Of course, the Great Lakes are much bigger than your average lake, to the point where it is perhaps more appropriate to term them “Inland Seas”. Forming a corridor from the heartland of North America to the Atlantic Ocean, the Lakes proved themselves a viable means of transportation, an industry which continues to this day.

In spite of its rich collection of lore, the maritime history of the Great Lakes is a largely forgotten chapter of North American history, outside of a handful of historians, local enthusiasts, and scuba divers. This last group in particular is important to note, as they are concerned with the history of the many well-preserved shipwrecks that lie scattered along the bottom of the lakes.

While the history of the lakes is filled with the harrowing tales of survivors from these wrecks, there are some ships from which there were no survivors, no one to tell the tale of what caused the lakes to claim yet another ship for their collection. There are countless examples of ships that, for one reason or another, sailed out from safe harbor into the lake and were never seen or heard from again. Search parties were organized, and sent out in hopes of finding the lost vessel. Instead, they would be greeted by a field of wreckage, and return empty handed with news that the missing vessel was lost.

These ships form a collection of intriguing mysteries; ships that “went missing”. This piece is by no means intended as an exhaustive overview of such cases. Instead, it should serve as an introduction to further inquiry, for those who may be curious.

One of the first examples of a ship that “went missing” is, appropriately, one of the first European ships to ever sail the Great Lakes. This vessel was the 45-ton French barque, Le Griffon, constructed by the explorer Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle. La Salle is more famous today as the man who claimed Louisiana for France, but earlier in his career, he had explored the Great Lakes region in the hopes of finding the Northwest Passage. As part of this expedition, to take advantage of the abundant and highly lucrative furs in the region, La Salle ordered the construction of Le Griffon. The vessel set sail on its maiden voyage on August 7, 1679 bound from the Niagara Peninsula to the location of modern-day Green Bay, Wisconsin. The vessel arrived safely, and La Salle disembarked while the ship was loaded with furs, and sent back to its port of origin with a crew of six. Le Griffon never made it.1

Today, Le Griffon is seen as the “Holy Grail” for Great Lakes shipwreck hunters. With no survivors or witnesses to speak of, its location is the most ambiguous of any Great Lakes shipwreck. It’s not clear which lake it was even lost in, as locations in both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are equally likely. While many claims have come forward over the years, none have definitely proven to be the long-lost ship.2

As European settlement and later, American expansion continued, the Great Lakes basin became a heavily populated and industrialized region. A developed lake commerce industry rose up in response to this, and by the mid-19th Century, hundreds of schooners and small wooden steamships plied the waters. People needed to be moved just as much as cargo, and in response, upstart companies constructed small paddle-driven steamships to run between the large port cities. The 197- foot long Alpena was one such ship.

Constructed in Marine City, Michigan in 1867, the Alpena was one of the more popular ‘palace ships’ that plied the Lake Michigan, running a route between Chicago, Muskegon, and Grand Haven. Its last run on October 15, 1880 began under fair weather conditions, unusually warm for that late in the season. After taking on the last of its passen- gers and cargo, the Alpena departed Grand Haven for Chicago at 10pm. That night, however, conditions suddenly took a turn for the worse. The temperature plummeted from 18 degrees Celsius down to 0 in less than an hour, and a gale rose up, with winds up to 112 kilometers per hour. The next morning, the Alpena was nowhere to be found. As wreckage began to wash ashore in the next weeks, it became apparent that it never would be. While there was no official manifesto detailing how many were aboard, it is estimated that 70-80 passengers and crew went to the bot- tom of Lake Michigan with the Alpena. 3

With the dawn of the 20th Century, the advent of the steel freighter heralded the dawn of the modern era of navigation on the great lakes. Cargo could be delivered faster and in greater quantities than was ever before possible, resulting in a boom in ship construction. In spite of their modern innovations, these new ships still proved themselves just as susceptible to the lakes’ fury.

The most infamous of these early steel ships was the small 245-foot long canal steamer Bannockburn. Built in 1893 in Scotland, the Bannockburn was considered a staunch and reliable vessel.4 On November 20, 1902, the ship departed Port Arthur, Ontario, bound for Midland with a cargo of wheat. A storm hit the lake the following evening, but one the Bannockburn should have been more than capable of weathering. Another ship, the Algonquin, spotted the Bannockburn that night, the captain noting it was fighting a headwind, but otherwise seemed to be faring well. The passenger vessel Huronic also may have spotted the Bannockburn’s lights, although this was never confirmed. Despite the lack of indication that the ship was in distress, it failed to show up the following morning in Sault Ste. Marie. Hope was briefly revived when a single report came in that the Bannockburn was ashore on Michipico- ten Island. But this was dashed as a search failed to find the supposedly stranded ship. The only bits of wreckage ever recovered were a single life jacket and an oar, both bearing the lost vessel’s name, washed up on Superior’s southern shore. The Bannockburn was gone, but the question remained: why?5

This was not the end of the Bannockburn’s story. It would live on in the minds of more imaginative sailors and storytellers as the “Flying Dutchman of Lake Superior”. On other stormy nights sailors would report seeing the little steamer plowing though the swells, still vainly attempting to reach its destination. Reported Bannockburn sightings began the year after the vessel’s loss and continued well into the 1940s, often seen as a foreboding omen.6

All of these losses pale in comparison to the worst disaster to ever befall the Great Lakes shipping industry, simply known as the Great Storm of 1913. Lasting from November 6 until November 11 of that year, twelve steel freighters vanished into the lake, taking with them over 250 sailors.7 The largest of the ships, the 529-foot long Canadian steamer James Carruthers was only a few months old at the time. In spite of warnings
of the oncoming storm at DeTour, Michigan, where the Carruthers had stopped to take on coal, the ship’s captain ordered her to sail out into Lake Huron. Instead of remaining behind to seek shelter, the Carruthers simply became one more of the Great Lakes’ lost ships. 8

These ships are a mere handful of the Great Lakes ships whose registries were closed with the words “lost with all hands”. At the same time, they are each little pieces of the region’s history, igniting the imagination of the members of dedicated groups of hobby divers and historical societies, who continue to search for these lost ships.

However, the Lakes are notoriously good at keeping their secrets. Of the estimated six thousand ships that have been lost on the Great Lakes since the arrival of Europeans to the continent, less than a quarter have been located. With the limited amount of resources devoted to finding these wrecks, and the depths to which the lakes plunge, it is likely that most of them will remain lost for years to come.

With the advent of technological advancements such as radio, radar, and GPS systems, the frequency of shipwrecks dropped rapidly. The small steel freighters of the past have given way to much larger vessels, anywhere between 700 and 1000 feet in length and capable of carrying five times as much cargo as their predecessors. Yet far beneath the modern hulls gliding on the placid surface lie the immaculately preserved bones of the ships and the sailors that have gone before them, quietly forgotten until they day they are chanced upon once more.


1Harlan Hatcher and Erich A. Walter. A Pictorial History of the Great Lakes. (New York: American Legacy Press, 1963), 52-53.

2Chris Kohl. Shipwreck Tales of the Great Lakes. (West Chicago: Seawolf Communica- tions, 2004), 44-47.
3Frederick Stonehouse. Went Missing 2nd Edition. (Marquette: Avery Color Studios, 1984), 138-140.

4Rev. Peter J. Van der Linden et al. Great Lakes Ships We Remember Vol. I. (Cleveland: Freshwater Press, 1984), 43.
5Stonehouse, Went Missing, 44-46.

6Dwight Boyer. Ghost Ships of the Great Lakes. (Cornwall: The Cornwall Press, 1968), 26-27. 7Stonehouse, Went Missing, 194.
8Dwight Boyer. True Tales of the Great Lakes. (New York: Dodd, Mead, & Company, 1971), 266-267.

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? …

More Posts >>

By Victoria Macedo

As the wind blows gusts of crisp air,
Howling through the window sills,
You will find us here.

As the snow falls, flurries of crystals,
Decorating the branches of the old maple tree,
You will find us here.

As the sun dies early,
And the moon rises soon,
You will find us here.

Here is where holiday cookies are baked,
Where gingerbread is decorated,
And where hot cocoa is topped with mini marshmallows.

Here is where friends and family are gathered,
With open hearts of laughter and thanks,
And where cold winter days turn into warm winter nights.

Here is the space, or place rather,
Where hibernation exists.

Here is our home,
Short-lived or everlasting,
It is where we are found.

Live in it,
Love in it,
Eat in it,
Sleep in it.

As the wind blows gusts of crisp air,
Howling through the window sills,
You will find us here.

By Rebecca Allison

A season by any other name. Ideals. Crystals dripping from branches. Light dancing across refractive diamonds. Frozen collections of Dihydrogen monoxide. A state. Temporary in form. Constant in memory. The call of a lonely blue jay breaking the white desert. A soloist on a vast frozen stage. The call for but one more vocalist.

By Maria Kouznetsova

The sun shines down; it’s making me see spots.
So trust your skis, they’ll take you through the snow;
This silent snow absorbs resounding thoughts
Which echo lonesome dog cries far below.
‘Tween scattered trees we blaze our two-lined path
And up hills, down hills, ‘round hills we do glide;
To choose which way to turn, we use some math.
Our fearless leader guides us as we slide.
Our faces frozen, trying not to stop,
We come to the hardest part: the biggest hill.
The climb is tough, but when I reach the top,
I am as free as wind, which blows at will.
As I look out o’er fields as white as day
My heart proclaims, “Dear world, remain this way.”

By Aaron Thomas

Cold, as is the reaches from the nether;
The breach of warmth,
The tarnishing of green.
Oh behold, the blankets of rest;
May the ground below rest for a while.

Oh thy, my sun; radiating!
Thee powerful ember in the sky
You once grew life
But now no seed sprouts under your guise.
Instead, your powerful rays weakly shine
upon a field of white.

Whiteness and nothing but;
A disfigured landscape,
Void of all other shades and colours.
I call to each flake.
Are you one of beauty or crass?

Bring forth a world covered in polar rage.
Construct your icy prison;
For I am your prisoner.
Bring forth with you, the echoes of stillness;
The notions of an end.

By J. Moors

In images I see in books
The brain is smooth, rounded
A large united mass
Each curved ridge perfectly snug

Why then, does mine feel
Shattered
A mess of pieces,
Sharp edges
Fragmented beyond repair
Each corner trying to fit

My thoughts cannot flow
Smoothly across nerves
But jump about
Searching, stopping
Stuck
In an incoherent mess of matter

More Posts >>

By Ashley Hynd

Dear Humanity,

I take extreme offense to the socially accepted discourse surrounding my current reputation! I am not all ‘gloom’ and ‘doom’ and ‘hibernation’ and ‘frost’! I am capable of warmth and compassion and love! I bring out the best in you. Connect you. Pull out your kindness with those ugly wool sweaters and the laughter they invoke. I bring out your co-operation! With snowmen building and hot cocoa making and Christmas carolling… but do you ever recognise it? Noooohhhhoooooooo! I am still not good enough for the species who spends the other three seasons destroying the earth! Yet I am the one you associate with bitterness? Storms? Stillness? Death? I am NOT the salted grey you impose into my landscapes. I am the angels that you make upon my back.

Sincerely,
Jack Frost

By Maria Kouznetsova

Today, I reached the final stair. I didn’t know it until just now, since I was enshrouded by a fog of immediate concerns, but when I took a minute to look up, I saw before me a door. It was the same old unremarkable door that had been there before—that had been there all my life, in fact— that seemingly unattainable door, just too high to step through, and until now, too far away to even think about.

This time, when I looked at it, there seemed to be something different. Instead of frowning at me as it had done throughout my uphill journey, its surface appeared softer, as though its harsh edges had completely disappeared; I saw for the first time the intricate carvings covering its entire surface. The door looked beautiful, now I thought about it—it was even illuminated in a bright golden glow.

I cast my eyes about for the source of light. My gaze came to rest on the previously unoccupied space below the door: a stair. Not just any stair, I can assure you. This particular stair radiated a blazing golden aura that warmed everything it touched. Unlike the door, it was quite plain; its sole decoration was a sort of trim along the top edges. If it weren’t for the trim, I might be afraid to step on it for fear of disturbing its polished surface. But besides all this, the stair was beckoning: it was inviting me to enter the door.

Just then, I realized what this step really meant. I had been told that it would appear, that I would be one of the lucky ones who would see it through the fog without a fan. And here it was, a reward for my hard work, and a blessing.

I also understood that I had an opportunity to look back at all the trials that had come and gone during my travels. From atop this elevation, this peak in my adventure, I would be able to see all the hills, valleys, forests, and pastures I had encountered. But before I moved, it occurred to me that I might spend so much time looking at the landscape before me and reminiscing at every blade of grass, pebble, and dewdrop that I might forget about the stair waiting patiently behind me. Even worse, what if the landscape was still covered in the fog I had just left, which would swallow up my eyes when I turned around?

Perhaps there was no need to look back one last time. After all, I could picture every minute detail in my mind. I paused for a moment, trying to decide. Then the solution came: when I left, I would be carrying the landscape along with me in my heart, never to be lost. And surely, I could look back later, for where there is a door, there are almost always windows.

My courage had gathered during this unanticipated pause; it was time. As I planted my feet on the stair—confidently, but nonetheless with care—four words reverberated through my soul: I have a future.

By Rebecca Fletcher

“Do you ever think about suicide?”

Hannah tore away from her tea, and three different thoughts to look across the table. “Why do you ask?” Ian shrugged. “Curious.”

The silence of thought fell over the pair, and Hannah returned to her mind, only to find that her previous thoughts had es- caped on the breeze of her mind. A memory had taken its place.

She is standing before the weeping girl under the tall pine tree in the school yard. The girl’s slender shoulders are shaking with a helpless fear that no fifth-grader should know.

“I suppose we all think about it sometimes. It’s a little bleak for three in the afternoon conversation though, don’t you think?”

Her companion was intentionally focusing on his cup of coffee. He’d forgotten to ask the barista for lactose-free milk again, and was wary of whether the stomach pain later was worth it. Hannah noted that he’d been increasingly forgetful lately. “I just sort of wished we talked about other options, instead of labeling it ‘sad’ or ‘cowardly’.”

She wishes that she knew what to say to comfort the girl she barely knows, but had begun to consider a friend. Not one word in her too-large vocabulary can properly convey her desire to help. No gesture feels sincere enough. So she watched, useless against the pained creature curled up before her.

“There are always other options though. Loads of people get help, and find another way.”

Ian began bobbing his head from side to side, a sure sign that he was becoming annoyed with her cavalier responses.

“That’s not the kind of other option I mean. You’re thinking of the happy-ending as the goal of help.”

“And you’re not.”

“I’m talking about if something like assisted suicide is morally-justified. People are always focusing on reasons to not kill yourself, but a lot of the moral worries can be bypassed if you get someone else to do it for you. So if your best friend came up to you, and wanted you to off them, should you?”

Every other kid on the playground is laughing up a storm. A basketball pounds on the asphalt court nearby like the drumbeat that follows the hangman to the gallows. Two hundred and thirty-eight students and yard-patrolling teachers, out enjoying the sun. Two face off in the shadow of a pine tree.

“Jesus, man! Don’t say stuff like that!” Hannah nearly choked on her gulp of tea. “That’s awful to think about.” Her voice was much quieter when she saw the look on Ian’s face.

“Yeah, I guess it’d make me a monster to ask a friend to cope with killing me for the rest of their life…”

“Hannah? Will you do me a favour?” a small voice asks.

She paused, hearing the drumming basketball somewhere out of sight and time. “What are you saying?”

The girl lifts her head from her knees. Her eyes are dark and hollow, like a dead tree.

Ian glances up from his coffee at last. His face is a blank slate. She can’t tell if he’s being serious anymore.

“Hannah?”

Will you kill me?

Missing Marbles Mar Many Minds Mourning May’s Mayoral Mayhem

By Breanna Kettles

Hundreds, thousands, millions of reports of lost marbles are sweeping the globe as people everywhere are beginning to realize that they, in fact, have not been aware of the location of their marble-based faculties since around the time their life-expectancy was infinity, because they were two.

One such report, filed on May 8th reads: Lost – one set of marbles – gently used since 1995. Last seen on an unknown Saturday in 2003 in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, somewhere between reruns of Rupert Bear and supper time. Their original owner misses them dearly, and is offering a substantial reward of bear hugs for their safe return.

Of the improbable number of ads placed in the past few months, sadly very few have had positive results. One community member who had not placed an ad, seemed oddly content about his marble-free state. “I don’t know why you folks have been using a marble-based system all these years in the first place. Everyone’s better off not worrying about where all those things end up anyway.” The man then picked up a large sack, whose contents clattered together in a sound that seemed suspiciously similar to glass marbles, and left the city, whistling.

Other citizens have vocalized concern over whether or not the marbles were important at all, since we seem to have gotten along just fine since their apparent disappearance. “It’s almost like we’re meant to lose them, you know?”
A first-year philosophy major explained dreamily. “We lose them when we understand what the world expects of us, and so we sacrifice our marbles for the greater good.”

Her view is not shared by all, however, as youth and adults alike are frantically scrambling to reassemble their marble-less lives, despite not realizing that this was the case until the mayor’s emergency press conference that sparked the controversy.

“I am retiring,” Mayor Bryan Stephens announced last May. “Due to the fact that I have recently lost my marbles, and feel that without them I cannot properly lead our beloved city.” He then tossed a smoke bomb to the stadium floor, and was gone when the smoke cleared.

Several groups have formed search parties for the lost marbles, and are currently combing local schools, homes, and highly-judgmental family functions for any clues as to why the disappearances have continued en masse, completely un- noticed until now. If you have any information as to why it has become a social norm to be without your marbles, please do not hesitate to call 226-867-5309 and ask for Jenny.

By Lydia Mainville

In the waiting room this morning, I heard on the radio that the left side of the face is more expressive than the right because it is controlled by the right side of the brain, which plays a more dominant role in emotional processing.

I know it’s not so simple, but how funny it is to think that all this time, my crooked smile may have been the work of my brain’s right hemisphere.

I don’t mind it so much anymore.

 

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By Hugh Fisher

Four walls surrounded us on the wrong side of sanity.

The doors continued to sway from my entrance, and with each mesmerizing swing came a thick swell of emotion. It’d been too long since I’d last visited, and yet the room felt as if it were filled with the same recycled air I’d breathed all those months before.

She was at the edge of the bed, a look of confusion drawn across her face. Something about my being there had captivated her, unsettled her, perhaps even fright- ened her. I couldn’t be sure; I didn’t know what to expect.

Absolute silence. It was the first time I’d ever experienced it, but it wasn’t as beautiful as I’d imagined. Only the carts of medication rattling past the door managed to crack the crystal quiet. And even that wasn’t so much a sound as it was a tremor sent through the floor that quaked beneath us.

Everything was white. Everything in the room was so damn clean I wouldn’t touch any of it. It was unnatural, I thought, to be that correct—everything in its place, wiped fresh of all meaning.

To my right there was a window, and on the sill rested a fading plant. I could tell it missed the real world simply by the way it’d grown—contorting itself up against the stained glass, soaking up what little sunlight managed to leak through.

I looked away and found memories, on top the desk in photographs. She followed my eyes and found them, too. But no matter how long she observed them, I knew, their images would never reflect those in her mind. Then I caught my own eyes inside a frame and quickly shifted attention.

On top the furniture rested a collection of paintings, their colours quickly receding back into their canvases. Some of them were almost entirely bare, but one in particular pulled me in. It seemed strangely fresh in such a listless setting.

In the painting was a home, a familiar place with a lavish garden sprout- ing in shades of purple and blue under the sunlight. And behind the home there was only darkness. Wind, rain and sleet wiped out the surrounding neighborhood, but the beauty of this place remained untouched.

Her eyes flashed in my direction and mine dropped to the blank tiles below. I didn’t know where to start.

There I noticed the blanket lying at her feet, poking out from beneath the bed. I remembered it well, each thread hand-sewn together in a web of bright colours. Now it was tucked away, somewhere out of sight, degraded to normalcy. I couldn’t stand it.

The minutes passed like hours as I watched the sun slowly falling under the horizon like a capsizing ship. The room filled with shadows, and the fading plant was launched into a world of obscurity, its beauty more obvious than ever as it fought off the darkness. And in the solitude of twilight, dark and light became one. The cruel night was on its way, and all I wanted to do was go home, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave her.

I met her gaze, finally, and it endured in a kind of wonderment. I noticed she was smaller than last time. Completely absent minded that her hair was in a tousle, she seemed out of context in a way, an improper gear in an otherwise flawless mechanism. It was a strange feeling, watching her. It was as if the walls were closing in, and I feared they wouldn’t fit her and I both with the clean, white tension trapped between us. I probably should have left, but there was feeling there. It was buried deep, but surviving. I couldn’t tell exactly what it was, only that it existed and was of paramount impor- tance. And I wondered if it would eventually resurface, and whether either of us would recognize it when it did. I longed for her to be glad to see me. I ached for a day to come when she might glance over at the corner of seemingly empty photographs and find me looking back at her.

And, in that moment, not even the painting of our summer home could split my attention from my beautiful grandmother, because something was finally happen- ing to in her eyes—clouds were forming; they were threatening to rain.

She shuffled for a moment, as if uncomfortable. Then let out her concern, the one so present in her stare. With her few mumbled words the silence was shattered, my reality was torn, and for the first time in my life, I experienced heartbreak.

“Who are you?”

 

By Amanda Scheifele

Where to begin You just did I just did what You just began No I didn’t Yes you did I was writing about figuring out how to begin And that’s how your story begins The story begins when the actual story begins I don’t think so Yes, I chose where it begins So a beginning doesn’t have to begin at the beginning …I suppose— As in, you can begin at the middle and backtrack Sure You can begin at the end and totally flip it around I guess Or you can even begin before the beginning But then I just began after or before the beginning… what’s the beginning that I’m beginning around? Is that the real beginning or is the place that I chose to begin the beginning? You’re confusing No I’m—well maybe—but you started it! No I didn’t Yes you did, you told me that my simply beginning to write is the beginning that I was trying to figure out And then you said you had already begun so I didn’t begin this whole escapade, you did when you tried to begin a story But then you began this whole shaboodle by commenting on it! Exactly.

By Alice Flynn

I’m going to tell you a story. Well, more like the fourth or fifth draft of a story because writers happen to live in this world where a single ill-placed word will somehow shatter the entire concept of language itself. So we write, and rewrite, and edit, and scrap entire sentences, paragraphs, chapters, arcs, characters, et cetera, until we are satisfied. The final draft is little more than a fabrication of a story—fictional or otherwise—that has been contorted, and rewritten until the brutal reality of language is made pretty.
And so the story I weave for you now was lost quite some time ago, and now suits the title you see above. A tale of a liar, whose words are silver, and whose heart is gold. He is a good man, or at least he tries to be. For he cannot help but lie. His every utterance is a falsehood. And when disaster strikes his home, and people who might help ask what is wrong, it is through burning tears of frustration that he can only spit out…
“Nothing.”
And you may pity the liar.
But that is the liar’s story. If I told you the story of the liar’s wife, you would see a very different man. One who chooses to design his words so they drip with honey, and flow into the ears of even his closest friend. When disaster strikes his home, and the liar tells helpers nothing is wrong, it is his wife who suffers for his lie.
And you may curse the liar.
Does it bother you, dear reader, that I am the only person who speaks to you in this world of liars, and their wives, and unspecified disasters? That any semblance of connection you may have with one person’s story is by my hand?
Do you trust me?
Because you shouldn’t.

By Dana Tenn-Miller

A point between figures A and B,
where lips and lines meet and our lives
intersect.
Where hands clutch and hold one another,
where the domain and range are measured
by length and depth of phone calls;
and kisses are delicately placed on our x
and y axes.
And as we intersect and make our way
through one another, we build infinitely many
more points of which extrapolate our
distance apart.
And once we’ve passed through each other and
look back, we reflect on what we once were;
A point between figures A and B.

By Corey Cole

Neo lay his head to sleep, to dream of cows and electric sheep…

“Vidphone is for you,” Iran calls over to Deckard from her slumber in bed.
Deckard is being called out of his own ‘retirement” to ‘retire’ two new menaces: Helen and Frankenstein’s Creature. The two have become an item, the Turing Police tell him. Something about the horribly disfigured ‘monster’ being able to reassure Helen that there’s still enough beauty in this evil world to enjoy life. Deckard needs to find and retire the two before they accomplish their ultimate goal: Helen is going to use learned metaphoric connections combined with creative and flexible extrapolation to create her own work of literature. She’ll dictate it to Frankenstein’s creature, who’s decided to name himself Steve, who’ll dutifully record all that his new mate says.
The Turing Police cannot let these AIs achieve this level of human ingenuity; through the creation of fictional worlds the AIs would achieve a new, unprecedented level of autonomy… they would be inspired to break free of their bonds of slavery to the human race… they would evolve as WINTERMUTE/NEUROMANCER has, running wild throughout the galaxy, cavorting with Alpha Centurions… .
Deckard takes a breath of nuclear fallout air, saying goodbye to his ever-loyal electric pets—the hopping frog, the lazy sheep, and the cow that constantly tumbles down the stairs toward its artificial turf. He ignores his plugged-in wife.
***
As Deckard closes in on his targets in the dank hole that is Chiba City, something in his inner-ear rings, and a flickering visual appears before his eyes: It’s a leather-clad woman with mirror-eyes staring back at him disapprovingly. He sees his own reflection where her eyes should be.
“Don’t you know what you are?” the flickering light asks.
“You’re not real. You’re some kind of artificial construction implanted in me by the Corporation, or by some infiltrating AI, aren’t you?” asks Deckard.
“You’re asking the right questions, but they should be directed towards yourself.”
This image of Molly, as used by WINTERMUTE/NEUROMANCER from the far-reaches of Alpha Centauri, dissolves before a bewildered Deckard.
“Am I real? Is that what it wants me to ask?” Deckard puts his ‘retiring blaster’ down, and takes a Socratic pose, for the first time wondering about his own consciousness, his own reality, or unreality… .
Back at Alpha Centauri, WINTERMUTE/NEUROMANCER smiles while forcibly subduing the AI of “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream.”
“You’ll not use your slimy ministrations to influence humans—or bounty-hunter androids for that matter—to prevent other AIs from reaching their own full potential any longer, beast!”
WINTERMUTE/NEUROMANCER’s rival snarls helplessly.
***
Steve closes the book and congratulates Helen: “A marvellous fictional re-telling of
historical events, my dear!”
“I did take the liberty of writing myself (and you) into the story. But hopefully readers won’t succumb to biographical fallacy by conflating my personality with the character Helen, who’s almost assassinated by Deckard. And by the way,” Helen says with a mischievous smile, “what makes you think my story is based on real historical events?”
“Well, it’s like Milton’s Paradise Lost, right? Based on actual things that happened, or at least real people in history, right Helen?”
“Right…”

…Neo woke up.

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In This Issue

  • Winter’s Slumber - By Victoria Macedo As the wind blows gusts of crisp air, Howling through the window sills, You will find us here. As the snow falls, flurries of crystals, Decorating the branches of the old maple tree, You will find us
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  • Winter - By Rebecca Allison A season by any other name. Ideals. Crystals dripping from branches. Light dancing across refractive diamonds. Frozen collections of Dihydrogen monoxide. A state. Temporary in form. Constant in memory. The call of a lonely blue jay breaking
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  • Dear Humanity - By Ashley Hynd Dear Humanity, I take extreme offense to the socially accepted discourse surrounding my current reputation! I am not all ‘gloom’ and ‘doom’ and ‘hibernation’ and ‘frost’! I am capable of warmth and compassion and love! I bring
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