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Playing Pretend in Suburbia

By Eden Vander Zee As I sit swaddled in my pink-and-white Barbie blankie on the brown wrinkled couch in the sun room of my suburban home, there seems to be nothing but a perfect world that surrounds me. I see my mother singing in the kitchen, the sun warms my skin as it gleams in through the stained-glass windows, and the smell of homemade brisket makes its way to my content heart. My young life seems to be all so perfect. But little did I … [More]

Finding the Golden (Corn) Nugget

All my life, I've loved corn. I love it on, but mainly off, the cob. I'll eat it plain, with butter, salt, creamed, popped, in a cup, baked into bread, but I am here to discuss the best way: stuffed into a nugget and fried. If you're wondering what is in that brown bag, it is the southern delicacy I just described known as corn nuggets. Not to be confused with Corn Nuts or corn fritters, they are basically like chicken nuggets, but … [More]

Healing Slowly—and Then All at Once

By Amanda Castro-Crist The last thing I can remember before the cast came off several weeks later is running across the cushions of our brown-and-orange couch. It’s weird how the time between the two points – broken and healed – is a blank. I can list a million details about the house we lived in. There were three wood-paneled rooms, one for my parents, one for me and one for my little brother – a perfect little family. I can describe … [More]

I’ve Learned to Love Myself, Even if She Doesn’t

By Jean Reese When I was little, I would run to the one place I knew was safe. To you, to anyone, it was just a closet. In it was a small white chest—nothing fancy or decorative. The only markings on it were the ones I had put there. It was filled with bits of broken crayons, headless Barbie dolls and an abundance of nonsense. To me, it was a wondrous, magical place. This was a place where I could run off to other worlds and think freely. … [More]

My Life’s Most Meaningful Moment

By Jack Browne* The night started like any other. We were sitting on her couch, watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, when I was struck with an idea. I asked her if she wanted to go outside and look at the stars. At first, she said it was too cold. It took some convincing, and about 10 blankets, but finally, there we were, in the back of my truck, on a pallet of blankets. The air was crisp, with a slight breeze just strong enough to make … [More]

Billboard Dad

By Olivia Daniels* His scent was reminiscent of peppermints and Axe body spray. The kind of smell that lingered long after he left a room, making its presence known. I begged him to sleep in my twin bed when my mother reluctantly allowed him to crash in our home. Not because I wanted to sleep beside him, but to simply capture this scent. If history repeated itself, I knew his peppermints-and-Axe mixture would willingly stick around … [More]

How Dancing Set Me Free

By Jennifer Hicks Most of my life was spent in a box with minimal windows and doors. Not a bad box, though. The purple color of the exterior made the metallic silver letters that said "Earle Cobb Dance Studio" stand out. Purple was the favorite color of Dena, the owner. The front wall was covered in mirrors, with a bench at the bottom to sit or store one’s things. Wrapped around rest of the room were barres with two levels. Many before me … [More]

Dear St. Valentine

Who is St. Valentine? The history behind Valentine's Day is not concrete. There are many legends of who St. Valentine, the man this love-filled day is named after, was. According to, one legend is that St. Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, and because he was so convinced of this belief, he made it illegal for young men to get … [More]

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