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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
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Stories & Essays
A Wedding Toast For Daddy's Little Girl
_
By Miriam N. Kotzin
Bread
_ By Debbi Pless
Flowers
_ By Rachel Miller
Gyokusai
_ By Julie Jordan
Hearts Without Armor
_ By Angela P. Markham
Mental Constipation and Brain Vomit
_ By Winnie Khaw
My Best Subject
_ By Ashley Polker
Piper
_ By Samantha Rae
Requiem For An Author
_ By R. Holsen
Sometimes It Pours Only Dogs
_ By Saana Tykkä
The Black Tape
_ By Brad Jashinsky

Poetry
A Slave To Time
_ By Clyde Windjammer
Colour
_ By Kaleen Love
Death By My Lover
_ By Jessica Tempestad
I Am A Pineapple
_ By Rachel Miller
Lament For the Lost Soldier
_ By Melissa Augeri
Laundry Arcade
_ By Ashley Polker
Left Silent To Dream of Wine
_ By Kaleen Love
Mortality
_ By Henry Grieves
Ode To Microsoft Spell Cheque
_ By Arielle Demchuk
Reminiscent of Society As An Individual
_ By Henry Grieves
Ship's Cook
_ By Heather Inwood
The Phoenix
_ By Kaleen Love
The Raven and the Dove
_ By Melissa Augeri
Train Dreamer
_ By Heather Inwood 

Art & Photography
S. Camargo
_ Photography and Drawings
David C. Clarke
_ Photography
Wiltekirra Samaxionn
_ Photography
Anca Sandu
_ Paintings
Austin Tanney
_ Photography
Ray Tsang
_ Paintings
Mark Warren
_ Photography

Mental Constipation and Brain Vomit
By Winnie Khaw


I need to strip down my essay to the bare minimum. Flay it alive, to the bone, for heresy.

There is a hard little ball of something inside me, as if I started playing with some rubber and kept winding it around and around… it gets bigger and bigger. It might be anger. It might be hate. It's certainly a general negative feeling towards the whole world.

In Fahrenheit 451, when Montag burns his house down, I can't help thinking that the fiery flowerthe "seed" Clarisse planted, the gushing, the torrents, the plastic fireproof coveringsounds like a condom didn't work.

This all goes to show that one can't do anything with good advice except pass it onit's never of any use to oneself. Wilde, of course.

So I go home and stare at my ceiling. It's hard to accept that something I care so passionately about, something I think could work so well, doesn't strike a chord in others. Oh, some people respond, and I can't begin to express my appreciation to them for caring, but the majority completely ignore me.

Ignore me. I say that to myself again. Maybe there's nothing worth paying attention toI'm not a compelling public speaker, I'm not brilliant, and I'm not really a good person. Mediocrity seems to be a calling for me, and I answer dully.

It is a game in which the character tries to pick up treasures from the ground. I just let the character go on its merry way, and every so often it scores points. More often, I die.

The knot in my chest began in Theatre. I cannot describe the mental anguish and exhaustion that plagued me. I was like a snail stripped of its shell by academic living and then thrown into salt water.

I am performing a rather clever monologue on a stage… with my back to the audience.

I can't cry all the time. I can't plead with people to please, please work because this is something they should care about. And yet, I can't sit by and do nothing.

My paper needs to lose weight. There is too much fat accumulated around its middle. It needs to be slim and toned.

So I do all the work. All the worrying. And I'm tired.

I'm not a leader; I am clearly a Beta, destined for behind-the-scenes work. I don't mind, not really, but I can't get things done, not the things I want to do.

So I shouldn't stress. Take over my life for a minute, and then offer your advice. Stop telling me other people have bigger problems. Solve my problems first.

I am drowning and someone is pushing my head down. That's not helpful.

The self-centered life is pretty unbearable. I know the curtains will drop on this stage in my life, and I'll move on… but I can't forget.

I can't forget the people who stick around when I'm at a high point, the people who insist on calling me "smart" as though it's through some kind of magic and not years of hard work. Their smiling faces, so flattering andfor that sycophantic momentso blank, like the stones on the beach rubbed smooth by the waves.

But these are nice people, really. Everyone has these moments. It's just… when it happens, it's hard to remember that they are people.

But then, in the low times, the waves of people ebb. No one wants to stick around after the show when the makeup is washed off and costumes changed.

People were perfect until last year. Then, suddenly, they developed flaws. I see it now with a vengeance, and no one has more petty scrapes and bruises than I, without the imprinted valor of worthy wounds.

My essay is a eunuchcut, castrated.

I need help. Desperately. And the first thing I need to do is to take out the "I."

 


 

WINNIE KHAW has existed for a span of sixteen years, during which she has lived as an introverted bookworm. She currently lives in the United States, that great melting pot of fried cultures, chopped languages, and fattening foods. Winnie is an aspiring writer who enjoys British humor, however obscene, grotesque, and condescending. Lower capitalization in her reading is her only preference, which allows for a large variety.