“The Place Between” is a speculative piece about death and moving on. It follows an unnamed protagonist who, after a tragic accident, must make the choice between holding on to his old life with all its pain and pleasures or letting go, even if it means losing his memories. The story examines the fear of death and the unknown as well as the importance of memory. It also looks at the pain and complexities present in parent-child relationships. Most importantly, it is a story about what it means to be alive and what we must leave behind when we die.
“The Bully” deals with the rational human fear of mortality and suggests that anger is born from that fear. There is also an implication that bullying behavior often comes from a lack of consciousness rather than simply an aggressive posture, and that a lack of consciousness — being inattentive to the suffering of others or numb to the world — is a poor coping strategy implemented by so-called bullies to try to stave off the reality of mortality. It also offers that a shared human connection in terms of acknowledgement regarding the tyranny of mortality can lessen suffering and, therefore, reduce fear and anger. **Based on a true story.**
Are certain choices more meaningful than others? How do we justify or rationalize our actions in the absence of confirmation that they were correct (or, at the very least, appropriate given the information at the time)? In this short window into our protagonist’s life, we see a glimpse into his personal struggles as his inevitable mortality and death approach. He grapples with the sacrifices he made in his life that brought him to where he is today, and whether or not those sacrifices were worth the unknown outcome of his journey.
The following poem series describes the grief after a father’s suicide. They are part of a series in which the poet looks back at his childhood, but also to recent years when the poet estranged from his father during his deepening depression and alcoholism. Losing your parent is a hallmark of life, but suicide is not a natural event. At the time, the press announced that 21 veterans died daily in the US.
The tragedy associated with addiction leaves its mark on those who are left living. But what kind of life is it when grief snowballs into melancholy because of addiction’s unforgiving hold and the ensuing senseless death? The following visual art series details the melancholy created by opioid addiction. The images detail a mourner weeping due to the loss of a friend.
“Can You Believe it?” is a meditation on a weekend the author spent with some friends at a kung fu retreat about twenty-five years ago. Through this personal narrative, the author ruminates on the nature of belief, reviewing how martial arts and religion have had an influence on him and the culture at large.
The topic of abortion is an ongoing moral, legal, and religious debate. Should we be protecting the reproductive rights of women or the rights of the unborn life? The following fiction piece, “The Choice,” presents a fantasy regarding what Jesus would think of abortion and what, if anything, he would do. Mother Theresa said, “How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love.” It is the author’s hope that some version of Jesus’ way can be transmuted from fantasy to reality.
To be human is to be a paradox. Celebration tinged with tragedy. Hardship inspiring resilience. Happiness inviting discipline. The state of “human-ness” is a condition of being and becoming. Whatever we are now, we are never fully actualized. Even in youth, we age. We are forever in flux, ever realizing abeyant potential. At any given point, we are any and all of these things simultaneously. The photo series, “Paradox: The Human Condition,” gathers these layers of paradox into two-dimensional stills — snapshots of the “human condition” sampled from different lives. Together, they form a harmonized arc illustrating beginnings and ends, and beginning again.
Whenever we hear of genocides, they have either run their course or are in progress. In today’s world, we can receive so much news at once that any action seems inconsequential. However, solutions for genocide prevention at the government down to the individual level must be addressed. If we can push for thorough and unbiased education at the school level and universal accountability at the governmental level, we can prevent the spread of ignorance. In the end, it is important to share that genocide needs to be everyone’s problem, even if isn’t labelled as such.
The following poems reflect on the ideas of identity and legacy. Regardless of how humankind evolves, a seminal question remains: what have we left for the world after we’ve gone? Though many of us prefer to assume that we have a special assigned significance in this world, the truth is that none of us are inherently superior to another. As COVID-19 raises our fear of mortality, these poems remind us that the most invisible existence can leave something of value in its wake, but that we must pay attention in order to notice that legacy.