Minor: Creative Writing & French
Tell us about yourself!
Alexandra is a Neurobiology major and Creative Writing and French minor. A Junior in the College, she's pursuing a minor in fiction because she hopes to be a novelist in the future, regardless of her profession.
The last of the walk was always the hardest: the hill was steep, dusty, and studded with rocks. The man paused to catch his breath. Dust stuck to his damp skin. He pushed through to the top, weaving through scattered trees and finally breaking into a field. The grass was sprawling and lush, sleepily swaying in golden light. After a few breaths, he raised his eyes towards the barn. Backlit by the sunset, rays of filmy light filtered through the degradation and made its dilapidation almost romantic. The sight of it made him feel a joyful sadness.
As the man grew closer, the barn’s ruin came into focus. He built it to be strong, but it couldn’t seem to exist without rebellion: it pushed against the ground until it sloped; it fought the wind until its planks were stripped; and it even let in the rainwater, a trickling whisper that invited rot and inward decay. With each new blow, the man would come nail a patch or pack fresh dirt down. But it’s hard to fix something that doesn’t want your help.
A few weeks earlier the roof had given way. The man faced the barn and gently pushed open the door. He looked up and saw sky where there should’ve been wood. He stayed there until the sun set and watched it wash the barn in colored light: orange, then rose, then violet. He walked away surrounded by the darkening sky. When he reached the trees, he turned back for a final furtive glance. A gust of wind whistled and the barn shuddered; it would collapse any day. He turned back toward the hill for his last descent of its rocky dust.
Minor: Creative Writing
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Carmen is a Junior at Georgetown majoring in Chinese and minoring in Creative Writing. Her interests include imagining what deep space habitats would look like, creating stories that lie at the intersection of sci-fi and fantasy, and writing inclusive YA fiction. Her interests mostly lie in novel writing, but she has been known to write compelling and evocative short stories and poems with no plot whatsoever.
Most of the cabins were drafty, so the squeals of wind from outside, the occasional lightning, and near constant patter of ash-hail tempered the passengers’ dreams. The captain napped inconsistently in his chair, waking up his co-pilot when he finally wanted to sleep for the night. The boat rocked on upstream, by the dark morning having made it a quarter of the way. The captain awoke to navigate the tricky Chiwapa Canal connecting the East Mississippi Sea to a small inlet of the flooded Mississippi Gulf before returned to a fitful sleep in the midday haze. Boat lights low, the co-pilot puttered through the swampy intertidal waters until they reached the dark mass of the Grenada seawall.
Grenada had been a mixed township before the Uprisings that tore through the former United States, pitting its residents against one another. After the Treaty of Roswell it had been designated a borderland—subject to neither hybrid nor human jurisdiction. The large frog-hybrid population moved northwards to Tennessee and Alabama, the remaining humans rebuilding Grenada as a trading hub. As a juncture along the route from the food and resource-rich southeast to the scavenger societies of the west and the mixed confederacy of the north, Grenada had strategic significance and good traffic from both human and hybrids as people and goods passed through from as far away as the Mexican Remnants.
The co-pilot woke the captain again to steer into port. As they got closer to the port’s entrance, the boat lights illuminated the seawall’s famous inscription:
God said He would never destroy us by water again,
He never said we couldn’t do it ourselves.
As The Snowflower came into the small wharf, the captain snagged a glimpse at the frog-briddie barge as it poled its way off the docks, several manatee-briddies swimming alongside it. The captain gave a quick shudder and focused on steering the boat into harbor. He announced the arrival to the passengers over the loudspeaker, and those who were getting off or wanted to explore port did so, the rest staying in their bunks to sleep. The captain himself went out to meet the harbormaster and collect fares from the new passengers. On shore there was a small contingent of merchants selling goods they had just bought from the disappearing hybrids—natural resources that were too dangerous for humans to collect, as well as building materials and sandbags, some produce and cloth too, from the Alabama crop fields. James woke to watch the scene of commerce from his porthole, while Amelia continued to sleep.
The hail had ceased for a while, but as the passengers boarded again, a light rain began to color James’ porthole grey, and it was pouring by the time the captain was pulling out of Grenada, having taken a rest while the boat was docked. The trees were thick and close on the banks, but barely visible due to the ashen downpour. The clouds obscured the passage of time, afternoon falling to evening, the deepest dark of the night passing in wetness, the soft drumming on the boat and whishing of the trees whispering ceaselessly.
As the early morning dawned to render the outside fog in a lighter grey, James made his way down to the canteen; in the center of the room, a loud discussion was taking place between the new faces and some older ones. Amelia was already at the bar, serving drinks to the other early risers.
“—A band of rogue briddies, runnin around out there. Likely where we headed too. I’m jes saying we should be on the lookout,” a tall man with jerry-rigged glasses and chestnut brown skin said, “Look I don’t usually trust those sumbitches neither, but frog people’s different, and they wun’t talkin like they was lyin ‘bout it.”
A shorter brunette stood with her flannel-covered arms crossed. “Hmmph.”
James navigated the scene to the bar, sidling onto the seat nearest Amelia. “Vodka cranberry with some information about what’s going on please.”
Amelia set about on the drink. “The newcomers are saying the frogger barge we passed had some information about some band of briddies terrorizing the borderlands. The miss thinks they want us to find cover somewhere because they’re planning a surprise attack and want the best haul they can get—some sort of frogger revenge plot for everything people in this area have done to them.”
“And you think?”
Amelia looked back at James for a beat, then back at the shaker. “It’s as dangerous to travel in a storm as it is to stay anywhere for too long. We’re getting raided one day, and it’s just a matter of when.”
“Spoken like a true plier of the Mississippi. Are you sure you’re not a ranger in disguise?”
Amelia handed James his drink silently, and moved on to the next customer.
Minor: History & Creative Writing
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Clare is a Senior at Georgetown majoring in English and minoring in History and Creative Writing. She wrote a (terrible) book during her senior year of high school, and hopes to write and publish better works in the future. She is currently working on her senior thesis project: a creative adaptation of Hamlet, set in modern-day New York and told only through social media posts.
A Faustus of Fashion
I can’t tell you exactly when the jacket became cool, but I can pinpoint the second I noticed. It was the first time my sister wore it. At first, I didn’t even know it was the same jacket. Hanging up in my mom’s closet, pushed to the back, only emerging for a theme party or raking leaves in the fall—that faded mass of denim reeked of the Seventies. And of my mother. I wouldn’t have worn it as a Halloween costume.
But the moment Hannah came out with my elderly nemesis casually slung over her shoulders, I knew I’d missed my shot at cool. Not only for the party we were going to, where my cute sundress would be neatly eclipsed by her ragged red bandana and all-jean look, but for the rest of the year. As a household, we owned one jean jacket—and if Hannah was wearing the jacket now, that meant jean jackets were going to be in that year. She can sense these things, like those dogs that can smell cancer. Meanwhile, if I were a dog, I would figure the diagnosis out three weeks after my owner started chemo.
It’s strange how much a thing can change once it becomes cool. With my mom, the jacket was objectively terrible-looking. It fit nowhere on the body properly, and the material was both too stiff for comfort and too patchy for warmth. With Hannah, it’s a second skin, and even the jacket’s flaws are vintage. Most annoyingly, this alchemical process stays true regardless of who is wearing the jacket—on the days I can beg, borrow, or steal it from its possessive mistress, the garment retains its coolness.
This magical ability to soak up swank does not carry over to other jackets, however similar in appearance; my new jean jacket (purchased in an attempt to replicate the swagger of the old) persists in reflecting my personal fashion level. I think my sister has somehow won the jacket’s soul—and I can only console myself with the denim-y flesh, clinging awkwardly to my body for the brisk autumn days.
Major: Government & Arabic
Minor: Creative Writing
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Katya is a Junior, studying Government and Arabic in addition to Creative Writing. She's focusing on longform journalism, but writes a lot of poetry and short fiction. On campus, she's a news editor for the Georgetown Voice and has a radio show with WGTB -- off campus, she's usually hiking or taking photos around D.C. Presently she's studying abroad in Rabat, Morocco.
G2 Howard University
On the september bus, with my eyes open,
it reeks of candied walnuts and
the seams of your favorite sweater,
which are always corkscrewing apart
the bus lights, today, are fuschia
and they are slicing, they turn
the paisley skirt of the woman opposite
into a lake of tangerine swans and I can see
lipstick on the bridge
of her nose and we are passing joggers
and inviting in mothers with sagging crying strollers
there are candy wrappers stuck to the corners and
between my toes, and today the lights are fuschia
and they are slicing.
on the september bus, I keep my eyes open, always,
for when I let my gaze lapse the bus slips apart
its tires all unfurled, and we are in
your car, for the second time,
splintered windows, cassette tapes, and ice scrapers
upholstery worn down to velvet
not speaking as we surge shyly down
that curving endless freeway where
only the spotted deer in some roadside wood
could ever see me.
Finch (note: this is an excerpt from a short story)
There is a basement on the corner of Locust Ave., which the landlady paints cornsilk white each year to cover the black mold that crawls relentless across the walls. It’s futile; in March, when the frost thaws and the air gets thick and wet, water bleeds down from the pipes above, and the mold cakes back over the white, turning everything to black velvet.
There is an odor – perhaps from the mold – that haunts the basement, impervious to bleach or lemon air freshener, something more than decay, a kind of zest. It is this, more than the mold on the walls, that has always kept the house’s tenants out of the basement’s back room. That room sits unoccupied, its door closed always, expectant.
It was only Greco, out of the scores of occupants of that house, who saw the basement for what it was, peered down through the corroded floorboards to its potential. Greco looked into that basement like it was a cloudless pool and he counted the grains of sand on the bedrock. These things were always clear to Greco; the world about him was translucent. He saw people’s teeth through their lips. When he visited the house on Locust Ave. with his drummer and his guitarist he had them sign the lease there and then.
Greco’s band moved into the house on a glacial day in January. They were called Phantom Limbo, then; by March, Greco had changed the name to Flamingo. The house was pink, he said, might as well keep it consistent. He lined the walls with foam insulation and invited local septum-pierced bands to play there. On Thursday nights, the basement seized, breathed with music.
There is only one hour a day when daylight floods the basement—around 9:30 in the morning, when the sun is angled just so that it can fall through the crocheted curtains of the tiny patio door—and it makes the cigarette ash in the corners glint. It flashes off the smears on the microwave. It muscles into the moldy back room to fall in a slice across the center.
The light was on Greco’s face, on a morning in April, as he sat in the back room cross-legged, with his face upturned. It fell soft and hot on his upper lip. His eyes were fixed on the pipes that honeycombed the ceiling, watching perspiration condense on the copper and fall in fat drops to the concrete. His guitar lay beside him. Its E-string had snapped and curled up its neck.
There was a song running through Greco’s head. He had been humming it while he sat, snaking the chord progression through his brain until it was so familiar it sickened him. He was trying to find the words to it. They eluded him, although he knew they were there, behind some dam in his mind against which he was beating. He felt as though he were bent precarious over the ocean, trying to grab silver thrashing cod with his bare hands.
Sometimes, he heard the words fully, in his mind, in this exquisite voice that he did not recognize, but as soon as he spoke them aloud, himself, they tarnished and turned perverted. The light grew hotter on his face. The words had won out, Greco decided, after a time of this. They had turned from him.
Minor: Creative Writing & Environmental Studies
Tell us about yourself!
Alicia is a Junior in the Business School. She is majoring in Management and double minoring in Creative Writing and Environmental Studies. She currently has her heart set on a job that allows her to marry her love for group dynamics with creative sustainable solutions to business problems. Alicia has always loved to write poetry and is currently reaching out into more lengthy pieces. Shown are a selection of poems along with the first page of a possible novel.
I make a wish without hoping it will come true. I still think it is a wish. Maybe a prayer?
I sit and watch my train go by. I don’t flinch when it appears. Only my head moves. I wait for another.
I am happy when it finally rains. I need the smell. I leave without a coat. I am soaked. I dry slowly.
I get up to go. I hear my name but keep walking. I hear it again as I push the door open.
“Hello… How are you?” I respond by handing her my item. We don’t exchange anything else except the grocery bag.
I gaze at a wall. I don’t know how long I have been here. I look down to find a laptop and half a sentence. My fingers rest on the keys and push down.
“Come out with us!” I smile. They haven’t noticed my silence.
I move ahead without knowing where I had gone but I see you hovering. Waiting. I smile. I sit and wait for a train but we both get up when it comes.
I have no instinct. I remain with my head unsheltered, although battered, arms to my side. My feet can’t seem to run.
Words dig into the sides of my throat, attempting escape:
There is immediate swelling at their inclinations but I am frozen
I feel like I am floating to the bottom of an ice lake. No movement in the water
They will me to scream
The Ice above replaces itself. It gets dark.
Tears come, but do not fall.
I attempt to breath and find fire.
My body rejects all instruction.
The only thing that moves is my mouth –
Gapping catching flies
When Ms. Marcy called Evaline into her office, the sun had begun its descent into the property’s tree line. Orange hues seeped into the room as the girl entered, her weight resting on the balls of her feet, shoulders un-characteristically hunched. Ms. Marcy stood erect at the front of her desk, determined to stand taller, more stable, than she was feeling.
Ms. Marcy’s eyes fleeted to the empty chairs and Evaline immediately found herself in one facing the desk. The pin-cushioned arm chair was not oversized, however, Evaline disappeared, willingly, into its creases. Aware of her petering status as one of Ms. Marcy’s favorite students. “There are times when the severest actions, with the most irrevocable consequences, prevail without much hesitation.” Ms. Marcy starred at the bridge of Evaline’s nose. Focusing on her own breath. “Reason becomes secondary in nature and it becomes unnatural to choose it.” She spoke in a rhythm, choking down the quivering vocal chords at the base of her throat. Not in front of a student a voice whispered. “A person can hold no blame when this happens. It’s one of our only understandings of insanity.” Ms. Marcy circled behind the chairs and then around the other side of the desk. Stopping at the window. Back turned to her audience. “Have you ever been in a position where your actions didn’t match reason? Where everything in your body wanted to do something that would seem crazy to everyone else?” Dangerous to everyone else. Her voice reverberated against the marble walls. The chair let out a slight creek, Evaline shook her head in Ms. Marcy’s periphery, sustaining eye contact with her impeccably polished heels.
“So then why,” Ms. Marcy continues, “did Lily receive this note indicating her,” she brings the note closer to her face, squinting whilst finding her place in the lengthy letter, “did you state her actions where ‘selfish in nature and therefore, that she (meaning Lily) should have finished the job when she had the chance, saving everyone the trouble of melodrama.’” (…)
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