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in the HUT CS de artment” Creative Commons

Victoria White. Page 1 design by Amy Li. Layout by Genevieve Anita Thomas. Prior page: “Light at Night” by Flickr user Tom Grundy, Creative Commons 2.0:

Cover image and image on page 1: “ink and water” by Flickr user gagstreet, CC BY-SA 2.0:

hoto/2864556807/ Debian Da

htt ://www flickr com/ hotos/tom rund


Short Films

Readings By Authors

2012 Intertext Edition


T he editors of Intertext welcome you

to the 20th edition of the publication.

ate coursework, Intertext has an appreciation

for the craft of student writing produced by

Online Debut

Intertext is a cherished and prestigious

Syracuse’s very own. Our department is full

entity of the Writing Department at Syracuse


of talented writers displaying and honing great

University dating back to 1993. This publi-

cation is committed to showcasing the best undergraduate writing from all levels of the Writing Program. It continues to exemplify the power of writing and collaboration to inform and inspire. In honor of the 20th year, we will extend our students’ excellent work beyond the publi- cation to our new site:

http://wrt-intertext.syr.edu/ Here, we will feature spoken word, video sub- missions, and more. From lower- to upper-level undergradu-

skills for their future careers. Without their

passion for writing and breadth of interest-

ing work we would not be the publication we

have come to pride ourselves on being today.

Promoting unique and inspiring intertextuality in

academia was not something the editors could

have even imagined without the overwhelmingly

exciting undergraduate submissions.

The process of producing Intertext is a

hands-on learning experience. Stemming

from the course, WRT 340: Advanced Edit-

ing Studio, students were interviewed and se-

lected to participate in all aspects of Intertext’s





yp ShareAlike 1.0: http://ajt.iki.fi/travel/debconf5/






production process. With different levels of experience and expertise, we learned from about aspects of publishing. The lessons we learned and experience we gained are invalu-

able to the future we each look to as writers, editors and designers. Today we thank our professor, Patrick W. Berry, for his expertise and patience in the process of producing Intertext. We thank the - gram for their continued support. We thank the Writing Program for their commitment to excellent undergraduate writing and to

Intertext. We thank the Louise Wetherbee

And we thank you all for giving Intertext twen- ty inspiring years, and we hope for many more

in the future. In addition, a huge thanks to all writers for their submissions Though Intertext selects a few pieces for the publication, every word you write is im- portant to the community and growth of writing both in and out of academia. We pro- mote a sense of intertextuality and believe this relationship between texts is something that requires both passion and dedication. As readers and writers everywhere are brought together by texts, we can only hope this spe- cial edition of Intertext

you, and encourages you to write on and

keep reading.

The writing contained within this publication expresses the ideas and opinions of the individual authors and does not

Phelps Award Judges for 2012: Lois Agnew,

Justin Lewis, Faith Plvan, and Molly Voorheis.

Program are not legally responsible for errors in students’ content.

Intertext staff, the Writing Program, or Syracuse University. Intertext and the Writing








George Edinger


Hayley Kang


Matt Kovac

Brooke Leone


Amy Li

SECTION INTRO Acceptance and Identity

Annie Licata


Amanda Rockwell


Margaret Spinosa


Flash Steinbeiser

Stages of Visibility

Genevieve Anita Thomas



Olivia Tormenta

Victoria White



Patrick W. Berry

Intertext is a publication showcasing the best undergraduate writing from the Syracuse University Writing Program. collaboration to inform and inspire.

The Louise Wetherbee Phelps Award recognizes excellence in writing in the Writing Program’s courses. Submissions are evaluated on depth, complexity, technical control, emotional and intellectual appeal, and how well they The 2012 winners are Elliott DeLine for “Stages of Visibility” and Leanna Architecture as Control and Parkour as Rebellion.”

Society’s Acceptance of Transgender Identity




Guarded Judgment





Life’s Intangibles








The Inevitability of Elsewhere



Risks and Freedom



Family Portrait



SECTION INTRO Reverberations of Connectedness



Finding Shelter From the Storm




as Control and Parkour as Rebellion



Writing Back




Therapy Dog



Why Should I Cite Them? Student Writers in the Academy



Editorial Team


That Psalm in Your Palm


The Chop Suey Generation






Why I Write



T he editors of Intertext welcome you

to the 20th edition of the publica-

tion. Intertext is a prestigious entity

of the Writing Program at Syracuse Univer- sity that dates back to 1993. This publication is committed to showcasing the best under- graduate writing from all levels of the Writ-

ing Program. It continues to exemplify the power of writing and collaboration to inform and inspire. In honor of the 20th year, we will further extend our students’ excellent work beyond the publication to our new site:

http://wrt-intertext.syr.edu/ Here, we will feature spoken word, video sub- missions, and more. From lower-level to upper-level undergradu- ate coursework, Intertext has an appreciation for the craft of student writing produced by

Syracuse’s very own. Our program is full of talented writers displaying and honing great skills for their future careers. Without their passion for writing and breadth of interest- ing work, we would not be the publication we have come to pride ourselves on being today. Promoting unique and inspiring intertextuality in academia was not something the editors could have even imagined without the overwhelmingly exciting undergraduate submissions. The process of producing Intertext is a hands-on learning experience. Stemming from the course, WRT 340: Advanced Editing Studio, students were interviewed and selected to participate in all aspects of Intertext’s pro- duction process. With different levels of ex- perience and expertise, we learned from our different aspects of publishing. The lessons

we learned and experience we gained will be invaluable to the future we each look to as writers, editors, and designers. Today we thank our professor, Patrick W. Berry, for his expertise and patience in the process of producing Intertext. We thank the College of Arts and Sciences’ iLEARN pro- gram for their continued support. We thank the Writing Program for their commitment to excellent undergraduate writing and to Intertext, including Anne Fitzsimmons, Kristi Johnson, Christine Palmer, LouAnn Payne, George Rhinehart, Eileen Schell, Beth Wagner, and Nancy Wright. We thank the Louise Wetherbee Phelps Award judges for 2012: Lois Agnew, Justin Lewis, Faith Plvan, and Molly Voorheis. We also thank those who contributed to our class: Benay Bubar, Katie Czerwinski,

Connie Livsey, and Minnie Bruce Pratt. And we thank you all for giving Intertext twenty inspiring years, and we hope for many more in the future. In addition, a huge thanks to all writers for their submissions. We also thank Beth Wood and Pearson for their ongoing support of this publication. Though Intertext selects a few pieces for the publication, every word you write is important to the community and growth of writing both in and out of academia. We promote a sense of intertextuality and believe this relationship between texts is something that requires both passion and dedication. As readers and writers everywhere are brought together by texts, we can only hope this special edition of Intertext

by texts, we can only hope this special edition of Intertext write on and keep reading.

write on and keep reading. Enjoy!



Elliott DeLine, Major: English and Textual Studies, “Stages of Visibility,” written for WRT 422

Major: Architecture,

“Kelley,” written for WRT 422

Meredith Jeffers, Majors: Writing and Rhetoric & English and

Allison Clark,

Elizabeth Vogt, written for WRT 424

Matt Marina’s
Matt Marina’s

Meet Susan of the Westside Resident Coalition,

34 42 56 Matt Marina’s Meet Susan of the Westside Resident Coalition, Learn about the McShane
34 42 56 Matt Marina’s Meet Susan of the Westside Resident Coalition, Learn about the McShane

Learn about the McShane and Derek Davey,

SECTION INTRO Acceptance A cceptance is an elusive topic that often comes up between people



A cceptance is an elusive topic that often comes up between people who feel placed on the outside. While


ity and inclusivity. We tend not to feel these emotions directly. We work towards them, under the stipulation that the disconnected

feelings will subside. Acceptance must come from within. You can ask it of others all you want and do what-

ever it takes to obtain it, but ultimately it is

a fruitless effort if you do not accept your-

the struggles people endure while accept- texts embrace the imperfections we all carry while championing the personal struggles we overcome. On some level there is a sense of camaraderie with the authors’ internal feelings. Being on the outside is a part of life; overcom- ing it is living life.

I dentity: It is constructed, certainly, but by the time we enter this world, our personas

begin to form beyond our control. Where we are from, what our parents do for a living, what we look like, the manner in which we speak—we are judged for all of these, regardless of who we really are as people, regardless of our true identities. by comparison, seeing if we measure up to society’s yardstick. And yet, it is in this process only recognize who they have become when yourself there, then you have become strik- ingly aware that while a judgmental culture has hijacked your identity, it is still for you to decide who you will become.

Layout by Matt Kovac. “Want to play?” by Flickr user kT LindSAy, CC BY-NC 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ktlindsay/2779354402.

2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ktlindsay/2779354402. Identity you cannot accept yourself. What good is the


you cannot accept yourself. What good is the acceptance of a sea of faces when you have trouble looking at your own? It is a struggle and approval of a relentlessly demanding society is a task which ultimately leaves you hollow. Choose to be the person you desire to be, and judged by many. But for those who do of people who make you proud of who you are, people who show you that you do belong. of identity and social acceptance, each in their between meeting your own expectations for yourself and meeting social norms. By explor- each piece asks us to be honest with ourselves in a way that is both frightening and unsettling, but strangely cathartic at the same time.

It is in those moments of loss, desperation, - scious of how your environment has shaped you, and how you have shaped your environ- ment—good, bad, or otherwise. And yes, we are dynamic beings. It is not in our nature to remain static. But it is also not inherent that we change in a way which is self-directed, which is informed by our experience and not simply an instinctual response to it. Are you happy with who you are? Are you content with the decisions that have invariably resulted in the person you have become? It is not bad if your answer is no. Rather, it is that personal honesty that allows you to consciously progress into the person you want to be. As much as society may condition us to seek ex- ternal acceptance, the endeavor is useless if

Stages of Visibility

Elliott DeLine

W e were getting to know one another. I dread these class- room activities, but this one

seemed to be going well. This round, we were to tell a story of a journey we went on with someone we loved. I stalled and let Then I decided to tell an emotional jour- ney, rather than a literal journey. I was apprehensive—Gina’s story led me to be- lieve she was heterosexual and cisgender.

I told the story of my “emotional roller- coaster” with Peter. I told her he already had

a girlfriend, but was secretly involved with

me. He would say he was going to break up with her, but it never happened, and he strung us both along for months. Gina thought the story was really interest- ing, and was enthusiastic to hear more. Was Peter bisexual, then? I said, “Yeah, or gay in denial,” and laughed. The truth is, I just said that automatical-

ence, most people don’t know much about transgender men. I also have trouble talking about these things aloud, though I think I may want to and even need to. I was raised to be a very private person and to not make others uncomfortable.

I n high school, I didn’t like showering—I preferred just taking a bath so I could lie down. On my back, it didn’t look or feel

so bad, and submerged in hot water with my

eyes closed, I could almost enjoy myself. But on mornings like this, when I was in a rush,

I had to shower. I sometimes skipped days,

but today I smelled weird so that wasn’t an option.

I barely took note of my naked body—I

washed it and my hair with soap then rinsed and was done with it. I scrubbed myself dry then wrapped the towel around my chest,

wearing it like a dress. In the mirror, I looked at my head and shoulders and make-believed, just for a few seconds. Then I went back to my cold bedroom.

ly. Really, Peter and I are both transgender

had stolen about half of my brother’s

underwear collection. I was afraid to ask for



open to all types of people. I just found

my own—or worse, be seen shopping for


man (whatever that means) and lie. I’m not

easier to play the part of a regular gay

them. This made my brother and mom angry when they discovered me, but I kept doing

sure if I was afraid she would judge me for being trans, or if I just wasn’t in the mood to

anyway. I pulled on a pair of small boxers, stretched and worn over the years, designed


explain it. But why did I assume she would need an explanation? I guess, in my experi-

with a twelve-year-old boy in mind. Then I slipped into baggy jeans, pulling them down

below my hips—I’d read online that this would help me pass, as my ass would look this manner. I searched for clean socks, then gave up and searched for the cleanest socks, pulling them each on as I stood on one foot. My chest binder lay on the mattress where I’d left it. It was once white, but now a gray- ish yellow, with some green spots I suspected were algae, left from the few times I swam in the lake. It looked like (and was, for all

practical purposes) a dingy tank top made of lycra. The only time I didn’t wear it was when I showered. I’d tried it though. It was a battle getting into the thing. I took the neck hole and stretched it over my shoulders, usually burning them slightly in the process. I then wiggled it down to my stom- ach, and, putting my arms through the holes, pulled it up over my chest and back. I still feel revulsion recalling how I then reached inside my cleavage and spread my mammary

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomgrundyphoto/2864556807. “Debian Day in the HUT CS department,” CC BY-SA 1.0: http://ajt.iki.fi/travel/debconf5.

Layout by Genevieve Anita Thomas. Prior page: “Light at Night” by Flickr user Tom Grundy, CC BY 2.0:

glands male chest. I tried on various combinations of T- shirts and button-ups. I liked layers, to be safe, and I had read online that a white triangle of an undershirt beneath your collar gave off a masculine impression. After I settled on my usual army-green col- lared shirt, I looked in the mirror, parting my thick, still-wet, dark hair. Though cut short, it would be hours before it was dry. I made sure my bangs were swept off of my forehead— I had read, once again, online, that bangs were feminizing. I checked to make sure my hair around my ears was cropped enough— though I longed for sideburns, I couldn’t grow them, and I was paranoid that allowing my hair there to grow long would make me look like Liza Minnelli. After that, there was nothing else I could really do. I put on deodorant (unisex, as that men’s). Before leaving I slipped on my skater sneakers (a few sizes too large, for effect) and added a third layer of a baggy hooded out the door into the dark of the early April morning, backpack slung over one shoulder, hiding under my hood as I passed the other

houses on the street and headed towards the bus stop on the corner. I was in homeroom, and, yet again, the teacher was doing roll call. “Laura DeLine?” It hurt to raise my hand. I was not this person anymore—I was Elliott. But there was nothing I could do. There would be a sheet in front of me. A test in French class. Name legible, then wrote DeLine. It felt like it was being beat into me for the millionth time. For the assignment, I had to write about myself. I tried otherwise once and got an F. So I played along. split into boys and girls. Oh, how sorry I felt for the guy I was paired with. I said nothing. I bowed out early and skipped the class. I would not curtsy. There was only so much I could bear. I’d rather fail the class. And nearly three years later, I emailed my college history professor. “If you don’t mind, can you please change my name on the roster? I go by Elliott.” In class, I had my notebook open, in the huge lecture hall. The professor was young but bald. He announced, “Oh, by the way, to anyone who emailed me asking to go by a dif- ferent name…it’s hard enough to learn all the stu- dents’ real names. If you care so much, get it legally changed.” Then he did roll call. I blushed and didn’t say anything. More years passed. I sat in another class—West African Literature and Politics. I was legally Elliott now. Roll call didn’t hurt, I could write my preferred

and Politics. I was legally Elliott now. Roll call didn’t hurt, I could write my preferred



name on my papers. For homework, we had to read a disturbing story about female circumcision that made me wince with sympathy pains. So what do we think? Is it the West’s place to interfere and stop this? My hand shot up immediately—I had meditated on professor said. I said nothing and lowered my hand. I spoke eventually from a distanced point of view with the other boys, never revealing that I cringed at the thought of my own clitoris being amputated and felt confused by the deep, empathetic connection I felt with these women, even if

C lass ended. Gina and I lagged behind

as everyone else exited the room.

“It’s so funny,” she said as she put

her papers away. “I was the only one who noticed Jordan’s the only straight guy in the class!” I nodded and smiled, unsure what to say. said, “but then you and Ian both said you were gay.” I think she said this so I wouldn’t be offended that she thought we were from the start. “I’m not gay,” I said, surprising myself a little. I realized it was very casual sounding, and that most guys would probably say something like, “I’m not gay! You thought I was gay?” Super defensive, even if they were open-minded. Gina must have noticed too, because “Actually, I’ve had girlfriends,” I said. “And it’s kind of different for me, be- cause I’m transgender. Female-to-male,” I We’d packed up our books and laptops and headed into the hall. There were many students surrounding us, and I wondered if they could overhear us.

“So you used to be a woman?”

I really don’t like looking at it that way. “I was born female.”

“Seriously?” She didn’t sound as shocked as I thought she would be. Still, it’s clear she hadn’t pegged me that way. I nodded, and we walked down the stairs. “Did you have the surgery?” have to let things go sometimes. “I’ve had surgery on my chest,” I said. I hate the

It seems like I can feel the other person

trying to picture me naked. “I would never know,” Gina said. “Seriously.


“Yep, I know.” Should I have told her I don’t need her approval? Told her that I wish I had the nerve, when cisgender people reassure me I’m handsome, to say “Really? I think you’re hideous.” As if I ever asked to be reassured… As if the subject were somehow up for debate… As if they were expressing some contrary opinion. “I guess that’s what you’d want though,

right? Not to have anyone know?” She laughed, seeming a little nervous again. I hate when people are too comfortable, but I hate when they are uncomfortable even more. So

I smile.

“Well, honestly, it’s a double-edged sword.

I kinda feel invisible either way, it’s---” We were outside now. Gina avoided eye contact and didn’t seem to be listening anymore. “---Never mind.” I said. “Well, see you later.” “Yep, bye!”

I lowered my eyes and didn’t see which

manifestations of anxiety—a sped up heart- beat, warm face, slight vertigo. But strangely, I also felt really good.

Society’s Acceptance

A n episode of This American Life entitled “Somewhere Out There” features a segment on two young girls who

are anatomically male but identify as females

the two girls suffer from “Gender Identity

and physicians in order to describe people who - plicated issue concerning society’s nonaccep- tance of transgendered people. who are sometimes alienated from their peers

A lot of our friends [say] “so

would actually be a blessing…at

least our society has a structure

in which you can understand…

If you’d stop letting your kid dress (“Tom Girls”) obtain an accurate percentage of Americans who are homosexual. While the 2000 U.S. make up less than one percent of U.S. house-

- cent of all men and two percent of all women National Gay and Lesbian three to eight percent of both sexes are homosexual percentage of the popula- transgender. Thomasina’s father implies that those who grapple with issues of trans- gender identity are a small minority of society. Due to the larger discussions. The general U.S. population is

only just now starting to ac- cept people who are homo- sexual. It is likely that soci-

become more accepting of transgender people. The word “transgen- der” did not appear until the publication of Harry The Transsexual Phenomenon three categories of transgendered people: those fully transsexual (13). In describing trans- society that transgendered people experience.

with the law and with the medical profession (13). This phenomenon of people who identify as society. As one of the fathers in the episode de- in accepting the concept of a transsexual identity is arguably stronger than the clash between society and homosexuals. - scribed by Alissa Quart in her article about a young prefers to identify as male in spite of the fact that he is anatomically female. notes how trans students often feel excluded at col- lege and are often insulted by their peers (Quart). week of his freshman year - his roommates had com- plained to the housing director because they did not want to share a room with him. Quart -

ply shut out by his two roommates—and by the rest of the school” (Quart). What Quart does not discuss at length is the fact that college is only one of the many - National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted by - that people who are transgendered experience “double the rate of unemployment…near losses of jobs and careers” and “high rates of Quart calls “a natural part of being a minority - concept for many people. nature has ways of messing up. There are chil- dren born with one arm. There are children something that they feel insecure about.” By Lilly’s mother implies that transsexuality is a - ciety’s approach to conditions of gender and sexuality for which there exists little precedent. wasn’t until 1974 that the American Psychiat-

of Transgender Identity

Anrai D. Pearson

and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Herek). Although some authorities such as the people in the United States who identify as a different gender are categorized as suffering from a mental illness in the DSM. This rein- forces the assumption that identifying as the opposite gender is abnormal and suggests that - for Transgender Health (WPATH) prepared a statement for the purpose of amending the In This American Life forget that they are considered abnormal by I’m watching TV… I don’t really think about - - - person” (“Tom Girls”). the popular assumption that she is not “nor- such dialogue that Thomasina and Lilly do - ation is something that is taught to them by the society into which they were born into. The fact that Lilly and Thomasina describe

transgendered people are “born into the says that “many students who identify as trans are seeking not simply to change their sex but to create an identity outside or be- tween established genders” (Quart). In a an abstract concept that is socially construct- - struction starts with assignment to a sex category on the basis of what the genitalia look like at birth. Then the babies are dressed or adorned in a way that displays the category because parents don’t want to be constantly asked whether their baby is a girl or a boy. A sex category becomes a - ing dilemma when she states that “gender is one of the major ways that human beings - becomes a major tool for social categoriza- tion within society. Thomasina and Lilly are presented with a confusing and paradoxical

Layout by Hayley Kang.

condition when it comes to the mixed mes- their gender. describes Lilly and Thomasina as look- ing distinctly female based on their dress. with her all-pink summer dresses.” Kirchner hair and delicate facial features. She wears bathing suits” (“Tom Girls”). Although the two children desire and are allowed to dress their peers and society in general that they are males. Thomasina’s father describes his …[t]his child would take her on - cret. I know your secret…. And if - ing to push me on the swing set.” (“Tom Girls”)

reaction to the idea of transsexuality can be - the most essential and fundamental category

traditional social roles and customs also be- come objects of discussion and criticism.

When the father of one of the girls in “Tom Girls” states that “society has [no] structure he is standing at the tip of an iceberg. The discussion of transsexuality is the doorway to a much larger discussion about gender as

a social construction and as a tool of human

the fabric of our society.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (3rd Transgender Employment Experiences: Gendered Perceptions and the Law. The Transsexual Phenomenon. Marsha Botzer. “Proposed Changes to the DSM: A World Professional Associa- tion for Transgender Health Consensus. International Journal of Transgenderism 12. 2 (2010): 107-14. Taylor & Francis Online. - National Transgender Discrimination Survey:

Preliminary Findings. - New York Times


Gallop. percentage-population-gay.aspx Race, Class, and Gender i n the United States: An Integrated Study. 6th ed. “Tom Girls.” Produced by Mary Beth Kirchner. This American Life. 2009. Web.






that I would need two forms of ID, rather than - what I had heard from one of my Westchester - - tor, empty metal carts (used to place food and -

N ervous

















- - We approached a small woman at the front - - -

Layout by Brooke Leone and Amanda Rockwell. “Prison Chapel” by Flickr user thart2009, Tom Hart, CC BY 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thart2009/3648591485.

- - - -


told us that we couldn’t fathom some of the - Law & Order

seen what just happened, and he told me that

covered my chest and shoulders completely and forearms were covered and that I had a second

really, there are plenty of people who have


Life’s Intangibles

“B e prepared to attend a lot of funerals.” Those were the only words my brother uttered to me

as we sat in the backseat of my family’s Toyota Camry. We were driving to the mall to pur- chase suits that my father and brother could wear to the funeral of my great aunt who just passed away. I stared at him, shocked he could say something so insensitive. It was as if he were jinxing our family, condemning everyone to death. But he was right. Our relatives were approaching “that age.” That year death knocked on my family’s door and took us for a ride. But my grandmother’s I was studying abroad in Strasbourg, France and wanted a small favor from my mother. But when I Skyped her, she responded that she had no time in the midst of preparing for her trip to China. My mother never took vacations. The reason she was abruptly doing so: My grandmother was in critical condition. Like my great aunt, she had caught pneumo- nia. This was her second diagnosis with it, and the combination of her previous and current prescriptions didn’t allow her to be given any-

thing new. Doctors said she wouldn’t make it past the end of the week. A part of me had always believed that my grandmother was immortal. She raised me. I had never spent a day away from her before I left for college. If she were gone, I don’t know what I’d do. My brother’s “prophecy” suddenly hit me. Death and disease are inevitable. One day, death will strike. Sometimes he wins; sometimes we do, gaining only a few more days, weeks, months, or years. I lit a candle for my grandma at the Notre Dame Cathedral that night. And by some miracle she pulled through. She survived but her body is weak. Any moment could be her last. Death and disease are inevitable. We will all experi- ence or witness it. The pain may seem unbear- able. But when we learn to accept and learn to cope with it, we grow stronger; we become survivors in our own light. This next section deals with these intan- liberation in the midst of them. —Amy Li, Editor

Layout by Matt Kovac. “Family Portrait” by Flickr user bignoseduglyguy, Joe Dunning, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0:


I wonder what Ralph Waldo Emerson or

Henry David Thoreau would say about

us now. Society in 2012. People always

talking on their cellphones, playing games on their hand-held devices, watching movies on laptops. I wonder if they would appreciate our willingness to be alone and disconnected from society, or frown upon our dependence on material things. In this section, writers wrestle with their own existential ideas. By getting a glimpse into the lives of these young authors, you as readers can feel and experience the struggles and embraces of “Life’s Intangibles.” Deep things. Deeper than Facebook statuses and Twitter mentions, cellphones and MacBooks. These pieces are about the things in life that make or break the people we are, the people we were, and the people we will become. It’s what shapes our values to contribute to the legacy we one day hope to leave. We as humans share many emotions:

happiness and rage, jealousy and embarrass- ment; to be is to feel. Writers harness those emotions and turn them into words and works of art. The authors in this section have mas-

tered that idea miraculously. We, the writers, are the next Emersons and Thoreaus. This section may not have all the answers you’re looking for, of course. They may not dry your tears or induce tears at all. But if they make you question, if they make you think, even for a moment, they’re all worth it. —Annie Licata Editor


Mackenzie C. Singh

I haven’t written in a long time. Maybe it’s because my thoughts have been jumbled,

I haven’t written in a long time. Maybe it’s because my thoughts have been jumbled, or because my memories have

felt disorganized. Maybe I haven’t written because writing is a covert way of rehashing old bones hidden deeply in the trenches of my memory—memories that may be better left alone or, if I’m lucky, forgotten altogether in the graveyard of past times.


This word is strange simply because it takes two words that exude two different feelings when said separately. When I say “grave” in my head,

it sounds black and cold, and there’s an image

of a man with an awfully thin face wearing a

scowl that seems to be swallowing him. When

I say “yard,” I think of green and warmth and

the budding of new sprouts. It seems to me the word “graveyard” is an effort to have the unsuccessful attempt to equal out the sullenness of which the former word implies. This is why I chose to have my sister cremated. Among other things of course, I like the idea of ashes becoming part of nature; the breeze of the seasons. It’s the same reason why I like rain. A rain shower holds on to an eternity of existence as it falls from the sky only to get evaporated by the clouds and fall again. I wish people could live in a cozy cycle like that, and I wish we had the opportunity to fall more than once. The day after New Year’s, my parents and one of her favorite places. Aruba beckoned us with its crystal waters and leaning divi- divi trees; it was a vacation with a mission. Previously, Aruba had always been the spot for many family memories. We have always called ourselves a beach family and, over the years, the sun, sand, and ocean have become

a part of us. Our ears perk when we hear the

sound of a steel drum, our skin tingles when

the sun kisses our bare arms, and the corners of our mouths turn upward in satisfaction

when we lick the sea salt from our lips. We

want to be there. As the youngest in the family, I was always either the topic of conversation or forgotten. The youngest always has a spotlight whether it is front and center, or in the corner alone somewhere…at least that is what I think. Sometimes, I will listen

quietly, but intently, to a conversation going on at the dinner table, mulling over the content of the speakers and chewing my food for so long that it turns into mush in my mouth. Then, if

I feel I have good material under my belt, I will

pipe up and say my bit. The thrill of what I have to say makes me strangely proud. Even if my opinion is thought to be odd or bizarre, at least it has captivated people by being atypical. When I told my mother without hesitation didn’t think it was bizarre. I’m not sure where the sureness in my voice came from, but it was there and seemed to provide her with tangible security she could hold close in a time of oblivion. I stopped being the youngest at that moment, and I’ve been hovering somewhere in between since. On the Thursday of that week, there was

a wedding on the beach. The bride glowed

with barefoot beauty, and her hair was curled in delicate tendrils. She was really very pretty, and I imagined this must be a milestone in her

life. The groom was also handsome, though when I looked at him I felt uncomfortable, almost claustrophobic. He was sweating in his tux, and I thought that if I were to touch

his back, I would be able to feel the squishy heat seeping through the jacket and warming up my hand. When the ceremony was over, the man and woman were called to the corner and asked to sign the Their signatures looped in between and above each other on the parallel lines on which they were to sign—an intermingled mess of

cursive that not only pledged their devotion on paper, but made

it thereby illegal to separate. Had my sister

missed a milestone or a constricting societal so complete and good that maybe we could

go so far as to rejoice in the fact that she had gone in a perfect state. She hadn’t died due to

a debilitating illness, and she wasn’t nostalgic

for days passed. She had lived in the moment and died in the moment—and maybe, that was better than anything. Death is always tragic but there is something undeniably woeful about the loss of someone because they haven’t reached the expected milestones that we think make for a complete life. Maybe the reason my family liked the idea of cremation was because it seemed to and despite the fate that had befallen her, we could literally take her into our hands and let her live how she had been.

“We could literally take her into our hands and let her live how she had been.”

Layout by Brooke Leone. Prior page: “beach” by Flickr user Samout3, CC BY 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/samout3/2660174039. This page: “Sunset” by Flickr user Denise Mayumi, CC BY 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/denise_mayumi/402518289.

talked even more than we had when we were in the same place. She was always narrating a crazy story that would have my sides in stitches and cheek muscles sore. She was the outgoing, witty one, and I, the shy, quiet one. I would relish in the moments she asked for my advice, carefully articulating my answer, and following up the next day I would ask “How and I were yin and yang—completely different Friday, our second to last day, was cloudless and perfect. The day was beautiful and I laid on my back with my palms turned up like I was offering myself to the vast blue that hovered above me. As dusk approached, people gathered to watch the bold orange drop from its suspension in the sky, and I took my spot right where the water lapped the shore. And it was really nice. Because at that moment, though we were all strangers, we were linked together by the pleasure we shared for a sunset. A crowd of people who all felt like they were in the right place at the right

time and a joined exhalation of breath that trajectory. As the sun melted into the water, I realized the sun and ocean were also like yin and yang. Saturday, we let some of my sister go. My mom cried, my dad said something positive, and I, true to form, put on an emotionless facade. But through our exteriors the words, lifted the ashes, and danced with them over the water. That night, sitting in my bed, I realized life isn’t about longevity, or milestones, or even accomplishments. It’s the quality in which you live, and the happiness you feel. It’s the out loud acquiescence you utter to the dark each night, “Yes, life is quite good.” This, I thought, was the epitome full life. Perhaps some things shouldn’t be buried away in the hope that they may one day be forgotten. Rather, if plucked from memory is a hint of beauty in just about everything.

one day be forgotten. Rather, if plucked from memory is a hint of beauty in just

Meredith Jeffers

D ying is inevitable. We are all going

to die. Someday we’ll be alive, and

the next, we won’t. We’ll have dying

- - is not.

My grandmother had been getting bad

Layout and photo by Amanda Rockwell.

- disintegrated. - - ing in their bed. -

W hen I was in eighth grade, my

- - mother to witness her bossy older sister re- - ten how to eat.

- more than she is. I’m not losing my mind or



- -


matter where she wanders, my grandmother is

that she’s still here. -




didn’t want to see her,

grandmother moved into the memory-care - come, Josie! - - -

moments clarity in the h
clarity in

she is Josie.

She seemed so little when

I don’t remember crying. -

- - - aged to tilt her head ever so slightly toward

holding onto.


she smiled at me, revealing a single missing tooth and said, more clearly than she’d

she smiled at me, revealing a single missing tooth and said, more clearly than she’d said - here is worse. -

sobbing. to the movie starring the girl and the boy the end. - it’s not heaven, or hell, or anything in be- - even more. - - -

RRRRRRRRiiiiiiiissssssssssssskkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkssssssssssssssssss aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddd FFFFFFFFFFFFrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedddddddddooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

O n April 9, 2011, I set myself free. That was the day I decided to believe in the power of taking risks. Legs

shaking, heart racing, and feeling severely nau- seous, I walked sheepishly around the track in a purple shirt with people I never thought I would meet, letting two thousand college students know something I never thought I would reveal. I am a cancer survivor, and until that day, I hid in the shadows.

Allison Clark

envy of the survivors who were proud of their condition, those who felt as though they could surmount any challenge. They’d gone under the knife and spent a year without hair. For me, just thinking about the disease I faced never talks about it. So I grew up with the im- pression that it was something to be ashamed of. I was anything but proud, and I rarely told anyone. I wanted to forget everything and many times, I did. Every year from then on, I took the train

Layout by George Edinger. “Relay For Life at University Park, Grand Forks, N.D.” by Flickr user tuey, CC BY 2.0:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tuey/164002477; “Allison with her friends at Relay For Life,” courtesy of Clark.

down to the Children’s Hospital of Philadel- phia for my check ups to be poked, X-rayed and stuck with needles, holding back tears the whole time. But things began to change this fall when I met Heather, who—at the risk of sounding terribly cliché—changed my life. A freshman at treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with which she had been diagnosed at age sixteen. Unlike myself at the time, Heather had no in- hibitions about the disease. She had decided to devote her life to the cause. As a communica- tions and rhetorical studies major, she hoped to She wanted to tell the world her story and let everyone know that any challenge can be over- story, and she encouraged me to get more in- volved with Relay For Life. I’d been doing Relay for years, but never felt passionate about it, and had never had the courage to walk the survivor lap. I left it up in the air but didn’t think I’d really take the plunge. I was afraid that people would ask me questions or treat me differently— or awkwardly—if they knew. Over the next months, I pondered the pros and cons of getting involved with Relay. By January, I still had yet to convince myself to make a decision. Until I learned that, after just one semester in college, Heather had re- lapsed, and would have to stay at home for the remainder of the year or more. I couldn’t believe it. She of all people did not deserve to go through this all over again. At that moment, I started to think seriously about participating in her honor. I came back to Syracuse for the second semester, signed up for Relay and became a captain for our APO team. I was going to “out” myself as a survi- Flash forward to mid-April of that year, and I now felt like a completely different per- son compared to who I was in September.

proud of the challenges you’ve faced.” Get- ting up there in front of everyone to walk the survivor lap was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It scared me to death. And if I do it

next year, it will still be a challenge. But I think I’m on my way. Cancer sucks. And trying to think about it as a positive thing is nearly impossible. As it should be. But the lesson I’m trying to convey is something different. Yes, the challenges we face do have the potential to make us stronger, but only if we act upon them. I faced a chal- to deal with it. And on the night of Relay For

I had been keeping for so long. Taking risks makes you grow. I’m not afraid

of my past anymore, at least for the most part.

I don’t think the silence in my family will ever

change, but I’m willing to live with that, at least for now. Like Heather, I now feel I have

the right, duty, and privilege to use what hap- pened to me to help others. She taught me to

most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I don’t know if people see me differently, and I don’t

really care. I just know that I feel a million times

a difference. And writing this is where I start.

This is a testament to the fact that I am free.

I start. This is a testament to the fact that I am free. Allison (right) with

Allison (right) with her friends at Relay For Life.

Family Portrait

“I cannot wait until you’re gone,” my mother said to me as I left for the gym an hour earlier than planned in

order to get away from her. I was toasting a

piece of bread when she came downstairs:

“Is that my bread?” she asked.

a piece, right?” I tiptoed around her, reaching for the peanut butter. “That’s MY bread! Did you put a twist tie on it?”




wasn’t one on it when I took



“You’re ruining my food! Are you planning on buying me more bread?” “Mom, you’re being ridiculous, I’m going to the gym!”


“I cannot wait until you’re gone slams).

I walked upstairs and into her room. The phone rang.

“Get it,” she said. “Hello?” I answered. “Elizabeth! Where are you?!” “I’m at home, why?” - line: “Shooting at LA Fitness, Pittsburgh, 3 Women Shot Dead, 9 Hurt”. “WHAT IS THIS?!” I screamed, “Mom! Do you see this? Grandma, what happened?!

This isn’t my gym, is it? It’s a different LA Fitness.”

but as I continued to watch the report, I saw the close-ups of the gym, the gym I was work-

Layout by Olivia Tormenta. “Gentle Soft Girl Looking Down” by Pink Sherbet Photography, CC BY 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/2695612800.

Elizabeth Bennett

A man who was angry with the world, who them a lesson, had walked into my gym with his gym bag containing three guns and opened happened only moments after I left. Had I gone to the gym when I was “supposed” to, been dead or wounded or traumatized. But my mother and left early. Apparently, the man came in while I was

still at the gym, but was reluctant and left, only to come back 40 minutes later. I was lucky. What would my present life be like now had I been there? What kind of person would I be? goodness I was not there. But along with be- mother:

“Mom, do you realize that the last thing you said to me before I went to the gym was, ‘I cannot wait until you’re gone?’ What if I had been there, Mom?” I thought maybe she’d -

guess then my wish

those women. Had my mother not wished me eating your bread—but I’m not sorry that I to remember the girls who perished, put one up for me as well. Because that was the day your daughter died, Mom. That was the day

Her response: “Well


I realized that my mother was not a human, but an alien.

That was the day I realized I had a lot to

absent father, my brother and I took our hurt and frustration out on each other. Our grand-

killing our mother.” I used to “tattle” on him because if her attention was on him, then that meant it was not on me. When my mother ig- nored me and made me feel useless, I, in turn, did that to my brother. He would come into the kitchen, “Liz!! Today in sch-sch-school we did a… we did a…” “SPIT IT OUT, GREG! Goddddddd! Sch-


“We did a… we did a project. And I… and I” “I’m sorry, I just don’t care” I left the kitch- en and ran upstairs.

I used to take him into the turtle sandbox in

our backyard, before our family fell apart, and noticing. Then, I would sit and pick the sand couldn’t do much for him because I was only

I - and reasoning—to realize why I had been

so horrible to him: I felt powerless next to my mother.

She would be so horrible to me, and I would get upset, but then her “Nice Switch” would go off and I would feel guilty and go running back to her. This created a Gen- eralized Anxiety and Panic Disorder within

would be in or if she would be nice to me or if she would “accidentally” burn me in the forehead with a curling iron before Shabbat Instead of talking to my brother about this heartache we shared, I took my anger out on him, and he took his out on me. Maybe that’s what siblings are for…. don’t lash out on their parents.

T mother would be nice to me. I came home for an entire week, and I was

staying at her house. I babysat for two days

straight, then returned home. She was laying in her bed, depressed, at 3 p.m. “Hey mom, how are you?” “Fine,” she replied unenthusiastically,“How are you?” “I’m spent,” I said. - “What?” I was confused…did I complain or something? “I don’t need details about your life,

Elizabeth, it was a simple question,” she re- plied cruelly.

Mom! “

You asked me how I was!”

“Yes…then you asked me how I was and I said spent!” “Yes. And I don’t care. I don’t need details!” “So what, Mom, we’re just supposed to not talk all break?!” “I guess not.”

I was boiling. “That’s fucking it Mom. I

am done. I am going to stay with Dad!”

I had just gotten off the phone with my

psychologist who said, “Liz, what would hap- your Dad? I think it may be good for you!”

I ran into my room and bolted the door shut.

like the rest of them? I thought you were—”

“Nice Switch” guilt me into staying in a place of uncaring. I blasted music. Ironically, the song, “Cry For You” was playing:

I stared at the brother I had missed my en- tire life.

My family photo sits ironically in place, showing the smiles on each of our faces.

My family—a phase.

No matter what you do.”

front of me, crouched down so my eyes were

she was still standing there, and sure enough, her feet were planted parallel to each other and perpendicular to my door. I was trapped.

I kept undoing and redoing my ponytail: It

was pissing me off! It didn’t feel right. I want- ed this hair off of my head.

I grabbed a pair of scissors and cut off my


I looked at myself in the mirror. I faintly

heard my mother screaming and kicking out- side of the door. I needed a change. I wasn’t

going to end up like her. I watched the pair of scissors as I texted my brother:

His reply: “Put the scissors down, I’m coming.” house without him. He came into my room and grabbed my suitcase: this eighteen-year- old man who sprung up without my noticing. We bolted past the woman who created then nearly ruined us both. Past screams of, “Don’t

I watched him as he started the car he paid the directions. When did he get so handsome? When did he grow a beard?

I though at the time of the photo (the photo in which his one arm is around

my mother and his other arm is around the he was slowly plotting his escape from my mother, his wife. In this photo, I smile. But I don’t really smile like that. Why can’t people see through that? In this photo, I’m smiling. But that isn’t a real smile. Just like that isn’t a real family. - pointed, but that doesn’t mean I’m always thankful for this. I am thankful for the childhood I had because it taught me how to treat people— the opposite of how my parents treated - Because if I don’t, if I don’t hope if I don’t dream, if I don’t write, I’ll end up just like them.

And I simply refuse to do that.


Reverberations of Connectedness



Chapel, I feel the cold March wind




ten comes up between people who

cceptance is an elusive topic that of-



feel placed on the outside. While a

the stipulation that the disconnected feelings

part of this momentous whole, an offshoot


will subside.

Acceptance must come from within. You

a reverberation of connectedness. -


the struggles each writer endures in accepting


championing the personal struggles to over-

come. On some level, there is a sense of ca- -

maraderie ter bursting with forth the from authors’ the internal Noble Room, feelings. a

cluster of even-toned musings from the vi- -

ing it is living life.

and the dissonant sound of a radio presum-



the time we enter this world, our personas

together. I feel at home at once.


or constructed. In this issue of Intertext, the

In those moments of loss, desperation, or -

eral pieces. Our writers do more than bring

to life an emblematic resemblance of commu-



“Old hand prints In Mexico” by Flickr user Rupert Taylor-Price. CC BY 2.0:

In Mexico” by Flickr user Rupert Taylor-Price. CC BY 2.0: Identity - that moves us all


- that moves us all in the same direction, at least in some aspect of our lives, is an innate im- pulse to live our lives suspended in a world of words.

—Margaret Spinosa, Editor

we change in self-directed manners that are

an instinctual response. content with the decisions that have invari- -

reconstruct the metaphorical walls of these

communities to reduce the complexities of

the group to a concentrated essence which -

of their thematic vision, our writers search for



will experience how each writer exerts a push,

an impulse of tension, just at the borders of

these interlacing ties. -

C -


much aftershave. We all hold a special bond

with each other, but the bonds are different.

what’s Acceptance important is is that something we all feel that connected needs

through something. It might be a space, an

area of interest, or a simple matter of taste.

With the latest issue of Intertext, we hope to

depict struggles with difference and the need


fect and has a struggle of their own to over-

come. On some level, there is a feeling of ca-

reasons maraderie and with join the their authors’ web of internal ideas. feelings.


ing it is living life. —George Edinger, Editor

Finding Shelter From the Storm

SUSAN HAMILTON A collaboration between the Gifford Street Community Press, Syracuse Alliance for a New
A collaboration between the Gifford Street Community Press,
Syracuse Alliance for a New Economy (SANE), and The Writing
Program of The College of Arts and Sciences led to Home: Journeys
into the Westside. We’re pleased to publish a contribution from that
collection by Westside community member Susan Hamilton.

40 Go to http://www.giffordstreetcommunitypress.org to learn more about the Gifford Street Community Press.

Layout by Brooke Leone. Photos courtesy of Kimberly Wolfe.

M y initial encounter with the neighborhood

was accidental–I got lost on a street

that veered off diagonally and took

me to an unexpected destination. In the same

way, I didn’t really plan to live here. I owned a home on the Southwest side, and though I was yard, and the size of the mortgage payment,

I was not actively looking to move. Then, an

acquaintance who knows I like old houses urged me to tour one that was coming up for sale on Holland Street. The previous owner had died in her 90s, leaving this house something like a museum. Most of its Victorian splendor was

intact, right down to the intricately wrought metal pulls on the pantry drawers, and I was immediately hooked. The area didn’t frighten me;

it reminded me of Deep Rondo, the inner-city,

racially mixed neighborhood in St. Paul where I lived as a young child. I had been working as a community organizer on the Near Westside, so

I already knew some of my new neighbors. But

I wasn’t blind to the problems, such as the drug house across the street and decades of neglect by local government. The lot next door, where

had been vacant for more than a decade and used as an informal dump. When I bought my house,

I began cleaning out the lot’s trash and trying to

mow the thicket of weeds, some taller than my head, with a push mower. When drug dealers would congregate at the curb, I walked around them, picking up the food wrappers and subtly giving the message that I too had a role to play and a claim to that space. A little over two years later, early in the morning of Labor Day 1998, a freak storm blasted Syracuse. I was awakened by the shriek of a box fan being blown out of the window by 115 mph winds. I closed windows and laid back down on the bed, which moved as green outside, like strobe lights, and thunder punctuated the sound of falling trees. When I

and thunder punctuated the sound of falling trees. When I got dressed and went downstairs, I

got dressed and went downstairs, I could not see out the windows because they were all streaked with rain. I opened the back door and could see only leaves where my car was parked. My dog Che, terrorized by the storm, cowered at my feet. Before I could decide whether to take refuge in the basement, the worst of the storm passed. The electricity went out–and would not be restored for a week. Peering out the front door, I could vaguely see the shapes of big trees on the ground, power lines snared in their branches. Then I heard voices from the darkness. A group of young men from the surrounding houses appeared, holding cans of and I told them I was afraid that my car had been crushed. Disregarding the danger of fallen electrical wires, a couple of them scrambled over branches to reach the backyard and returned to report that the car was unscathed under a mound of small twigs. Then the guys moved on to the next house, calling out to the tenants to see if they needed help. As I came back inside to comfort my dog, home in this neighborhood, where people do look out for each other and pull together during crises. During the next week of post-storm recovery, people shared food from their freezers, told where ice could be purchased, helped one another cut up trees that littered yards, and to our streets. Though still neglected by local government, we could take care of each other.


Layout by Flash Steinbeiser. “Parkour Egypt” by Flickr user Nasser Nouri, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41884183@N08/3988428045.




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“Louvre” by Flickr user Denis McLaughlin, CC BY-SA 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/16547151@N00/1490764637.

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Layout by Matt Kovac. “I’m still writing the letters I’ll never send” by Flickr user Ashley Rose, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashleyrosex/3210845075; Other photos courtesy of McShane and Davey.

Writing Back

P eter McShane and Derek Davey are storytellers who recreate a series of ex- quisitely vivid snapshots drawn from

deeply personal experiences that simultane-

drawn from deeply personal experiences that simultane- Peter McShane in Vietnam. Margaret Spinosa nudge readers

Peter McShane in Vietnam.

Margaret Spinosa

nudge readers toward the edge of their seats and skillfully bring to life moments we share as historically mindful thinkers. Their narratives stand as a reminder of the courage, - ing the framework of our national community. McShane and Davey are both members of the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group and indi- vidually demonstrate distinctive stylistic quali- ties that make their stories evocative and com- pelling. Having the opportunity to interview each author, I offer a momentary glimpse into the storytellers behind the story. McShane does. McShane was a Green Beret, a member of Special Forces, who served in that branch of the military from 1966 to 1969, dur- infantry after jump school, which gave him the necessary training to parachute out of military aircraft. McShane describes the act of jumping

He says that “you are harnessed in so tight,

and enveloping it feels like a giant has you in its to ask him what it felt like to be on the verge of jumping into a seemingly endless cyan sea. Was he frightened? Was he hesitant at that critical moment just before the fall? His answer was one I never would have anticipated. McShane reveals that since the planes were not insulated, there was pandemonium in- side the aircraft. The ear-splitting noise of the engines and vi- brating airframe was deafening. He says that he would have done anything to get out of the plane, de- scribing it as going “from a cacophony of sounds to utter silence—peaceful, His piece, “Mine- actual event during McShane’s tour of Vietnam. There were serving in Vietnam,

he says. As a medic, McShane took care of the wounded and provid- ed some of the only professional medical support to the Cambodian mercenaries in his camp. From delivering babies and pulling teeth to performing amputations and healing wounds, McShane acted as more than a soldier. He was a healer. The par- ticular team he belonged to was known as the Mobile Strike Force. His job: to support other

A-teams in regional camps located along en- emy supply lines. Consequently, McShane spent a lot of time travelling. He had little down time because the sites he was travelling to were being bombarded at all times. While his team was au- thorized four medics, two had been killed and the third ended his tour just after McShane arrived. He was the only medic on duty. His teammates without him. “The situation in Vietnam required complete and utter never knew if you would be “ambushed, sniped, or if a child would roll a grenade - nam was the experi- ence of “paranoia in an environment that experience of that par- adox was jarring; dur- ing the height of the War many Westerners were still vacationing in Vietnam. These diverging images of war-induced destruc- tion is discordant for me. I cannot imagine

experiencing this dis-

writes that a gift saved his life. This gift con- sisted of two religious icons, a Buddha amulet and a prayer cloth, given to him by a senior Cambodian camp leader as thanks for the act of courage which he narrates in his story. McShane explained that the prayer cloth was

act of courage which he narrates in his story. McShane explained that the prayer cloth was

Peter McShane in uniform.

sitting in his left breast pocket, over his heart, when a bullet grazed right by it. He is not su- perstitious. Nor am I. But I am still left won- dering. A gift given and a gift received. And in his story, the gift McShane both gives and receives is life itself. Like McShane, Derek Davey also knows - was stationed at Cherry Point, a North Carolina Marine Corps base. His diverse military experience included an air exercise in Korea for six weeks, a temporary assignment from his Marine Corps unit to the US Air Force headquarters. Davey served in the Western months and was also stationed in the Mediter- ranean, including at the Gulf of Sidra, for the same amount of time. Davey knew since he was a child growing up on Staten Island that he would be a pilot. His father worked on a merchant ship, and of Conservation, the family left Staten Island picking up his aunt at the airport and looking out of the window—planes surrounding him. After peering into the captain’s cabin, it struck him that this is what he would do someday. He describes it as “one of those things you dream attained. Davey is the Director of the County Service that the veterans of his County rate. During our interview, Davey emphasized the fact that veterans have families and the tangible and urgent need that exists for our service men and women and their dependents. In Davey’s words, “they deserve money, healthcare, and to get off public assistance. They deserve to live with dignity because it gives them pride

deserve to live with dignity because it gives them pride Derek Davey (right) with son, Seamus.

Derek Davey (right) with son, Seamus.

and their families. His commitment to help- ing families is remarkable, especially in light of the heartbreak felt within his own family. On October 21, 2005, Davey’s son, Seamus Iraq. He was a corporal in the Marine Corps and had followed his father’s footsteps in serving our national community. With calm reserve, Davey tells me that “war leads to unintentional conse- set against the beige backdrop walls, Davey said that “if it was people interacting with people, I to life telling of loss, coping, and recov- ery. He believes that soldiers suffering from be over-medicated and should engage in alternate types of therapy, including rehabili- tation through yoga or pets. Davey says that Shadow, his black, wide-eyed pooch “came a member of the Syracuse Veterans’ Writing Group, Davey and McShane both explore the boundaries of their communities—the ties something that allows them to reconcile the past and ameliorate the future. And that some- thing is their own narrative voices.


Peter K. McShane

C laymore mines and concertina wire

lined the perimeter of our camp. The

territory beyond that was littered with

old mines, buried by the French years before. We cleared what we could when we built our camp, but there were still leftovers. Every so often, someone would wander off the road and trip on one of them. We’d get the casual- ties at the dispensary. Most were DOA. It was a day in early spring, hot and humid. The sun blazed and sand burned my feet as it crept into the open pores of my jungle boots. The sweet smell of the salt air breeze off the South China Sea was tinged by the acrid scent - ment across the road from the A-Camp. At the French hotel down the beach, the smell reality on the ground; there was no escape. After a morning spent in the dispensary, I was on my way back from the mess hooch when Tran, our senior Vietnamese medic, ran up to me, out of breath and anxious. “Bac Si, there’s a little boy from our camp “How the hell did that happen? Where was “I don’t know, Bac Si. The child strayed off it. His older brother just ran into the dispen- Tran and I jumped into a Jeep and raced out of the compound. About two klicks down

the road, I could see a woman at the edge of a year-old boy standing in a patch of sand about

a hundred meters off the road. She was frantic. “Bac Si, she is telling the boy to come back

Tran, tell her to make him

All I could visualize was the boy running toward us, tripping one of those mines, and his body atomized in front of us. We jumped out of the Jeep and ran over to the woman. She was shaking, sobbing uncontrollably. Afraid for my life, I didn’t know what to do. I could leave and hope that he didn’t blow himself up, or go and get him. Hesitating a moment, I took another look at the child’s desperate mother and decided that I had to go after him. “Tran, tell her that I’m going to get the boy. Have her tell him to stay where he is: Do- “Bac Si, you shouldn’t go into the mine- “What would you do Tran, wait for the boy to trip a mine and watch him blow up in our faces? It’s too late to back out now. I have to I frantically tried to remember what I learned in training classes. Put your feet one in front of the other in measured steps, touch-




foot, lowering it to your heel, slowly shift- ing your weight to the ball of the other foot. Scan the ground in front of you for trip wires or prongs. Look for things that appear to be growing out of the ground that look unnatural. praying that he would not become frightened

and run from me, or worse, toward me. He was only a hundred meters away, but it seemed like

kilometer. I took one step after another, scan- ning the ground for signs of a mine. Visions of - sumed my thoughts,


sand on top of him. For a few seconds there was silence. Then he burst into giggles.

I lay there trembling, clutching the little boy - ning the ground, I saw a trip wire sticking out of the sand just an arm’s length away from us.

I hugged the boy as hard as I could, and as I

did, he began laughing, tears of pleasure run- ning down his face. My body was wracked with the pain of fear, but his joy soothed me. Get

control of yourself, I thought. You still have to make it back to the road. I told Loi that we would play again once we got back to the road. With the boy in

my arms, I started to backtrack, desperately trying to concentrate on what I had to do. I don’t remember

much about the trip back. Somehow we made

but prongs sticking up just a meter in front of me quickly brought me back to reality. “As long as I can see the wires or

“Hesitating a moment, I took another look at the child’s desperate mother, and decided that
“Hesitating a moment, I took
another look at the child’s
desperate mother, and decided
that I had to go after him.”

beach sand, with alternate windswept mounds held together with sea grass, and valleys of bare patches where you could see the mines plain as day. I stayed off of the mounds where prongs chances were better in the valleys where I could

at least see signs of the ordinance. It must have taken me twenty minutes to

reach the boy. All I could think about was him running and blowing us both to bits. He was just standing there, with a mischievous look, not sure why his mother was so upset. Thank God he recognized me from the dispensary and didn’t try to run away.

Si want to take you to your moth-

body shook under my tiger fatigues. Then he playfully turned away to goad me into a chase, and began running toward the sea, about three hundred meters away. I knew I only had one chance to grab him, so I lunged and snagged the sleeve of his shirt. He fell backward toward me. I lost my footing and landed in the

back and I delivered the little boy into his

mother’s arms. I was exhausted and relieved.

T hat afternoon, Tran, Loan, our nurse,

and I took a Jeep across the road to the

encampment to hold a MEDCAP, or

sick call. We did this once a week when I was

in camp. Sometimes the Cambodes were too sick to come to the dispensary. Other times, they didn’t want to bother us, mostly out of ignorance. Most of them had never received

a doctor’s check-up before signing on as our

mercenaries. It was easier for them if we went there, sort of like making house calls. We’d walk the aisles of their hooches, all joined together in a common hallway, and look in on their lives. This day was different. When our Jeep ap- proached the entryway to the compound, we were swarmed by hundreds of people. The crowd was yelling at us. I was con-

cerned for our safety. They didn’t seem angry, but they were agitated for some reason.




“What’s going on Tran; what are they say- “Bac Si, they’re prais- ing you; they’re thank- ing you for saving that From the back of the crowd came Noh, a Cambodian elder and the self-appointed may- or of the encampment. He walked up to my side of the Jeep and grabbed my arm. “Bac Si, we are happy said in broken English. “You faced great danger to save him and we I didn’t know what to say. Women and men swarmed the Jeep, touching me and bow- ing. Noh reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a folded white cloth and a small gold and ivory Buddha amulet on a chain. Almost every one of our mercenaries had one of these icons hanging around his neck. Superstitious or not, they felt safe in the Bud- dha’s presence. He opened the white cloth to reveal a prayer cloth, a half meter square made out of linen. It was hand-printed with an in- tricate array of icons and prayers in Khmer. I remember one of our mercenaries showing me one that he carried. “Bac Si, you carry this prayer cloth and the I thought about how the Cambodes put and wondered if there was anything to it.

W hen Top Sergeant Brown found

out about my foray into the mine-

“McShane, what the fuck were you thinking,

into the mine- “McShane, what the fuck were you thinking, “McShane, your job is to protect

“McShane, your job is to protect the Amer- icans, not risk your life saving some Cambo- “But they’re our mercenaries; they’re “They aren’t your family; they’re not our family. You risked your life needlessly. It’s hard enough staying alive on our operations. You don’t need to risk it here in camp. Don’t go That wasn’t the last time I got chewed out for doing what I thought was the right thing. suppose that Top was right. Shit, he had sur- vived two tours and was still alive to dress me down. I didn’t give much thought to the presenta- tion ceremony that afternoon, but I did put that Buddha amulet around my neck and the prayer cloth in my left breast pocket. I’m not superstitious, but I thought it would help me bond with our mercenaries. I had no inkling that those icons might save my life.

Go online to view McShane reading another piece,


Therapy Dog

Derek Davey

Therapy Dog Derek Davey I Davey with Shadow. Layout by Annie Licata. “To the Merrick!” by

Davey with Shadow.

Layout by Annie Licata.

“To the Merrick!” by Flickr

user overgraeme,

CC BY 2.0;

“Davey with Shadow,” courtesy of Derek Davey.

Go online to view Davey reading another piece, “Exhaust”: http://wrt-intertext.syr.edu/

Go online to view Davey reading another piece, “Exhaust”: http://wrt-intertext.syr.edu/

Elizabeth Vogt

“Why Should I Cite Them?”

Student Writers in the Academy

Layout by Matt Kovac. “The Blank Art Book” by Flickr user Colton Witt, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0:


P lagiarism is not a crime that can be

committed by students alone. Af-

ter reading TyAnna Herrington’s

Intellectual Property on Campus: Students’ Rights

and Responsibilities and Amy Robillard’s “Young Scholars Affecting Composition: A Challenge to Disciplinary Citation Practices,” I have come to realize that students are vulner- able to misuse or even theft of their intel- lectual property when they create work in an academic setting. Due to the simple fact that they are students producing work for academic purposes, they are in danger of being taken advantage of by the “all-power- ful” academic institution as well as the pro- fessors for whom they are producing work. I will begin with the issue that troubles me the most: students’ not being properly cited for their work or not having their work at- tributed to them. As a student who produces at least two major works of writing per week,

I often wonder where my writing will go af-

ter I submit it. A professor could block my name out and pass my paper around his next class as an example. Or a professor might surreptitiously use an idea I presented as his or her own in his or her scholarly writing. Although Syracuse University does have its own Human Research Protection Program in conjunction with the Institutional Re- view Board (IRB), that does not ensure a student’s work cannot be misappropriated. not actively looking for it. Robillard eloquently addresses the need to recognize students as au- thors in the academy. In her essay, she writes how

an editor of Young Scholars in Writing believes that student writing should be read “as scholarship that contributes to the ‘on-going’ formation of this disciplinary community” (257). With this idea


mind, Robillard points out that student writing


seen as a “contribution to the work of com-

position” rather than as a pedagogical effort

(257). This shift in thinking of student writers as authors raises important questions of who claims authorship in academia. If a student submits his or her work to a journal such as Young Scholars, will it be read as a contribution to scholarship? That’s the aim of the journal. If my work were ever to be published, I would consider myself an author because work pro- duced by me had gotten into print whether or not I had contributed to scholarship. Too often, however, students are not given such power. In Intellectual Property on Campus:

Students’ Rights and Responsibilities, Herrington describes the powerlessness students some- times feel. In discussing students’ intellectual property rights, Herrington asserts that “stu- dents, as creators, can hold a weak position against instructors or institutions who might use their work without permission or make claims against the work they create within their scholarly institutions” (17). This relates back to my own fear of my professors’ black- ing out my name on one of my essays and dis- tributing it to their students. While Herrington does believe that students should be seen as “creators” rather than “contributors,” she also realizes that they are incredibly vulnerable to an entity more powerful than they are, and advantage of their work. Moreover, the fact that students produce work in an academic or not they can claim true ownership of their creative work. While I do understand the complicated nature of the matter, I do not feel that just because work might have been produced for a class assignment or other academic endeavor, I do not have the right to claim ownership of it. As Herrington declares, “under U.S. law, authorship gives students rights to control their work, notwithstand- ing that it is created within an educational context” (17). This should be enough reason

for students to have full authority over the use of their work, right? Wrong. Consider- ing the fact that the student is still working within an academic institution, “determin- ing student rights to creative products can be complex and cannot be decided without an understanding of the context in which they create work” (Herrington 17). If, for example, a student is working on a research

project for his or her university and writes an essay about it, the university has the right to take ownership of the student’s work. While this notion is not included in the student Academic Integrity Policy, it is perfectly clear in Syracuse’s Faculty Manual discuss-

ing intellectual property with ties to the univer- sity. According to Section 3.07 of the manual, when research or creation of intellectual property by faculty “have been sup- ported by the University

and have resulted in the creation of properties that have economic interest and value, Syracuse University shall have title to, or have a fair and equitable in- come interest proportional to the Univer- sity’s investment in, those properties.” If a claim such as this applies to faculty, who are presumed to have a decent amount of power over their work, could not this clause possi- bly pose a danger to students who have even less power over their work than faculty? One would hope, however, that the university would maintain a sense of integrity and at least credit that student as the author of the essay and curator of the research. What is even more distressing is that the student’s professor could take an essay writ- ten by a student and use a portion of it or all of it in his or her own scholarly work with- out properly attributing authorship to the student. As previously mentioned, despite

the protections presented by the IRB and the university, the student may never know of the professor’s exploitation. What is even

more frightening is the fact that the profes- sor’s wrongdoing may never even be exposed if he or she is covert enough to hide it, which even further permeates the student’s author- ity over something that is essentially his or her own property. While this behavior is highly unethical, the belief that students do not have full ownership of their work, if it was created for academic purposes, almost sets students up to be taken advantage of. Robillard accurately claims that “when [scholars] cite one another but leave students nameless or pseudony-

mous, [they] perpetu- ate an author/student binary” (257). As long as scholars continue to improperly cite student work they use, how will students ever be recog- nized as true authors? I

would like to think that my writing will not be considered something that can be used without permission, or at least full attribu- tion, just because I am a student. To make matters worse, it seems as if there has been a recent shift in the way scholars view student writing. According to Robillard, this shift disregards “composition scholars’ earlier suggestions that…[scholars] read the work of beginning writers as [they] might read any other authors’ texts,” for now they are read as “the ‘emerging’ or ‘failed’ work of outsiders”(257). Clearly if scholars feel stu- dent work is just “emerging” or even “failed” work, it is perceived as writing that is simply not on par with scholarly work. As a student writer, I am incredibly offended by this. To be considered an “outsider” is bad enough, but “failed” writing? Now that is something by which I am outraged. Yes, it is true that I

“I would like to think that my writing will not be considered something that can be used without permission, or at least full attribution, just because I am a student.”

“Adventures in copyright” by Fliker user opensourceway, CC BY-SA 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/5392982171.

without proper citation, I would undoubt- edly be severely punished for plagiarism. If a professor quoted from an essay I wrote and did not properly attribute authorship of it to me or cite me as a source, however, he or she could get away with it much more easily. As a student, I feel powerless. I feel vulner- able. Most of all, I despise the fact that stu- dents are actively being taken advantage of this way. It is unfair and unethical. My hope is that scholars and institutions alike will put their pride aside and realize that students are writers just as they are. We may not have per- fected our craft yet, but we are trying. We may never reach perfection, but then again, does any writer?

Works Cited Herrington, TyAnna K. Intellectual Property on Campus: Students’ Rights and Responsibilities. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 2010. Print. Robillard, Amy E. “Young Scholars Affecting Composition: A Challenge to Disciplinary Citation.” College English 68.3: (2006):

253-70. Print. Young Scholars in Writing: Undergraduate Research in Writing and Rhetoric. U of Missouri-Kansas City. http://cas. umkc.edu/english/publications/young


scholarsinwriting/index3.html am a student, and thus I am still learning and perfecting

am a student, and thus I am still learning and perfecting the art of writing, but that does not give any scholar the right to use my work without proper citation. While my opinion of the extent of stu- dents’ rights to their work produced in an academic institution under academic instruc-

tors may seem strong, I do not believe it is out of line. Reading the passages I have quoted in this essay has enraged me to a point where

I am hesitant ever to submit an essay again.

Sure, it may be a fantastic opportunity to be

asked by a professor whether he or she may feature my work within his or her scholarly

writing. Sure, I would love to be considered

a published writer as an undergraduate. The

fact of the matter is, though, that if my work

is published as a part of my professor’s schol-

arly work, I want to be considered a published author, not simply a published writer. I want to know that I will be properly credited for my writing, no matter how little of it has been used, and that I will still hold full authority over my own writing, regardless of where it is published. The fact that some scholars believe students do not deserve citation and are not even worthy of being considered “authors” of their own work simply because it was pro- duced for academic purposes is absolutely sickening to me. If I were to write an essay and use quotes


MATT KOVAC is a junior Writing & Rhetoric and Newspaper Journalism major. A staff writer for the Daily Orange, he enjoys movies, golf, baseball, and reading. He resides in Castle Creek, NY, where he plans to work at his local newspaper The Press & Sun-Bulletin while aspiring to

newspaper The Press & Sun-Bulletin while aspiring to AMANDA ROCKWELL is a junior Writing major and
newspaper The Press & Sun-Bulletin while aspiring to AMANDA ROCKWELL is a junior Writing major and

AMANDA ROCKWELL is a junior Writing major and an Environment and Society minor. She is homegrown from Syracuse. In her free time she enjoys sailing Lake Ontario, hiking in the Adirondack Mountains and reading anywhere Amanda dreams of being a published author of children’s books.

HAYLEY KANG is a dual Writing and English Textual Studies major with a minor in Public Communications. Currently in her third year, she is from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania and counts her Nook as one of her prized possessions. Having already edited countless essays, Hayley hopes one day to be a book editor.

as one of her prized possessions. Having already edited countless essays, Hayley hopes one day to
GEORGE EDINGER is a sophomore majoring in Writing and Television, Radio, Film from Jersey. If

GEORGE EDINGER is a sophomore majoring in Writing and Television, Radio, Film from Jersey. If he is not busy editing video, he is searching for new music. George spends much of his time writing screenplays which he hopes to one day produce.

Layout by Brooke Leone. Photos courtesy of authors.
Layout by Brooke Leone. Photos courtesy of authors.

ANNIE LICATA, a Magazine Journalism & Writing and Rhetoric major, has a passion for music and writing. When she’s not jamming to her vinyl record collection or watching The Sopranos, she’s out walking her dogs. Annie’s favorite artists are Paul McCartney and Bob Marley.

favorite artists are Paul McCartney and Bob Marley. MARGARET SPINOSA is a senior Biochemistry, Religion, and

MARGARET SPINOSA is a senior Biochemistry, Religion, and Writing major in the Renée Crown Honors fanatic, and avid reader. She has an unusually high-blood caffeine content. When not working on her two Capstone theses, she enjoys running. Margaret will be attending medical school after graduation.


GENEVIEVE ANITA THOMAS is a Writing and Rhetorical Studies major at Syracuse University. She loves reading,writing, drumming, and gaming. She currently works as a freelance writer as well as teaching drumming at a local Korean school. She has also worked extensively with animal rehabilitation.

She has also worked extensively with animal rehabilitation. FLASH STEINBEISER , is a senior Communications and

FLASH STEINBEISER, is a senior Communications and Rhetorical Studies & Writing and Rhetoric dual. Flash is the editor-in-chief of JERK magazine, Syracuse University’s premiere alternative voice publication. A geek in every sense of the word, Flash knows more about Spider-Man and the Muppets than the average person should.

Spider-Man and the Muppets than the average person should. AMY LI is a junior Writing and

AMY LI is a junior Writing and French dual major. She is from East Lyme, Connecticut and spends the majority of her free time with her nose buried in a book or glued to her computer screen. Amy interned with a publishing company while studying abroad in France and hopes to be an editor one day.

screen. Amy interned with a publishing company while studying abroad in France and hopes to be
OLIVIA TORMENTA is a junior majoring in Writing and Rhetoric and minoring in Management and

OLIVIA TORMENTA is a junior majoring in Writing and Rhetoric and minoring in Management and Psychology. While studying at Syracuse, she has greatly honed her skills as a writer and editor and never lets the misuse of their, there, or they’re pass her by. Olivia also holds the position of Event Chairman for her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma.

of Event Chairman for her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. BROOKE LEONE is a junior Writing and

BROOKE LEONE is a junior Writing and Religion major. She is from Rushville, NY, and loves her two bulldogs, Peanut and Nugget. She enjoys running, Brooke writes for the JERK blog and would love to be an editor someday. You’ll constantly see her with a book in her hand.

You’ll constantly see her with a book in her hand. VICTORIA WHITE is a junior English

VICTORIA WHITE is a junior English major as well as a Writing minor and Dance minor. She is from Long Island and loves pop punk music and Disney movies. Her favorite princess is Ariel for her personality. She is the undergraduate representative for Syracuse’s English department, and she hopes to work as an under- graduate faculty member at a university

Collage: Amanda Rockwell Back Cover: Hayley Kang