Fall 2015 Staff [Crafted Dissonance]

Cara Miller [Queen of Operations]: English Professor

  • Cara enjoys writing, reading, teaching, eating stale Halloween candy, singing along with the car radio, and being with her family — but not in that order. Working with the Literary Arts Magazine has given her a new appreciation for students’ creativity and task management.

Krista Hein [Chief Distressor]: Senior Family Science & Writing Major

  • Krista spends much of her time enjoying and getting lost in stories of all forms. She loves long walks on the beach stupid jokes and will laugh at essentially anything.

Kate Brock [Ambassador to the People]: Senior Music Business & Creative Writing Double Major

  • An avid NPR addict, Kate spends her free time researching for her first novel and dancing the Time Warp. (Just to relieve stress.) She personally finds that the best pick-me-up in her writing routine is a dry cappuccino.

Serena Ellens [Ambassador for the People]: Sophomore English Major, and Writing & History Minor

  • A lover of words, Jesus, soy pumpkin spice lattes, and guacamole, Serena delights in the little things in life and always finds time to read or write on her blog.

Amanda Meyer [Paper Sooth-Sayer]: Sophomore English Major, Spanish and Writing Minor

  • I love language and words and their ability to communicate all of life to others. I love reading, culture, cats, winter, and socks. I will steal your jokes and I never push in my chair.

Deeanna Owen [Paper Sooth-Sayer]: Junior Cinema and Media Arts Major with a Writing Minor

  • Deeanna enjoys adventure fiction novels and action suspense films, spending time with her friends and family, and is an enormous fan of The Muppets.

Jordan Schmidt [Design Tsar]: Senior English Major and Writing Minor

  •  A writer at heart, Jordan enjoys cultivating her own stories, reading novels from different cultural perspectives, and getting in the mind of the characters. She has a weakness for fashion and her greatest nemesis is a blinking cursor.

Meanwhile by Stephen Morris

Meanwhile by Stephen Morris

Meanwhile x, y, a, and b
Are all in front of you, you see
And you’ve got to decide
You’ve got to decide

Cause while you think, the world keeps spinning
And while you think, your hair keeps thinning
And you’ve got to decide
You’ve got to decide

If I had a dime for every time I saw
The writing that was splattered all over the wall
That said I had to get up and make a decision
I’d obtain enough change for rather fine provision
And I’ve got to decide
I’ve got to decide

The sun goes down, and school goes out
And you’re straining to see what your life’s all about
The sun comes up, and schools back in
But you’re still begging for your life to begin
Well, you’ve got to decide
You’ve got to decide

Cause your mother will die
And your father will fade
And your lover, you’ll lose
And your best friend depart
And all of the famous will soon be forgotten
And though life will restart by the Only Begotten
The while is mean, and keeps dishing out dimes
Persistently proclaiming you can’t hoard time
You’ve got to decide
You’ve got to decide

Stephen Morris Major in Psychology; Complementary Major in Youth Leadership Development

I am an adopted son of God struggling through senior year of college. God is constantly blessing me with remembrance of his mighty, peaceful presence this year as I do classwork, serve at Texas Roadhouse, coordinate a Campus Ministry, and pointlessly worry about my future. I care deeply about questions of identity and intimacy, and I want to spread the word that the answer to all these questions is found only in our King, Father, Best Friend, and Brother, Christ Jesus.

Shattering Reality by Emily Ploetz


Emily Ploetz – Major in Language Arts Education; Minor in TESOL

The most important things in my life would be faith, love, family, friends, great books and delicious coffee! I am a sophomore here at Anderson University and am basically figuring out life as I go. Reading and writing will always be passions of mine, and I’m thankful for the chance to share them with others.

Returning by Abby Wilson

When I pulled up the old gravel road, everything looked almost the same… well, not exactly the same.  Paint chips covered the ground.  The house stood not quite as tall as it once had.  The lilac bushes were overgrown.  Dad always took care of them.  But now he’s dead.  

I parked right behind my mom’s 1998 Grand Marque—license plate number WELUV3.  It’s nice to be loved by the rear of a car, I guess.  I opened my car door, and the overwhelming pine scents almost knocked me down.  Colorado pines were the worst.  They were sticky and made the whole earth stink.  The fallen pine needles made it difficult for any other plant live to survive.  The pines monopolized our flora life.  I hated them.    

I approached the garage door.  I wasn’t sure if mom had changed the code, but I typed in the old code:  0131.  My birthday.  It opened; of course she hadn’t changed it. The garage was almost exactly how I left it.  I always told Mom that she needed to get rid of all her crap.  She always agreed that she would…one day.  She had the makings of a professional hoarder.  I saw all my dusty, decades-old toys, still assuming their candid, “play-with-me” position in the corner.  There was Mr. Pebbles, Mary-Ann, and Squash, my old friends from kinder-years, sitting around the plastic table.  The tea dishes were empty, covered in layers of grime and dust.  I left that tea party in 4th grade and never returned.  I imagine that my friends died waiting for me to come back.  I know Dad did.  

I heard footsteps from behind me, and I turned around.  There she stood.  Fifteen years had really treated her poorly.  Gray, unkempt hair was piled on top of her head.  Her sad, misty blue eyes stared desperately.  The once jovial crinkles in the corners of her eyes were set deep into her wrinkled skin, leaving a permanent look of pain upon her face.  

“Hi, Mom,” I finally whispered.

“Josie,” she choked out.  She ran down the steps and grabbed ahold of me, hugging me so tightly that I felt the pulse in my temples.  My arms were stuck to my side as she squeezed.  I know I should have felt grief or joy, or something… but I felt nothing.  I felt as if it was all just a dream and I was a sleep-walker.  The scent of her skin, the tight hugs, and the musty garage all brought back memories, so deep and forgotten—but I still felt nothing.  

When she pulled away, she looked into my eyes like a mother searching for her little girl.  She touched my face with her dry, cracked fingers and smiled.  It was a smile of unfamiliarity.  She didn’t know me, and I hardly knew her.  She touched my arm and motioned towards the door.   I followed her into the house and a twinge of emotion hit me—just a twinge.  The last time I passed through this door, I was leaving.  

I remember how I felt when I left.  I was angry.  Very angry.  Dad was standing in the living room, with tears exploding from his face.  I was sixteen.  I remember screaming at my mom in the kitchen.  I told her to leave him.  I told her that I couldn’t live in that house anymore with him in it.  I remember her telling me that she wouldn’t leave.   I told her that she was a coward.  A coward.  I remember the crinkle of pain that lurched in between her eyebrows as I said it.  I ran into my room and packed a bag.  In those moments, a runaway should grab the things that are nearest and dearest to their hearts, but I didn’t.  I grabbed my wallet, my toothbrush, and my car keys.  I ran out the door and didn’t look back…

“Would you like some coffee,” Mom asked me, finally breaking the silence.  I sat down on the barstool and awkwardly placed my hands on my lap.

“No thanks,” I replied.  “I don’t drink coffee.”  

“Tea? Water?  You’ve been travelling awhile I’m sure,” she opened up the cabinets and searched for a mug.  

“Tea is fine, Mom.”  I looked down at the colored countertops.  I remember drawing on them when I was a child.  Mom never stopped me.  She told me that she loved my artwork.  I sighed and looked around at the kitchen space.  It was exactly how I remembered it.  The off-white walls with red and blue floral borders, the yellowed tile floor with the crack in the center tile, and the dark wood cabinets—none of it made sense together, but this is where mom spent her time.

“So,” Mom started, busying herself with the tea kettle and dusting off crumbs from the counter.  She didn’t like a dirty kitchen.  “How was your trip?”

“Good,” I nodded.  The need for more words was overwhelming, so I added. “Rainy.  That’s not unusual this time of year.”  God, I was talking about the weather.  I hadn’t really spoken to Mom since I started my job as an editor—that was at least a year ago.  I tried to keep her posted on the big things in my life.  I called her at least twice a year.  Once for Christmas, and a second time for her birthday.  I never gave her my phone number.  I guess I was afraid that she would make frequent conversations a habit.  When we did talk, it was usually small talk, weather-talk, my small accomplishments talk, and they usually ended with “do you want to talk to your dad?”  By that point, I usually shut down and told her that I had to go.  I didn’t want to talk to him.  I found out about his death when I called Mom for her birthday that past week.  When she picked up the phone, she simply said, “He’s dead, Josie.  He’s gone.”  I didn’t say a word.  What could I have said?  The next day, I packed a bag, and started heading home.  

“Green or black tea?” Mom poured the hot water into the chipped, light pink mug.  I always used that mug for my chocolate milk when I was little.  She must have remembered.  

“Black,” I replied.  It made no difference to me.  She finally handed me my cup and sat down at the table across from me, folding her fingers together and staring at me.  

“You look so different,” she continued to stare.  “Your hair is different—did you cut it?”  

“Yeah, and I dyed it last year.”

“It’s pretty,” she shifted in her seat.   

I sipped my mug, hoping that I wouldn’t have to speak to her with a mouth full of tea.   She looked at the floor for a long time.  The crinkle in between her eyes deepened.  

“It was cancer, Joe.  He fought it for six months.” She traced her fingers around my counter-top artwork, slowly.    

I couldn’t respond.  A lump lodged in my throat.  Whether it was an angry lump or a sad lump, I couldn’t tell.  

“It was stage four lung cancer.”  My throat began to tighten.  My knuckles turned white.  

“He died peacefully.” Her voice quivered.  She had a tear dripping from her nose.  Mom always cried through her nose.  Her eyes would never allow for the tears.  Just her nose.  I remember hating those nosey tears.  When I was ten, I asked her why her nose cried and her eyes didn’t.  She said something like, “A mom’s only allowed one eye-cry.  I want that cry to be worth my tears.” I never forgot that.

Mom got up from the table and walked towards the sink.  She grabbed a few half-filled cups of coffee off the counter and started rinsing them.  The tension was too much.  I had to leave the room.  I headed towards the living room.  The familiar smell of cinnamon lingered in the air.  I loved that smell.  The rest of the house smelled like moth balls or cat hair, but the living room remained heavily scented with cinnamon.  Mom rarely entertained guests, but when she did, she only allowed them in that living room.      

Dad’s chair was still in the corner.  It was an ugly, mauve colored chair, with holes in the arms and stains on the seat.  Vividly, I pictured him coming home from work, loosening his tie, and kicking back in that chair.  I’d come in and ask him how his day was.  He’d always say:  “It was one for the history books, Jo-Jo.”  He’d smile, grab me, and proceed to tickle me.  My naivety was cute.  I guess I always wanted to believe that he was the perfect man.  I guess I always hoped that this light-hearted, vivacious man loved me and Mom more than anything else in the world.  The rose-colored lenses are a permanent fixture on the eyes of a child.  The turbulent and painful teenage years taught me how blind I had been.  

I continued to stare at the chair until I heard Mom come behind me.  

“He sure loved that chair, didn’t he?”  Her voice was full of fond remembrance.  I shook my head.  I swallowed hard and nodded.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of that chair.    

“Jo,” I felt her dry hand touch my shoulder.  My heart pounded and beads of sweat began to form along the creases of my forehead.  

“You should have left him fifteen years ago, Mom.”  I finally blurted out.  

I heard the house creak as the wind cut through the pines and hit the house.  I heard my mom breathing deeply.  I heard my own heart pounding angrily against my chest.  I turned around to look at her.

“He betrayed you, Mom.  He betrayed us both.  He got what he deserved.”  The sound of my own bitterness suddenly hurt.  It hurt her too.  

“He was a human being, Josie. No one deserves to die the way he did.”  

In that moment, all of the venom from years of bitterness came spewing out.  I couldn’t control myself.  

“Do you know what he said to me that night, Mom?  Do you know what he said after I found out about his whore?  He said it had nothing to do with me.  I was his goddamn child!  It had everything to do with me!”  I stood tall, hands clenched, full of justified rage.  Mom came closer to me and grabbed my hands.  My gut was heavy with sick hatred.  I tried, as I stared into her desperate eyes, to understand why my mom stayed with him, loved him, cared for him, even after he tore our family apart.

“How could you have stayed with him after all the pain he caused us?” I dropped her hands. A long silence followed while I watched her.  The old look of wisdom cast over her face, and a slight, gentle smile appeared.

“I chose him, honey,” her tender voice whispered. “I married him for better or worse; and Josie, things got better.  I wish you could’ve seen that. ” I looked down, feeling the heat of regret.  

“And Josie,” she grabbed my face in her hands, forcing me to stare into her loving eyes.  “You leaving us hurt more than anything.” There it was.  The sting of truth.  I left her.  I left Dad.  I was the coward.  And I realized right there that I had lost years of memories and the possibility of reconciliation.  This cut me deeper than anything.  

My hands felt numb.  I had the sudden urge to sit in Dad’s chair.  I never sat in his chair.  But as I did, the world seemed different.  A sudden, beautiful memory made its way in front of me.  I could see Dad, sitting on the floor, playing tea party with me.  I had invited my three garage friends, and Mom made us real tea to use.  He and I giggled, and he even put on the party hat I made for all my guests.  It was a very prestige party, I remember.  Dad smiled at me, and pinched my nose.  That was his thing, I guess.  Pinching my nose.  

As this memory passed through time and space before my eyes, I suddenly felt a terrible, sinking feeling.  I couldn’t remember what his laugh sounded like.  Was it guttural?  Was it loud?  Did he chuckle? Did he make any noise at all? I couldn’t remember… I began to panic, and tears began to gush from my eyes and I breathed rapidly.

“What is it, Jo?” Mom knelt in front of me and grabbed my hands.

“I-I…” My throat choked on the tears, “I can’t remember his laugh, Mom.  I can’t remember it…”  

Mom sat on the edge of the chair and wrapped her arms around my head as I sobbed.  She rocked me back and forth.

“He snorted a lot,” she giggled, pulling loose strands of hair from my wet eyes.  I suddenly remembered it: his high-pitched giggle, with the frequent snort in between each breath.   Yes, that was it.  I smiled.  

I looked up and saw her eyes filled with tears too.  The heartache of lost years and painful memories ran down her face.  

“Mom,” I said, touching her soaked face, “You were only allowed one real cry, remember?”

“This is worth all my tears,” she smiled, and pinched my nose… just like Dad.  

Abby Wilson – Major in English

I have an inexpressible love for coffee, apple cider, and green tea.
I think road trips are delightful, and nature is the neatest.  My
dream is to be able to successfully rap Busta Rhymes’ part in “Look At
Me Now.”

A Passive Aggressionist and Rebel by Alexandra Zard

A Passive Aggressionist

There he lies
My easy chair
Comfy and cozy he sits there
Tempting me around those I love
Saying things like, “Come,
I’ll help you get your way
All you have to do is frown
And sit down”

Here’s how it goes:
Plans don’t go my way
I want to blame
It’s not my fault, I’ll say
Someone else must pay

That’s what happens
I can ruin a day
With a scowl, no smile
And no good words to say

Too many times I’ll sit in that chair
It’s familiar, nice, and simple there

I don’t see the pain I cause
I don’t see the damage done
By giving up
And giving into
My easy chair


Inspired by two
The class lost all rules
The days that followed
Seemed the most new

Never an option,
But opinions’ freedom reigns
No rules broken
No rules made

Power, so incredible
From the words of one
The world seems to follow
Footsteps join in unison

Winning? Not important
The words are out
The rebel, they call him
Made his point nice and loud

Alexandra Zard Major in Entertainment and Music Business, Minor in Writing

I am a person who loves to travel, cook, and write. It is quite possible I will burst into song (real or original) sometime throughout each day. Though my cat, Yuki, may have more of a pterodactyl screech than a cat’s meow, I consider her my guardian angel.

Dissolve by Olivia Cape


They hear bells ringing,

But have they read between the lines?

Stallions fight when they are reined

And lightning will strike the bells and burn red.

The ring binds two people together:

Break the ring –

Break the bearers.

As if like a thundering herd

Rain bounds from the sky,

The red iron hisses and its hollow echo

Rings in their ears – bound for their hearts –

Turned into iron.


Olivia Cape – Secondary Language Arts Education major and Dance minor

I was born and raised in Indiana within a bunch of crazy people to call family – and whom I love more than anything (besides Jesus). Overall I’m just your average Josephine who likes to dabble in a lot of things like writing, crafting, dancing, traveling, etc. etc. etc.

Explosion of Night by Cheyenne Sanders

Explosion of Night

The blues turn into reds with speckles of pink

A final moment before the grand explosion of color

As if bombs drop, cratering holes that sink

Light erupts from the horizon with glamour

Nature recedes into darkness with a hustle

Flowers close their petals, no longer searching for light

Animals shut themselves in, away from the bustle

But who will protect us from things that go bump in the night?

Children cower in fear from the ghosts under their beds

Bare branches of trees cast shadows of hands reaching in

Even after sleep takes over and scenes of fantasy dance in their heads

Who will keep the demons from breaking in?

The Sun waves goodbye to the Moon with a flicker of light

Scaring away the monsters lurking through the night.


Cheyenne Sanders – English Major; Writing and History Minors

I live my life through the fictional characters in the books I read. My favorite scent is old books and my second home is my hometown library. I have to step on every crunchy leaf I pass, even if I have to go out of my way to do so.

How Can I? Raging Ocean, Quiet Stream, I Cannot, and The Warrior’s Heart by Em Hartman

How Can I? Raging Ocean, Quiet Stream

I can see all the colors of the World through my eyes,
of life, of death, of the beautiful Sunrise.
I can see all the wonders of the World through my dreams:
the rain and the stars, but nothing’s as it seems.
I can hear the secrets of the World through my ears:
peoples’ hopes, peoples’ fate, their sorrows and their fears.
But most of all I feel
all throughout my core,
every wonder, every wave,
and the rest becomes a bore.
How can I sit here, dreaming my dreams,
when the same dreams tell me things aren’t what they seem?
How can I stay here with the stars in my eyes
seeing life, seeing death, seeing every beautiful sunrise?
How can I wait here when my ears always ring
with wonders and secrets and every dark little thing?
How can I stay still when my core is an ocean
of every texture, every shade, every temperature of emotion?
And How can I stay silent
when the World seems to Scream
that all those dark little secrets . . .
are things that everyone has seen;
when the people of this world
create a trouble most obscene:
to pretend this raging ocean …
is a calm and quiet stream?

I Cannot
I cannot allow the World to take residence within my soul.
The flames bite, the ocean roars, but Your Word keeps me whole.
I can hear the screams and the singing, but they’re drowned in the pain.
Yet I will sing, not scream, for Your Love takes it away.
And though I DO scream, let it be Your praises.
For no darkness can overcome the LIGHT.
Yet some still choose to live in the Pain,
and I try to reach them through my own…
But I cannot allow the World to take residence within my soul!

 The Warrior’s Heart
A far away land calls the weak to better days.
A Voice in darkness over them holds sway.
Yet out of the misery, a fire seems to burn-
in the eyes and the heart as their souls so yearn.
A message sent to the weak and the bold:
The return of the King of Creation foretold!
And as the clock sounds the hour of this King’s return
the Dark One’s kingdom will,
Now the green will replace all the sadness, despair,
And the souls once lost, who were saved, shall be there.
For the King of Creation, Who’s gift is LOVE-
sets a place for EACH of His children
in true Paradise, above.
But on the Earth are we now,
For our work is not yet done.
The Fire Burns in the warrior’s heart,
’till the battles are won!
So take heed, my friend, of the message I send:
Do not bow to the Dark One, your knee do not bend!
This war is already over, ’tis not he who has won.
And your work on this Earth, for the King, is not done.
Our work will be over, and soon, so I pray,
but until that time comes do not waste your days-
on the trivial pursuits of Satan’s dead followers,
But find those lost souls where love’s humility still flowers.
( For in the Darkest of Times,
the Light can still be found
If you open your eyes and, in the darkness,
listen for a sound.)

Em Hartman – Cinema & Media Arts Major

I am mildly (majorly) obsessed with the character Nightwing. I grew up in the Salvation Army, with music and God loving parents. I plan to use my gifts of understanding and storytelling to help others see and understand beyond what they ever have – especially concerning the other people around them – while spreading and obeying God’s Word and Love in every part of my life, using all of my gifts, skills, passions, and abilities.