Letter From the Editor

Dear Reader,

Over my time at Millsaps, I have submitted to the Stylus, been accepted, and witnessed the lack of diversity in the annual magazine. The Stylus was a compilation of work by the editor’s senior creative friends, oftentimes selected by those same senior friends. (I say that knowing I was one of the editor’s creative friends last year on the Editorial Board) Not only was I one of the few, if only person of color whose work graced the pages of the Stylus, but I was also one of the few underclassmen. My goal as editor was to not only increase the diversity of the contributors of color and classes, but also diversity of thought. I wanted to branch out to others in different communities who may have a different perspective from me to help me choose the pieces for this edition in order to create a literary and art magazine that was truly representative of our campus. I think I reached that goal. In this edition of the magazine, we have 40 works, 3 of those being exclusive to the website, and 25 contributors. Of those 25 contributors, 14 identify as people of color. We have 7 freshmen, 7 sophomores, 6 juniors, and 5 seniors. Although this is not an amazing representation of diversity, it is a start.

As you read this magazine, I hope you enjoy the different literary pieces about the mundane and the fantastical. I hope you enjoy the films covering topics such as #blacklivesmatter and sexism. I hope you appreciate the art displaying recreational drinking, sexism or genitalia. As you may have noticed, the cover of this edition is a digital image which is part of Sophie Fairbairn’s series, “Shimmer in the Gravel.” What you may not know is that her image is of a Jackson pothole, something frustrating and damaging that she used to create art out of – which I felt best represented this collection of student pieces. In this edition, we have different types of science and pre-health majors writing beautiful poetry, capturing fascinating photos, and drawing skillful images. We have a welder with wonderful craftsmanship and an artistic eye. We have business majors with digital art skills or a knack for crafting personal essays. We have people from all corners of campus submitting their amazing pieces and creating a beautiful body of work that you can find here.

Reader, I hope when you read these pieces you get a better sense of what it means to be a Millsapian. I hope you see the talent and creativity of each and every student, not just those majoring in creative disciplines. I hope this magazine makes you proud to attend this school, and I hope it makes you even prouder of each other. I created this magazine with you in mind. I hope you enjoy it.

It has been an honor to serve as editor-in-chief of the Stylus.

Love & Best Wishes,
Leah Nicole Whitcomb

Call for Submissions

We are accepting submissions until February 20.

We publish short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, visual and digital art, and photography (if you have a creative something that doesn’t fit into one of those categories, we’re open to that too). For visual art, send us a scanned copy or digital photograph of the original work.

Call for submissions is open to Millsaps students only. Email stylus@millsaps.edu with questions, submissions, etc. In your submission email, please attach the cover sheet that was emailed to all students earlier in the year. Let us know if you need us to resend the cover sheet document.
Bon chance!

like proust be an old teahead of time

belief & technique for modern prose
              jack kerouac

1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life

5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind

7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is

11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time

15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea

19. Accept loss forever 
20. Believe in the holy contour of life

21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form

27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness 

28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Readingː Little Black Daydream

Steve Kistulentz will be reading from his newest book of poems, LITTLE BLACK DAYDREAM, tomorrow at Lemuria in Jackson. The poems convalesce hope and loss as they tunnel into the core of the American dream (or perhaps the American nightmare?)…

Book signing will begin at five o’clock. Reading to follow at five thirty……..Bring yourself, your friends, your piggy bank; buy a book, get it signed, say hello, & READ MORE POETRY.

Lovely advice from Ira Glass

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass

Purple and White

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by Allie Jordan, senior Millsaps student

Last semester, Jordan and her classmates were asked to complete a project exploring lived gender & sexuality at Millsaps College. Students were not asked to cover all of campus life but to focus their articles on specific areas, issues and/or people. This piece is included in this series of projects.

Author’s Note: When I decided to focus this piece on living gender and sexuality roles within the Millsaps Greek system, I sought out a diverse dialogue outside of my comfort zone. There are countless ways in which I’ve personally benefitted from the Greek system, and at the heart of any great Greek organization are great people. But this narrative piece isn’t wholly about the Greek system. It’s about people. And for us to not, at the very least, consider their challenges, aspirations, and proposals for change, would mean allowing our organizations, Greek and non, to…

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Cigarettes and Metaphysics

Cigarettes and Metaphysics
by Salvo Blair

Three philosophy students have smoked too much ganja.
They wrap their fingers through a chain link fence,
That one overlooking West street. One stares at his feet.

The other two enter a metaphysical
duel over death, reincarnation

and something about not eating meat.

One philosopher thinks she’ll return
to earth as a blade of grass.
I tell her she’s had too much hash.

Not amused, I light a cigarette
and pull smoke to my lungs.
I feel my alveoli sizzling.

I cough, “I’m an asthmatic.”
I confess, “I smoke a pack a day”
They scoff, “Filthy habit.”

 

I may have metaphysical vertigo
but, a little nihilism and nicotine

makes me feel like one lucky fatalist.
Nonetheless, meaning is elusive to
three stoned hippies

staring at a deserted road.

Simone de Beauvoir on education, writing, death

The Paris Review’s website has an enormous archive of interviews with writers. Good procrastination.

“If you don’t know, now you know.” ~Biggie

 

These excerpts are from my faaaaaaaavorite, The Art of Fiction no. 35, Simone de Beauvoir

INTERVIEWER

What do you think about college and university education for a writer? You yourself were a brilliant student at the Sorbonne and people expected you to have a brilliant career as a teacher.

DE BEAUVOIR

My studies gave me only a very superficial knowledge of philosophy but sharpened my interest in it. I benefited greatly from being a teacher—that is, from being able to spend a great deal of time reading, writing and educating myself. In those days, teachers didn’t have a very heavy program. My studies gave me a solid foundation because in order to pass the state exams you have to explore areas that you wouldn’t bother about if you were concerned only with general culture. They provided me with a certain academic method that was useful when I wrote The Second Sex and that has been useful, in general, for all my studies. I mean a way of going through books very quickly, of seeing which works are important, of classifying them, of being able to reject those which are unimportant, of being able to summarize, to browse.

INTERVIEWER

Were you a good teacher?

DE BEAUVOIR

I don’t think so, because I was interested only in the bright students and not at all in the others, whereas a good teacher should be interested in everyone. But if you teach philosophy you can’t help it. There were always four or five students who did all the talking, and the others didn’t care to do anything. I didn’t bother about them very much.

INTERVIEWER

You had been writing for ten years before you were published, at the age of thirty-five. Weren’t you discouraged?

DE BEAUVOIR

No, because in my time it was unusual to be published when you were very young. Of course, there were one or two examples, such as Radiguet, who was a prodigy. Sartre himself wasn’t published until he was about thirty-five, when Nausea and The Wall were brought out. When my first more or less publishable book was rejected, I was a bit discouraged. And when the first version of She Came to Stay was rejected, it was very unpleasant. Then I thought that I ought to take my time. I knew many examples of writers who were slow in getting started. And people always spoke of the case of Stendhal, who didn’t begin to write until he was forty.

INTERVIEWER

Do your writer friends have the same habits as you?

DE BEAUVOIR

No, it’s quite a personal matter. Genet, for example, works quite differently. He puts in about twelve hours a day for six months when he’s working on something and when he has finished he can let six months go by without doing anything. As I said, I work every day except for two or three months of vacation when I travel and generally don’t work at all. I read very little during the year, and when I go away I take a big valise full of books, books that I didn’t have time to read. But if the trip lasts a month or six weeks, I do feel uncomfortable, particularly if I’m between two books. I get bored if I don’t work.

INTERVIEWER

Are your original manuscripts always in longhand? Who deciphers them? Nelson Algren says that he’s one of the few people who can read your handwriting.

DE BEAUVOIR

I don’t know how to type, but I do have two typists who manage to decipher what I write. When I work on the last version of a book, I copy the manuscript. I’m very careful. I make a great effort. My writing is fairly legible.

INTERVIEWER

In The Blood of Others and All Men Are Mortal you deal with the problem of time. Were you influenced, in this respect, by Joyce or Faulkner?

DE BEAUVOIR

No, it was a personal preoccupation. I’ve always been keenly aware of the passing of time. I’ve always thought that I was old. Even when I was twelve, I thought it was awful to be thirty. I felt that something was lost. At the same time, I was aware of what I could gain, and certain periods of my life have taught me a great deal. But, in spite of everything, I’ve always been haunted by the passing of time and by the fact that death keeps closing in on us. For me, the problem of time is linked up with that of death, with the thought that we inevitably draw closer and closer to it, with the horror of decay. It’s that, rather than the fact that things disintegrate, that love peters out. That’s horrible too, though I personally have never been troubled by it. There’s always been great continuity in my life. I’ve always lived in Paris, more or less in the same neighborhoods. My relationship with Sartre has lasted a very long time. I have very old friends whom I continue to see. So it’s not that I’ve felt that time breaks things up, but rather the fact that I always take my bearings. I mean the fact that I have so many years behind me, so many ahead of me. I count them.

The first in a series of long-form journalism pieces exploring lived gender & sexuality at Millsaps College.

Purple and White

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by Sara Sacks, junior Millsaps Student

Regretfully, the context of this piece was not published in this week’s newspaper. Last semester, Sacks and her classmates were asked to complete a project exploring lived gender & sexuality at Millsaps College. Students were not asked to cover all of campus life but to focus their articles on specific areas, issues and/or people. This piece is the first in a series of these projects. 

You may submit any written response to Genny Santos at santogl@millsaps.edu

Not even the saturating odor of Clorox Bleach can conceal the musk of previous weekends –of perspiring men and women on an overcrowded dance floor, of knocked over Nati Ice, of rumors and secrets. Below the droning buzz of florescent lights, a casual air of restlessness dominates Lambda Chi Alpha’s (Lambda Chi) weekly chapter meeting.

Among the suffocating beige of couches, chairs, walls and skin tones, a freshman saunters past…

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