A Delicate Appetite

Note: the following is an excerpt from a diary discovered in the ruined manor at 1362 Van Sylvington Road in Shaker Heights, Ohio. It was dated October 29, 1953. The author’s identity was never confirmed

My father says I have to be very careful with what I eat. They say he had a disease, a sickness of some sort, that is said to have consumed him. He tells me it wasn’t a disease, but a blessing. He says that without it he never would have found a reason to live.

Say, those neighbors of ours are awfully loud, I truly must beg them to argue a little bit softer.

So, this blessing of his. No, he never laments over it, never complains. Ever since it took him, he’s been right here with me, to keep me company, especially now that mother is gone, gone, gone. He’s grateful for me, oh yes he is.
Dear mother, I miss you terribly! You truly made such splendid meals, the kind of which I rarely find these days. I’ve had to settle for far inferior cuisine, once you were gone. Recently––

Damn those intolerable neighbors! Such a clamor they make, I can hardly hear myself think! What on earth possesses them to scream so? I can hardly imagine what nonsense they cry today, everyday it becomes less clear to me. They demand something from me, but what can I do? I have a very delicate appetite.
At last, a little silence. But for how long, I cannot know. Let’s see…inferior cuisine. Alas, the recent meals just haven’t been to die for. They were much better when father and mother were still around. My, see how they blush when I write that! But I don’t exaggerate. What tremendous parents they were! If a parent’s only job is to nourish their child, they performed their duty infallibly. Only the most tender people can provide the most tender meals. In contrast, our neighbors don’t have a tender inch of themselves to spare. They are spoiled, spiteful, bitter people. That sort of rot taints the soul, and especially the body. Yet, they have raised such wonderful children.
I really do wish they would quiet down, all that screeching makes me sick.

Humbled By My Heroes By Lily Roth

The Cleveland Cavaliers take on the runway with children of all ages to raise money for pediatric cancer.  On October 18th, the Cavaliers along with other athletes from the Lake Erie Monster, or “Big Shots” were each partnered with a “Little Star” which is the title for those children fighting against cancer.  The event not only raises money to cure cancer but also gives these children a night they’ll always remember with some of their heroes.  Lebron James JR Smith, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Love, you name it, and they were there with a smile on their face, ready to meet the kids that would eventually change their lives.  The Arena was transformed into a whimsical world of Alice in Wonderland for the annual fundraiser.  Flashes of Hope is an organization whose goal is to capture the good memories of children fighting cancer and funding research for a cure.  This event brought out 1,000+ of Cleveland’s business leaders and community figures.  With surprise guests such as the Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts there’s it’s no surprise that all of the photos are filled with joyful children and adults alike.  One of the most well-known and inspirational children on the runway was eight-year-old Maisie Nowlin, a confident and positive little star.  She has a rare blood disorder so her life depended on a transplant.  Doctors took her within an inch of her life to save her it.  After the transplant, she got better then worse, then even worse. Maisie’s parents had to speak with her about dying. “We were going to have to tell her we are trying everything,” says Maisie’s mom in an interview.  Just then, Maisie turned the corner and headed back to school.  So she stood brave and proud on the 2017 runway to accept the Cleveland Clinic courage award.  This event does something powerful and admirable for the kids, it creates a night they’ll never forget.  As for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they make lifelong friends and role models of kids a third of their age.  Go Cavs for partaking in such a wonderful event, but go little stars, for being the people we all look up to every day of our lives.

The Magic of Online Multiplayer Games by Madi Hart

This past week, I found myself with a lot of free time. I baked a few batches of brownies, created a few boards on Pinterest, and picked a couple of knitting projects to work on this winter (I’m seventeen, I promise). I also found myself on the App Store, perusing some online multiplayer games. I decided to download Stop!, Words with Friends, and Jeopardy!… and I’m hooked. Although the time I spend isn’t productive in a tangible way, all three games improve my ability to produce “quality” work under pressure. In addition, Jeopardy! improves my knowledge of trivia and Words with Friends improves my vocabulary and strategizing skills.
Beyond the educational aspects, these online multiplayer games allow me to connect with family and friends around the world on a purely competitive level. Unlike other online ways to connect (like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), there’s ‘virtually’ no way to reach a point of contention about politics. Beautiful.

Libraries Are Cool and Don’t You Forget It by Caitlin Cullina

I write this live from the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale university, the L and B Reading room. Over the long conferences weekend, I am visiting Yale with mom, who attended the school three and a half decades ago. She took me to a bunch of restaurants she used to go to and directed me around campus, pointing out the dorms where she used to live. But my favorite places by far that she showed me were the libraries, two in particular. One is called the Beinecke Library, a home for rare books. It’s a giant box of a building with marble windows––yes that’s right, the windows are thin sheets of marble. When you walk in there is a giant glass case filled with floors and floors of books in a climate controlled space. And in the area surrounding is a collection of rare medieval manuscripts dating back to the third century. Now I love books, but old books make me weak at the knees with joy. It’s just so much history packed into one place.
And where I’m sitting now is a place my mom would come to constantly to study, the Sterling Memorial Library. It has gorgeous gothic architecture, little marble statues, green leather chairs, and of course books everywhere. The books surrounding me are of all types and eras, from children’s books of today to Russian literature from the early 1900’s. It’s midterms season so there aren’t many students around, but I like the quiet. 
Tangible books might be going out of fashion due to the blooming e-book and kindle markets, but I’ll always prefer the real thing. Especially old collectables, with gold painted pages and gorgeous covers. Nothing online could come close to the elegance of a hand-bound book. And finding many older writings online isn’t likely. So much about the past and many primary sources of events would be lost if people forgot about books. And the library environment is just so conducive to getting something done. Being surrounded by the words of such smart and dedicated people makes a person want to got to get off their butt and do something meaningful.

I think everyone should go to a local library or bookstore and pick out an actual book, and maybe even read it, just to appreciate the art of written text.

Coloring to Calm by Abigail Herbst

Everyone has different ways to deal with stress. Some people write, some exercise, others eat their feelings; I color. As a creative person with an extremely limited artistic ability, I have found that coloring the intricate black and white pictures in adult coloring books to be the perfect median to relieve my emotions. Sitting cross legged on my floor, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket with a vanilla scented candle lit beside me, with acoustic music playing from across the room and a colored pencil in my hand, I feel control and calm. The pressure of whatever was stressing me has been long forgotten as I add color to the page in front of me. I found coloring to be a cure to anything that was upsetting me. Stressed out? Color! Feeling overwhelmed? Sad? Nervous? Color! No problem could not be solved by adding color to a blank page. I colored when I was happy, and excited as well, I was constantly coloring. I loved to do it, and the art always put me in a better mood.
Tonight, I finished my first coloring book ever. The newly completed book, titled “Secret Paris”, was an impulse buy from Barnes and Noble two summers ago. It quickly became my favorite coloring book of my collection, and I spent all of my stressful and emotional moments of the past couple years adding color to the blank pages. The book, previously consisting of dull white pages displaying the fashion, food, and architecture of Paris now filled with bright colors.
A strange feeling washed over me as I realized that an image of a food truck serving crepes, methodically colored with a pastel color scheme, was the last page I would color in the book. I had dedicated so much time into each page of the book, some pages taking me weeks to complete, and I had finally finished. I felt a strange mix of satisfaction and sadness, as I would never get to color in this book I enjoyed so much again. The book encompassed my life, every page telling a story of where I was and how I was feeling when it was worked on, like a journal.
This  marks the end of the “Secret Paris” era. It’s time for a new coloring book and I will continue to transform my stress and emotions into a beautiful picture in whatever coloring book is next.

It’s All in Your Head! by Sofia A-A

“It’s all in your head.”
“Just get over it!”
“Stop moping around.”
“All you need is a pair of running shoes and some fresh air!”
         Anyone with a mental illness has most likely heard these phrases at least once during their battle with their illness. They are dismissive statements that invalidate the struggles experienced by the people who must live and cope with mental illnesses, and are rooted in the stigma perpetrated by our society.
         Mental Health Awareness Week, established by the US Congress in 1990, is a week that can serve to educate members of our society about the myriad of issues concerning mental health. According to Mental Health America, over 40 million American adults struggle with mental illness, but 44% do not receive treatment. Often people are deterred from seeking out treatment due to the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness and the expensive cost of profession healthcare. Our society’s negative views concerning mental illness prove detrimental to the people it affects by spreading the idea that those affected by mental illness are ‘weak.’ In reality, mental illnesses are no different from ‘physical’ illnesses in that they are caused by the body; produced by a malfunction in the brain’s chemistry. For example, clinical depression is often related to a change in the brain’s level of serotonin. You wouldn’t hesitate to go to the doctor for a broken arm, so why is a problem in the brain any different? We need to educate students and citizens of all ages that mental illnesses are real illnesses that need to be treated by medical professionals, just like any other disease or sickness. Part of this process will be training people to recognize the signs of mental illnesses, since many people don’t even realize they themselves are suffering from one. The normalization of lifesaving treatment for mental illnesses will allow more people to seek the help they need to prosper. Chipping away at the stigma that prevents discussions about mental health is crucial to reaching those who feel like they cannot get help for their illness.

Giving Credit Where It’s Due by Mattie Conley

     It’s finally fall, and that means football and hockey are back. Baseball is still going strong, and basketball is almost here too. In short, autumn is a sports lover’s paradise. It has been an interesting off-season for the NBA, and a lot of changes have been made. One thing remains the same, though.
     One of my favorite phrases ever is still “The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals.”
     With it comes fond memories of nights spent sitting at the edge of the couch, anxiously watching the action onscreen. Cheers followed by groans and groans followed by cheers.
     The block. The shot. The championship.
     The comeback.
     The Cavs fought hard to achieve something no other team had ever accomplished, and the talk was all about how the Warriors blew their lead. I loved it at first; I am not fond of the Warriors in any sense of the word, and their failure was my gain. After a while, though, I realized that the way things were phrased did a disservice to the Cavs.
“The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead.”        Not      “The Cavs overcame a 3-1 deficit.”
     There’s a huge difference between the two. The former makes it seem like the only reason the Cavs won was because the Warriors stopped playing at the same level they were early in the series. The latter puts more emphasis on the hard work and resilience of the Cavs. Saying the Warriors blew the lead makes it seem as though the Cavs had a limited role in their own win and that the Warriors were completely in control of who won or lost. If they blew it, it was seemingly by no account of the Cavs’ efforts. Apparently, the only reason Cleveland got its first championship in so many years was because Golden State started slacking.
     But that is unfair and untrue. Did the Warriors lose steam as the Finals wore on? Yes, but the Cavs had a huge role in that. The Cavs’ championship hopes were not completely dependent on whether the Warriors played well. They were not going to sit there and take whatever fortunes or misfortunes came their way; they went out every game with the intent of competing to win. They didn’t give up despite being down so many games, and having to play a good team that won’t give up is tough. The reason the Cavs were victorious was not just because the Warriors (the “better” team) had an uncharacteristically weak couple games; three games is a lot to lose for the “bad night” excuse to apply. No, the Cavs determination and grit had as much, and perhaps even more, to do with the Warriors’ defeat. So let’s start giving the Cavs some more credit. They overcame the deficit.
     It’s been well over a year since the Cavs won the championship, and their defeat in this year’s Final is still pretty fresh. With the season just around the corner, my excitement is starting to build. I can’t wait to see how the new lineup will fare and how the playoffs will pan out. No matter what the end result is, the Cavs will put up a good fight, hopefully one that earns them another title. 

Just a Pure Blog about Walking and Human Connection by Jocelyn Ting

I have started waving to people on my walks.

When walking alone, you think more about everything. When I am alone I become hyper conscious of my movements (like when you start thinking about your breathing), the ache in my hips, the size of my steps.  At night I am afraid of my surroundings, of what I cannot see in the dark. In the daytime I am unsure of people. Should I make eye contact with the approaching walker or awkwardly shuffle past? Should I say hello? How do they see me?
I was speeding down my driveway when I saw my young neighbors next door out on their front lawn.  They had the lawn chairs out so I knew it was a selling day. Since all three siblings have been old enough to run (or waddle) up to my door, they’ve peddled journals, coloring books, paper fans, and goldfish.  Today’s big money maker: Iced Tea.  I slowed to a halt in front of the middle child, who was carefully spooning ice out of the tea pitcher into a bowl.  Interesting… I inquired if the bowl would stop the ice from melting (his verdict: no), wished them luck with their sales, and walked on.  
To the left I heard a sharp, angry noise.  My eyes pivoted towards the source, a man calling out to his dog, then followed the dog as it obediently bounded back to it’s owner.  Figuring it would be weird to leave after having stared for a minute, I threw out a “Hello!” and the man answered back, transforming the voice that initially startled me into a warm greeting to ask about my day.
Encouraged by this response I continued on my walk, meeting five dogs,  a woman with her daughter on shoulders, and a small child dragging an over sized rake towards her leaf pile.  I complimented her on her pile.  She didn’t respond, but that was okay.  One man went farther and asked me my name, and we talked for a while about how to prevent birds from flying into windows.
Now there is no more doubt as I walk home.  We are all just humans who are bad at loving each other and this makes it a little bit easier.  Yes, you should make eye contact, yes, you should say hello.  What’s the worst that can happen?  My worries about seeming strange or invasive were unfounded. They all just wanted for their dogs to lick me, to know my name, to interact.  All the mother wanted was for her child to wave hello.

The President can’t but Beyoncé can? by Mariah Jordan

In the midst of national chaos, who do we look toward to guide our nation into better times?

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, is the likely guess. Yet it took Trump days to lift the Jones Act, allowing foreign vessels to send supplies to Puerto Rico expeditiously. Let’s not forget that while millions of Americans live without food, water, and electricity,  Trump has taken trips to luxurious golf resorts in New Jersey, made irrelevant tweets criticizing NFL protests, and attacked San Juan’s mayor for “poor leadership.” Trump’s action’s speak for themselves.

Despite Trump’s delayed and inadequate response to Puerto Rico, celebrities have made tremendous efforts to help the people of Puerto Rico.  Frankly, the people who make music and movies have stepped in to lead our nation when the President has not.

Beyoncé is donating the total proceeds of her new song, “Mi Gente,” to hurricane relief agencies. Jennifer Lopez, Ricky Martin, and Daddy Yankee have made large donations to hurricane relief efforts in support of Hurricane Maria victims. Celebrity aid doesn’t stop at monetary assistance. Pitbull lent his private plane to evacuate cancer patients to the mainland.

Celebrity humanitarianism is not new, and I think we should stress that it exists.  I don’t want to praise celebrities as if they are gods or build upon their already high pedestals.  I simply want to highlight when good deeds of celebrities are substantially more impactful than those of the President. I can’t help but fear the path on which our President leads us upon. Let this event serve as a wake-up call (though, one of many) to Americans that our President is not doing his part to govern our Nation or protect our people. Because if Beyoncé can, why can’t Trump?

Ignoring the Noise by Isabela Carroll

Ignoring the Noise.

Yesterday my younger sister and I hugged in the bathroom.  We both agreed that today had been a rough day. 
I sat out on the bathroom roof as she peaked between the curtains. We whispered through the window silly Halloween costumes and she explained to me where the world was going, 
“I was thinking about Wall-E and I really do think its gonna happen soon!” 
We both cried out our days as through watery eyes and a sniffling nose she asked me to come back inside. She confessed the voice that sighed why couldn’t you just do it, when the words stayed jumbled. I replied with how it scoffed, “Welcome to adulthood” and it could no longer hold it together. “Some people can be really mean,” she stated, “but I know they don’t mean it;” of course she was right.  “Today sucked, like really just sucked.”I sighed.  
Then through twinkling eyes, she whispered, “Here write down the worst thing that’s happened today,” as she ripped off a single piece of toilet paper and handed me an ink pen.
We both scratched out our one words carefully as to not break it. Then I watched as she proceeded to crumple up the papers, wipe, and with a satisfied grin throw it into the toilet.  I was given the honor of the final flush.  At first the paper calmly floated at the top, then it began spiraling around and finally disappeared. 
“There, now it’s gone.”  She grinned, I laughed, and everything was better. 
Now, this may leave you disgusted (a vulgar act you might feel) or instead amused, as we both felt in the moment.  Either way I don’t really care.  It was such a simple gesture, so silly yet perfect, that only a child could think of it.  It meant so much to me. 
Sometimes each day just melts into each other, until it’s hard to tell apart Monday from Sunday and there is no real spark anymore.   She’d shown me the secret victories in an awful day.  That some things don’t have to be so serious, and for that I am so incredibly grateful.
So to my little sister, please stay this way
and for the rest of us, take this as an example that life is not as rigid as it feels. 

I don’t think this will become a regular routine but I might keep a pen by the toilet… just in case.