Wild Greens

Volume 3, Issue vi


Wild Greens 3, no. 06 (April 2023)


Welcome to the April 2023 issue of Wild Greens

Does curiosity make us (ahem) fools? In my only nod to today, April 1, and the barrage of jokes, pranks, and made-you-looks, I ask the question, though I already know how this issue of Wild Greens answers. Curiosity pushes our limits and gets us out of our comfort zones. In other words, curiosity drives creation.

What about when you’re curious about things you shouldn’t be? In Vivienne Brecher’s illustration, “Do Not Push,” Bob the pig returns, and this time, he debates pushing a button.

Ger Duffy’s poem, “Glimmers,” on transitions and thresholds invites us in with a question, “don’t we all want to join in the dance?”

Irina Tall Novikova’s “Girl,” in ink and gel pen depicts the curiosity between humans and animals.

“February,” a short story by Blanka Pillár, is told from the eyes of a child in a world before and after catastrophe and war.

In this month’s Turtle and Hare, there are “No Stupid Questions.” (Or are there?)

The second half of the issue explores new mediums and forms of expression. In Kenwyn Samuel’s digital poem, “contusion,” the artist combines poetry with digital art. “Collaged Travel,” by Melissa Lomax mixes collected papers to create a mixed media collage. Melissa Lomax’s poem “Loosely Held Creations” shows a different side of the artist we’ve come to know through her Doodle Town comics and others—poetry.

Robin Brownfield’s “Pink Peacock,” created while the artist recovered from hand surgery, was made without cutting glass.

Kiley Miller-Dickerson closes the issue with a toast to the curious. Her essay, “Jack of All Trades, Master of None,” salutes the creative spirit inspired by the removal of “pressures of limitation and the expectation of mastery.”

Try something new. Explore without the pressure to succeed, or to be perfect—the creation is enough. In fact, it’s more than enough—the creation is everything!


Do Not Push

by Vivienne Brecher

Colored pencil on paper

Inspiration:  I am a curious person, and so is my pig, Bob. Sometimes, we are curious about things we shouldn't be.


by Ger Duffy

The window’s glimmer of ice haunts the room.I make hot tea, contemplate the frost tipped skiprattle of dry leaves, air inside, sharp as glass.
The beech tree almost bare, holds her skirt of leaveslike a girl about to dance. 
There were glimmers — when I was arrestedby a voice, a chance remark, a lick at joy,my chest unlocked, spilling a box of bright coins. 
All poets know to conceal our desires so we cannot be pinioned like butterflies,trapped on a page.
But don’t we all want to join in the dance?

If you like the issue, you can donate to Wild Greens through our Ko-fi page!


by Irina Tall Novikova

Ink, gel pen, paper

Inspiration:  The curiosity of the snake and the girl. I accidentally drew a snake and a woman. Perhaps, this should correlate with the legend of Eve eating the apple of knowledge, but I think this is my own story. Out of curiosity, the woman allowed the snake to approach her face. They both have never seen each other and are looking at each other, but it should probably be like meditation.


by Blanka Pillár

Somewhere there was a crossroads near the border, in a rosy child’s face with round eyes. Blue-yellow brick low houses and dark green pine trees surrounded it, and in summer, the purple statices opened in the garden, in spring, the hot sunlight stretched across the forest canopy. 

The first memory for round eyes was of this landscape, where years of warm embraces and happy barks were repeated over and over again. They called this place Life; it was as the child imagined the world of fairytales. Until now. 

Something shook the earth. It shuddered, deep and angry, as if the grey sky had fallen. Morning dew covers the blades of grass, and a thick mist has descended on the cool ground; even the air is swirling backwards, and the birds are flying far away. They run out of the brick house and stare at the Thursday shadows. 

The round eyes watch as all the spring, summer, autumn, and winter gather in two grey canvas bags, as the faltering zipper is pulled on the resin-scented warm wool sweaters and the smiling stuffed elephants, as the Mother and Father pray in whispers, as they lock the door of Life without a key. Lacking a vehicle, they walk away from the crossroads, the blue and yellow brick low houses, the dark green pines, the purple statices, and the memory of warm hugs and happy barks. 

The round child’s face fills with hot tears, with the helpless sorrow of incomprehension and lack. She doesn’t know where the touch of silky grey dog-tails and the fresh scent of the short-cut lawn has gone; before her and behind her lies an endless sea of concrete surrounded by barren trees. All around her, words she had never heard before, harder-sounding names of unfamiliar places are repeated with terrified helplessness in their voices. 

Meanwhile, the time’s arrow marches on, the wind picks up, and the horizon bends to dark blue. The Mother takes a brown bun from her canvas bag, caresses the child’s cold face, and then holds the tiny body close to her, cradling it and humming the song she used to sing when the family was ill. The melody rings sweetly, filling the lonely night and drowning out the deafening noise of strangeness. 

Twilight and dawn meet; the dust is heavier on the feet, and the eyes look wearily into the bare winter. Farther lies Life than the round eyes and the darkening child’s face could possibly look back. 

They can only guess where they are going as they leave fading footprints on the edge of towns, hoping to cross something larger soon. They dare only believe that the sun will come out the next day, that there will be night, and that the clear sky stars will shine with the same piercing light.

No Stupid Questions

by Lauren Kimball

Digital stylus

Read about the language of flowers that inspired this month's logo on Ko-Fi.


by Kenwyn Samuel

digital art, poetry

Inspiration: In technique, trying out simple digital art as an increasingly accessible medium. In subject, the curiosity of love and being known and seen by another.

Pull down for plain text poem

i wonder what it would be like to crawl inside your skinto feel your bones imprint on mine,sink in to where i felt you all the time
i must've known in our former life who i was and what i would becomecan you clue me in?you always knew me better that i could ever see myself

i wonder what it would be like to crawl inside your skinto feel your bones imprint on mine,sink in to where i felt you all the time
i must've known in our former life who i was and what i would becomecan you clue me in?you always knew me better that i could ever see myself

i wonder what it would be like to crawl inside your skinto feel your bones imprint on mine,sink in to where i felt you all the time
i must've known in our former life who i was and what i would becomecan you clue me in?you always knew me better that i could ever see myself

Collaged Travel

by Melissa Lomax

Collected papers, mixed media collage

Inspiration: I love to express myself through pictures and words, sometimes mixing the two in unexpected ways. Here, I've combined a variety of elements found throughout my travels, highlighting words and numbers that are significant to myself and the recipient of this gift. It's a visual reminder to try new things, explore different places, and keep myself open to creative possibilities.

Loosely Held Creations

by Melissa Lomax

Budding limbs soar tallreaching toward the new day skysunlight gleaming through a filigree of branchesdesigning patterns that shift with springtime wind. I take it all in. These enchanting shadows each emerging brand new.

Pink Peacock

by Robin Brownfield

Ceramic, glass tiles, ceramic flowers, beads, wood, papier-mâché, glitter, grout

Inspiration: This was more of a challenge for "what can I make without cutting tiles and glass?" I recently had hand surgery  and couldn't create mosaics (or anything) for several months. I spent my time recuperating by constructing the form for this 3D wall hanging using only whole tiles, or leftover pieces of tiles I had already cut. I couldn't handle a glass cutter or tile nipper, and it was actually quite difficult making this with a disabled hand. I chose to make the peacock pink and white, because I could, but more because those were the colors I had at my disposal.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

by Kiley Miller-Dickerson

Misery loves company, and sometimes its name is mastery. Sacrifices and eliminating options are part and parcel of specializing and favoring one pursuit, or The Thing, at the expense of other possibilities. There are conflicting clichés about dedicating yourself to one task, and they’re not without merit. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” hints at risk and the potential for disaster should The Thing not work out. “Stay in your lane” discourages competition and warns of collisions with someone else. The consequences of counting on just one Thing to come through seem dire, but so does branching out.

I propose a more generalist approach. Survey. Dabble. Dip a toe in the waters of A Thing that piques your curiosity. As a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, master of none, I’ve come to prefer it that way.

I was inadvertently primed for this growing up in the over-scheduled way of a middle-class 90s kid. I was a good athlete, so I tried swimming, diving, soccer, basketball, volleyball, one tennis summer camp, water polo, ultimate frisbee, softball, cross-country, and a handful of other sports. Unfortunately, my coordination did not lend itself to rhythm, so my tryst with dance was brief; to this day, my favorite and best dance move is jumping.

I also enjoyed every art class I tried at school and the local rec center. In elementary school, I started viola as part of our music curriculum, and I walked to a neighbor’s house for a year’s worth of weekly piano lessons. As a high school freshman, I took ceramics and was enamored with bringing clay forms to life. For fine arts credit in college, I took Intro to Drawing for Non-Majors, which became my favorite college class. But these music and art classes merely checked a box. At the time, art didn’t serve a purpose beyond making me eligible to graduate. The rest of my time in high school and college was filled with honors classes and extra sciences to look better on transcripts.

Eventually, as for many kids, I was encouraged to specialize. Music and art fell by the wayside, and the fallacy of mastery began to infect me. After delivering one passable piano recital where I played The Entertainer, I let go of the stuffy living room encounters and insufferable metronome. I let go of viola, too, as orchestra was more of a social hour, and the instrument lived in my locker when I wasn’t in class. Art was the most painful to relinquish, but letting go of so many Things felt invigorating and seemed like a healthy choice when soccer became The Thing that would put me through college. 

Every long weekend led my family to a different soccer complex, often in a new city. Holidays didn’t mean cookouts or camping trips but another tournament. We forewent weeknight family dinners to get to practice on time, and my little sister became a seasoned car-reader. This all led to a DI scholarship. Though I loved the sport and the lifelong friends I made, I quit soccer after a semester of college and felt utterly burnt out before I turned 19. But quitting The Thing I chose as my one pursuit made me question everything: who was I, if not a soccer player? Did quitting make me a failure? Would I ever want to play soccer again or go kick around just for fun? I’d developed a singular identity and was floundering without the foothold that had rooted my sense of self for so long.

I rediscovered my love of the game through coaching in my twenties, but the middle schoolers I worked with faced similar pressure to choose soccer above all else. Watching them grapple with that inner conflict to choose between multiple things they loved, I saw myself as a problematic cog in the bigger machine, pushing them to specialize and excel and, consequently, forego other joys.

The decision to do A Thing and do it well plagues us, but to do so also eliminates options, dialing in the focus to laser-specific levels at the expense of the next great adventure. We ward off the potential of a new love affair with a different skill set, and it’s a risk I’m no longer willing to take.

In the past few years, especially during the pandemic, I’ve gotten back to my dabbling roots. Dabbling teaches us what we don’t like and what we can pursue adjacent to the things we already love. So, at the expense of spreading myself too thin, I’ve lately elected to indulge curiosity.

Exhibits A-E: my boxes of yarn and bursting craft boxes of printable vinyl and paper crafts, kitchen cupboards nearly bursting with small appliances and sourdough accessories, and all the accompanying how-to books. This literal baggage is a testament to the generalist approach. As objects, the clutter can make the house seem overfull and chaotic; but I see an ineffable power of possibility. Each drawer holds more than just push pins and old photographs. The counter isn’t simply covered in scrap paper and five different kinds of glue. It’s all a blend of memories and potential, a myriad of stories and relationships.

I picked up knitting thanks to a Latin professor who visited my French class as a guest lecturer. Between defining “declension” and identifying false cognates, Judy mentioned that she was hosting her knitting club at a local café. All my family and friends got lumpy, oblong scarves for Christmas that year. I’ve upgraded to hats and baby blankets since then, and there’s a shimmer of connection when I see a loved one use something I’ve fabricated from an unruly ball of string.

My then-fiancé gifted me a Cricut during our first pandemic Christmas. It was a lifeline through isolated months and offered a productive outlet for festering creative energy. Hope for our postponed weddings manifested in each book page flower and wonky boutonniere.

The kitchen has been a respite, between bread-making and experimenting with new recipes. I share my love through everyday sourdough and special occasions. I’m proud to be known for over-plying friends with goodies whenever we host a game night. These memories are warm and fuzzy, borne of familiarity and proximity when my now-husband and I cook together. Still, others are hilariously painful; one features a disastrous Christmas dinner of Yorkshire pudding that came out more chewy-omelet than puff pastry and accompanied a beef stew too tough for the Jaws of Life. But we laughed and learned in both cases, and I remember each escapade fondly.

Discipline, passion, and persistence each have a place, but I’m not convinced we should all find The Thing, or even if The Thing exists at all. Would it be so bad if that’s the case? What if we could all find pursuits that invigorate and challenge us? Could we give ourselves permission to try but not force ourselves to keep on when it no longer serves us? There’s a difference between acquiring a knack and self-imposed torture, and it would serve us to know the difference.

I guess, if I’m picking a cliché, I like “cover your bases.” I believe in being ready for anything. I think you can only do that successfully as a competent generalist, a jack of all trades. If you find something you love, it’ll hold your attention and pique your curiosity day after day. Maybe it should have been a sign that I cried so many times to get out of soccer or swim practice and faked being sick for more than one piano lesson. Through dabbling, I’ve learned my joy lies in creation and physical exertion. I’ve found those pursuits to be the most rewarding of all.

Learning A Thing and Another Thing and Yet Another Thing tests our limits in more ways than we can imagine, and each Thing still comes with its small victories and the opportunity to level up. Just this week, I tinkered with my grandma’s banana bread recipe, resulting in my favorite batch of muffins. I enjoyed the process—it reinforced my connection with a loved, and never truly lost, family member—and I look forward to the next batch that I may or may not adjust again. Plus, now I have breakfast for the week. I’m not entering baking competitions or aspiring to launch a viral baking TikTok, and I don’t need to. But I could try it if I want to.

Possibility and opportunity are powerful concepts when nurtured. Exploration is a valuable move toward self-discovery, but may be best realized when the pressures of limitation and expectation of mastery are removed.

Cheers to the professional surveyor, to the endlessly curious master of none.

See behind the scenes of Wild Greens. Our Ko-fi page contains concept art for past issues.

Artists and Contributors

Vivienne Brecher


Vivienne Brecher is a ten-year-old artist. When not attending fourth grade, she enjoys playing guitar, acting, writing, reading, and, most importantly, drawing, especially when it includes her stuffed pig, Bob.

Ger Duffy


Ger Duffy lives in Co Waterford, Ireland.  Her poems have appeared in Southword, The Waxed Lemon, and Local Wonders (Dedalus Press).  Her poem "Cliff Road" was tweeted by Daniel Mulhall, Irish Ambassador to the US, on his last day in office in March 2023.

Irina Tall Novikova


Irina Tall (Novikova) is an artist, graphic artist, and illustrator. She graduated from the State Academy of Slavic Cultures with a degree in art, and also has a bachelor's degree in design. Her  first personal exhibition "My soul is like a wild hawk" (2002) was held in the museum of Maxim Bagdanovich. In her works, she often raises themes of ecology and draws on anti-war topics. For example, in 2005 she devoted a series of works to the Chernobyl disaster. The first big series she drew was “The Red Book”, dedicated to rare and endangered species of animals and birds. She also writes fairy tales and poems, and illustrates short stories. She enjoys drawing various fantastic creatures such as unicorns and  animals with human faces.She especially likes the image of a man - a bird - Siren. In 2020, she took part in Poznań Art Week. Her work has been published in magazines: Gupsophila, Harpy Hybrid Review, Little Literary Living Room and others. In 2022, her short story was included in the collection The 50 Best Short Stories, and her poem was published in the collection of poetry The Wonders of Winter.

Blanka Pillár


Blanka Pillár is a sixteen-year-old writer from Budapest, Hungary. She has a never-ending love for creating and an ever-lasting passion for learning. She has won several national competitions and has been a columnist for her high school’s prestigious newspaper, Eötvös Diák. Today, she is not throwing away her shot.

Lauren Kimball

Artist and Writer

Lauren Kimball (she/her) lives in Philadelphia. She teaches literature and composition at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. In her spare time, she plays with paint, digital pens, words, and home improvement tools.

You can find her comics on Instagram @turtle_n_hare_comic.

Kenwyn Samuel


Kenwyn Samuel (they/them) is a Philadelphia-area multidisciplinary artist and creator of immersive experiences striving to build bridges of empathy and advocacy. They have a BA in theater from Rowan University and are currently attending Jean Madeline Aveda Institute for Cosmetology.  Kenwyn is a mentor and consortium member of Get What You Need Residency and the recipient of a 2020 Art & Change Grant from the Leeway Foundation for their project VISIBILITYtalks. Visit their website: kenwynsamuel.com

Melissa Lomax


Melissa Lomax (she/her) is a freelance illustrator, art teacher, and cartoonist with 20 years of experience in the creative industry. Some of her clients include American Greetings, Sellers Publishing, Great Arrow Graphics, and Highlights for Children. Her comic 'Doodle Town' posts on GoComics.com, the largest catalog of syndicated cartoons and comics. When she is not in the art studio, she enjoys spending time in nature, drinking really good coffee, and 'everyday adventures' with her husband. Pop by her Instagram @melissalomaxart for weekly inspiration!

Robin Brownfield


Robin Brownfield (she/her) is a former sociology professor in Collingswood, New Jersey who turned to mosaic art after becoming disabled. She was featured in a FOX-29 (Philadelphia) News report because, after sharing a series of award-winning “Black Lives Matter” mosaic portraits online, she was commissioned by Tamika Palmer to do a mosaic portrait of her daughter, Breonna Taylor, whose death, in part, launched a rebirth of the Black Lives Matter movement. That portrait can be seen in the documentary Bree Way: Promise Witness Remembrance. Her award-winning artwork has been in galleries in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York City, Las Vegas, Norfolk, Virginia, Texas, Illinois, and San Francisco. She recently finished supervising a community mosaic mural project entitled “Childhood Memories,” which she designed at Thomas Sharp Elementary School in Collingswood, NJ. Above the mural honoring her is a plaque making her one of those old dead people (in the future) who nobody ever heard of, but whose name is on a plaque. Visit her website, www.robinbrownfieldmosaics.com, to see more of her work.

Kiley Miller-Dickerson


Kiley Miller-Dickerson (she/her) is an Ohioan-turned-Coloradoan who lives with her husband and two dogs. She teaches composition at Colorado State University and can usually be found at a local bookshop or brewery. Her passions include words (producing and consuming), beer (drinking and making), and adventures (near and far). Read with Kiley on Instagram @CuratedSymposium

Jessica Doble

Poetry Editor

Jessica Doble (she/her) holds a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She's published two critical works: “Hope in the Apocalypse: Narrative Perspective as Negotiation of Structural Crises in Salvage the Bones” in Xavier Review, and “Two-Sides of the Same Witchy Coin: Re-examining Belief in Witches through Jeannette Winterson’s The Daylight Gate” in All about Monsters. Her poetry has appeared in PubLab and Wild Greens magazine. 

Myra Chappius


Myra Chappius (she/her) is the author of six works of fiction and poetry. While her passion lies with shorter creations, it is her aspiration to complete a full-length novel and screenplay someday. She enjoys reading, music, travel, and learning. When not doing mom things, she is working full-time, seeing the latest movie, or waiting an acceptable length of time before returning to Universal Orlando to satiate her Harry Potter obsession.

You can follow Myra on Instagram at @inwordform. Her work can be purchased on Amazon.

Tim Brey

Music Editor

Tim Brey (he/him) is a jazz pianist living in Philadelphia. He holds positions as Artist-in-Residence and Adjunct Faculty at Temple University and The University of the Arts, where he teaches jazz piano, music theory, and improvisation. Check out more of his music and his performance schedule at https://www.timbreymusic.com.

Jacqueline Ruvalcaba

Fiction Editor

Jacqueline (she/her) is a writer, editor, and copyeditor living in California. She earned her BA in English and creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. She was a 2021 publishing fellow with the Los Angeles Review of Books and an editor and co-editor for PubLab and Mosaic Art and Literary Journal. She serves as the fiction editor for Wild Greens magazine and a copyeditor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Arrow Journal.

Maggie Topel


Maggie Topel (she/her) is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.

Hayley Boyle

Arts Editor

Hayley (she/her) creates the cover image for each issue of Wild Greens magazine and serves as the Arts Editor. Hayley is a social justice seeker, world traveler, rock climber, dog snuggler, frisbee player, event planner, and storyteller. She loves to paint with watercolors, embroider, and write. She grew up reading sci-fi and fantasy, and to this day she still turns to those genres to help her make sense of the world. She calls Philadelphia home and wouldn't have it any other way. You can find Hayley on Instagram @hayley3390.

Rebecca Lipperini


Rebecca Lipperini (she/her) is a writer, teacher, and academic living in Philadelphia, and the founding editor of Wild Greens magazine (hi!). She holds a PhD in English from Rutgers University, where she taught all kinds of classes on literature and poetry and writing, and wrote all kinds of papers on the same. Her essay on the soothing aesthetics of the supermarket was recently published in PubLab. She teaches in the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

You can find Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccalipperini (personal) @wildgreensmag (you already know it).