Volume 3, Issue vii
Wild Greens 3, no. 07 (May 2023)
Welcome to the May 2023 issue of Wild Greens
Come one, come all, and join our Craft Fair! May at Wild Greens brings a bonanza of artists and styles.
Jacqueline Ruvalcaba’s creative nonfiction story “Falling” explores the theme of failure and writer’s block using skiing as a metaphor. Jacqueline has been a long-time fiction editor for Wild Greens, and it’s an honor to finally publish a short story from her!
“Untitled,” a series of colorful and imaginative collages by Irina Novikova (Tall), imagines the Craft Fair as a place where creative people can find each other.
Emily Solomon’s mixed media “Simple.” crafts an image of nostalgic love on top of book pages. Our own poetry editor Jessica Doble takes us on the wings of the imagination in “The Written Imagination,” taken from found words and crafted into a poem.
Kendall Kikumi Raye Moore uses a maximalist aesthetic to craft an explosively colorful mixed media self-portrait in “Iwazaru-Kikumi.” Angela Patera’s watercolor “Flaming Sea and Sky” uses watercolors, acrylics, and seashells to craft a seascape, where water and sky reflect each other in flaming colors.
Angie Cosey, in her watercolor “Mythical Beasts” prompted by a 100-year-old bestiary, makes up her own mythical creatures—each with a name and description. Robin Brownfield’s “Robin Brownfield Mosaics” reflects on the craft of creating smaller mosaics for sale at art exhibits. Melissa Lomax’s “Hand Lettering Land” shows us the behind-the-scenes work of an illustrator practicing hand-lettering.
This month, Lauren Kimball’s Turtle and Hare is on holiday! Enjoy the panel from our archive, selected by the artist herself for the Craft Fair theme: “Happy Accidents.”
For the close of the issue, we reflect on the crafting of our own stories, the mythologies of our families—how we both know and don’t know them. Katie Huey’s personal essay “Not Here to Meet You” reflects on motherhood after the death of a parent. Meghan Woodard’s watercolor “Hermitage” depicts two homes, one made of twigs, the other made of earth, side-by-side in the woods. Colleen T. Reese’s poem “g.g.” writes about knowing and not knowing someone at the same time, the mythos of a grandmother.
I am about to descend over the edge, into the sky, where glimmering white fades into cloudless blue. Here, down is up. If you can avoid thinking too critically, you can pretend you’re riding a mountainous cloud. Until you hit the hidden patches of ice, hear the distant and near calls, yips, and hollers of other skiers, the steady hum of the chair lift—then the illusion breaks, and down is down again. The fear of losing control and falling rather than flying is too real of a possibility.
My mom pushes herself toward this edge first, but I grab the sleeve of her red jacket before she can go over. I don’t want her to leave me yet. I’m not ready. I feel scared of the unknown, of the hurt that will come if I panic, make a wrong decision, and fall.
I shuffle away from the edge. “I can’t do this.”
“Yes, you can,” my mom says, and I can hear her reassuring smile. Using her ski poles, she pushes forward again, until she is at the edge of the mountain, where snow meets the sky. I watch her red jacket disappear as she goes over the edge, into the sky, a paintbrush on canvas. She glides down the steep trail on a cloud of soft, freshly fallen snow, etching lines into the mountain, keeping balance even as she hits patches of ice.
I stare over the edge of the hill, afraid to begin. I try shuffling forward, watching as my skis brush and flatten out the snow beneath me. The snow is like the white acrylic paint beneath my mom’s palette knives, flattening and mixing before she begins.
I push myself to the edge of the hill, an end-stop. I consider years before, of cascading over mountain edges much like this one, flying down the hill with no fear—before putting words down on a blank page became as scary as going over the edge of a cliff, before words and stories locked up and bolted down deep inside, seemingly without reason. My mom knows this fear as well. Her sketchbooks are filled with ghosts, traces of trashed ideas, lines, and eraser shavings. But she keeps working, moving forward. My own journals and Word documents are filled with unfinished sentences and disjointed narratives, trials and errors, and sometimes left as white as the snow beneath me.
I’m holding myself back. Skiers are speeding past me, diving over the edge, catching air, flying. I remember that feeling. I want to feel that again. To let go, stop thinking of what could happen if I were to make a mistake and fall. I don’t want to hold back anymore.
With a shaky exhale, I let myself go over the edge, down the hill, maybe not as fearless, but as fast as I once could go. I don’t know if the snow I’m rushing up to is powder or ice.
And then I feel it. The feeling of having no traction, no grip. I’m nearly flying, skis barely touching the ground, but it’s not a good feeling. I feel the familiar wobble in my right leg, my strongest leg. I feel the insecurity there when I press harder into the snow to maintain control. But like a stone skipping on water, my right ski stutters, crosses inward, onto my other ski, creating an X.
My skis are no longer beneath me. I’m flying. I’m tumbling with no end in sight. When it’s over, I’m left wide-eyed, staring up at the sky.
I tremble as I lift myself onto my elbows and survey everything I lost. One pole is further up the hill, and the other is beside me. My right ski popped off and is to my far left. My ski boot is like a ten-pound weight, but it’s a bit lighter now without the ski. It’s easier to move and position myself to pop off my other ski and work on standing again.
I hear my name and look over. I see my mom’s red jacket. She reaches me, cutting into a sharp turn and spraying me with snow. She’s laughing, asking if I’m okay. I tell her nothing is broken. Surprisingly, I’m laughing with her despite how shaky I still feel. My mom grabs my hands and helps me stand back up.
From here, I get to work. I pick up all of the things I lost in the fall. And when I make it to the bottom of the mountain, the end of the page, I’m ready to begin again.
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The Written Imagination
From found words at the Moog Synthesizer Factory in Asheville, NCDreams in art are resonanceFrom a heartThrough modes that sustain
The flourishing pen throughthe gate length where no road endsPaths unfurl before us
in enveloping rotted vinesA shimmering heat off baked Grecian wallsGloomy abbeys and sun lit plateausa cacophony of songbirds
We attend to the stars behind our eyesThe gliding swirling skirts Ballet shoes trip through vivid wordsNotes, wood tipped and paisley-dipped
Where only the imagination can Rectangulate on a destination set Wherein we find weathered roots wind-exposedOr a galaxy between the heavens.
For we know, us writers, imaginers,Lovers, and dreamers,Wherever the sign goes,The meaning will follow.
Flaming Sky and Sea
Robin Brownfield Mosaics
Hand Lettering Land
Cola pen, brush marker
Read about the inspiration for this month's logo on Ko-Fi.
Turtle and Hare
Not Here to Meet You
On my first Mother’s Day, I went into labor. I spent the day preparing for my baby’s entrance into the world. I told our parents they couldn’t wait in the hospital halls, and with COVID, being on-site wasn’t an option. Orbs of encouragement and intentionality were important as I surrounded myself with tokens of love and mantras of care. I brought a framed photo of my dad holding me the day I was born and placed the picture of us on the side table near my hospital bed. During the less glamorous moments of delivery, I turned his photo face down. Perhaps he didn’t need to see this part of my entrance into parenthood. Baby came at her own pace, and as Sunday turned into early Monday morning, I transformed into a new being, unsure of myself and this little creature I now called daughter.
After the baby came, my husband called three grandparents and sent texts, waiting for their arrival to meet her. With my daughter nestled close to my chest, wrapped in a blanket covered in tiny footprints, I made an important introduction. Turning the photo face up, I said, “This is your Papa. I sure wish he was here to meet you.” And I sure wish he was there to see me become a mother.
My dad died in 2016, six years before we even dreamed of having a child. His absence, at times, is everywhere. When I was nine months pregnant, I cried, realizing my unborn baby will live the experience of loss from the moment she enters the world. I fear the day when she first says, “My grandpa died before I was born.”
The loss of a parent has been a profound experience. To realize she lost him too breaks my heart.
I’ve had friends ask, “Did losing your dad impact your choice to have a child?” My answer is always yes. For losing someone early made me realize how fragile life is. There are no guarantees and as humans, very few passes from experiencing pain. My choice, though, to become a mother, was greatly influenced by my dad’s tenacity and belief in love. As time has passed, I’ve learned to work at bringing his presence back to me.
My journey into motherhood is just starting out. I am nurtured and informed by the powerful women in my life and influenced by the multitude of ways our culture fails women and those raising children. In these spaces, I call upon both my dad’s softness and his strength. At bedtime I sing the lullaby he sang to me each night, asking for God’s protection and grace. I see the twinkle of his eyes in my daughter’s smiles, and affectionately teach her the difference between eyeballs and earballs. I’ve placed photos of Dad around my home, and put the same picture I took to the hospital in her nursery.
I think back to one of the last pep talks he gave me. I was struggling at work, and his voice echoed through the phone. “Kate, you can’t quit. They can fire you. But you can’t quit.”
I think of those words often. Parenting is a journey I can’t quit. I want to teach my baby to believe the world is beautiful and full of things to admire, wonder about and appreciate. I want her to know even our achings can teach us things. We can’t control when the people we love leave us. I can, though, introduce waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, and dance parties in the kitchen, and call upon the power of a pep talk when things feel bleak. I carry forward his presence in my doubting, in my emerging, in my transformations and in her growth.
And still, I sure wish he was here to meet her and to watch me be a mother. Always.
g.g.She kept a BB-gun in the glove compartmentAnd I always loved that about her.It was a storyTold more often Than the basketball teamAnd the box company. She kept a BB-gun in the glove compartmentAnd I remembered that before The hot rollersAnd bagged milkAnd impossibly painted eyebrowsOn porcelain recreation dolls. Molly laughs, Because she was there, too—Something likeTen years older than me.“She was kind of meanBut on Christmas, She’d wear lipstickAnd give me presents.”And I wonder What it must have been likeTo seeWith adult eyesThat blue velvet recliner.A dim lamp on the end table.Mystery-thriller paper books. But I do see them now,The reasons whyI still find myselfWishingI could’ve carried her nameOr even just the thingsI liked about her.The things she told meShe liked about me When I held her hand in that bed,In our homeAnd not some hospital. DignityAnd Choice. HardAnd then Sweet. She kept a BB-gun in the glove compartmentAnd, How rare a thingTo be a woman lovedThis honestly.
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Artists and Contributors
Writer and Fiction Editor
Jacqueline (she/her) 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 UCR's Mosaic Art and Literary Journal. She is currently the fiction editor for Wild Greens magazine and a copyeditor for the Los Angeles Review of Books and The Arrow Journal.
Irina Novikova (Tall)
Irina Novikova (Tall) 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.
With a degree in anthropology and religion, Emily Solomon’s art is informed by observation and contemplation of the human experience. Solomon’s work bridges several styles, but is marked by a controlled design, metallics, and muted color palette. Through her painting, she explores themes of grief, memory, love, and recovery. She is a member of the Multae Manus Collective, and is a board member on the Pikes Peak Arts Council. Her work has been shown in galleries throughout the front range. Solomon lives and works in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Poet and 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.
Kendall Kikumi Raye Moore
Kendall (she/ they) is a silly little guy who enjoys making stuff. They recently graduated from UCLA where they published in the Daily Bruin and Westwind Journal of the Arts. These days, you can find Kendall growing wildflowers out in the garden, feverishly cross stitching while listening to audiobooks, or rewatching Pride and Prejudice (2005) for the 100th time. More of Kendall’s art can be found at https://kokeshikk.wixsite.com/kiki-arty or on Instagram @kiki.arty.
Angela Patera is a self-taught artist whose art has appeared in numerous publications, as well as on the cover of Selenite Press and Penumbra Online. Her art usually draws inspiration from the genres of horror and fantasy, but also from folklore and nature. You can find her on both Twitter and Instagram as @angela_art13.
Angie (she/her) came to Philly from south-central PA 15 years ago. Trained as a veterinary nurse, she is currently a research coordinator helping (human) cancer patients enroll in immunotherapy trials at Penn. Her travels have taken her across four continents (so far) and her special interests include bird- and wildlife-watching, hiking, and storytelling. Find her on Instagram: @angiercosey.
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.
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!
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.
Katie Huey works with individuals and groups to use writing to cultivate compassion and an appreciation for ordinary, beautiful things as we heal. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a griever. Based in Northern Colorado, she has been supporting leaders and their teams in both the for profit and nonprofit sectors since 2012. She specializes in creating and facilitating workshops around the country to help people bring words to difficult experiences. She is a coach, a certified Grief Educator and a graduate of Stanford University’s Applied Compassion Training program. You can read more of her grief and healing journey on her blog 52 Beautiful Things and connect on Instagram.
Meghan enjoys painting scenes from childhood, travels, dreams and her backyard in watercolor. She began exploring this medium after the birth of her daughter in 2020, looking for a relaxing creative outlet that she could fit into during her daughter's nap-time schedule or after a day of work. When Meghan isn't looking after her almost three-year-old or painting, she enjoys a rich performance and teaching career as a classical oboist.
Colleen T. Reese
Colleen T. Reese is a lifelong reader and writer. She currently lives in Philadelphia where she works as a content strategist.
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.
Maggie Topel (she/her) is an artist and writer living in Philadelphia. She designs our seasonal Wild Greens logo and social media avatar.
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 (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.