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Looking out My Window in January     by Kim Groninga

• As I look out my window, I see a welcome sun beginning to melt December’s accumulated snow. Patches of green grass peek through—a sure sign that the world is still alive beneath the cold. The melting snow forms tiny gentle rivers that meander over the grass and plants as if to awaken them for Spring.

• As I look out my window, I see a blinding sun beginning to destroy the magical world of December snow. Patches of brownish grass peek through like a scraggly shave job. The melting snow forms tiny rivers that carry mud and dead leaves straight to my front door.

 

 

Meat-Lovers Pizza     by Ashley Evans, Wartburg, Spring 2007

• My heart fluttered when I heard the gentle tapping at the door. Megan answered it, and immediately the warm scent of a delicious treat immersed the room and wafted to my nose. She paid the angelic creature who blessed her with such a delightful delivery and gently nestled herself on the floor. She opened her box slowly, tentatively, like a woman opening a jewelry box, hoping it’s a ring. I watched as she gracefully lifted a slice of her meat lover’s pizza to her lips, a bit of cheese oozing out, releasing endorphins and a satisfying sensation with a single taste.

• My heart raced when I heard the unwelcome pounding at the door. Megan answered it, and immediately the nasty scent of obesity in a box surged in the room, leaving a smell that was sure to last longer than a bag of burnt popcorn. She paid the creep who brought her her 500 calorie-a-slice dinner. She plopped on the floor and thrust the box open, like a 7-year-old receiving Pokemon cards at Christmas. I watched as she shoved a slice of her pizza, with three different types of dead animal on it, to her chops, a bit of grease oozing out, granting fatty tissue and jammed arteries with a single taste.

 

 

The Baseball Game             by Jay Bracken, UNI, Fall 2013

• The long drive to the stadium builds excited anticipation with every tick of the odometer. I arrive, walk through the tunnel and take a deep breath. The wonderful smell of freshly-cut grass fills my nostrils. I cannot withhold a smile. I grab some food and make my way to my seat, feeling the warm aluminum of the bleachers as I sit down. I pop open a bag of Cracker Jack and have a bite; it instantly transports me to my youth, a more innocent, simpler time. As the game begins, the Jumbotron plays enthralling videos and vibrant sound effects, building the excitement even further. Around me, the children laugh and cheer, fathers and sons taking in their first ballgame together. On this beautiful, sunny day, I bring my ice-cold beer to my lips and take a sip. The refreshing liquid tastes amazing in my mouth, and symbolizes American freedom. Next to me, another fan takes a bite of a fresh hotdog, causing pangs of jealousy in my stomach. The delightful organ music plays over the PA system, bringing a hometown feel to the massive ballpark. I am living in an ever-escalating state of hopefulness, that today will be the day I finally catch a foul ball at the game. As I soak in the passionate, persistent cheers of the home fans, it hits me: this is heaven.

• On the endless drive to the stadium, I feel the gas money vanish from my wallet with every tick of the odometer. I arrive, walk through the tunnel and take a deep breath. The smell of the cut grass fills my nostrils. I cannot withhold a violent sneeze. I grab some "food" and make my way to my seat, feeling the rocket-hot aluminum of the bleachers scorch my posterior as I sit down. I open a bag of Cracker Jack and have a bite; the cloyingly sweet candy reminds me of the childhood obesity epidemic. As the game begins, garish videos play on the monstrosity of a scoreboard, the loud music and sound effects spoiling a peaceful day in the park. Around me, the children laugh and scream, fathers just sitting there as their little monsters ruin it for everyone else. As the relentless sun beats down, I bring my nine-dollar domestic beer to my lips. The watered-down liquid tastes bitter in my mouth, and symbolizes American capitalism at its worst. Next to me, another fan ferociously devours a tube of hooves and god-knows-what, causing pangs of nausea in my stomach. The anachronistic, pitiful music from what I can only describe as "The Devil's Piano" plays over the PA system, making the ballpark feel like a trailer park. I am living in an ever-escalating state of fear, that today will be the day a foul ball rockets my way, scattering my teeth like the spilled popcorn all around me. As I am relentlessly bombarded by the loud, howling screams of the mindless fans, it hits me: this is hell.

 

 

In the Wind     by Jennifer Zavala, UNI, Spring 2010

• The wind here is like music. At the base of the hill, it is a gentle breeze, and it whispers to me. It quietly lifts bits of my bangs and tosses them into the sunshine. As I begin to climb, it intensifies, it steadily climbs with me, and I can feel it growing. The wind caresses me warmly about my wrists and knees, and I'm sure that it wants me to raise my arms and dance. Once I reach the top of the hill, it envelops me in it's strength, and tugs me toward the sky. In its climax, it is roaring in my ears. The full power blazes through my hair, holding it before my face. It feels like laughter.

• The wind here is like a stalker. On approaching the mountain, already I can feel the freezing breeze skulking towards me. It dislodges my bangs and throws them up into the blinding sun. As I begin to climb, I can feel it nearing me, it follows me. I feel the ice snatch at my wrists, and slap against my knees, and I'm sure it wants to tackle me down. Once I reach the top, it clobbers me in it's strength, and tries to carry me away. At the peak of it's energy, it traps me in its arms and screeches in my ears. It rips its claws through my hair, and blinds me in the confusion. It feels like fear.

 

 

High Heels     by Rose Peterson, UNI, Spring 2013

• I slip one foot into the shoe. The open toe is just enough to let my foot breathe. My red toenails glimmer like little rubies. My calves plump up with shapely confidence when I rise to my full height in the pair of heels. I stand up straighter and head out the door, ready to take on the world.

• I stuff one foot into the torture chamber. The open toe teases the rest of my foot, making it wish that it could be out in the open. My red toenails mimic the red blisters that will soon frame my feet. My calves swell in protest when I rise to my full height in the pair of heels. I swallow the pain and head out the door, ready to pretend to be a lady.

 

 

Sea World        by Griffin Miller, UNI, Fall 2015


• My parents and I had a long conversation along an antique road on our way into Sea World. When the road opened up, we saw an elegant orca swimming around in its tank. When I walked up to it and placed my hand on the smooth glass, the whale butted its head against the glass; playing with us. It seemed like we were keeping the whale entertained, because it started following us! It kept making noises, like it was trying to communicate with us. The whale was bringing pure joy to the faces of my brothers and sisters! As we passed the tank, I looked back, made eye contact with the orca, and could feel a bond between me and the animal, right before it turned and dashed back through its tank. 

• We walked for what seemed like ages on a road that badly needed reconstruction. When the road ended, it led into in open area. There, right in front of me, was an orca swimming around her containment center. I walked up and placed my hand on the cold wall, when she started to repeatedly slam her head against the glass in front of me, almost as if she were trying to kill herself. We continued to walk around the tank and the whale lurked behind us, making weird noises; calling for help. My siblings seemed to think nothing of it because they were making faces and laughing hysterically at her. As we passed the containment center, I looked back and made eye contact with the orca, right before she turned around and sulked back into the shadows. 


Friday Night Lights     by Jordan Hoffman, UNI, Fall 2014

• It starts by giving the cutest girl in the school your jersey so she can proudly wear it that night. Then, the anticipation and intensity builds, until you are finally in the locker room padding up for battle. The mental preparation just went to a whole new level – the music pounds the walls, engaging the whole team. Finally, its kickoff and the hits start; rattling your head and bones. The contact gives you the mindset of a warrior, knowing you will endure anything. Touchdowns and big hits bring the crowd to their feet. The clock hits zero and we win. Now, only seven more days until you can feel this cloud nine high again.

• It starts by giving the girl, who tries harder than anyone else to look pretty, your jersey so she can prance around in it during the game. Then, the anxiety builds until you are finally in the locker room, adding protection for war. The nervousness just escaladed to a whole new level – the music pounds the walls, turning the team in to enraged beasts. Finally, its kickoff and the hits start; crushing your bones and shaking your head. The vicious blows give you a hopeless mindset, knowing you will suffer concussions and pain. Touchdowns and big hits bring the bystanders to their feet. The clock hits zero and we win. Now, only seven more days until you have to endure this torture again.

 

Shower Time     by Lauren Nitzschke, UNI, Spring 2013

• The bright morning light reaches my eyes.  I wake from my slumber and sleepily roll out of my bed to grab my fuzzy bathrobe.  I wander down the steep stairs to my bathroom in the cool basement, where I happily shrug off my pajamas.  The steaming water hits my messy hair, and I finally find a few minutes to let the drumming sound of the water lull me back into a dreaming state. 

• The blinding morning light hits my eyes.  I awake from my sleep and groggily flop off my bed to snatch my frizzy bathrobe.  I amble down the sharp stairs to my bathroom in the dark basement, where I begrudgingly peel off my pajamas.  The scalding water strikes my disheveled hair, and I those precious moments fly by as the rapping sound of the water rocks me back into a sleeping state.  

 

 

An Athlete’s Internal Fight     by Elise Drewson, UNI, Spring 2012

Looking out over the pool, I see endless possibilities. The crystal clear water opens my eyes to my past accomplishments and my future goals. I place my toe in the cool water, all its molecules hugging my skin’s surface in an urge to pull me towards my home. The sun casts a bright beam of rays, making the water wink at me with delight. I pull my goggles over my eyes, tasting my sweet fortune of being able to fly in a different kind of sky. And finally, I make the splash.

Looking out over the pool, I see never-ending waters. The blueness of the water clouds my eyes with the hatred of past years and the dread of worse ones yet to endure. I place my toe in the frigid water, all its molecules sucking me in like the vortex of a black hole. The sun strikes a bright beam of rays, making the water blind me with mockery. I pull my goggles over my eyes, tasting my sour fate dragging me down toward the deep depths of hell. And finally, I make the splash.

 

 

A Used Book    by Taylor Rennich, UNI, Fall 2012

The edges are tattered and the binding slightly used. The words on the front cover are somewhat weathered, leaving the impression though the title may fade, the message of the book has helped many. On the inside cover, a heartfelt note written to the original owner stands still in time, inviting others into their past world. Flipping through the off-white pages concocts a scent between printed paper and my grandmother’s house. There is no doubt about it, this book has been loved for many years.

The edges are ruined and the binding non-existent. The words on the front cover are barely discernable at best, leaving the impression that along with the fading title, the message has become unimportant. On the inside cover, a scribbled note to a now dead person lays open for the world to judge. Flipping through the discolored pages raises a potent scent somewhere between dried sweat and old people. There is no doubt about it, this book has been abused for many years.

 

 

Birthday Cake Ice Cream    by Julie Desloover, UNI, Fall 2012

As I walk through the Rialto, I see happy college students peacefully enjoying a nice, healthy meal with their friends. My mouth starts to water as I come closer to "S'mores". I see the gleaming, shiny freezer with the crystal clear cover. I become excited as I look through the glass and see buckets full of a variety of delicious ice cream. The first bucket which catches my eye is Blue Bunny's finest, "Birthday Cake". The brightly colored pink, orange, yellow, green, and purple sprinkles are added throughout and it reminds me of the joy of a young child's birthday party. I also see the sky blue frosting perfectly swirled in with the sprinkles. I ask the cheerful worker behind the freezer for "Birthday Cake" in a cone. She gladly reaches down into the bucket and scoops out my tasty ice cream. As she happily hands over my cone with a smile, my heart starts to beat faster like a child who is getting ready to open up presents on Christmas morning. I take the cone and slowly eat the ice cream while savoring each bite of Blue Bunny's colorful creation. The sweet-tasting frosting lingers in my mouth. I feel good about myself because after all, I am just completing my daily recommendations of dairy for My Pyramid. No regrets about eating this palatable treat I deserve.

As I walk through the Rialto, I see starving college students scarfing down artery-clogging fried food which came straight from the fryer. My mouth starts to water as I come closer to "S’mores". The freezer is surrounded by a line of college students who are just waiting to add onto their "freshman fifteen". They stand by the freezer practically drooling because they are trying to decide what flavor to choose. The glass cover is covered with dirty fingerprints from the slimy student’s hands. As I look past this, I see many gross looking brown cardboard buckets which are stained on the sides from the ice cream. The kind "Birthday Cake" sticks out to me because I automatically see the bright artificially dyed sprinkles. The colors of the sprinkles remind me of a young child’s birthday party where loud and annoying children are running around. Mixed in with the sprinkles is a fake frosting which is also artificially colored. The suspicious looking blue frosting is mixed in throughout. This creation reminds me of young child art project gone wrong. The worker, who is probably only working because her parents made her get a job, reluctantly reaches down to scoop out this mess onto a dried out cone. As she miserably hands the cone to me, I regret even thinking about the idea of getting ice cream. I eat the 600 plus calorie ice cream cone, and I can feel the large amounts of sugar circulating through my body. The frosting is so sweet that it almost makes me gag at some points. I then realize this ridiculously high calorie treat shouldn’t even be classified as a dairy product in the My Pyramid. I reluctantly finish the cone, that I don’t deserve, and I am already making plans on when I have time to hit up the gym next.

 

 

Coffee    by Jessica Martin, UNI, Fall 2011

• A delicate aroma slips past my nostrils. Its’ dark intoxication arouses my desire, my body yearning for a burst of life. Warm droplets melt on my blushing cheeks as tendrils of steam lift past my eyelashes. I raise the smooth ceramic mug to my lips with soft fingertips. Anticipation of the first taste builds to a fluttering climax. With a kiss on my lips, I sip. I am rejuvenated by its’ deep nutty flavor, and once again raise my eyes to the world. My once full mug echoes a memory of a deep sip of peace.

• A poisonous stench thrusts into my flaring nostrils. Its’ dark inebriation arouses my own addiction, my body yearning to be satisfied once more. Hot steam lashes out at my cold pale face, burning past the bags beneath my tired bloodshot eyes. I raise the burning slippery mug to my chapped lips with shaky fingers. Anticipation of the first taste makes me cringe with both disdain and lust. With a purse of my mouth, I sip. I am energized by the intense bitterness of the coffee sludge, and once again raise my dead eyes to the blurred world. My empty cup a premonition of a long hard day ahead.

 

 

Ice    by Ariel Morrison, UNI, Fall 2011

• The glittering snow outside takes my breath away. On the gutters of the house dangle the most beautiful and delicate icicles I have ever seen. As the morning sun rises, it makes them sparkle like diamonds, reflecting reds and oranges onto the living room walls. On the windows there is a fine and delicate frost of ice growing like ivy up the glass. Ice crystals blossom from it, making a lovely pattern across the pane of glass.

• The horrid snow outside is blinding as it reflects the light. Teetering on the gutters of the house are venomous icicles waiting to strike their next victim. The sun rises with a red glow, reflecting the gory light from the jail bars of the icicles outside. The windows have been affected too. There is a vein of ice growing up the pane of glass. As the ice spreads up and up it splits into multiple red veins searching, across the glass, for a way in.

 

 

My Car     by Joe Graves, Upper Iowa, Fall 2011

• Time to go. Where I stop, only I know. My car so shiny, so clean. I can't stop speeding. I'm a fiend. When I push the gas, I haul ass, leaving everyone else in the past. Tinted windows like 007, my car rides like a water bed. I'm in heaven.   

• Piece of shit, everyone, even old people make fun of it. I can't sit because of the leather. I use duct tape to hold it together. My car is so slow, all I need is a mower, then I could mow. You can hear me coming from around the block--it's my tires rubbing, and I got bad shocks. 

 

My Tanning Bed     by Kelsey Kramer, UNI, Fall 2010

•  I step in the room and close the door behind me. Immediately, the goose bumps of anticipation overcomes me. I strip down and apply the flowery scented lotion from head to toe. I turn and grab my apple red eye protectors before starting my journey to paradise. The comfy pillow sits behind my head as I lay on the beautiful tropical island. When the lights turn on, it’s my cue that my vacation has started. All my worries go away as I bask in the warmth. When the lights turn off, my rejuvenated soul is ready to face the world again. I am able to leave knowing I have a beautiful summary glow.

•  I step in the room and slam the door behind me. Immediately, my body quivers from the dreadful cold. I strip down and rub the nature smelling goo from head to toe. I turn and grab my blood red eye protectors before starting the fifteen minutes of hell. The hard plastic pillow sits behind my head and I lay on the cold sheet of metal. As the bright lights blind me, a puddle of sweat begins to surround me. I count down the minutes until the horrible experience is over and I am able to get on with my life. When the lights finally turn off, I brace myself for the long day ahead of me. I am forced to leave knowing I smell like ass and look like a carrot.

 

An Evening at the Wellness Center     by Miranda Burroughs, UNI, Fall 2009

• I look to my left and spy bulging biceps curling much beyond my weight. To my right I find raging quadriceps squatting a quarter of a ton. Filling 360° of my vision field are astonishingly toned and attractive men. Their masculine bodies glisten with perspiration. Mmm…the smell of hard work mixed with chlorine takes me back to those hot summer days of refreshing at the pool. Without the constant humming of countless cardio machines and the upbeat jams throughout this haven, my soul wouldn’t be at ease. A brisk walk over to this building I idol served as the perfect warm-up for my invigorating workout ahead. My muscles contract and relax, contract and relax as I reach new levels of strength, endurance, and confidence.

• I look to my left and scowl at the protein-aholics. To my right are more of them who don’t have the time of day for anyone but their “bros” and their skanks. Filling the entire 360° of my vision are veiny and disgustingly unattractive flea-bags. Their Neanderthal bodies could fill endless buckets of sweat if it were possible to ring them out. Their secreted body odors mixed with chlorine, or something like Cl2 in the world of chemistry, takes me back to those horrendous chemistry lectures. The buzzing of the muscle-deteriorating and joint-rupturing machines of death and the horrible compilations that never made the top 40 make me wish it wasn’t so weird to workout sporting earplugs. The long walk over to the building I despise most on campus wore me out before I can even start my torturous routine. My muscles contract… contract as I reach new levels of pain, suffering, and humiliation.

 

Hair     by Brooke Kane, UNI, Fall 2010

As I look in the mirror, I notice this blonde and curly hair staring straight at me, waiting to be designed into a masterpiece. Should I wrap it with a ribbon of lace or leave it down to flow in the wind on a brisk breezy day? Girly.

As I look in the mirror, I notice this ruined, bleached, frizzy ball of hair staring straight at me. What did it want? I don’t have time to mess with you today! This rat’s nest can never be lovely like Showbiz. I throw the hair in a pile on the top of my head in a hair tie. That will have to do for today. Gross.

 

My Four-Year-Old Son     by Eden Cunningham, Upper Iowa, Fall 2011

My 4-year-old jumps on me and climbs me like a tree. We have so much fun together. The love I feel for him overwhelms me to the point that it cocoons us from the rest of the world. My heart fills with joy at that moment. His contentment is my only concern. 

When my 4-year-old jumps into my lap, I am instantly consumed with fear. I cringe knowing his next move could be the one that paralyzes me with pain. It takes all of my will power to keep from throwing him off me to avoid the agony of "da feet."

 

Fired!     by Raina de Wit, UNI, Spring 2009

• Just as I am about to punch out for the day, my boss calls me into his office. The look in his eye instantly informs me that I was going to hear something that I did not want to. I want to run away. Instead, I nod my head, follow him and take a seat on the plaid green chair across from him. “The recession is taking its toll on our company”, I hear him say and the rest comes out in a hazy blur. I couldn’t be laid off. How am I supposed to pay rent? I trudge out of his door with worry lines creased upon my face. I should have stayed in bed today.

 • Finally! It is 4 o’clock…time to leave! The springtime sun beckons me to skip out to my car and enjoy my favorite time of year. I should grill tonight. “Raina, stop by my office before you head out”, my boss barks at me right before I make my escape. Jeez, does this old crab ever leave me alone? I quickly slide into the chair across from him, determined to get this over with as quickly as possible. Wait…what? Did he just say… I’m laid off? Indefinitely? No more customer complaints, no more crabby boss, no more hearing about Becky’s perfect boyfriend, no more of being HERE!? Truth is, this job’s been cramping my style for almost a year and I keep hearing about the company down the street needing help, so this little push has been the perfect cue for me to leave. Freedom!

 

Swinging       by Brooke Woody, UNI, Fall 2008

• Excitement fills me as I grasp the cool metal of the swing's chains. Adrenaline rushes through me as each pump of my legs brings me higher and higher above the Earth towards the beautiful blue sky. The crisp autumn air is quiet and still until I break triumphantly through it with each motion of my swing. In this moment I am on top of the world.

• Anxiety surges through me as I grip the freezing metal of the swing's chains that so many germ-covered hands have touched before me. With each pump of my legs I am brought farther and farther away from my comfort zone towards the ominous looking sky above me. The air around me is still, but when I break through it with each motion of my swing I'm chilled to my very core. I just want to be standing on solid ground.


Roller-Coaster     by Chris Sandy, Wartburg, Spring 2007 

• As I excitedly seat myself in the front of the car, the most exhilarating seat, I wrap the safe, yellow belt around my waist. All of a sudden the powerful car slowly clickety-clacks up the magnificent rail. The wait to the top is unbearable, and all I can do is eagerly grip my elated hands around the bar in front of me. When the car reaches the point of no return, there is an ecstasy of silence that is followed by my car diving into space. The tremendous tingling all over my body is only outdone by the joyous, blissful look on my face. SHIT!

• As I nervously seat myself in the front of the car, the most dangerous seat, I wrap the hazardous looking belt around my waist. All of a sudden the terrible car horrifyingly clickety-clacks up the treacherous rail. The wait to the top is unbearable, and all I can do is pain-stakeingly grip my sweaty palms around the black bar in front of me. When the car reaches the point of no return, there is a torment of silence that is followed by hell’s car diving into space. The sickening tingle all over my body makes me want to throw up. My face is contorted with a nightmarish look. SHIT!

 

A Hug     by Kim Cassidy, Wartburg, Spring 2007

• I close my eyes as I feel the warm, comforting embrace of my friend.  Breathing a sigh of relief, the weight of my pain is lifted as she takes on my burden.  The rate of my breathing slows, and I finally feel like I’m not alone.

I close my eyes as I unwillingly submit to the well-intended embrace of someone who cares.  Hoping in vain that she might take the hint, I leave my arms hanging limply at my sides.  My frustration builds because I just want to be left alone.

 

At the Ocean     by Jake Flamming, UNI, Fall 2006

• I run through the gentle, soft carpet of sand and, with every step I take, I feel it push through my toes. The gentle sky is blue as a blueberry; the clouds have taken a vacation for the day. The sun casts rays of warmth onto my almost-naked body as I see my destination ahead. My toes touch water, smooth and gentle, cleaning the sand from my feet. The clear wave lifts me to its top, and I dive into the clear, refreshing water where there is no one but me and the beautiful fish.

• I run through the course sand; it sticks to me like peanut butter on bread. The sun beating down on me, my skin burns red. There is sweat all over my body; the clouds aren’t there to shade me. A wave of water smashes into me—it felt like a car. I regain my balance, soon to be thrown under the salty water where there is no one but me and the slimy fish.

 

Race Response     by Amanda Kuiken, Wartburg, Spring 2007

• As he walked up, he appeared annoyed and agitated. By the look in his eyes I could tell he had some harsh words he wanted to say. Immediately, he spoke in a thunderous voice that pounded in my ears. Words I didn’t expect came out such as: disappointment, true freshman and what was that. I stared at the ground, and then looked up to say, “I’m sorry, I can do better.”

• As he walked up, I could tell he had something important on his mind. His eyes were focused and determined and said things that could not be expressed in words. When he reached me, he began talking loudly, with strong determination. The words he spoke included: I’m sure you are disappointed, you are only a freshman and I am confused as to why that race went the way it did. I looked down, and then back into his eyes. With confidence I say, “I’m sorry, I will do better.”

 

My Friend and My Dog     by Jennifer Kuiken, Wartburg, Fall 2006

• The light carpet cushioned Amanda’s seat as she touched the soft fur of the dog. Toby looked up at her with his gentle eyes, waiting for a biscuit. His dark fur glimmered in the morning sunlight as he patiently awaited his tasty reward. His smooth, wet nose absorbed the delectable scent of the biscuit. Toby took the treat and silently thanked her with a swipe of his soft pink tongue.

• The fur-covered carpet shocked Amanda as she sat next to the dog. Toby, with his concentrated eyes, stared at the dangling treat in her hand. The dirt in his coarse fur clung to her fingernails as she scratched his arched back. She held the sticky, beef-flavored biscuit as Toby anxiously awaited his reward. A large drop of drool escaped his slobbery lips as Amanda smelled the stench of the old, ripe dog biscuit. Then Toby snatched the treat and proceeded to spread his smelly slobber on her face with a lick of his dirty tongue.

 

Looking out My Window in October     by Marissa Whitney, UNI, Fall 2006

• As I look out upon the front lawn, I see a tree standing beautiful and tall against the lively array of the rising sun. Vibrant-colored leaves of reds, yellows, and oranges litter the ground, creating a portrait of vivid color against the fading shades of grass which remind us that November will soon be here. The dew holding tightly to each blade glistens as light hits it and reflects the image of fall.

• As I look out upon the front lawn, I see a tree standing lonely and bare, blending in with its equally dull surroundings. The grass, more brown than green, shows that it no longer cares for the Iowa weather and would rather die than be part of it. Leaves have changed to fiery reds, oranges, and yellows as if threatening to burn everything away, while dew clings to the patchy grass, unable to revive it.

 

The Empty Page     by Marco Trujillo, UNI, Fall 2006

• As I look down at my blank sheet of notebook paper, I see a bastard of an assignment that is hours away from being completed. My pencil acts as a blade that cannot be returned to its sheath until it has spilled blood. The blank page stares at me, sizing me up from head to toe as if I were its major opponent.

• As I look down at my blank sheet of notebook paper, I see a splendid opportunity for me to express myself through writing. It’s as if my number-two pencil were a chisel, chipping away at a piece of marble to produce my own "Statue of David." The empty page is an unsown field, waiting for the seedling of my imagination.

 

Home from College     by Sarah Koenigs, Wartburg, Fall 2006

• As I sit alone in my house, I am filled with a sense of contentment. The peacefulness of being alone for the first time in months sets up a very relaxing mood. My family is gone to my brother’s final football game, but I have decided to stay home and refresh myself. I turn the TV on to something innocent—Charlie Brown’s Halloween. Outside, the soft hum of the corn drier makes me feel like this is where I’m supposed to be, just like every Fall. This morning I awoke to notice the leaves on the trees to be an amazing red-orange color. Some had effortlessly fallen off, leaving the ground in an array of Autumn colors. I can’t help but miss this home, especially tonight when I will get to crawl into my bed with crisp, cool sheets and snuggle up in my blankets.

• As I sit alone in my house, I can find nothing to do except listen to the silence. The only noise I can hear is the rough, constant sound of the old corn drier outside. I turn the TV on to fill the solemn house with some action, but the only thing on is an old rerun of some kid show—Charlie Brown’s Halloween. I’ve slept all day, so now I feel like getting out of this house and doing something. I would have gone to my brother’s last football game, but I didn’t want to stand outside in the frigid, icy-cold wind for a couple of hours to watch him stand on the sideline. Even though I was half-asleep and groggy, I did notice some leaves on the ground when I got up this morning. They looked misplaced against our dead, brown grass. Now I remember how little there is to do in my hometown. Tonight I’ll go to bed early and try to stay warm in this brisk house.

 

Family Meal     by Samie Douglas, UNI, Fall 2006

• As our family sits on the couch, sharing a meal, we gaze at the box that represents an amazing feat in technology. This box portrays astonishingly realistic pictures and a sound that makes it feel like you’re there. Together as a family, we discuss the news and current events it brings us. We are brought to-the-minute updates of news from around the world that we otherwise would not be able to know.

• As our family sits lazily on the couch, eating a delivery pizza that will eventually make us all overweight, we stare mindlessly at the box that is destroying the minds of America. While we could be playing a board game, discussing a book, or enjoying a meal around the table, our minds are filling with celebrity news and gossip that holds no importance to our lives.

 

My Laptop Computer     by Amanda Downing, UNI, Fall 2006

• My black Hewlett-Packard laptop is my connection to the gigantic world that is always in constant motion and filled with ceaseless unknowns. Without my electronic device, I would not have a junction to the astonishing events held ’round the world. For a few hours, on occasion, I get to escape reality and dive into whatever certain topic tips my fancy or aids me on a search. "One hundred percents" on many typed papers, helpful with scholarship applications, interesting research, and amazingly fun times chatting with friends have all resulted from my link to infinite knowledge and prosperity. People’s lifetime occupations, enjoyment, and even survival can depend on this necessary instrument. Without this technologically advanced powerhouse of intelligence, many surf-going, hard-working humans would not know what to do with themselves. This invention has shot society into a completely new innovative age.

• My horrid hunk of metal is the worst invention since the Furby. It constantly breaks down and has too many colored wires to count. All the different possible ways to get into trouble on this privacy-free black hole make my skin crawl. This money-swallowing, inconvenient form of "new age revolution" is overrated and has taken the personality out of learning. Hard work, knowledge, and skills are no longer needed to succeed in this already-doomed life when all of the answers are right at your fingertips. This repugnant piece of crap will inevitably lead to the decline of mankind.

 

High School Lunch     by Joe Kneip, Wartburg, Fall 2006

• Students at lunch talk happily about the day’s events. Before them sits a lunch fit for a king. Potatoes smothered in gravy lie next to a piece of cake topped with fresh whipped cream on a colorful lunch tray. A beautiful rendition of "Sexy Back," sung by Justin Timberlake, plays over the cafeteria’s sound system and is so up beat it makes everyone want to dance. When the bell rings, signaling the end of lunch, legs seem to bend awkwardly, not wanting to leave the comfort of their lunch table full of smiling friends.

• Students at lunch talk over one another about the day’s events, never mindful of the proper etiquettes taught to them by their parents. The voice of one student is drowned out by another, and so on and so on until you can’t hear yourself think. Before them, a plastic tray of instant mashed potatoes with lumpy gravy, along with a bite-sized piece of cake. This is all our school has to offer. The loudspeaker cracks and fizzles as another rerun of Justin Timberlake’s song "Sexy Back" blares. When the bell rings, students’ legs are slow and stiff to rise out of their seats to go back to the laboring toils of the classroom.

 

Morning     by Naresh Pandey, UNI, Fall 2006

• As I look up in the sky in dawn, I see the rays of the sun hastening towards the earth to quench its thirst to kiss her, greeting as good morning and working as a natural alarm. The sun spreads its gold equally among the siblings of the mother earth and provides gentle warm, pleasure, and sight to those who are struggling from cold, boredom, and dark.

• As I look up in the sky in dawn, I see a fierce pointed arrow from the sun bursting on the heart of the cloud, forcing a break in the bond between earth and cloud. The sun is signaling us to ready to be a slave, to compete with our brothers and sisters as beasts wetted in jealousy, hatred, and desire.

 

Colby the Yellow Lab     by Jeff Stout, UNI, Fall 2006

• As I walk the formerly abandoned yellow lab to the outside of the animal shelter, I am nearly pulled away by Colby’s freedom. He investigates all natural objects we encounter with great curiosity. Within the outdoor exercise area, I hear each rapidly made step by the underlying moistened leaves as he runs at a dead sprint after the well-used squeaky ball. Each time an object is fetched, he happily accompanies it with a stance of victory and a tail wag of happiness.

• As I walk the unwanted yellow lab to the outside of his confinement, I finally escape the noise of the overactive dogs. Colby runs at such a pace that I have to pull him back with all my strength in order to keep him under control. He stubbornly makes a stop at every tree as though he had an endless amount of urine to dispose. Within the outdoor exercise area, I hear the constant slopping of mud as he splashes his way after a lifeless and demolished toy. Each time the toy is fetched, he allows me to have it only after jumping on me, covering my sweatshirt with muddy paw prints. He jumps down, his wagging tail throwing additional mud on me.

 

Thank you to the students who allowed me to reprint their work here!