Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hear the Voices of our Madonna Community

Madonna University's literary blog, MU Voices, reflects the real and varied voices of Madonna University, whether through text, art, photography, or video links. Our authors and artists represent all ages, races, ethnicities, sexual preferences, and religious and political leanings. The real Madonna University isn't just one demographic: We're a motley but vibrant bunch. We often disagree, but we generally work together, hopefully for the betterment of all.

If you have not contributed to MU Voices, please consider doing so for our winter 2015 issue (deadline: March 13). We accept poetry, song lyrics, fiction, creative non-fiction, plays, reflections, artwork (as long as it's scanned and sent electronically), photographs, and video links. We'd love to include an even broader swathe of our Madonna family.

Also, please consider adding a kind word in the "comments" section after each contribution. Artists and writers need to know they're appreciated.

Frances FitzGerald

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Renisha McBride, by Alejandro Miranda-Casab

Some time ago
My father lent me something that was purely his own
His car - A Saab two liter turbo
I was going to see my girlfriend
I wanted to impress her

Well I encountered a problem
You see I was driving and I suddenly was the kid on the bus who missed his stop.
I made a left I made a right- then another left and then another right
I realized I was lost and it became night
A swelling arose in my chest
I knew there was no return
The last thing that I heard

Then it was dark
And it was slow
I heard a shout like a bark
“Are you okay?”

I woke up amongst the treetops
I was surrounded by cops
My first question was am I alive?
But the woman praying over me told me that I still had some time
They pulled me out of the wreckage
Asked if I had blacked out
People left their homes
So many of them came to help me
It felt like such a privilege

Turns out it was just privilege
I look like a white male and I’m in a white male’s world
At least I’m not black and I’m not a girl
At least my name was not Renisha - things could’ve been worse
You see we were about the same age
On that fateful night
See we crashed around the same time
On that fateful night
You see she crashed at night too

But she hit her head and
She needed help
But no one offered it to her
She had to look for it
Something I never had to do
She went to ask for help
As if she felt that was a right guaranteed her…
Was that not a right guaranteed her?
Why wouldn’t it be?

So she crawls up to the door
Disoriented and bloody
She knocked a couple times
The man arose very suddenly
The man opened the door
Last thing she heard was “BAM!”

Then it was dark
And it was still dark
It was dark then
It’s still dark now
She never woke up

“She was trying to break in” he claimed
Really buddy who’s not really my buddy
Would you rob a house that was clearly inhabited?
And had all their lights on you animal
She screamed for help
And you murdered her

Why me and not her?

I crashed and was surrounded
People rushed they were eager
I often wonder how they knew it was clearly an accident
How they knew I was good natured and not drunk or high
Of course he’s not a troublemaker
Look at the car that he’s in.
Look at the color of his skin.

My name is Alejandro they probably thought it was Alexander.
What if they knew I was Hispanic “Wait you’re a Latino?”
Renisha McBride was black and a girl - and I’m clearly not
“It was Self-Defense!” he claimed.
I know it’s because she was black.

National Day on Writing

Collaborative stories, readings, singing, and mask-wearing were featured at Madonna University's National Day on Writing event, October 20, in the Take 5 Lounge. Carol Vandenberg (Library) and Frances FitzGerald (Writing Center) co-hosted the annual event, with plenty of support from other librarians and tutors. About 65 members of the Madonna University community participated: Some needed help with research and/or writing, and some were there just for fun.

Mark your calendars for the Paper Hearts Workshop, also in the Take 5 Lounge, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, February 12, 2015. The traditional "Write Your Own Love/Breakup Poem" workshop will be offered.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Scenes from the National Day on Writing

Muse, by Jill Mikolaizyk

I was going through a dry spell. I’m sure it’s something all artists experience at one time or another – painters have months where they can’t stand to look at their palette, and musicians have weeks where they don’t want to read a single note. I couldn’t even call what I was going through “writer’s block,” because that implied that there was some sort of plot point struggling to resolve itself or a character waiting to be heard. No, what I had was a complete lack of anything. No setting, no scene, no witty dialogue or imaginative description. I was completely, one hundred percent tapped out.
And, you know, I was okay. I mean, I wasn’t curled up in a ball and tearing my hair out, convinced that I was never going to write again. I would have been perfectly content scrolling through my tumblr dashboard or getting lost in TVTropes for a few hours. I’d had dry spells like these before, and they always passed. There would have been no need to torture myself over it, if I were just writing for myself.

Deadlines, unfortunately, were notoriously unforgiving of dry spells. I couldn’t exactly e-mail my professor and say, “So sorry, but I can’t complete the assignment because I’m just not feeling very creative this month.” No, I had to have something written by Monday, which meant solitary confinement in my dorm room while my roommate got to go home for the weekend. I’d stare at the blank Word Document for hours, writing and deleting first sentences until my retinas finally gave up and detached themselves from my skull.

Or so I liked to tell myself. The reality of the situation was more along the lines of me messing around on Buzzfeed and occasionally throwing a glance to the blue “W” open on the taskbar.

“You’re never going to get anything done like that, you know.”

My head whipped up. An unfamiliar girl was sitting on my roommate’s bed, flipping through one of her books. When I didn’t answer, she glanced over to take in my shocked expression. “Well, you’re not.”

The lock on our door had problems, but somehow I felt like I would have noticed someone walking in and making themselves at home. “Where did you come from?”

The girl shrugged. “From you.”

I arched an eyebrow. “Pretty sure I would have remembered childbirth.”

“Dude, I’m not your kid. I’m your muse. Your inspiration. Whatever you want to call it.” She tossed the book aside, giving me her full attention.

I stared at her. “You … Aren’t what I was expecting.” I had never given much thought to what my muse would look like, but somehow I never imagined her as a plain-looking girl with gray sweatpants and a topknot.

The girl – my muse – seemed offended. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

That threw me for a loop. “Well, you know … I guess I pictured you looking more … mysterious? Otherworldly? Magnificent?”

That’s pretty egotistical of you,” the girl scoffed. “Look, what I look like isn’t really important, okay? I’m here to get you to get it in gear. Your deadline is in 48 hours … 48 and a half, to be exact.”

I raised an eyebrow, dubious. “You’re here to inspire me?”

“Well, step one is to get you to stop procrastinating so much.” She crossed her arms, giving me a clearly judgmental look. “My job would be a lot easier if you actually opened the Word Document.”

I couldn’t help feeling a bit defensive. “Hey, I’m not totally wasting my time!”

My muse gave me a sideways glance. “Yeah, taking a quiz that tells you what Powerpuff Girl you are is going to really pay off later.”

“Shut up. I don’t see you doing any more work. It’s not like you’re giving me any ideas, you’re just –” I paused, thinking. “Wait … Oh! This is the idea, right?”


I grinned, ideas already forming. “Yeah, I get it! You want me to write about meeting you! It’s perfect!”

My muse stared at me for a long moment. “That … is literally the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard.”

“No it’s not! It’s – It’s meta!”

“I really don’t think that word means what you think it means.” My muse pinched the bridge of her nose, shaking her head. “Look, this is probably going to be a long night for both of us. Why don’t you steep some tea, and – Hey! Are you typing this?”

I nodded, looking over at her from my computer screen. “Yeah. When I start writing, I want to make sure to get the exchanges right.”

My muse sighed heavily. “I’m not going to be able to talk you out of this, am I?”


“I’d be able to help you think of something so much better!”

“Should’ve come along sooner, then. Forty-eight hour deadline, remember?” I looked over at her, frowning. “Besides, it’s a good idea.”

My muse held up her hands in defeat. “Whatever. I wash my hands of it. Just know that I’m totally not behind you on this one.”

But I was already typing. Almost grudgingly, my muse came across the room to read over my shoulder. She grumbled over my description of her, but otherwise she remained pretty much silent. 

Finally, she piped up. “So, how are you going to finish this thing, anyways?”
That was a good question, actually. Endings had never been my strong suit. 

“Like this, I guess.”

“That’s even stupider than the premise.”

“Oh, shut up. I get enough of that from the Inner Critic.”

Tell Me Yours, by Kevin Finch

As students of life, we pay homage to our ancestors, our influences, our crimson cord. Poet and MC Propaganda challenges us to remember and recognize our crimson cord. I accepted that challenge and here is my submission.

“Tell Me Yours,” by Kevin Finch, YouTube