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Inscribe: Fall 2018


Inscribe is a platform for students, faculty, and alumni to submit their creative work.  This journal is associated with the Rogue Writers club, which focuses on giving students a safe place to share and revise their writing.  Club members gather once a week to write together, share ideas, build connections with local experts, and provide feedback to each other through workshopping.  Club events like Open Mic Nights and Write-Ins are fun opportunities for students to support each other in their creative efforts.  Toward the end of each semester, members are encouraged to submit their work to Inscribe, so they can experience the formal process of editing and publishing.



The Creators




Friends of MC



Ever Beautiful  by A.R. Combs

Let’s Dance  by A.R. Combs

Oceans In the Sky  by A.R. Combs

Remember Me  by A.R. Combs

Sunrise Over New Gottland  by Kendra Flory

Quiet  by Jillian Overstake Forsberg

Stoplight  by Erin Fralick

Minor Thoughts  by Cara Hudson

Broken Tape  by Tomi Simmons

Golden Girl  by Tomi Simmons

I Carry It With Me  by Kerri Vinson Snell

After A Disaster  by Ila Verne Lobban Stull

Oh! Rain  by Ila Verne Lobban Stull



Abcedarian Essay  by Shyanne Henkis 



Angels in the Balcony  by Abigail D. Briscoe

Words of Regret  by Cali Godwin

Valentine’s Day Love Story  by Ila Verne Lobban Stull



Boy with his Empty Plate  by Robert Dell

Flowers in a Bottle  by Robert Dell

Hollyhock in Black and White  by Robert Dell

The Memory of a Rose  by Robert Dell


Editor’s Note

It is my pleasure to present McPherson College’s second issue of Inscribe!  As student editor of the creative journal and president of the Rogue Writers club, I am proud to see how our creative community has developed on campus in the past two years.  McPherson College students have so much talent and influence to share with the world, and I love being able to help students amplify their voices through my work with Inscribe and Rogue Writers.  Creative Writing is something I am passionate about myself, so it is neat to see others responding to the efforts that my friends and I have put into this project.

Editing this journal is a very emotional experience.  Writers pour their hearts into these pieces, and I can often be seen crying behind my laptop when I am reading the works that are submitted for this journal!  Even though this issue is shorter than last semester’s, it includes some particularly moving pieces that really tug at the heartstrings.  Part of what makes Inscribe so special is the diversity of our creators.  We have students, alumni, and faculty of all walks of life, all from various hometowns and different fields of study, and they have powerful stories to tell.

Last spring was our first issue, and as with any project, the first time was the most chaotic.  I spent much of my time running around campus and frantically sending emails, while also trying to figure out the technical side of publishing (which is not my area of expertise).  The overall process went much smoother this time.  There are still some kinks to work out, but I believe this semester was much less stressful for all who were involved.

With two online volumes under our belt, I am ecstatic to announce that we will be publishing our first print journal this spring!  We are still in the early stages of planning, but I am already very excited about this project.  As a senior who will be graduating this May, I can not think of a better way to end my time at McPherson College than producing a print issue of Inscribe.  I am proud of the various ways that our club has grown, and I am excited to start planning for next semester!

Cara Hudson, Student Editor

Beginning of a New Semester!

Hello Friends,


The leaders of Rogue Writers and Inscribe have come back to campus with renewed and re-energized minds as they plan for another semester of exciting writing events.  After a long summer, we have all had time to brainstorm and develop new ideas for our club this year. After a short meeting at Craft Coffee last week, leaders Cara Hudson, Joyce Muhizi, and Tomi Simmons came away with ideas for nearly twice as many club events as were held last semester. It is safe to say there is no lack of creativity in this group! This Wednesday, the first Rogue Writers club meeting will be held in Mohler 204 at noon.  We will be proposing new ideas to the club, discussing times and dates for meetings, and hopefully gaining insight from new first-year students!


Some programs we are currently planning are: Black-Out Poetry Night, where students choose a random page of text and “black out” the words that seem uninteresting or unimportant to them, eventually creating a poem from the words left on the page; Open-Mic Night in the pound, which will provide snacks for students while offering them the opportunity to share their creative writing with classmates and friends; Fandom Trivia Night, where students can show off their “book smarts” and earn prizes for knowing facts about popular book series; and Scrabble Mania, a tournament that will encourage students’ reading and vocabulary skills while also offering fun prizes and cool snacks!  Other events we are excited for this semester are our semi-annual launch party for the release of another Inscribe issue, a Library service project that is currently in the works, and our collaboration with the theater department to organize short poetry readings at the beginning of each “First Nighters” event.


Along with these exciting events, we will also be holding our regular meetings, where we share thoughts with each other and workshop our classmates’ writing.  We plan to host more guest speakers and local writers this semester so they can share their expertise with the group, and we already have some folks who are interested in speaking!  As always, all students are welcome to attend our meetings, whether or not they are writers.  We are looking forward to another year of creative storytelling, and we know that McPherson College students never disappoint!


Cara Hudson

Club Leader and Student Editor

Launch Party a Success


In celebration of McPherson College’s new online creative arts journal Inscribe, a launch party was held on April 26 at Craft Coffee in McPherson. Jason Ryberg, poet and publisher at Spartan Press in Kansas City, shared the spotlight with McPherson College creative writers at a reading which featured selections from Inscribe.

Inscribe 1.0 will be accessible to readers on or before May 4. A link will be provided on the Rogue Writers webpage as soon as final editing is completed.


Inscribe: Spring 2018


Inscribe is it is a platform for students, faculty, and alumni to submit their creative work.  This journal is closely associated with the Rogue Writers club, which focuses on giving students a safe place to share and revise their writing.  Club members gather once a month to write together, share ideas, build connections with local experts, and provide feedback to each other through workshopping.  Toward the end of the semester, members are encouraged to submit their work to Inscribe, so they can experience the formal process of editing and publishing.


The Creators





Editor’s Note

I am so excited to present McPherson College’s first issue of Inscribe!  The original idea for this journal came from Prof. Kerri Snell, who approached me one day after Creative Writing class.  We wanted to continue the rich conversations that happened in class, and we agreed that the college needed a platform for students to publish their creative work.  With only a few interested students, the Rogue Writers club was born. We met once every month to share our ideas, hear each other’s feedback, and discuss the struggles and benefits of creative writing. Prof. Snell arranged guest speakers, brought snacks, and provided prompts to help us focus our ideas.

When it came time to call for journal submissions, I hoped to get a few pieces from the club members and alumni. The response far exceeded my expectations! Over the next couple months I received works of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and photography from people of all walks of life.  Our group of nineteen “creators” is a diverse mix of college students, professors, and alumni, ranging from freshmen to retirees. We have biology majors, automotive restoration students, and graphic designers. I am beyond thrilled with the result of this project, and I only expect it to grow with time. We are planning to publish a printed issue in the fall, and I am excited to see how both the club and the journal expand in the following years.

Cara Hudson, Student Editor

POET WATCH: Tomi Simmons

fullsizeoutput_96e-2Writing has been apart of my life for a while. I have been writing since the second grade, and slamming my poetry in a competitive setting  since 2015. It’s funny because I hadn’t started out with performing, I simply showed up to a poetry slam one night and competed. I was the youngest to win the Women of the World Las Vegas Battle Born Slam back in my first year of competing. In addition, I have competed in the Grand Slam Las Vegas  in order to get to nationals through winning preliminary slams in  the years. Unfortunately, my age in the past has stopped me from going to compete nationally. In addition to slams, I have received my own shows and performed at events in Las Vegas as well. My writing has been featured in the magazine “Helen”, the book full of Nevadan poets, Clark, and a book full of women Nevadan authors, Tumble and Weeds. My goal is to publish a book someday full of my writing. However, I just strive to change the world through my writing and spoken word. I am influenced by my past; in fact, I have used it as a healing tool when I first started writing. The outside world and politics also have inspired me to write many poems, because my major is political science. My main goal is to keep sharing and connecting with people in my life.


Youtube: Tsimms Writes

Creative Writers Prepare for a Prolific Spring

Creative writing can often seem both a lofty and lonely pursuit; however, most writers know that the secret to flourishing as a creator often depends upon the establishment of a thriving and supportive community.”No man is an island” as the poet John Donne said, and no writer really writes without an audience in mind.

The creative writing island at McPherson College has become a populated place, full of opportunities for students to both create and share. MC Writes was established as a campus club this past fall and four to eight students met monthly in Hess 051 and sometimes at Craft Coffee on Main Street throughout the fall semester to write, to workshop, and to plan creative writing events on campus.Students voted in December to change our club name from MC Writes to Rogue Writers, and we decided upon a name for our creative arts journal, which will be published online at the end of April. The first issue of Inscribe will contain poems, short stories, flash pieces,  essays, and excerpts of longer fiction and nonfiction from students, faculty and alumni.

We are pleased to announce our open submission period for Inscribe. If you are interested in submitting to Inscribe, you can email those submissions as a pdf attachment to Cara Hudson, student editor, at [email protected].

Be sure to write “Inscribe Submission” in the subject line of the email. Any questions may be emailed to Cara or to Kerri Snell, faculty advisor, at [email protected].

Our next Rogue Writers meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 in Hess 051. The club is always open to new writers.

Dexter Booth and Why Children Need Poetry

By Kerri Snell

I am convinced that if we force-fed small children poems the way we offer them Tater Tots as a nutritious vegetable in the lunch line, they would mature into taller sprigs of word-blooms, roots embedded in language and unable to survive without poetry.

If I were President of the United States for a day, I would Tweet about that.

What if, instead of No Child Left Behind, the next First Lady adopted the cause of No Child Without a Rhyme? It’s catchy and I can see sound bites erupting all over the place at events that require the coat-dress couture.

We have access to cable network channels 24/7 that number in the hundreds. There is a channel devoted to Rugby and there are numerous channels devoted to the mainstream sports. There are so many cooking shows to watch—Who has time to cook anymore? Why not a Poetry Channel? Why not, on a weekly basis, replace the White House Press Secretary with Ted Kooser or Natasha Trethewey or Kay Ryan?

For those who see the purpose in a Rugby Channel, but fail to see the purpose in poetry, try this on for size: creativity creates resilience in children. A child’s imagination is a type of immune system booster of sorts. Creativity creates solutions, and our world today could certainly use some of those. Creativity requires empathy, vulnerability, and an admission of the limits of being right.


How much better would our world be today if our current president had taken a few courses in creative writing? I’ll just let that question hang, like a dangling modifier or a sentence with very very… in it.


Perhaps because of my years working as a journalist, I find the writing of nonfiction prose much easier than the composing of a poem, and there are times when I fashion myself to be more of a nonfiction writer than a poet, but then, I discover lines such as these from Dexter L. Booth:


Believe me, nothing inside the body is ever quiet:
the heart whispers in its sleep, even
when the lips are closed. Blood chases itself
like a child down a labyrinth of veins,
like the water that recycles itself
through the lakes and marinas in Montana—

some processes can’t end. Even after love
the body keeps stretching, is filled with things
that move. My hairs stand on their own at the sight
of a moth, paddling circles around the foam
in a single unwashed bowl in the sink.

I read these lines from “Love in the Time of Revolution” and I know that I need poetry, which speaks to rather than explains. I need poetry because so much of life is inexplicable, and because the music, rhyme, and form create fresh air around even the harshest of words. All the very very’s get deleted out in the first draft. A great poem always allows room for another and when it ends, it usually opens rather than closes, which mimics the way our minds should work in a democracy.



The​ ​artistic​ ​nature​ ​of​ ​words​

by Cara Hudson, student editor of MC’s soon-to-be-named Creative Arts Journal.

My​ ​first​ ​experience​ ​with​ ​creative​ ​writing​ ​was​ ​in​ ​fifth​ ​grade,​ ​when​ ​Mrs.​ ​Miller​ ​required​ ​us to​ ​write​ ​outlandish​ ​stories​ ​every​ ​day​ ​for​ ​our​ ​scrapbooks.​ ​​ ​We​ ​would​ ​walk​ ​into​ ​class​ ​each morning​ ​and​ ​find​ ​some​ ​ridiculous​ ​prompt​ ​on​ ​the​ ​board.​ ​​ ​Our​ ​first​ ​task​ ​of​ ​the​ ​day​ ​might​ ​be​ ​to imagine​ ​an​ ​encounter​ ​with​ ​a​ ​monstrous​ ​insect,​ ​or​ ​to​ ​go​ ​outside​ ​and​ ​write​ ​a​ ​haiku​ ​about​ ​the​ ​first orange​ ​thing​ ​that​ ​we​ ​saw.​ ​​ ​At​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​the​ ​year,​ ​our​ ​teacher​ ​put​ ​all​ ​of​ ​our​ ​writings​ ​into​ ​a scrapbook ​​and​​ gave​​ them ​​to ​​our​​parents.​​​​ My​​ mom ​​still ​​has​​ mine.​​​​ Until​​ that ​​class,​​ I ​​was convinced​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​visual​ ​artist.​ ​​ ​I​ ​loved​ ​to​ ​draw​ ​and​ ​paint,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​was​ ​always​ ​doodling​ ​on my​ ​homework.​ ​​ ​I​ ​enjoyed​ ​reading,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​did​ ​well​ ​in​ ​my​ ​English​ ​classes,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​was​ ​not​ ​until​ ​I realized​ ​the​ ​artistic​ ​nature​ ​of​ ​words​ ​that​ ​I​ ​decided​ ​I​ ​wanted​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​writer.

I​ ​kept​ ​a​ ​journal​ ​throughout​ ​grade​ ​school​ ​and​ ​high​ ​school,​ ​but​ ​it​ ​very​ ​rarely​ ​contained fiction,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​gave​ ​it​ ​up​ ​when​ ​I​ ​came​ ​to​ ​college.​ ​​ ​With​ ​all​ ​of​ ​my​ ​other​ ​commitments,​ ​I​ ​did​ ​not have​ ​extra​ ​time​ ​to​ ​devote​ ​to​ ​“pleasure​ ​writing.”​ ​​ ​My​ ​next​ ​real​ ​encounter​ ​with​ ​creative​ ​writing​ ​was when​ ​I​ ​took​ ​Kerri​ ​Snell’s​ ​Creative​ ​Writing​ ​course​ ​during​ ​my​ ​sophomore​ ​year​ ​of​ ​college.​ ​​ ​There,​ ​I realized​ ​my​ ​passion​ ​for​ ​poetry.​ ​​ ​I​ ​learned​ ​to​ ​appreciate​ ​the​ ​artistic​ ​freedom​ ​that​ ​poetry​ ​offered, and​ ​the​ ​unique​ ​power​ ​of​ ​word​ ​structure​ ​on​ ​a​ ​page.​ ​​ ​I​ ​learned​ ​the​ ​benefits​ ​of​ ​both​ ​poetry​ ​and prose,​ ​and​ ​the​ ​different​ ​effects​ ​that​ ​each​ ​can​ ​have​ ​on​ ​an​ ​audience.​ ​​ ​I​ ​learned​ ​that​ ​creative writing,​ ​just​ ​like​ ​any​ ​other​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​writing,​ ​takes​ ​meticulous​ ​work​ ​and​ ​consideration​ ​to​ ​be effective.

Despite​ ​the​ ​many​ ​stereotypes,​ ​writers​ ​are​ ​not​ ​only​ ​productive​ ​when​ ​they​ ​are​ ​sitting, lonely,​ ​in​ ​the​ ​corners​ ​of​ ​coffee​ ​shops.​ ​​ ​Creativity​ ​and​ ​artistic​ ​thinking​ ​are​ ​not​ ​meant​ ​to​ ​be attempted​ ​alone.​ ​​ ​This​ ​is​ ​why​ ​I​ ​am​ ​so​ ​excited​ ​about​ ​MC​ ​Writes.​ ​​ ​There​ ​is​ ​a​ ​certain​ ​vulnerability that​ ​comes​ ​with​ ​sharing​ ​one’s​ ​inner​ ​thoughts,​ ​and​ ​I​ ​think​ ​we​ ​could​ ​all​ ​use​ ​some​ ​practice​ ​being vulnerable.​ ​​ ​I​ ​hope​ ​that​ ​this​ ​club​ ​will​ ​strengthen​ ​and​ ​encourage​ ​young​ ​writers​ ​to​ ​share​ ​their knowledge​ ​about​ ​the​ ​world​ ​and​ ​support​ ​each​ ​other​ ​in​ ​their​ ​creative​ ​endeavors.

A Cyclopedia of Composition I

Today is the last day of classes before the commencement of Fall Break, not a “high energy” day when it comes to lecturing or listening. In my two sections of Composition I, I defaulted to creative writing mode, and as a result I feel energized and refreshed even before my mini-vacation begins. What does creative writing have to do with academic writing? Everything, if you ask the poets of the world. We looked at examples of the braided essay form, chief among them the opening essay in Rebecca Solnit’s Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness. I instructed students to model the encyclopedic  form of the essay while also attempting to write an abecedarian essay (the forms are similar, except Solnit skips and repeats a few letters in her essay). The entrepreneurial spirit must be alive and well on this campus because not  a single freshman scoffed at my instructions in a manner that is not usual for a composition class at 8 a.m. I spent the afternoon condensing their entries into a single essay which I have titled “Cyclopedia of Composition I.” I selected one entry per student. Here is the result:

A Cyclopedia of Composition I

Athlete. Walking up to a pitch, an athlete must be able to tune out the world and focus  on the crucial game that could make or break a season.

Beautiful. I had a teacher say this all the time: Your body is a temple; treat it like one.

Being nineteen and in college and having a boyfriend is a little hard, especially when your boyfriend thinks you’re going to find someone else and just break up with him.

Belief. Believing in love is a true challenge. Through the hardships of what the world has endured some believe it is not really there. A boy once told me, “ Love is a myth, and the world is only going to get worse.” This idea seemed so foreign to me, because my whole life I’d been taught the human spirit is always stronger.

Brothers. My brothers are my entire world. In the room next to mine, I hear the loud giggles and arguments of my brothers. They are annoying, but always make me feel safe and secure.

Cheetah. The animal you want to be like when the gun goes off.

Countless times in my life I was reminded that graduating high school was important, although nobody in my family actually did. Dedicating myself to finish and to focus on breaking the concrete path wasn’t hard. That part was fairly easy.

Day.     Day in and day out, every day on the track, the team prepared for seasonal competition. I was very nervous. I was just coming back from injury and wasn’t sure I was ready.

Divine. Baseball is a game so fine, it is played on diamonds.

Dog.   Every dog we ever had ended up being sold or taken back due to problems in the house, but that trend stopped after my dog Frizzly.

Dogs. That’s what most of us are. We must be relentless when playing this sport.

Eventually I’d like to get married, have a couple of kids and a few pets.

Everyone needs a vacation from the sort of automatic things you do—Bill Murray

Everything changed over time and it all went so fast, almost like the big explosion you get when mixing nitric acid with hydrazine. Everything I had before had been destroyed in the explosion and out of the ashes came something new.

Fear. I wasn’t the best at flying. I could feel my heart attempt to jump out of my chest at the slightest turbulence.

Fire. I fell into the burning ring of fire. I went down, down, down, but the flames went higher. A little dramatic but the fires in California remind me of the Johnny Cash song about love.

Frankenstein. In baseball, just like the ball itself—always stitched up to make something unique.

Glory. The movie, Glory Road, is a true story about a college team called Texas Western Miners proving everyone wrong and pushing through race issues to win the national championship.

Gorgeous. When he walked up, I could see his grin build. A compliment was coming. He knew I looked confident in my apparel and he loved it. Gorgeous!

Greatness always seems to break through in this sport. I know for a fact that I have always dreamed and wished to make it to the highest level.

Image. Your image isn’t your character. Character is who you are as a person.

Instinct is a key in basketball that can unlock many doors.

Judge. Before you judge and start to stereotype me like the rest of the world, get to know me first. I am not a dumb jock.

Jump. People think that the higher you jump the better you are, but in reality playing hard and smart is what makes you good.

Killing the ball gives that person and the team so much energy. Nothing is more satisfying than a perfect pass, set, and kill.

Kinetic force is what you feel as you fly down the highway. You’re driving 120 mph and wonder how your car can manage to create this energy and how you’re going to stop.

Legs. Concentrated on my workout, I re-say a Bill May quote in my head: When your legs can’t win anymore, win with your heart.

Macarena. Many people who have heard the song Macarena, do not know that it is about a girl getting sexually assaulted. “Macarena was captured in the backyard” is clearly said in the part of the song where the listeners start to happily dance along to it.

Middle. My parents wanted to make sure that I would like what they called me, just in case I didn’t like my first name.

Music. All of the music we will listen to, but there is one song we both love and this makes it our song.

Nobody knows what is going through the pitcher’s mind, just like the U.S. trying to figure out North Korea.

Oh. Oh no I think to myself as I’m rounding third base. I can hear my mom yelling my middle name with joy. I think to myself that it sounds better when she’s not mad.

Pancake. No, not the ones we eat, but instead sticking your arm out, placing your hand flat like a pancake while diving to get the volleyball up.

Playing the game since I was six years old; here I am twelve years later.

Quote. Athletes lift weights. Cheerleaders lift athletes.

Rock. I got the rock in my hands/ there ain’t no tellin what im gonna do

with it/ when I got possession i’m gonna have to fool with it.

Rumble the Bison is an important animal when it comes to the Thunder and their mascot.

Schools. I knowingly went to these schools not because I was different or unpopular at my others. I did it for my dad.

Underestimating yourself is the other common thing when you start drawing and watch other beautiful artists.

Weird. The apples on the farthest branches struggle the most to hang on, and when they fall, they fall far. The apples closest to the stem have an easier life. When they fall it is close to the tree. That’s a look at today’s society.

Years. Very few people understand the years that players spend, time perfecting their game to just the right amount. You could even say that it’s an art that’s difficult to start up. I’d venture to say it’s as tough as learning to play the xylophone or playing on Xbox for the first time when you grew up playing PlayStation.

Zig-zagging through the defense for the game- winning touchdown.

Zig-zagging between ideas that you want to illustrate is really common.

A Club is Born

In her book, The Creating Brain, Nancy Anderson argues that creative people are likely to be more productive and more original if surrounded by other creative people.

This is the impetus behind MC Writes, a newly formed creative writing club on campus. We meet once monthly (sometimes more) on Thursday evenings during the Fall 2017 semester.

Our next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on October 12 in Hess 051. We will begin each meeting with a “writing moment” in which writers can respond to a prompt or can free-write for 15-20 minutes. Bring notebook and pen or plan to use one of the computers in Hess 051.

After our writing time, we will workshop pieces that have been submitted for consideration. Email submissions as an attachment for workshop to [email protected] prior to the meeting.

On Friday, Oct. 6, three MC Writers participated in First Fridays at The Cedars. Joyce Muhizi, Allison Penalva, and Michael Groll read original poems and essays and answered questions from the audience at this event.

Writers who want to participate in an intergenerational writing project can respond to one of the following prompts and email your original writing to [email protected]. Be sure to write “First Fridays Project” in the subject line of that email. Submissions may be poetry or prose.

Here are the prompts:

  1. Write about how you assembled a puzzle or game from your childhood. Focus on the imagery, the pieces, intention and focus.
  2. Write about your experience in some type of vehicle used for long distance such as a car, airplane or a train. Where were you going? Was it comfortable? Did you forget anything or find something? Did you arrive at the right destination?
  3. Write about a moment in your life where you experienced wonder and awe.
  4. You found a to-do list you wrote when you were 10 years old. What’s on it?