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In honor of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Fl.

Words cannot express our heartache. To all those who lost loved ones this past weekend, please stay strong and know that we love you.

[Follow @PaperBag.Poetry]

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When Resting is Harder than Working Out

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About two years ago I decided to give running a real shot. I noticed that when I travel, the best way to explore the area I’m in (and make up for all the unhealthy food I ate) is to go for a jog wherever I go.

The rush you get from traveling combined with the insane confidence you feel when you finish a long run was something I wanted to experience. And it’s oh so sweet. All I had to do was fall in love running. Easy, right? Not exactly.
Continue reading “When Resting is Harder than Working Out”

The Artist Spotlight: A short story

An exceprt from Memories of my past self, a novel.  

by Lauren Ornelas

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Is there life after death? A question every living person asks themselves, some fear it. The unknown is always something people fear, while some are intrigued or oblivious to it. I’m sure when I was alive I asked myself what would come to me after my death, maybe even wondered how I would die. If someone told me it would be like this I don’t know if I’d believe them, but then again I don’t know much about my life before I was dead.

Memories are lost in the process of coming to the afterlife, I’m not really sure why, I only know I lost them because that’s what I’ve been told. You see, even though the memories are lost, when you enter this world it does not mean that they are gone forever. For some here it would be best if they stayed that way, for when you’re awaken in this life everything about your past is erased, a clean slate that’s what I am.

The unknown is still something that hangs over our heads. Will I ever get my memories back? What was I like during my life? Do I really want to know?

There was so much to learn when I woke up. Nobody knows their real name when they wake up, it’s either something that comes along by chance or you hear it in a memory once you start getting them. Everyone is given number, this way once they learn their name, we don’t get confused by the change. Secondly, the memories will come, hopefully, and it can be caused by the most random things. One guy worked at a paper factory when he was alive, he got his first memory day one when we was handed the “helpful” brochures that they hand out to welcome people to this new life and provide the information about what to expect while here. That first memory is called a trigger memory because once you have it you can relive it and look for details that can help trigger more memories. And that’s my life here. While we’re here, there’s no need to do anything really, so most people just try to find out who they are.

It’s not a bad place. After getting your number, and eventually your name, you’re directed to where your new home will be until you get your final memory. The final memory, most believe it is the memory of how you died, it’s rare for people to see this one quickly, for most it takes years. It’s not something that we know for sure because once you relive that memory you get to move on to the real afterlife.

My current home is the perfect place for people to find piece or penance for their lives. Since we start out blank, we are taught quick have to good idea of what is good and bad. Those that lived as criminals return from some memories feeling remorse for the crimes they’ve done. While others who had happy lives get to relive those memories and come to peace with themselves that they lived a good life.

This is how the unknown here can be so terrifying to some because you never know what your memories will reveal about yourself.

So that’s pretty much my life- waiting for the first memory and from there eventually my last. But being dead doesn’t mean that you have nothing to do. I’ve made a nice after life for myself, I even have a few friends.

-This short story is part of an ongoing series titled “The Artist Spotlight,” a series that hones in on the artistic talents of our peers. If you know an artist who’s worth being featured, send them our way by commenting below! 

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-This artist profile is part of an ongoing series titled “The Artist Spotlight,” a series that hones in on the artistic talents of individuals whose paths we cross throughout our journey. If you know an artist who’s worth being featured, send them our way by commenting below!

Seven Crazy Women who did Crazy Awesome Things

Men: without, women are hopeless. It’s funny how a quick grammatical switch can change the entire meaning of a sentence. At one point, women were. That wasn’t their fault though. Society and over-analyzed values played a huge part in gender equality, or lack thereof. Nonetheless, women have been able to dominate not just  this generation, but generations before us as corporate leaders and industry ground breakers, fighting tooth and nail to prove that they too can break the mold. In celebration of National Women’s Day, here are seven crazy women in history who did crazy awesome things that prove #OneDayWeDID and #OneDayWeWILL!

1. The mother of the freedom movement. Known as “the first lady of civil rights,” Rosa Parks was an African American civil rights activist, who many know as the woman who refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger, prompting the Montgomery boycott and other efforts to end segregation.

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2. Saying it like it is. Prime Minister of Israel from 1969 to 1973, Golda Meir was, “[a] pioneer, visionary, risk-taker, indefatigable fund-raiser, eloquent advocate,” according to the Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia.  When asked to place a curfew on women to help end a series of rapes, Meir replied by stating, “But it is the men who are attacking the women. If there is to be a curfew, let the men stay at home.”

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3. Aged ink. Born 1877, Maud Stevens Wagner was a circus performer and the first known female tattoo artist in the United States. Her daughter, Lotteva, started tattooing at the age of nine and went on to become a tattoo artist herself.

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4. Just Keep Running. American author and television commentator Kathrine Virginia “Kathy” Switzer is also a marathon runner and best known for being the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as a numbered entry in 1967. In her book The Girl Who Started it All, Switzer writes,”Then he added [speaking of her coach at the time], ‘If any woman could do it, you could, but you would have to prove it to me. If you ran the distance in practice, I’d be the first to take you to Boston.’ I grinned through the gloom and flakes. ‘Hot damn, I thought, I have a coach, a training partner, a plan, and a goal: the biggest race in the world—Boston.'”

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5. The Diving Venus. Female swimmers have Australian professional swimmer Annette Marie Sarah Kellermann to thank for this one. Instead of the then-accepted pantaloons, Kellermann inspired others, as she was one of the first women to wear a one-piece bathing suit. Kellerman made it a point to challenge the legal restrictions on women’s bathing clothes in the US. In 1907, preparing for a promotional coast swim, she was arrested for indecency on Revere Beach, Boston. Her swimming costumes became so popular, that she started her own fashion line of one-piece bathing suits.

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6- 7. Biblical Heroism. According to the book of Judges (2:16), in the midst of the violent and turbulent aftermath of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan, the Lord raised up judges to provide leadership for the kingless people. One in particular was Deborah. At the beginning of Judges 4, text reports, Deborah was leading Israel at that time.  As both judge and prophet, Deborah implemented complete religious, political, judicial, and militaristic authority over the people of Israel.

Judges 4-5 notably details Deborah’s effective military campaign against Sisera. With the help of another very gutsy woman named Jael who presented a “gentle and quiet spirit,” Sisera was eliminated when Jael drove a tent peg through his skull. The Canaanite armies were defeated. Israel’s victory is punctuated in scripture by the Song of Deborah—one of the ancient Near East’s oldest military poems.

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Although this day is adorned with special links about historical movements and cheesy quotes about women’s rights, the truth is that women are crazy and awesome, and they should be celebrated everyday. From running our families to running empires, the more we stick together, the more crazy we can do. Perhaps a grammatical change is needed here, and maybe the truth is, men without women are hopeless.