• Off Center
    Vol. 7 (2022)

    A Letter From the Editors
    For Such a Time as This

    In one of the more famous Bible stories, Esther, after seeing her country
    overtaken by Persia, is turned into a queen, at which point her uncle says,
    “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as
    this?” (Esther 4:14, NKJV). This is a story of great resilience in a time of
    turmoil, ending with the restoration of the Jewish nation thanks to the work
    of Esther from her place in the royal palace.

    The writers who have contributed their artistry to this edition of Off
    Center have been through a lot. Whether they are students in their early
    twenties or fathers and mothers of older children, the last few years have
    displayed levels of upheaval not seen for nearly half a century, whether it be
    political, social, biological, or militant. Many, when faced with such
    circumstances, would be apt to throw in the towel and ride out the tragedies
    of the modern world. Some, however, like those whose material one will
    find in this magazine, have fought through it all, producing lovely works
    which encompass the many emotions which can come into being on a dayto-
    day basis while also showing nuanced reflection upon those things which
    have been instrumental in their present person.

    What is clear through all of this material, however, is that no matter how
    horrid the world can get, there will always be resilience. It is when the day is
    foggy and the storms of politics are at their worst that the color and
    sunshine of art are needed most. Although there may be discussion of loss,
    of heartbreak, or even of death, each piece reflects a step towards a future
    where the mistakes of the past become the building blocks of a greater
    person. Mistakes are a part of life; it is what we do with them that makes us

    As we hopefully see the slowly-approaching end to the COVID-19
    pandemic and the rise of political tension across the world, it is tempting to
    believe that we are being robbed of our present life and, perhaps, even of
    our future. Instead, however, the works within this magazine tell a story of
    recognition and belief in a better outcome than just the tragedy of the
    current stage of the world through a reflection on what is most important
    in life: love, family, and truth. We are all products of what we have gone
    through, but perhaps we, too, have been born for such a time as this.

    Your Editors,

    Kelsey Talbott and Nash Meade

  • Off Center
    Vol. 6 (2021)

    Dear Reader,
    As you flip through the pages of the 2021 issue of Off Center, we hope you acknowledge and appreciate the collaboration of the MTSU community. This is especially important considering the unprecedented academic year we all experienced. Despite the uncertainty both then and now, it is comforting to know that the art of writing remains an outlet and that reading remains an escape for many. With that in mind, we hope you enjoy this year’s issue of Off Center with a renewed appreciation for collective work.

    Your Editors

  • Off Center, Issue 5, Fall 2020
    Vol. 5 (2020)

    Dear Reader,

    As you scroll through the pages of the 2020 issue of Off Center, we hope you acknowledge and appreciate the collective relativity of the MTSU community. In this issue, we aimed to uphold the magazine’s mission of “foster[ing] appreciation for the creative process” through an inclusion of diverse genres and voices. We want to thank all of the authors for their submissions and the artists for their design work. We hope you enjoy this issue of Off Center!

    Your Editors,

    Connor, Allie and Bethany

  • Off Center, Issue 4, Fall 2019
    Vol. 4 (2019)

    Dear Readers,
    Welcome to the Fall 2019 issue of Off Center. We have a great selection of fiction, nonfiction, artwork, and images from the talented and creative MTSU community. In order to reflect the UWC’s mission of revision and reflection, we have included composers’ commentaries for many of the works. We hope to include more going forward! Many thanks to the writers and artists featured in the issue for their wonderful and evocative works.


    Sidney Blaylock, Jr.
    Editor in Chief

  • Off Center, Issue 2, Fall 2017
    Vol. 2 (2017)

    A Note from the Editors:

    Dear Readers,

    We are so thrilled to share the second issue of Off Center with you: we received so many wonderful submissions from students, alumni, staff and faculty, and admit that choosing what to include in these pages was nearly an impossible task! In this issue, we aim to continue our mission of sharing the varied and wonderful voices of the MTSU creative community, and it is our distinct hope that we can continue to cultivate and encourage that voice as our magazine grows and develops. 

    The pieces included in this issue cover a wide range of modes including poems, photographs, digital art, screen printing, short plays, paintings, a translation from Middle English, and a short story. We are also launching some unique online content this issue, including the short inspirational film “Be Brave, Be Strong,” as well as a piece of original music, “Slow Motion Observing You from a Distance.” Janice Penny, contributor of the painting “Teal,” installed a gallery wall of her pieces, which can be found on display in the Writing Center as a companion to her published piece. 

    We would like to thank the MTSU community, the alumni association, The MTSU Magazine, and of course, our wonderful faculty advisors at the Writing Center for their support.  It is our distinct pleasure to work on this publication, and we hope that these pieces will serve as an inspiration to our readers and light a creative spark in you as you explore these pages. We encourage you to visit our website at, follow us on social media, and hope you will submit to our next issue!

    With inspiration,

    Hillary Yeager, Editor in Chief

    Corey Cummings, Associate Editor

  • Off Center, Issue 3, Fall 2018
    Vol. 3 (2018)

    Letter from the Editors:

    Welcome the Fall 2018 Issue of Off Center.  In this issue, as well as our previous issues, we strive to be a place for writers of the MTSU community to display their works and polish their craft. We hope that readers will engage their works and per-haps become future submitters.

    We have a wide-ranging collection of works in this issue, from humorous non-fic-tion pieces to powerful and moving poems that challenge conventions.  We have included multiple works from various authors within the MTSU community. We’ve also included works that move beyond simple text, including images and multi-modal communication.

    Finally, we’ve included a tribute to Will Brown, an alumnus of MTSU, who, sadly, lost a battle with mental illness. We hope that this will inspire other writers and that his poems will encourage those dealing with mental illness to seek help.

    Thank you for reading Off Center, and  we hope that you enjoy the issue.

    Sidney Blaylock, Jr.

    Brielle Campos

  • Off Center, Issue 1, Fall 2016
    Vol. 1 (2016)

    A Note from the Founding Editors  

    Dear Readers,

    We are excited and honored to share the first issue of Off Center: A Writer’s Magazine for the MTSU Community with you. Our magazine started with a hopeful aspiration: We wanted to establish a publication that would have the capacity to share the voices of writers across our campus community. We thought it was important to showcase the creative work of the students and writing consultants we have encountered through the Margaret H. Ordoubadian Writing Center. They have always, and continue, to impact our lives with their brilliance. The ability to share their work with you is a dream come true for us.

    In the following pages, you’ll find literacy narratives, poetry, short essays, fiction, art, perspectives on the writer-consulting process, photographs, process pieces from writers, and more. You’ll get an inside look into the creative process from some of the writers that created these amazing pieces, as well as beautiful visuals meant to inspire. We’ve also interspersed these pages with a few of our favorite sayings about writing and the writing process.

    Sit back, take a look, and enjoy this first issue. And please, be inspired to create: Write a few lines, paint a glorious picture, make your mark on this world, and then, if you’re feeling generous and willing to share, submit to our next issue!

    Amy Harris-Aber and Hillary Yeager

    Founding Editors