Off CenterVol. 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.
Kelsey Talbott and Nash Meade
Off CenterVol. 6 (2021)
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.
Off Center, Issue 5, Fall 2020Vol. 5 (2020)
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!
Connor, Allie and Bethany
Off Center, Issue 4, Fall 2019Vol. 4 (2019)
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 2017Vol. 2 (2017)
A Note from the Editors:
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 www.mtsu.edu/offcenter, follow us on social media, and hope you will submit to our next issue!
Hillary Yeager, Editor in Chief
Corey Cummings, Associate Editor
Off Center, Issue 3, Fall 2018Vol. 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.
Off Center, Issue 1, Fall 2016Vol. 1 (2016)A Note from the Founding Editors
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