This past summer, a few of my relatives tried to buy me beer at restaurants or make me margaritas on Friday Ladies’ Nights on the back deck that overlooked Lake Champlain as the sun was setting. Normal attempts to provide me with alcohol, you know? And all I had to say was, “Oh, I’m not 21 yet,” and my aunt or uncle or cousin would nod understandingly, a little embarrassed that they had not remembered when my next birthday would be, the big twenty-one that is supposed to change everything.

Well it’s happening soon. My 21st birthday. It’ll be here in a few weeks, before I know it, and I will no longer have a backup excuse to avoid the alcoholic beverages willingly thrust in front of me. “Oh, this tastes so good, you have to try it!” “Oh, let me buy you to a drink, seriously.” “Come on, it’s not like it’s illegal to drink.” Spoiler alert: I’m not interested.

It’s more difficult to explain that I physically do not want the drink being offered to me than it is to explain that I am not old enough to drink. Simply “not wanting to” is absolutely a fair response (in nearly every college weekend scenario), but it carries such little weight to the inebriated people who offer the alcohol, and I am intimidated by its weakness.

My decision to not drink is nothing dramatic, nothing worth preaching. It’s simply a personal preference. Alcohol is inherently unappealing to me, just as some people are inherently uninterested in marijuana or the female population or (hopefully) methamphetamine. That’s all. And it’s okay for other people to do these things, for other people to enjoy them or love them (not so much meth, but you get the point). I’m still not interested, though. And that’s all.

Being sober does not mean that I do not want to be friends with people who do drink; it does not mean that I do not want to dress up in a Canadian Tuxedo to attend a 90s theme party, even when it’s all the way over in the townhouses; and it does not mean that I do not want to receive slurred phone calls at 11:30pm to tell me that the Pub just put out leftover desserts for free. Rather, being sober means that I am perfectly content with quiet evenings in pajamas and desolate laundry rooms (eight empty washers and dryers? Yes please!).

Or even better, I am perfectly content with open notebooks and the pens with fresh ink which let me practice my favorite hobby: writing. This is fun for me, exhilarating, even. Just because it does not involve alcohol and loud music in hot, stuffy rooms and half-naked peers does not mean that I am incapable of finding pleasure, that I have nothing enjoyable happening during my weekends. It just means that my activities are different from the typical college population.

Once I turn 21, it will easily be assumed that I have tried alcohol before, that I sometimes (or all the time) drink on the weekends, that I have been drunk maybe once or twice before. At least tipsy, for sure. But none of these allegations are true, and I am disappointed that our culture revolves around such assumptions. Because I am human, because I am a female, because I am a college student, and now (soon) because I am 21 years old—I must be a drinker, right?

As the big twenty-one approaches, I am preparing myself for everything to change. Not because I will suddenly be legally able to drink, not because I will suddenly be able to buy my underage friends alcohol, not because the assumptions of turning twenty-one apply even remotely to my lifestyles. Rather, I am preparing myself to take a new stand on my decision to be sober. It is time I stopped using the excuses, using my age and the law as my justifications for avoiding something that I simply don’t want to do.

Yes, I’ll be 21 soon. And I probably still won’t want to drink. And that’s all I need to say. And that’s okay. My words will carry the weight I give them; inebriated peers, perceptions of “fun,” cultural assumptions—none of that pales to my choices, my reasons, my ideals. It’s been almost 21 years and I am still content with my sobriety. And that’s okay. Forget birthdays; this knowledge alone is something I find worth celebrating.


-Maggie Sullivan ’15

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An Interview with Meredith Goodridge, B.A. Interior Design

An interview with Meredith Goodridge, B.A. Interior Design

1.  What got you interested in interior design?

My interest in interior design sparked when I was a little girl. I loved going into Home Depot and kitchen&bath stores to help my mother pick out paint swatches and cabinetry finishes. I was also very fascinated by Nancy, the lady who did our window treatments.

2.  Why did you choose a liberal arts college instead of an art school?

I chose University of New Haven because I wanted the full college experience, both academically and socially. At an art school, I would not be required to take English, science, and math classes. I feel like a liberal arts education makes for a well-rounded student. I was also unsure going into college if I really wanted to pursue art/ interior design, so liberal arts was the way to go.

3.  Do you apply what you learned in art classes to interior design?

In order to be a successful interior designer, you must know how to design aesthetically pleasing spaces which requires some art background. The first year at New Haven, the interior design department is required to take basic drawing and design classes which taught the principles of art.

4.  In what ways is interior design creative?

Interior design is creative because there are multiple ways in which you can arrange or design a space. If five people walked into the same room, each one of those people would probably have a different vision for that room. It is the designer’s job to design spaces that please the client, and make sure that it is aesthetically and ergonomically correct.

5.  Would you consider interior design an art form?

Interior design is taken for granted. People spend about 90% of our lives indoors, whether it’s in an office, house, school, or other building. What we don’t realize is an interior designer created each one of these spaces we spend so much time in. That in itself is art.

6.  What other areas is interior design tied to? In what direction is it heading?

In this day and age, interior designers are always thinking of new ways to design eco-friendly spaces. Historic preservation is one example of sustainable design. When a space is reused or designed to save space it is working towards LEED points. Designers today are using more fabrics, furniture, paints, etc. which have low emissions and recycled contents.

 – Courtney Goodridge

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Winter is Coming

Winter The cold in the North Country is different than anywhere I’ve ever experienced. It’s a chill that seeps through wool and skin, deeper through muscle and to ivory bones. I walked towards the car, the soft hum of The Shins beating against my ears as they sing about how caring is creepy. I can still hear the wildness of wind through her headphones, humming its wistful tune of a bitter winter nighttime. It lulls me into isolation, the only one in the parking lot as the snow crunches beneath my boots. Looking up, I am overwhelmed. It is one of those clear nights in the middle of nowhere, with no light pollution, no sound, just the rustling of branches touching and the stars blazing thousands of light-years away, so clear and vivid as the snow filtered to my numb toes. And I feel small as I look into the past, understanding life is exceedingly insignificant. That doesn’t matter. The universe is an infinitesimally large place, and by chance we ended up here, destroying the planet.

The sky in the North Country is crystal, infinitely black, dotted with light and possibility. Most people prefer the summer, when the world is vibrant and loud, marching to arbitrary drums. The winter is quiet and long, darkness pervades through everything, and hushed blankets of white span across fields that were once green. The darkness in winter is different than the summer – it is isolated, ominous, and smells like pine. In the winter, the sun hangs unusually low on the horizon. Bobbing lazily in a crisp shade of blue that is almost white. It’s not like the deep blue of summer. The luminescent ball lulls on the horizon, lazily slinking out of reach. It never seems to travel to the highest point in the winter sky. The light blue and contours of the clouds stress the bubble we live in, a secluded dome from the rest of the vast and evanescent universe. It almost seems as if we are held captive by an immense snow globe. We are alone on our tiny little earth, so far away from our sister planets, yet everything seems so near in the night sky. The moon is no bigger than my thumb, except on rare nights of fullness where it swallows me whole.


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A Word on Tofurkey…

Ahh, Thanksgiving…a day I both love and loathe in equal parts. The last six or so years have not been quite so bad as I have been able to share the tofurkey and vegetarian stuffing with my brother, the other non-meat-eater in my family. However, he recently gave up the venture and I am alone again. As a result, I will receive all of the tofurkey-bashing my family has to offer.

“I made the turkey just the way you like it, kiddo!” my uncle will shout to me as he carves his precious bird at the head of the table. My cousin will hold the gravy boat directly under my nose as if I am incapable of restraint. My grandmother will encourage me to “cheat just a bit…because it’s Thanksgiving, and for your health, of course” (it has never occurred to my grandmother that my vegetarianism is nothing but an attempt to slowly kill myself).

In my days of indignant, self-satisfied vegetarianism, I had to grit my teeth and smile falsely. “It’s a choice,” I would growl underneath my breath as anger boiled just below the surface.

You will be relieved to know that this is not the case anymore. In much the same fashion that I outgrew my favorite blue sweatshirt, I have long since outgrown my outrage. My uncle and cousins and grandmother can laugh and cajole all they please and I will not be stirred.

This Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, I will have a small plate with a loaf of tofu-turkey next to my plate and a ramekin dish of vegetarian gravy. My cousins will gripe that the stuffing is so much better with chicken stock; my uncle will laugh at his own jokes at my expense and my grandmother will attempt to heap a small cut of turkey onto my plate. Rather than clenching my teeth, though, I’ll laugh and mean it.

Once the turkey is devoured and the cranberry sauce is little more than a red stain on a glass bowl, the pecan pie finds its way to the table. And then my uncle will turn to my cousin, who happens to have an allergy to tree nuts. With a mischievous look on his face, he’ll mutter, “What a shame pecans are tree nuts…”


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



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Tessa Mellas, Thurs 11/14

This week, the Laurentian is thrilled to host a SLU alumna, Tessa Mellas ’01. She is the recipient of the 2013 Iowa Short Fiction Award for her book Lungs Full of Noise, and she will be reading Thursday November 14th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Dean Eaton Formal Lounge. Students will get to hear a selection of her stories, but she will also discuss her experience as a writer. Snacks will be provided and this event is FYP Cup eligible. She’s even been kind enough to offer a fiction workshop the next morning to provide students with individual feedback.

After graduating from SLU, Mellas earned a master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio and a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. She writes magical realism, a genre that incorporates fantastic elements into otherwise realistic stories. Amazon sums up her work nicely:

“This prize-winning debut of twelve stories explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls sets out to remedy the misdirection of their lives in bold and reckless ways. Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcee steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. Following the advice of a fashion magazine, teenaged girls binge on  grapes to dye their skin purple and attract prom dates. And a college freshman wages war on her roommate from Jupiter, who  has inadvertently seduced all the boys in their dorm with her exotic hermaphroditic anatomy. But it isn’t just the characters who are in crisis. In Lungs Full of Noise, personal disasters mirror the dissolution of the natural world. Written in lyrical prose with imagination and humor, Tessa Mellas’s collection is an aviary of feathered stories that are rich, emotive, and  imbued with the strength to suspend strange new worlds on delicate wings.”

If that doesn’t make her cool enough, Mellas knows what it takes to get from Canton, New York to the mystical club of I-published-a-book-no,-not-just-through-a-vanity-press. It’s possible. Here’s a small excerpt:

“At breakfast, Miss Jacqueline announces the rules of the camp. No speech. No sound. Silence is law. Offenders will be punished. If we think she is joking, we should visit the annex and see the cabinets that house her collection of pickled tongues.”

–from “Quiet Camp” page 46


Whatever you do, don’t talk while she’s reading.

Hope to see you there,

Ally Talbot


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Naturalize A Meaning

Last Sunday, sitting at the weekly Laurentian Magazine meeting, I was so cruelly reminded of my obligation to post on this very blog. Now, just for the record, let’s make it clear that this was a prospect terrifying to me in a such a way as one can only be terrified of the unknown. But! After reading through more or less every single post from the last three months, I decided to make it my quest to bring something new and exciting to the table. What I landed on was a topic that combines the art of language, which is often focused on here, with something altogether new. So here goes, I hope you like it!

Here are the titles of every post on this blog (some unpublished), so far, this semester:

Welcome Back
We Are Not Alone
Almost, Maine Tomorrow Night
Learning To Love You More
Staff Review
Fiction Post
Fall 2013 Artist Feature
Keeping Java Shows Safe
More of Fall 2013 Featuring Authors
The Art of Coming Home
The St. Lawrence Review Wants YOUR Work!
seize the sweats
SLU Infatuation
Rochester Art Gala: Seeking 2D Artwork!
A London Minute: Leila

Now, imagine that we took those titles and split them up, character by character, until they looked like this (click to enlarge image):

Now, just remove the titles and shuffle things around a little (because picture are cool, right Courtney?):

Then, we give it all some purpose:

Last one, I promise:

The following is an exact anagram of all of the first 17 blog post titles combined, with some punctuation added for clarity. It also happens to be in the form of a poem and has a nifty haiku breakdown right in the middle. Enjoy!


The Laurentian Magazine, 2013:

A group of talented, lighthearted folks,

Making waves in the Saint Lawrence community.

One issue at a time

The smoothness and efficient nature of the staff

Could be a feature.

What section? Poetry:


Like visions of skies,

Awoken, we start to weave

Songs, from moonlight, grow.


Flaw? A rare jewel!

So, wallow or float, growl or roar (rawr!), groom or fool:

Have some more cake, we nailed it.


p.s. llrr 01223.


Thanks for reading!

~ Be Richer, Nerd


p.s. Naturalize a Meaning = Laurentian Magazine

Be Richer, Nerd = Reid Brechner

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A London Minute: Leila

So it’s been about a year since I was abroad in London and I couldn’t help but think back to this time of year when I was over there.  In fact, it was probably around this time that I went to the Bloomsbury Festival in Russell Square.  Man that was an awesome gathering.  I happened to stumble upon it while going on a walk and had a great experience.  The Bloomsbury Festival is essentially an expressive bohemian’s dreamland, full of live performances, readings, art and other fun things.  I definitely recommend looking at their site for more information here: http://bloomsburyfestival.org.uk/.  For those who might be traveling abroad soon and for those who could only wish they were there.  But I wanted to talk about one specific tent that I found in the part on one of the nights there.

There was a tent with some of the most interesting looking jewelry I’ve ever seen.  There were charm necklaces, chunky rings, ribbon necklaces with gemstone pendants, hair bands and more, I just had to check it out.  Sitting behind the counter was a woman with thick brown hair pulled in a high bun and wearing a red hair flower that looked like the ones on display.  She looked tired, but interested when I approached her table.  She told me she made every piece that was there.  I was impressed.  I asked her about some of the pieces, the charm necklaces to be specific.  She pulled out some necklaces from behind the counter and held some out.  The woman had charm necklaces that embodied, spring, the ocean, modern surrealism, flowers, animals, broad colors and more.  One in particular caught my eye: an Alice in Wonderland necklace.  It was the only one of its kind.  She told me that she had more at home but didn’t have enough charms to finish them for the festival.  When I said I was interested in buying the necklace, she offered another charm free of charge: a white rabbit that she only had one of.  I had to have it, along with her Starburst necklaces.  They were an exclusive design for the festival that looked like a cascading firework with different colored beads at the end of each cord.

We started talking to each other for a while after that and it turned out we have a similar taste in style when it comes to jewelry.  She told me her name was Leila and she invited me to her next art show where she would be selling more of her jewelry.  I helped her clean up her tent before going home that night.  She gave me her card and said she would be looking forward to seeing me next time.

Now I wasn’t expecting her to remember me from the Bloomsbury Festival being that this show was a month after that, but I went anyway.  It was this very odd event where different artists would open up their homes and display their artwork and let the general public come in and view or buy their work.  This was outside the city and in the suburbs of London in a place called Hither Green.  If you ever thought SLU had alot of fall foliage, you haven’t seen Hither Green.  It was the most stunning display of Autumn I have ever seen.  The town was quiet, the leaves were falling all around in different hues of orange, the cobblestone streets beneath me were damp from rain, it was beautiful.  It took me a while, but I eventually found Leila’s tent.  She was so excited that she came out from behind the tent to give me a big hug and told me she was happy that I made it.  She asked me how my trip was, how I was liking the event and even suggested some artists I needed to check out.   I spent all day in Hither Green, even found a really nice tea cafe with a weird peanut butter and banana scone that was delicious.  But I was really surprised that she would remember me, a random American after seeing a whole horde of people at a festival.  Made me feel kind of special.  You never really know who you’ll meet in life, some people turn out to be some of the most interesting people you’ll meet.

To check out Leila’s work, visit her website at http://www.eyedrop.net/leila/start.html

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Summer is now gone, and fall is fading fast. Halloween is officially over, which is rather depressing, but there are other holidays to look forward to in the near future (apparently this year there are only three weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas – Ahhh!). I hope everyone had a good Halloween though, with candy, costumes and moderate amounts of that other stuff people drink. It kicked off with The Hub’s haunted house last weekend, which I hope many of you attended, and finished up with the OC party rocking in Eben Holden. SLU Funk and Max Ryder kept people dancing all night, and everyone was fabulously dressed up. I saw a rock climbers, a bride in lingerie, a chicken, an anime girl, a strawberry and Columbia and Eddie from Rocky Horror, not to mention Ke$ha (oh, that was me :P). The change in venue was a good choice even though the wind and rain had died down by party time.

Halloween acts a tipping point between lovely autumn and crappy autumn. We are moving into the hardest time of year where the lack of sun actively affects your mood and the school work really starts to pile on. I wish the best of luck to everyone making it though the last third of the semester, and this advice: stay active, go outside, eat your favorite food (it will actually make you feel better) and hang with the people who make you laugh.

Thanks for reading!
– Jenny

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Rochester Art Gala: Seeking 2D Artwork!

GlobeMed, a nonprofit organization seeking to improve global health conditions, is hosting its second annual art gala at the University of Rochester, December 6-20. They are calling for digital submissions of 2D artwork, up to three per artist. A $15 submission fee goes directly to the nonprofit.

If your piece is selected, it will be featured at the gala for all to admire and open for purchase at a cost determined by you! In addition to keeping 65% of the profit, you get the satisfaction of knowing your artwork is proudly displayed in some person’s living room. Selected pieces must be dropped off between November 25 and December 2. If you don’t live in the Rochester area and don’t feel like paying for shipping, let me know; I live near the U of R and would be happy to deliver any selected artwork over Thanksgiving break.

For more information, visit the GlobeMed tumblr at
or check out the Facebook event:

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SLU Infatuation

With Mid-Semester break behind us, we are quickly moving ahead with the 2nd half of the semester. For me, this semester has been worlds away from first semester last year. First semester last year began in the middle of a scorching heat wave. It began with name-games, hectic class registration, and illness. My first weekend on campus I came down with a cold, which was quickly followed by a sinus infection, ear infection, topped off with a grand finale of mono. As my friends put it, I never half-ass anything, even being sick.

So while I got to know my way around campus, the people in my dorm, and how to order food at the pub, I probably got to know my bed, cough drops, and ibuprofen better.

Second semester I spent abroad, exploring the cobblestone streets of Rouen where it never got that cold and it snowed only once. I glimpsed the experience of a winter in Canton only briefly in the period of late November to December right before break, but what I remember is this: gingerbread men at the student center, impromptu snowball fights, and warm Saturday mornings watching the snow fall. For this reason, when I heard more than one rumor this week that the first reported snowflakes fell on St. Lawrence campus, I couldn’t help smile. Bring it on Canton. Bring it on.

There are so many aspects of first semester that I missed, and so many experiences of second semester I have yet to live. In many ways, I still feel the first-year excitement over the experiences I missed last year. This year I’ve seen sports games, gone canoeing, seen movies and a comedian in the Winston room, listened to talks about the military power of China, and so much more.

I’m halfway through my second fall semester on campus, and my relationship with SLU has not left the infatuation stage. So, as the rest of the leaves turn and fall off the trees and we move into the snowy days ahead, try not to get too caught up in the essays and research. Keep the inner-freshman intact and don’t be afraid to gawk at how beautiful the chapel looks when it’s lit up, or how ridiculous the squirrels look as they neurotically race up and down the trees.


– Emily Mulvihill

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