Photo Story: A Day In the Life of Preschooler

A photo story is helpful to capture a moment or inside look when words will not do it justice. The images are meant to be viewed as a group and tell a story. They can tell the story with the subject as well as the composition and mood. These images document the daily and mundane activities of a preschool age child but capture the joy and innocence of their perspectives.

Caroline Woodward

Societal Trends Reflected in Architecture

It is said that the three essential things to survival are food, water, and shelter. Since the dawn of Time, architecture has been a way to ensure survival. As time drew on, architecture has become a way to ensure living. To survive, architecture must be effective in the environment in order to ensure the safety of its inhabitant. To live, architecture must push the boundaries of effectiveness, comfortability, expression, and more. We have evolved. Our shelters have followed.

As humanity has evolved, we have drastically changed the homes in which we lived to suit the various environments around the globe. I have noticed there is a trend that follows architecture no matter where it is: The buildings are reflective of the society. Architecture is a signifier of the successful communication of a community.

If we think back to early Greek times, the community infrastructure was very open and polished. Each building had intricate designs and a specific purpose to serve that all interwove within the city to create a living, breathing infrastructure. The homes of the citizens had open layouts and were centered close to each other, which fostered a healthy and collaborative living environment. Ancient Greek culture is frequently referred to as one of the most prosperous and powerful human settlements. The ancient Greeks worked together and collaborated and were open to change and to each other. The buildings reflected and supported this way of life.

In the dark ages, humanity had given themselves a definitive hierarchy. Certain people were more important and/or valuable than others. Whether this segregation be through age, race, class, religion, sex, etc. it was very clear that people were divided. The architecture supports this new-found split amongst people. Castles were formed, crowded city streets littered with cramped homes and dirty people popped up around Europe. The trend of division and isolation had already been implemented in the social matter of life for years at this point. People had been divided and defined to serve only one purpose and had been assigned similar roles and/or stereotypes that people could not break out of.

In stark contrast, early 20th century style homes serve the purpose of division. Each room within the house has a specific purpose. Walls divide the rooms to clarify that each room is separate and defined in a particular manner. Only certain things may be done in certain parts of the house because that’s the way it was assigned. Similarly, how humanity had communicated with itself had already been like this for a while.

In the 21st century we can now communicate with anyone on the planet within seconds. The globe is connected for the first time ever. Humanity is more connected than ever. We have become open, transparent, informed, and bright individuals. As a result, our architecture has quickly followed suit. Floor plans are more open, with more windows and less definition in what the spaces in the home are used for.

Architecture’s trend to follow the interpersonal communication habits of humans throughout history proves that architecture is just another form of art and communication, not unlike the body or written language. How we interact is a reflection into our homes/shelters and this proves that we need a solid foundation of communication in our everyday lives. My suggestion would be to pay attention to the homes of those you know and see how they interact. Does their home reflect their personality?

Nick Peters

Storytelling is Timeless

Before cameras, before newspapers, before journalists themselves, a different mode of communication existed. Not just in the form of anecdotes told by parents to calm their restless children before bed, but around bonfires, between the shelves of libraries. Legends, of heroes, of epic journeys, of comedy and of tragedy, all passed down through generations to tell the tales of those who walked before us.

We photographers hold no monopoly on storytelling. Though most photographers do not claim to be the sole experts in the craft of the story, many carry a special side of arrogance in their camera bags. Photographers believe they are the torchbearers of a modern era in storytelling - that some prophetic god bestowed upon them the power of Composition to single-handedly document the world through a viewfinder.

I am no exception. In fact what drew me to photojournalism in the first place was the faultless blend of my two loves: photography and storytelling.

Before I ever picked up a camera, I picked up a pen. I climbed trees in the springtime and stayed nestled between the branches until I had successfully filled every page of a journal with stories. I read poems to my parents in the backyard. I took walks over dead leaves in autumn and wrote down words like crunch and crisp.

Somewhere in the last two years, that little girl who used to hide in trees and read dictionaries for fun lost herself behind ISO, f-stops and shutter speed. When learning the mechanics and the practicalities of photography, the art often finds itself shoved to the side while the numbers and figures and histograms take the spotlight.

Since my first photography class here at Kent State, I have become a developed photographer with exceptional technical skill. I learned to shoot in manual mode, learned the differences between lenses and have sold my soul to Lightroom. In doing so, I have also lost my passion – my voice.

I fear that photography nowadays is only ever judged on its ability to shock. Who can get to the crime scene first? Who can snap the most heart-wrenching portrait of a starving child? Who can walk with the ranks and show us what war really means? Of course all of these images hold a level of importance, but photographers are not merely record keepers. We do not exist only to incite discomfort. We must first understand ourselves as artists and as creatives. We must employ empathy and listen as much as we watch.

I am tired of being a photographer first and a storyteller second. More and more, I long for my pen, my journal and the tallest tree I can find. When I march out of this institution with four years of education behind me, I do not want to be another news-hungry photographer. I want to be loud and passionate. I want to be armed with three things: a camera, a pen and a great big torch billowing with the proud flame cultivated by the tradition of genuine storytelling.

Carrie George


I was twelve years old the first time I was called a music snob. A teacher was playing a request from one of my classmates – “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5 – over the loudspeaker in our classroom, and I GUESS I wrinkled my nose at it. The teacher looked at me and laughed. “You’re sort of a music snob, aren’t you, Sam?” Me? A snob? I was cultured! I was knowledgeable! I was wise beyond my years! In fact, I was a little prick. I’d made a common mistake – common even for people who aren’t twelve years old. I’d confused cynicism with sophistication.

This blunder has become even more ubiquitous in college. What’s more, people apply this attitude to increasingly intellectual pursuits. People seem consistently determined to assert themselves as the utmost authority on a given craft. Art: “I’m so over Andy Warhol.” Classical music: “4’33 changed my life; if you don’t get it, you don’t get music.” Literature: “Have you even read Infinite Jest?” I can understand what’s happening, at least somewhat. Kids in college have each of their feet in two completely different worlds. One pink Converse with stars drawn all over it in silver Sharpie is still in our childhood, where we believe we’ll grow up to be all we promised ourselves we’d be. One leather wedged lady boot is in our future, where we know we’ll have to fight to set ourselves apart at a job that probably won’t be the professional baseball player (yeah, and I grew up before Monet Davis was around) or garbage truck driver we thought we’d be when we were twelve. In order to bridge the gap, we try to invoke the jaded demeanor of a much older individual. In truth, this cynicism – or any cynicism for that matter – isn’t the mark of someone who’s lived a full life as we believe it to be. It’s the mark of someone who’s lived a sad life.

There probably isn’t a whole lot that we can do to combat this discrepancy. It’s natural for someone who is young to want to act older. Honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to want to be cultured, to be well-read, to listen to cool modern classical music, to like weird artists. The real issue arises when we can’t appreciate something that’s just damned pretty.

For example, do you remember The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats? It was acclaimed for breaking the color barrier in children’s literature, but when I was little, all I cared about was the pictures of the kids playing in the snow that reminded me of my Bubbi and Zayde’s house in Chicago. Kids’ brains work like poetry does – only they don’t have to sit down and analyze and find themes and rhyme schemes and think “So what?” while they’re reading. Everything is poetry to a kid.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be analytical, but it’s definitely not healthy to be analytical all the time. Cynicism is derived when a mind is unhealthily systematic, and it’ll suffocate your creativity in the end if you’re not careful. Take a second, and reread something that used to make your brain work without looking at itself in the mirror every five seconds. Sure, you could be using the time to brush up on your Joyce or Kafka, but if you’re visiting this blog, you’re probably already pretty well-read.

Samantha Horwitz

Plot vs Character: Striking a Delicate Balance

Storytelling is one of the most innate human activities: we tell stories to inform, to relate to one another, and to entertain. Even though works of fiction may not recount historical events, they resonate with us because they are based on themes that we encounter in everyday life, such as overcoming hardships, forging friendship, and discovering the strength within us. When we encounter well-written stories like these, they evoke strong emotions, make us feel more connected to our world, and stay with us for years after we read the last page.

You cannot have a story unless you have events that happen and people to which they can happen; that is what makes plot and character the two most compelling elements of all the elements in a story. Sometimes, a writer decides before the story goes beyond the planning stages whether the plot or the characters will lead the story (at the least, they have a good idea which of these elements will take the leading role). Other times, an author may begin writing and let the progression of the story determine whether the plot or the characters will be the primary cause of the action—whether it is more important that the audience knows exactly what is happening, or whether it is more important that we know exactly whom it is happening to.

All writers have their own reasons for favoring one aspect of their story over another. They might find that thinking up situations comes easier to them than curating personalities, or that they have more interesting people in their life to use as inspiration than they do outstanding memories. However, I am partial to thinking that character development should be the most important element in a story. The plot keeps the story moving, but the characters are the ones who move, and in a well-told tale, the audience moves with them through whatever city or fantasy land or predicament they may find themselves in. Also, people want to relate to each other; that’s part of the reason why stories are so popular to begin with. And when we get invested in a story, the characters feel as close to us as the real people in our lives. We advise our friends to walk away from people who cause them excessive grief and don’t contribute anything valuable to their lives; I can say that I’ve closed books before I reached the ending because I felt the same way about the characters. The author may have included some wonderful tension in his or her story, but if I don’t care how the characters escape, or whether they’re reunited with their lost friends, or who turns out to be the murderer, then what’s the point in reading on?

One of the most well-known novels which I would argue is character-driven is JD Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. Critics will tell you that the novel’s plot is sparse, but those who understand the importance of character may tell you that plot can be immaterial; the novel persists because Holden Caulfield speaks to such a wide audience. Generations of readers have identified with his struggle of self-doubt, his hatred of “phonies,” and his fear of growing up to become someone he doesn’t like. When we read the novel, we go on his journey through New York with him. As he tries to learn about himself and understand the world, we hope to do the same. No matter what happens to him—even if it seems that nothing happens—we care, and we want to see it happen.

Nina Palattella

Remembering the Good Stuff

When I first meet someone and our conversation turns toward hobbies, reading is inevitably one of the first things I mention. This is usually followed by writing. I’ve said it so many times that it has become second nature; the words roll off my tongue as easily as my own name. There are usually follow-up questions, such as “What’s your favorite book?” and “What kind of things do you like to write?” My answer may change depending on what I’ve read recently or what mood I’m in, but the conversations are generally similar.

In one form or another, the English language has become such a large part of my life that I rarely look back on the reasons that I fell in love with reading and writing in the first place. As a senior English major, my days (and nights) are full of reading assignments and paper writing. The dusty stack of unopened books that I’ve accumulated over time sits in my bedroom, judging me silently, but I can only apologize and promise that I’ll read them eventually. Any writing ideas that pop into my brain must be tabled for the mythical free time I might discover in a dark corner somewhere.

Back when I was a carefree grade-schooler with too much free time on my hands, I discovered how much fun reading is. My first Nancy Drew book showed me what it was like to become completely immersed in a fictional world. The teenage sleuth’s strawberry-blonde hair and determined attitude were incredibly impressive to me, inspiring a slew of mystery stories both written and (poorly) illustrated by myself. As I grew up my taste in literature matured, although I was never ashamed to go back to my childhood favorites. Trips to the library with my mom and sister became a Saturday morning routine; I would emerge from the quiet building, triumphant, with arms full of books. My library card was a source of great power.

Some of the best days of my youth were passed within the confines of my bedroom. I would spend hours lost in a story, emerging only when I had to change my position on the bed or I noticed my stomach grumbling. During these marathon sessions I would laugh, I would cry, and, quite frequently, I would finish a book in the evening that I had started in the morning. Reading let me experience places and adventures that I would never have experienced otherwise. I grew to love some characters and hate others. I could escape the real world for a short while and feel emotions—happiness, anger, fear, sorrow—in ways I’d never felt them before. Eventually, I began to appreciate writing for its beauty, often pausing a moment just to enjoy the way an author strung words together to create art. In a similar way, I found a passion for writing. The more I wrote, the more I realized that nothing had ever allowed me to express myself the way that writing was, and is, able to. I learned to admire authors not just for the stories they tell, but for the massive amount of effort and creativity that goes into writing well.

Studying English is not always fun. A whole semester of 18th century English literature can be a bit of a snooze fest. Staying up late and alternating between typing and crying to get a paper finished will not be one of my fondest memories of college. Lugging around giant anthologies may have given me permanent back damage. Despite these things, though, I know that there is nowhere I’d rather be. My choices are driven by the foundation of love I have for the written word, and as long as I find joy in the letters on a page, they will continue to be.

Sarah Grages

What Being an Editor Taught Me About Myself

I have always loved reading and writing, but I fell off the literary wagon as I got older and my schedule became more demanding. Creating my own work became a daunting task to the point where I stopped trying. Everyone around me seemed more dedicated and more talented. I had even stopped allocating time to read the books I wanted to read. I came to a mundane time in my life where I focused on work and went out with friends, but spent little time reflecting on art or the written word. I felt like a failure as an artist. Then I joined the Brainchild team.

Being on a team meant I had to let go of some control. There are numerous steps to making a magazine, and the first concrete ones had almost nothing to do with me. This was a humbling experience. The design team informed the editorial staff of their decisions and they were always willing to hear our opinions, but they also had the final say of when something was logistically possible with regard to design. In three months, I learned about page layout, margins, page finish, spacing, color continuity, and so much more. The holistic magazine contained components other than what I could contribute, and I was moved by the synthesis of different voices into a single, cohesive vision. I saw art evolve within multiple minds and culminate in a final product that not I nor any one of us alone could have imagined.

When our submissions closed, the editorial team worked tirelessly. We spent hours each night commenting on one lengthy document. We met every week to argue, explain, and defend our edits and suggestions. Sometimes I did not get to read a submission before another editor rejected it, and I learned to trust that other members of the team were keeping the best interests of the magazine in the forefront of all decisions. We requested rewrites and sometimes asked for additional pieces from submitters. Workshopping someone else’s writing helped me to handle constructive criticism of my own. An outside reader experiences organization and word choice from a fresh, less attached perspective. When I write, I am convinced it is perfect because these are my beloved phrases, this is my painstaking masterpiece and no one outside of my raw emotion that produced it could possibly understand its importance. Looking back, I find it funny that I was the biggest hindrance to my work and I appreciate the guidance I have learned to accept. I know now that emotion cannot be spread from writer to reader when it is muddled, and a team can help you see yourself and your work from angles that you can’t.

In the end, we created a magazine. Works of art that I personally fought to keep were arranged on a page and bound in a book with the color scheme we chose and the organization we agonized over. We celebrated what we created. This was not my baby, but the child of team gestation. I learned to let go of my need for total artistic control and then realized that great art is accomplished through collaboration. A magazine came together through a tight team of twelve and too many submitters to count. I could not be more elated.

Ellie Marshall

Tips for Developing Inspiration

Over the years, I’ve been blessed with periods where writing came as easily as breathing. I’ve also traversed eras where putting pen to paper was pulling teeth. My road as a writer has led to a serendipitous destination: the precious flow state. When we, as creative people, enter what certain buzzword-centric psychologists call “the flow state,” intuition takes over and and our artistic output twists into a torrential outpour. Metaphors embody this state, creating notions of an idea coming from “beyond” oneself. The sense that ideas originate from metaphysical pinnacles or the subterranean consciousness symbolize the will of intuition acting independently upon artists. When our intuition uses us as a means for its own end, we’re in the flow state. This is the domain of inspiration, that elusive, intangible realm that we often reach for, but rarely grasp. I suggest some ways to reconnect with your inspiration, to reanimate it after it’s passed, and to cultivate the sense of curiosity anew.

1.) Meditate
Meditation is an incredibly simple process anyone can use to relax and get in touch with themselves. It’s easy to barricade yourself with sacred images of Tibetan monks or esteemed gurus and think meditation isn’t for you. Meditation is for everyone. Beyond the bountiful health effects it’s been proven to cause, it can be instrumental in quieting your mind so you can hear new ideas when they come. Meditation is about listening to your thoughts without judging them or reacting in an impassioned way. Meditating can be as simple as closing your eyes for fifteen minutes and listening to your surroundings without applying judgment to anything you hear. A parallel exercise would be to close your eyes and listen to your body: your heartbeat, the hum of movement beneath your skin. These exercises help meditators learn to sit with their thoughts without needing to go off on undesirable tangents. It’s about just letting things be and resetting your present awareness, which is optimal for relaxing and the inspiration that can only follow a mind at rest. Apps like Headspace or guided meditations on YouTube are great sources for those just starting their path.

2.) Movement
Writer’s block does not exist. Say it with me, “Writers block does not exist.” That noxious obstacle we’re referring to when we think of writer’s block is really just fear that’s damning up the flow of our creative thoughts. Unlike the rainforests companies pillage, creativity is not a finite resource. The only thing standing in your way is yourself. Self-doubt and ruthless self-criticism are obstructions to the liberty of free association. Our bodies and minds are intertwined at deeper levels than we often give them credit for: We are what we think just as much as we are what we eat. Getting your body moving and going for a walk in nature can be immensely helpful with eroding the blocks you’ve ingrained against yourself. Exploring rivers and woods are useful tools for getting your mind off of problems, not to mention the benefit of the beautiful scenery that can incite creative thoughts.

3.) Travel
A change in routine can be just the thing you’re looking for to uproot yourself from the mundane and tango with the sublime. Traveling is the ultimate routine-breaker. When we travel we get to delve into new places and immerse ourselves into the soul of unfamiliar cultures. Walking the streets of foreign cities and framing ourselves within unique architecture is nourishment for our minds. Traveling thrusts us into the heart of new sights and sounds that marinate in the subconscious until bubbling up to the surface, which can send you scrambling back to your hotel to jot down newfound ideas.

4.) People Watch
Of course, sauntering the back-alleys of Paris or the beaches of Brazil isn’t an economic reality for everyone. You don’t have to send your body on vacation; you can send your mind on an excursion just the same. Park yourself in a public space and watch the people pass. A key component of fledgling inspiration is curiosity. If you’re not naturally curious, exercise that mental muscle by asking yourself questions about the people you see. Where did that woman get that funny-looking hat? Why does that guy ordering his coffee look so nervous? Answer every question you generate and build fictional backstories for the people you see. Who knows, the woman that caught your eye at the park may be the hero of your next story or the subject of your new painting.

5.) Take an Interest in the World
It’s easy to get caught up in the narrow realities of our immediate routines, our circles of friends, the websites we’ve recently visited, the media we consume from our algorithmically tailored queues. Every idea is a node spread through the interconnectivity of Indra’s Net, blanketing the totality of human expression. Like beads of glass, every idea you’ll ever generate reflects the multiplicity of ideas you’ve encountered before. Make a conscious effort to break past the lines we draw for ourselves and expand our frame of understanding. Listen to voices outside of your echo chamber of familiar references. Read or watch the news. Pick an outlet you’ve never exposed yourself to before. Choose sources you don’t normally go to or may even disagree with. Challenge your expectations and your view of the world. Look at an issue from one country’s perspective, than see what the other end of the political spectrum has to say. What do the people of Spain or Greece think about this issue? How about the people of Panama or Venezuela? What does India or Iran believe? Foster a curiosity for the affairs of the globe we share and examine subjects you have no prior knowledge in. These activities unfold new networks bursting with the potential for inspiration. Every new thing you learn is a match waiting to spark a firestorm of ideas.

If you take anything away from this post, don’t be discouraged. Discouragement is the final nail in inspiration’s coffin. Everyone who is brave enough to put their work out there will compile a humble mountain of rejection letters. They are not indicative of your success. Artists who are successful keep submitting, keep conversations going, and keep putting themselves out there. The only person you should be competing with is yourself. Measure progress by examining your own history of personal improvement and never stop creating. The world doesn’t need anymore disenchanted, “tortured artists”, but the world can always use more people who persevere for what they believe in.

Joseph Langan

Brainchild at AWP 2016

Justin Martin and Corinne Engber tending to the  Brainchild  Table at AWP

Justin Martin and Corinne Engber tending to the Brainchild Table at AWP

A small group of our staff members were given the opportunity to showcase the 2016 issue of Brainchild at the 2016 AWP conference in Los Angeles! 

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs hosts an annual conference during which hundreds of publications, presses and schools gather to promote new books and other products relating to literature. Outside of the bookfair, there are also countless panels, readings and workshops designed to facilitate learning, showcase new works and promote celebration of the craft. The conference took place over three days and saw saw traffic from over 15,000 people. 

It was a joy getting acquainted with the various publications and meeting so many interesting writers. When not tending to our table, our staff enjoyed hearing readings from acclaimed authors, purchasing new books, and exploring some of the other attractions LA has to offer. 

People going to and leaving from the LA Convention Center during AWP

People going to and leaving from the LA Convention Center during AWP

We were thrilled to be able to expose so many readers to the wonderful works of literature and art that we have published in Brainchild over the last few years. The magazine was met with overwhelmingly positive reception, from the design to its content. We even managed to distribute the remaining stock of the 2015 issue! We're excited about the possibility of returning to AWP in the coming years.

Did you meet us for the first time at AWP? Or already a reader? Regardless, connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with news and information about our submission periods.

Interested in receiving a copy of Brainchild 2016? Follow the link below to access the request form.



Brainchild 2016 Available Now

It's finally here. After an intense submission and production process, we are thrilled to announce that the 2016 issue of Brainchild Magazine is now available!

This is, undoubtedly, our most ambitious release to date. With so many quality submissions, we were able to print an issue that is larger in volume than our previous ones. We also took huge steps in elevating our design philosophy, creating a reading experience that is more immersive with each turn of the page. We sincerely hope that all of you, new and returning readers alike, will find in this new issue work that resonates with you on an intimate level. 

Those living at or around Kent State University can find copies in select locations on the campus:

  • Honors College
  • Satterfield Hall
  • Franklin Hall
  • Student Center
  • Eastway
  • Library

For those elsewhere who are interested in receiving a physical copy of the new issue, please follow the link below to fill out the request form. 


Fine Art & Photography - Deadline Extended

Brainchild is extending the submission period for fine art and photography through Friday, February 5th. Please note that only fine art and photography will be accepted during this time. Our editing team is looking forward to expanding the list of works already being considered for the upcoming 2016 issue. Follow the link below to access our Submittable page:


The submission period for prose and poetry ended January 15th. Thank you to everyone who submitted written work--you will be hearing from our team soon if your piece is under consideration.

Questions regarding the submission process can be directed to our staff at

Submission Period For Brainchild 2016 is Now Open

This is the moment you’ve been writing for.

Brainchild, the premiere undergraduate-only literature and arts magazine, is excited to announce that we are now accepting submissions for our 2016 issue. Our submission period will extend from now until January 15, 2016. During this period we will accept and review all submissions in the following artistic categories:

  • Fiction

  • Creative Nonfiction

  • Essays

  • Poetry

  • Fine Art

  • Photography

Submissions are free and simple—you can track your submission’s progress through our system, and we will notify you when we make any decisions regarding your work. Follow the link below to our Submittable page for further details about the type of submissions we’re looking for, guidelines and other recommendations.

We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity: you will have the ability to have your voice heard and your art seen by a network of readers from over 200 universities. Upon selection of your work, our resident team of editors will collaborate with you in preparing it for final publication. All contributors will also receive two complimentary copies of the finished magazine as thanks for your time and effort.

Please do not hesitate to submit your work. We believe that undergraduate honors students have creative talent that often goes unnoticed, and we are here to provide a new platform with which you can flourish. If your art is of quality, it will find a place with Brainchild.

This year, the Mid-East Honors Association will also sponsor awards for the best piece of poetry and best piece of prose submitted to Brainchild. Each winner will receive a $250.00 cash prize.

Questions regarding the submission process can be directed to our staff at

Submit Your Work