In previous years, TAHOMA WEST has been a print-only publication. This year, we are venturing into the world of online publishing. We would like to extend to our readers the opportunity to engage with our publication online through exclusive content. Therefore, pieces published on our website will not be available in our Spring Volume, and vice versa. Additionally, by removing the hurdle of our page limitations, we now have the ability to publish a higher number of authors and creators each year.

If you would like to be considered for online publication, visit our submission guidelines for a comprehensive guide here. If you have any other questions or comments for our team at TAHOMA WEST, we can be reached at


Just a Girl on Her Phone by Monica Baker
Driftwood by Monica Baker

Monica Baker graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, concentration in Communications. During her senior year at UWT, she worked as the Fiction Editor for Tahoma West. She captured the above pieces at the beach at Fort Worden Historical State Park.

Alien by Evelyne Staab

I despise this sensation of alienation
I think I have forsaken our feelings

I apologize and pull my knees up to my chest
to hide behind sullen thighs and painful, wrenching, intense regrets

though I say I regret nothing and only wish to learn
the truth within me breaks my heart, as it bleeds and burns

I detest my decisions
for on sunken eyes and mouth
they like to leave incisions
and my brain begins falling out
I have shattering, spiteful visions
in which I swim in tears and doubt
so I spread out my provisions
before I take a sharp turn south –

Evelyne Staab is a current UWT undergraduate working towards a bachelor’s degree Environmental Sustainability. She has experienced a myriad of individuals and situations, and have encountered much elation and distress as a result. She turns to art as a way of expressing complex feelings during particular sections of her life. “Alien” is about her experience with mental health issues.

Seasons of Life by Madi Williams
Dedicated to Nelly

The days are getting shorter and colder.
Late summer days on the porch turn to late movie nights.
Curling up on the couch and reading a whole book in a day.
Everyone coming together for the holiday fun,
But ready for summer to come again.

Spending cold days by the fire with a toasty drink making our bodies warm again.
Watching the snowfall thinking we aren’t leaving this house.
Waiting for Sundays to come with a full house yelling at the TV “come on Hawks!”
Thinking about the summer and all the plans we will have.

Waiting for the perfect rain storm to sit and listen to.
Hoping for that one sunny warm spring day to spend outside.
Watching the new life appear all around.
Getting excited to feed the deer and the babies.
Happy because it’s almost summer.

The days are long and hot, hours in the sun with music mixed with children’s laughter all day.
Late nights outside chatting because it’s cooler outside than in the house.
Trips to the ocean getting sand everywhere and having no care.
Annual party where everyone comes together for a weekend of fun.
Never wanting summer to end.

The days are getting shorter and colder.
No one thought the first day of fall would be like this.
Pain. Confusion. Lost.
The only way to move on is remembering the other seasons before.

Madi Williams is a Junior at UWT majoring in Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. She writes here and there for fun as well as for the Tacoma Ledger. The poem titled Seasons of Life was written for her step mom who died unexpectedly in September, and writing has helped her in her mourning process. In her down time, she watches Grey’s Anatomy or True Crime with her fluffy cat.

Modern Perfection by Ashley Edliq

Author Ellen Hopkins wrote a variety of novels that address real problems facing teenagers, three of them focusing on her own daughter’s addiction to meth. Her novel, Perfect, follows four teenagers in Nevada: Cara, Sean, Kendra, and Andre. All their stories intertwine when Cara’s brother, Connor, commits suicide, and Cara is the new target of her parents’ scrutiny.

Cara is an A+ senior at a public high school, recently admitted into Stanford University in the upcoming fall, and is a cheerleader dating an attractive baseball player, Sean. Cara’s family stresses outward, public appearances. With her father being a political lobbyist and her mother maintaining the social status of the family, Cara feels just as much pressure to be perfect. Kendra is a fellow cheerleader who develops an eating disorder to continue her modeling career, which is fostered over time so she can avoid her mother’s disappointment. Kendra starts to abuse prescription painkillers to avoid gaining weight, which is further exacerbated when her agent gives her diet pills. 

Both young women personify contemporary societal pressure, familial expectations, and internal struggles that affect other young women. For a vast number of women, numbers are the definition: weight, GPA, bra size, volunteer hours, number of followers, sexual partners, among others. There is an inherent fear of disappointment and inadequacy in the family and in society, which is illustrated well with these two characters. 

In my experience, growing up with three sisters forced me to push myself past my boundaries. I would go to the gym every day for an hour or two to lose weight and stay up late into the night to push myself in school to get good grades. I was proud of my grades in high school and would constantly ask others what their GPA was in comparison. I wanted people to view me as intelligent, and praise my work ethic, regardless of how detrimental it was to my health. I relied so heavily upon numbers to define my self-worth and wanted my family to acknowledge my accomplishments with pride because I didn’t feel like my efforts or achievements were enough.

Over time, I learned to feel satisfied with my own performance, and give merit to what progress I have made in my life. The biggest driving force for this perspective change was constantly feeling so unsatisfied with my performance, and how unhappy I was feeling because I wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I was running toward a light but no matter how hard or fast or long I ran, I wouldn’t ever reach that light. I can’t chase a light, I need to create the light.

There are times when I still feel like I don’t push myself hard enough, or that I’m not smart enough, or that I don’t have my life all together like others. Right now, I keep to-do lists and mark off each box when it is complete. Rather than stressing out over what hasn’t gotten done, I spend some time reflecting on what I have completed and reassure myself that I put forth effort to deliver quality work, even if it wasn’t 100 percent. 

At the end of the book, Cara feels empowered after kissing her girlfriend at her brother’s funeral, which resonates with me because she acknowledges her own self-worth and embraces her identity as a lesbian. For me, self-worth is something I lack, and I felt inspired to recognize my own self-worth. I am working toward empowering myself to feel more comfortable in my own skin, and empowering women around me is just as important. Cara developed the strength to own her imperfections and insecurities, and even though I am not there yet, there is strength in my effort. 

Ashley Edliq is a current UWT student with a passion for politics and change. As an aspiring federal Senator, Ashley is a passionate advocate for the awareness of mental health, and the challenges that individuals face daily. Ashley takes pride in her strong ability to binge watch Netflix and deeply appreciates the effects of humor on humanity. Her personal philosophy that guides her through life, turmoil, and joy is the belief of small, incremental steps of self-growth, and self-awareness to further improve one’s satisfaction with their individual life and worth.