Volume 16 is up!

Hello fellow Catalyst enthusiasts!

Volume 16 is up and ready to read! This semester we had some really awesome submissions, and it was hard to narrow it down! Be sure to check out the current issue, under the “Current Issue” tab on the home page.

Stay creative and have a great summer!


Prompt: What if?

Hey everyone!

Hope you guys had an awesome spring break, and maybe took some time to write or draw or take some pictures and sent them our way!  Anyway, the deadline for submissions is fast approaching, so The Catalyst Team has come up with another prompt for any you who may still stuck on what to do.

What if…it’s a simple question, but one that lingers in the back of your mind.

What if you had studied harder?

What if you hadn’t let her/him walk away?

What if you had said something?

What if we could understand animals?

What if we lived on another planet?

Take one of these questions or create your own ‘what if’, and see where it takes you.

Please feel free to submit any writing or artwork to catalyst@uwlax.edu


-The Catalyst Team

The Catalyst is now on Facebook!

We are excited about this new addition to Catalyst and will be posting content about once per week. To start, our posts will alternate between writing prompts and Writer Close-Ups, videos of previous Catalyst authors reciting their work.

We will start this week with a prompt:

The year is 2070 and your family is gathered in your home. Your children and their spouses are sitting on sofas while your grandchildren are seated on the floor in front of where you are seated in your favorite armchair. The younger ones are begging for you to tell them a story about when you were their age. A little girl asks how you fell in love. One older boy asks how you came to be so wise. Your children want to hear a retelling of a memorable family moment. What story would you tell your audience?

Please feel free to submit your writing to catalyst@uwlax.edu.

Happy writing!


Now Accepting Submissions!

Hello UW-L students! The Catalyst is now accepting submissions for the spring semester.


This semester The Catalyst is trying something new. We do not have a theme, but we will be posting prompts throughout the semester to help inspire your writing, photography, artwork, etc.

We look forward to your submissions!

Volume 15 is up!

Hello students!

Volume 15 is up and ready to read! This semester we had some really great submissions, and it was a lot of fun to read them all! Be sure to check out the current issue, under the “Current Issue” tab on the home page.

In other news, our Editor-in-Chief, Haley McCullough, graduated on December 18th, 2016! We wish her well on her new adventures!

Abby Barickman’s Poem

Please enjoy Abby Barickman’s poem, “You Love Me, Right?”

Abby says,

I wrote this poem because it’s exactly how I felt and what was going on in my life. I was in a bad relationship, that I now know was abusive, for way too long. That might sound odd, but I really didn’t know it was abusive. I knew that I got hit and that I wasn’t always treated with respect, but I never once thought of him as an abuser or myself as a victim. I rationalized that he just had a temper and that, like he always said, he just loved me too much. I used to think that if someone was abusing me, I would not only leave, but I would hate them. Unfortunately, that is not at all how it happened. After a sequence of events that basically forced me to, I left. But I didn’t hate him. I still don’t. Instead of feeling empowered and good like everyone told me I would, I felt lonely and low. I missed him and I knew that I shouldn’t. I actually missed the abuse, the highs and lows. It was like I’d become addicted it. I was conflicted and hurt and embarrassed by those feelings. They bled into all other aspects of my life. I didn’t understand how I could still love and want this person that did all of these terrible things to me. I was too ashamed to talk to anyone about it, so I wrote instead.”
Abby Barickman is a 23 year old waitress. After taking a few years off, she is trying college for the second time, hoping to graduate next fall with a degree in Communication Studies and an emphasis in Interpersonal Communication. She wants to work in a domestic violence shelter after graduation, helping others who find themselves in situations like she did. Abby enjoys painting, reading and spending time with family and friends.

James Groh- I’m Fine

Check out a sweet video one of our contributors, James Groh, made for his piece, “I’m Fine”.

James Groh is a recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Biomedical Concentration in addition to Minors in Chemistry and Creative Writing. Currently, he is attending graduate school at the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where he is focusing on epidemiology as well as the social determinants of health.

Writing has always been a part of his life, offering an escape, a release, and a way to understand who he am and the world around him. “I’m Fine” represents the thought process of a person who is inside their own head and cannot get out. Trapped by their own thinking, the speaker attempts to distract themselves, knowing that they are overanalyzing their thoughts, but they cannot stop the racing thoughts in their mind.

“Initially, this poem started off as a note that I wrote when I myself was inside my head as a way to process what I was thinking about. I didn’t come back to the note until a few months later when I was looking for inspiration to write a poem. From the original note I broke it up into different fragments from which I edited and expanded upon. Many of these fragments were broad, overarching thoughts that did not connect to one another. In order to connect them I focused on incorporating specific images that make the poem more tangible. Earlier drafts of the poem varied greatly in form. Form is my favorite aspect of a poem to experiment with. I chose one continuous stanza controlled by minimal punctuation to parallel the motion of chaotic thought.” -James Groh

Web Exclusive: Charleton Skinner, “Silent Conversation”

As a way of saying “Happy Summer!” The Catalyst invites you to spend some time indoors with writer / creator Charelton Skinner.

Of “Silent Conversation,” Charleton writes: “My aim is  to represent communication. I had telepathy in mind which sounds like hocus-pocus to some people, but to me, there is something to it. Effective communication happens when I predict you and you predict me. There are many muscles in our faces. All those little muscles move and shape you and me depending on what we’re thinking and feeling. In our micro-expressions there is a wealth of hints, so pay close attention. You might not have to say anything if I look into your face. I can guess and you can say yes with your eyes. In the end it’s 50/50. We can only say yes or no.”

Charleton Skinner graduated in 2016 with an English literature major and creative writing minor. He thinks of religion as the misplaced worship of our most adored object, the sun.

Spring 2016 Issue Is Up!

Volume 14 of The Catalyst has arrived, featuring a fresh spring scent, unrecognizable bird songs, and blossoms on the vine. And also:

Art and photography by: Jordy Schmidt, Elise Burns, Dahli Durley, Danielle Nolden, Allison Johnson, Kaitlyn Kaufenberg, Elizabeth Brown, Danielle VanBrabant, Abigail Voye, and Nhouchee Yang.

Prose and Poetry by: Joshua Jarrett, Madison Haus, Libbie Miller, Abby Barickman, Christina Griffin, James Groh, Elizabeth Brown, Fue Yang, Brooklyn Massey, Jennifer Surber, Jennifer Morales, Mikayla Peters, Kyndra Rothermel, and Jill Sisson Quinn.

Watch for more web exclusives over the summer months, and stay tuned for the announcement of the fall issue’s theme and deadlines. Enjoy!