Delta student wins two local writing awards

By Jessica Sierocki, co-editor-in-chief.

UNIVERSITY CENTER – Delta student and writer extraordinaire Jack Rechsteiner won first place in two categories in the local The Liberal Arts Network Development Writing Contest. The LAND Contest gives Michigan writers the opportunity to compete against their peers in categories such as essay, fiction and poetry.

Rechsteiner was shocked to learn he had not only placed first in the essay category with his piece “excerpts of things” but stole the show in the poetry category with “The Difference Between Stillness and Dancing.”

“I had submitted to both categories because I was hoping that if I didn’t win one category then I’d still have a chance for the other. I was entirely surprised when I learned I won both,” says Rechsteiner.

Writing has been a large part of Rechsteiner’s life ever since he was a child.

“Ever since I was young I loved reading and writing. Over the years that just turned into a part of my life that I couldn’t do without. Somewhere along the way I just realized that being a writer was a large part of my identity,” says Rechsteiner.

He continues to write professionally as a reporter and managing editor for the Delta Collegiate. Rechsteiner’s love of the written word has expanded into his future career as he pursues a degree in Linguistics.

“I’m pursuing Linguistics because it’s a field that combines my love of language and words with the way that people and cultures interact with language,” says Rechsteiner.

He entered the LAND Contest used the contest as motivation to complete a writing project he has worked on for a long period of time.

“I’ve been working on putting together a poetry and writing chapbook over the past few years now. It’s nearly finished so I’ve been starting to send different excerpts of it to different publications in hopes of getting some momentum,” says Rechsteiner.

Other LAND contest winners in the three categories include:

Alanna Wojnaroski – Essay second place

Tory Miner – Essay honorable mention

Emily Cherry – Fiction first place

Forrest Parsch – Fiction second place

Sam Rechsteiner – Poetry Second Place

All first and second place winners have their pieces sent to the state competition for another chance at a cash prize. The statewide winners will be announced at a reception in Muskegon Feb. 23.

Rechsteiner has hopes that his hard work will pay off as his pieces head to judging on the state level.

“I’m extremely honored that the judges thought my works were good enough to take those places. I’m hoping that they do just as well at the state competition too,” says Rechsteiner.


The Difference Between Stillness and Dancing

By Jack Rechsteiner


A triangle is the strongest shape that nature knows.

Thicken one side, now you have a delta.

A delta represents change, change like a river into a mouth (the Mississippi Delta is known for it’s cotton and it’s blues music.)


Delta is the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet.

You take the triangle and prefer one side to the others.

What was three is now also four.

This is a type of strength.


Dig into your skin, lay ink underneath, leave a triangle against your heel.

Now you walk on top of the strongest that nature knows.

Take ink, now mixed with blood or sweat or blues music, and dig into one side you prefer.

Every step you now take is change.

Every choice is still new in each movement.


For us, there is only trying.

The lights are extinguished so that the shape of the stage may change.

With a movement of darkness on darkness, you are here and there and elsewhere.

Three steps, but the audience is demanding a fourth.

It’s blues, it’s blood, it’s a waltz


excerpts of things

By Jack Rechsteiner

I read once somewhere, or maybe I made it up and only thought I read it, that for a lot of jigsaw puzzle kits that you can buy at the store, once you finish ringing through the self checkout line avoiding the eyes of anyone else standing nearby who are also avoiding your eyes and make it home to your watermarked kitchen table underneath the one light in the house that really gives off that soft light that you can’t describe to anyone else why it’s your favorite type of soft light, and maybe you can’t even describe it to yourself and chose this spot unconsciously for your kitchen table which incidentally then became the location of the next puzzle in your life, however this jigsaw is a lot more literal than the figurative ones that have led to you having this kitchen table in this home with this puzzle purchase in the city that you visited the supermarket in.

But I read once somewhere, or I think I did, that a lot of these jigsaw puzzle kits use the same pre-cut configurations to mold their pieces out of cardboard. That way, unintentionally or maybe in a grander scheme of things it was an unknown universal intention, the pieces from your 500 piece Ravensburger Riverside Cottages puzzle are interchangeable  with the components of the slightly larger 1,000 pc. Monet imitation of different floral watercolors. You can spread all these bits of cardboard out in front of you, next to the dishes from dinner that you haven’t had the energy to wash yet, and start fitting them together with puzzle pieces cast from the same paper cutting factory. And as you start lining up the different tabs and interlocking pieces together, you start to wonder about people and about yourself. As you place one of those fake Monet lilies right where the door of the oak cottage should go, you wonder how many pieces of people may be cast from the same mold and if they ever connect together to form a picture that fits, but isn’t quite perfect. You feel bad thinking about people as interchangeable in each other’s lives, because that’s not the point you’re trying to get across to yourself under the light of your favorite light at your kitchen table, but you’re just curious why it seems that so many other people find it easy to figure out where in the picture they lay even if it may not be the happiest or most pleasing to look at. You wonder, then, if you’ve been shopping for jigsaw puzzle kits at the wrong supermarket, solving them at the wrong kitchen table, having these thoughts in the wrong town, but not under the wrong kitchen light because at least in all of the wonder and worry, you do know that you have comfort in having an indescribable love for something that doesn’t even make sense to yourself. If there are so many beautiful pictures coming together from the same seeming place, why is it so hard for you to find one where it’s easy for you to fit?

How long have you been thinking these things? Why is your mind fixated on that damned kitchen light? Why do you keep returning to the same places? Why can’t you remember what any of the other people at the supermarket looked like? Do you always choose the self checkout lane and why can’t you remember the answer to that? Why do you keep returning to the same places? Are you afraid of people? Are you going to remember these thoughts in the morning? I don’t know. I read that somewhere, or at least I think I did.

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