The Absolute 2015 reception a night of literature and jazz

About 100 people turned out to sample original literature and smooth jazz April 30, at the annual reception for The Absolute, OCCC’s literary and art journal.

The college union room slowly filled with both students and faculty while the sounds of the Student Jazz Ensemble played in the background.

Faculty Advisor Marybeth McCauley introduced the journal’s 2015 student editors to the room before they announced this year’s award-winners.

Kylie Combs, the winner of the Critic’s Choice Award for nonfiction, was the first to be called to the stage to read her work.

Her reading of her piece, “When Colin Met Kylie,” took the audience on a personal journey filled with the right amount of darkness and humor to keep them engaged throughout the entire room. At the end of the reading, the crowd applauded while Combs worked her way back to her seat.

“I was really surprised and honored,” said Combs on being chosen as both an award winner and a reader. “And terrified, mostly terrified.”

The fear did not show as she read her essay.

One by one, the other winners were called up to the podium to accept their awards. Each of them would go on to read their piece to the audience.

Saraa Kami, winner of the Critic’s Choice Award for poetry, read about the struggles of growing up as both African-American and Native American in the U.S. The words of her piece, “Somewhere in the Middle,”drifted through the room as the audience soaked up the positive vibes.

The Critic’s Choice Award for fiction went to Stephen Huggins. Huggins, who had no background in writing, said he was actually pushed by McCauley to start. His story covered a day in the life of a U.S. Border Patrol officer. The thrilling tale kept the entire room of people on the edge of their seats.

Student editor Spencer Grant said The Absolute gives writers a good deal of literary license.

“Some of the students wrote some words that were maybe a little bit more explicit than you’d normally hear in an English class,” he said. “I think it’s good that the college could have some uncensored literature.”

The Absolute gives students the chance to channel their skills, and be rewarded in the process.

“It’s important to celebrate artists and writers,” McCauley said  “It’s nice to see how talented our OCCC community is.”

All students are encouraged to submit material to next year’s journal.

The deadline for the 2016 edition of the Absolute is Dec. 1. Submitting a piece is completely free. Simply go to the academics section on the OCCC website to find the submission form.

For more information email McCauley at or call the Division of English and Humanities at 405-682-7558

To contact Nick Kugler, email

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