This letter marks one of my final acts as Sweet’s Nonfiction Editor, after being a member of the CNF team for five years. It’s the start of a new decade, and while three weeks ago everything seemed *possible*, the world and its attendant news cycle (and Twitter) have continued to spin heedless of my previous optimism. I don’t mean to be cynical. My intention is instead to call attention to the ways in which I tend to place unrealistic and arbitrary expectations on the world around me. Just because the calendar flipped doesn’t mean that anything will change.
The good news, though, is that I (we) can affect change. Sitting at a desk, typing away, sometimes feels frivolous when the world is burning, but I keep doing it because I believe in my heart of hearts that writing and art can and do make life better—not just for writers and readers but also for the people they interact with, and then the people they interact with, and so on and so on. This is what I tell myself.
I’m not going to try to define “what makes art” in the scope of this editorial letter, but here’s the truth of the matter: Writing is not guaranteed to uplift.
I don’t mean to be grim. Contained in this issue are flashes of poetry and essay that illuminated the lives of our editors and that we’d like to share with you. We are so grateful for our readers, contributors, staff, editors, admins, and board.
Let us move forward together, eyes up and open. Let us make and share art that uplifts. Let us sit at the desk and then get up from the desk and change the world.
It’s been an absolute pleasure.