Readers, we live in an uncertain time. Yesterday, while driving to pick up a prescription, I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. I felt exposed, vulnerable. The cars around me seemed to move too fast and too close. And while everything around us does indeed feel uncertain and dangerous, I feel certain that writing and reading can act as a temporary remedy.
While keeping to my home for the past few months, I found myself drawn toward the act of re-reading. I found it difficult to focus on anything new, as my life in my home constantly felt like the same day over and over again. I woke with the sun, changed into my daytime pajamas, and before I knew it, I was preparing for sleep. Re-reading allowed me to remember who I was in the Before. I felt past and present converge. I was reminded that one day, this will be in the past. This will not last forever.
Readers, no amount of writing or reading has eliminated worry from my life; however, I do feel hopeful.
The essays and poems in this issue bring me hope. They were chosen before everything felt so uncertain, but I do feel certain that they will also bring hope to you and yours. Our Flash Essay Contest Winner Jason Huff writes in “Animagraphy” about sharing pieces of our souls in photography, and I am certain you will find a piece of yourself while reading his essay, as well as the essays from finalists Jennifer Smith Gray and Debra Gwartney. Sharing them with you feels a bit like showing you part of me, part of us.
My wish is, as you read the essays and poems in this issue, you temporarily find yourself transported to a place of hope. When everything around us feels as though it’s moving too fast or too close, I hope you remember to pause. I hope you find yourself reaching toward Sweet during these moments, toward those you love, and inward toward yourself. We are here with you.