This past Thursday was the first day of autumn. This season is one that reminds us of beginnings and change—the start of the school year; the northern hemisphere’s tilt away from the sun, bringing cool relief. Yet Tampa, the nonfiction editors’ home, seems to have missed (or is ignoring) the latter suggestion. Here, the air is sweltering, sitting at 91 degrees. Here, we sit on front porches, on house steps, inside at the desk, everywhere sweating, enjoying how we are transported by the pieces in this issue away from our own September heat.
This is Sweet’s 25th issue, the beginning of our ninth year, released in the ninth month. To our delight, our managing editor decided it would be entirely devoted to nonfiction. We spent the spring and summer slowly reading and accepting essays, and only realized when compiling the issue that all the authors were women. A happy coincidence.
My first nonfiction course was wholly made up of women writers. There was something inherent and safe in our sharing, our understanding, and our writing of the world as we knew it. Similarly, in our current issue, the pieces and the writers within it are speaking to one another, overlapping in the white space and sometimes more explicitly, in their shared experiences.
In the following essays, pastoral landscapes sprawl; wild animals emerge from hiding; illness cripples the fragile body, our beings; and we follow the journey of the B blood antigen. The essays ask the hard questions: What does it mean to be a person on this earth? How do we do it well? These pieces are about survival, what happens when the body breaks, and the efforts of piecing ourselves back together with found treasures and attempts at answers. Come with us.
— Annalise Mabe and Alysia Sawchyn, Nonfiction Editors