Welcome to Issue 11.1

“Silent Marble” by Shayna Bruce

 A Note from the Editor:

Give me deep truth, even when it hurts. I, at the end of the day, want to be changed in some way by what I read. I want to be called more deeply into seeing myself or others more clearly and with more compassion. I want art to open up a perspective for me that I didn’t have before. Our editors offer you this compilation of deeply personal, revelatory, emotive, and vulnerable truth.

This uncomfortable truth-telling makes itself clear throughout the works in the Rappahannock Review. To give you a little taste of what you’ll find in this issue, I’d like to share some pieces that crystallize this truth song for me. Caroline Fox’s “Flush” connects us to the human experience of loving an ideal and the disappointment when idealism crumbles into reality through dreamy and finely executed symbols. In “Infinity” by Michael McCarthy, we find the revelation of pain in achingly poignant alliteration. Lucia Trujillo speaks the bright, cutting truth of her experiences with bias and culture in “I Look, I Speak.” Lastly, Persephone King’s “Sicko” gifts us a glimpse into the bitter anger and dark humor of contemplating one’s mortality without gaslighting oneself. You’ll find many of these works offer you a mirror or a new lens.

When we began the work on this edition, I had some fairly fixed ideas about the curation of a collective work. I was challenged to assess my ideas about which works to include. The process of allowing the tone and theme of this edition to reveal itself changed me. I began to trust the creative chaos and the harmony that is cultivated with mutual respect and attention to what that collective was singing through us. I learned from the submissions sent to us and my colleagues to be more honest, to hold space for differences, and to allow what wants to come into being to be born, instead of imposing my will on the process. I am grateful for our editors and their hard work in bringing this to you.

Humans have a deep need to share themselves, their insights, and their experience through art, as a way to connect and find a home for their authenticity in others’ psyches. The created and curated persona demanded from social media has awakened a hunger for what is real, what is so true it hurts. In response to this hunger, the artist reveals, and in so doing, shows us more of our shared humanity. In light of this, don’t miss the interviews of our contributors, because they’re every bit as fascinating as the published pieces.

I am honored to transfer these tales and songs of deep truth into your open hands. I ask only that you hold such vulnerability with reverence and compassion.

Melissa Naiad White, Editor in Chief