Welcome to Issue 5.1

Featured Artist: Rodrigo Oñate, Flora y Fauna #6

A Note From the Editor:

A few years ago, my dad and I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the days between Christmas and New Year’s. What should have been a four-mile hike turned into a ten-mile journey that was almost entirely uphill. The best memories of that day are of trying to cross an icy river without falling in and the last thousand-foot, uphill trek that my dad cheerfully encouraged me through. We hadn’t talked much during the hike, but we hadn’t needed to. As I fell asleep in the car on the highway back, the white noise lulled me into a quiet sleep. Then my dad screamed and slammed on the brakes. I opened my eyes in a panic to see my dad filming me with his iPhone in a poor attempt to recreate the popular pranks on YouTube. I started sobbing. I had been in a major car accident at age seventeen, and a few months prior, two of my closest friends were the only survivors in a car of five people in an accident on the highway. The rest of the car ride was awkward and my dad and I ate McChickens in a parking lot and talked things out. I remember that hike fondly, but I can’t forget the prank my dad thought was okay. We overcame that moment, even if it was through silence and chicken sandwiches.

Thinking back on that moment, I realize that even our fondest memories have sad moments within them. Even our most perfect memories come to an end. In any journal that draws upon real moments and emotions, not every piece can be happy. My vision coming into this journal was to find pieces that were beautiful on the surface, but held other meanings that you had to search for by reading them more than once. The pieces we selected for this issue reflect on the bittersweet moments we experience in our lives that stick with us.

The pieces we chose also have a theme of overcoming, and Issue 5.1 represents that theme in more ways than one. Many of the pieces we’ve selected involve overcoming some kind of dilemma. From a grieving widow finding support and family in strange places in Anthony Ausiello’s story “Curves of the Letter S,” to another mythical look at overcoming loss in Jonathon Duckworth’s poem “The Moon is a Grave of Feathers,” the pieces in this issue reflect the complexity of our experiences and the importance of community and connection in our lives. We even see an encouragement to take action to overcome the circumstances of today’s world in Gail Giewont’s “At the Wall.” In order to overcome, sometimes we need help, and the pieces reflect that.

As Editor in Chief, I have to thank all the people that helped make this issue come to life, including the amazing editorial team here at the Rappahannock Review for supporting each other and doing such a wonderful job in the making of this issue. For Issue 5.1, we made many changes, including introducing a revamped website and fabulous cover art by Rodrigo Oñate. We hope you enjoy the new look and the new issue. Thank you for your support and readership.

Jenna DeSteph, Editor in Chief