Welcome to Issue 9.1

Gloria Frimpong, “Cosmos”


A Note from the Editor:

For the longest time, I felt lost inside of myself, like no one could see the real me. I knew who I was, but I was scared. Everyone always told me that I’d come into my own and that I would “find myself.” I think the more accurate way to describe that would be some sort of violent metaphor about prying open your chest and yanking the real you free. Releasing ourselves from the things that hold us back is a lot more tear-soaked and blood-stained than we are initially led to believe. It’s a process that is never truly over, that we are constantly working towards. Growth and recovery are not as linear as we would like to believe; there’s ups and downs, twists and turns. And then one day you step back and see just how far you’ve come. 

Our vision for this issue of the Rappahannock Review was to bring together works that embody this idea of personal discovery and explore identity, personality, the past, and breaking free from fear and trauma. Our editors loved how each piece did this in their own way: Lori Arden writes on an early encounter with racism in her essay “Your Father Is Chinese,” Joe Baumann presents a teenage coming-out story through the lens of magical realism in his story “Where Can I Take You When There’s Nowhere To Go,” and Stephen Scott Whitaker explores gender dysphoria through music and sound in their poem “For Gender Dysphorics, Face App Is a Portal.” We were drawn to these pieces and the others in the issue as we understood them as showing the different ways in which we all find our own path to self, recovery, and growth.

When our editors started reading this fall, we wanted pieces that left an impression and that embodied and embraced the struggles we face in life. We wanted pieces that take reality and shine a light on it through different lenses. We wanted pieces that would stick with our readers long after reading. This journal shows us so many different stories that pried open our hearts and will live within us, and we hope you enjoy reading these pieces as much as we did.

Amber Harvey, Editor in Chief