Welcome to Issue 4.1

A Note From the Editor:

       When I was eight, I began to experience panic attacks whenever my family and I flew anywhere. I didn’t like the uncertainty of being suspended thousands of feet in the air. On the nights before each trip, I would stay up shaking and crying, fixated on all the possible ways the plane could crash. Once at the airport, I would huddle in the seats of the terminal and make one last plea to my parents to let me stay home. As a distraction, my mom began taking me to the airports’ book stores. As eight turned into twelve and twelve turned in eighteen, each trip on a plane was accompanied with shortness of breath but also something to read. I would curl into the terminal’s seats, still nervous, but this time more preoccupied with the next pages of a novel. I ignored take-off announcements in exchange for written sentences and made it a goal to finish a book before we landed.

       At twenty-two, I am able to fly alone without panicking, but there is always a book tucked into my carry on bag and essays saved to my phone. I can now walk to the gates without trembling, but there is a different shakiness inside me, inside my country, inside the world. There is a feeling of impending danger in many of us, a feeling that will last longer than a six hour flight.

       This year, as summer bled into fall, my anchor has been the writing of Rappahannock Review’s authors. Each day I sat with my roommates to watch, read, and discuss the news. At some point during every conversation, I would slip away into my room, turn on my desk lamp and begin to read submissions. There, I found consistency in well crafted prose and lines of poetry. Our issue covers a variety of topics, some heavier than others. In a time when many of us experienced uncertainty and fear, the work we often connected to articulated those emotions. For this issue, we have selected pieces that explore loss, identity, and grief. We have also selected work that explores love, independence, and happiness, perhaps as a reminder of the brightness still in the world. I believe the variety in this issue is what makes it not only strong, but especially relevant today.

       We turn to the news for information, but we turn to literature sometimes for comfort, sometimes to have our perceptions shifted, and sometimes as a sublime distraction from the world outside our windows. In this season of uncertainty, there are still poems. There are still stories. There is still art. Perhaps alone they may not be enough to bandage together the deep wounds of our world, but they are a beginning. In this issue of Rappahannock Review, I hope our readers can find a place to lean on when everything is shaking.

Colleen Cosgriff, Editor in Chief