There was a point during the reading period for this issue when I noticed that the list of authors whose work we had accepted was heavily dominated by women, which made sense, considering that for many, many months the world has been listening to battle stories from women, confided to friends or reporters or tagged #metoo. There have always been these stories, of course, but there has not always been the willingness to hear them. The works you see here in Volume 3 are of bold women, strong and resilient, who practically spark on the page. Dorian Kotsiopoulos’ young narrator, abused at home, stabs a pencil through her tormentor’s hand at school. In Anita Felicelli’s “The Pompeii Premise,” a graduate student blogs about the rapid gentrification of her city even as a bigoted troll lurks in the comments section. In “You Should Be Dancing,” an unassuming woman embraces a pair of platform boots before discovering a horrifying intrusion. Kyra Kondis shows us a particularly chilling view of physical power against vulnerability as a man encounters a woman camping and contemplates the thickness of the wall of her tent in the middle of the night.
I also thrilled at the works we came across that were centered on quiet moments between people, where the writers showed careful empathy, cautious acceptance, and in many cases, profound love. A truly stunning piece by Devin J. Ayers closes our issue. Poems by Kalehua Kim, Hannah Clark, and Dominika Wrozynski are also highlights, as are stories by Medhi M. Kashani and Khanh Ha, and an essay by Haley Spann.
Dehlia Ackley writes, “name everyplace you sat with your head in hands” and I find myself working these words around in my head every time I hear another story of powerlessness in the world today. And yet, to be a writer is to harness the power to amplify, even if writing alone in a quiet room. The writers in this issue sent us their stories, voices, words: an act of courage. We are honored to bring them together here, for you.