Fall 2022 Issue Letter From the Editors

black ceramic cup with smoke above in fall
Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com

Dear Readers,

We couldn’t be more delighted to bring you this magical Fall Issue! Making the switch to issue-based publishing has given us a new kind of space to foster a truly collaborative, community-building writing process. Keep reading to see what we’ve brewed up for you!

During the last several weeks, we’ve been moved to tears and laughter as we worked with our writers to discuss, edit, revise, and explore complex debates about power and culture. While every story here is unique, spanning multiple generations and continents, each of the five writers featured in this issue brings an important mix of personal and political revelations. 

Once again, we didn’t go into the selection or editing process with any particular themes in mind, but common threads emerged on their own. Fall is traditionally a time of reflection, when the veil between past and present, living and dead, is its thinnest. Those of us in more northern regions pull sweaters and wool socks out the back of drawers, watch leaves turn vivid and drop, and start craving giant mugs of tea. 

So it seems very appropriate that the authors in this issue reflect on versions of their past selves, past relationships, past outfits and hairstyles to understand how they formed the person writing today. 

Iris Cross’s essay, “Afros, Braids, Cornrows: Embracing the ABC of my Kinky Hair” shows how intergenerational and cross-cultural debates about hair in Trinidad and Tobago shaped her politics and her style. Similarly, Christina Owens, a Dismantle veteran, used a late-pandemic journey through her closet to reflect on the relationship between her clothes, her biography, and the very idea of the self in “A Post-Lockdown Wardrobe Experiment & the Mix-and-Match Story of Myself.”

On Thrifting, Body Dysmorphia and Breaking Fast Fashion’s Vicious Cycle” by our editorial intern hvnly reflects on how fast fashion has impacted both her personal psyche and the world—and the work she’s done to break multiple vicious cycles. In a similar vein, Nora Medhat’s “This Is Your Brain on Taffeta” offers a history of her fraught relationship with fabric, showing how a later-in-life autism diagnosis has made her think differently about clothing and shopping.

Finally, in a work that is haunting in every beautiful sense of the word, Amber Brown explains how her role as “Keeper of the Photos” spurred a new way to process grief and loss after her mother’s death in 2018.

Thanks to hvnly, for her thoughtful, eagle-eyed contributions to the editing process and for being a wonderful part of this journey. Having you with us makes this all even more enjoyable! And thanks to our writers for their brilliance and tenacity. Last, but certainly not least, we’re sending a huge, never-ending thank you to our Patreon supporters, without whom none of this would exist. (By the way, we’re only a few dollars from a major goal of $500.00/month. If you like what we’re doing, please consider supporting us!)

Now go grab your biggest mug and start reading!

Sara and Elise

PS Writers, scholars and advanced professionals should check out “Dear Academics and Experts, Public Writing Doesn’t Mean ‘Dumbed Down’,” the second installment of our writing advice series. If you’re interested in learning how to share your expert knowledge with the wider world, check out our Your Public Voice workshop here.

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