This has been a trying year for many. It has pushed us, ridiculed us, tried to tell us that we didn’t belong. It has shown us hate, berated us with tragedy. It has exposed the underbelly of a battle we didn’t know was so large. In the dark moments of the last year, one thing has remained consistent – art. Words. The attempt to connect over the most basic feelings and desires.

Even in recent months, when it has felt as though the world is upside down, you have sent us your stories. You have shown us your hurts. Your vulnerabilities. You have given us the power of together.  

As we enter this new year, as we begin again, it is now that this effort matters most. It is now that we must fight harder, with more of ourselves on the line than we knew we could give. It is now that we risk it all. 

Maya Angelou once wrote, 

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high
Still I’ll rise.

This issue is about beginning. It is about the person we become after tragedy. It is about the reevaluation of the self. These authors ask the hard questions. They demand resilience and progress in the presence of adversity. They ask for more, always more. 

We hope this issue reminds you of the work that can be done with words; of the power of written truths; of the importance of art.


With warmth, 

Hannah Newman & Jesse Ewing-Frable
Sweet Tree Review