When we first began reading submissions for Sweet Tree Review’s inaugural issue, we didn’t know what we would come across. Our theme or mission statement – to embrace ineffable connectivity – is broad, to say the least. This was intentional. We didn’t want to limit the writers who would be willing to reach out to us. We didn’t want to filter any of the words we could receive. We wanted stories – dark, light, simple, complex, narratives, and pictures of moments. We wanted anything that would allow us to learn about the human experience.

The first issue of Sweet Tree Review taught us about curiosity. About searching. About wanting to feel wanted.  This issue is about reaching out, open palmed, and hoping that someone will fill your hand. It is filled with the desire to connect to family, to animals, to the collection agent on the other side of the door. These stories are brutally honest in their need for connection. They break barriers and social norms. They stand on the sidewalk and watch the neighbors TV from their front lawn, for the chance to feel like part of something bigger than their own lives.

Sylvia Plath once said, “Why can’t I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which fits best and is more becoming?” Although we share Plath’s yearning, we understand that we can never truly try on different lives. That it is impossible to leave behind what we’ve learned about ourselves, about the world we inhabit. We hope that instead of trying to escape the everyday, the known, we will learn to seek out the misunderstood, the foreign, the taboo topics that force our eyes from contact. We hope that our lives will grow fuller and more complex, that our palms will no longer be empty.


With warmth and curiosity,

Hannah Newman & Jesse Ewing-Frable

Sweet Tree Review