Dear readers,

There is much that I want to write to you, to comfort you and reassure you that the world has not forgotten you—the Sun will always rise, the Moon still shines brightly at night, and the stars will continue to twinkle in bursts of white and yellow light when the Moon begins to wane away. I attribute so much of this deep need to be there for others in times of hardship over my own long-held fear over being abandoned; cast aside and designated to a life wandering in solitude and silence. So much of what goes into my need to hold onto kindness and gratitude and to offer solace and acceptance and a warm smile is the hunger of seeing just one welcoming face pointed in my direction. This ache, this painful longing for being wanted and needed and, most importantly, loved has shaped my memories and personhood and what makes up my epoch.

Many of my own writings stem from these feelings of loneliness and isolation, of being bullied as a child or made to feel inadequate and undeserving of friendship and love. Such feelings shouldn’t plague anyone, let alone a small child, yet if I never wandered through these childhood fears and adolescent troubles would I have turned into the person I am today? Would I have found reason to hold onto the importance of kindness as strongly as I do now, and make sure that I extort it as much as I seep it in? Would I write to you—or really, anyone—with this voice or these words? After all, I just want to treat others how I always wanted to be treated.

So much of who we are is composed of what has happened to us and who we met along the way. Our stories wrapping around those of the people we impact and the lives that we’ve changed, no matter how briefly or for how long. We are our stories, our individual and collective histories tied within one another like a many-looped bow, unable to be pulled apart without tightening even further. We are proof that the six degrees of separation phenomenon is more fact than fiction, that our words have meaning and our actions have power, and that we can change the lives of people we have never met just by stepping out of our stories into those of another.

The significance of epoch and the stories that make up who we are is, perhaps, part of the reason why this issue is our largest to date—featuring over thirty-five pieces of work by twenty-one writers and artists, all encompassing the stories that mark our lives and the lives of others, we are beyond grateful to be given the opportunity to house these works within our pages so that, they too, can become a part of our journal’s epoch.

The world may seem unkind at times, but the stories within it are not. Hold onto them. Cherish them. We, after all, are just stories in the end.

All the best,

Kanika Lawton
L’Éphémère Review