Welcome to Wordpeace’s Summer/Fall 2020 issue!
WORDPEACE is a literary journal dedicated to peace and justice.
This issue features poetry, fiction, non-fiction and artwork.
Cover art is “Quarantine” by Neumia Marin
Issue 5.3 Winter/Spring 2021 coming in February!
Submissions for Wordpeace open October 1 – November 30, 2020
and March 1 – April 30, 2021
We publish semi-annually, with submissions open in March / April (for August/Sept. publication) and October /November (for January/February publication).
Letter from the Editor:
– July 30, 2020
Birdsong and Clear Skies in the Time of Covid-19
By Lisa C. Taylor, Fiction Editor, Wordpeace
Will change happen if many fail to show up? During the sixties and seventies, protests were frequent and passionate. Activism had consequences, but it also furthered women’s rights, reproductive rights, and the end of the Vietnam War. Will today’s activism give rise to a necessary correction? Marches in the sixties and seventies were not entirely peaceful. Student protesters burned draft cards and flags and there were violent events like the Kent State massacre where four students were killed at an anti-war protest. There is a cyclic nature to unrest, ignited by social and economic marginalization combined with the ineffectiveness of government. Upheaval and change. Change and upheaval.
COVID-19 will kill a lot of people, now 104,000 and counting. It has been said that all of us will know someone who will die from it and thus our lives will be forever transformed. I think of friends and writers in my circle. Some are cancer survivors and one has a heart problem. We have family members with pre-existing conditions. We all have challenges. When I close my eyes, I visualize the people I love and will them to be safe. Sometimes I dream we will escape to a mythical somewhere untouched by this disease, and the selfishness, greed, and inequities that have become evident in its wake. But there are also great acts of generosity and courage. The Irish people recently contributed to a GoFundMe for the hard-hit Navajo Nation. It was a belated thank you (one hundred and seventy-three years later) for the help the Choctaw Nation sent to Irish who were starving during the famine. A message from an Irish donor, Pat Hayes, sent from Ireland across the ocean read: From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned! To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship. There are many stories like this. In my own community, a young teacher has raised funds to purchase and deliver groceries to families in need. Our local food cooperative donates money from each food order to an interfaith group providing assistance to the poor.
Few places will be spared, because viruses are carried over state lines. Not enough is known about the transmission. Can it live on surfaces long enough to have packages or takeout food be a danger? We err on the side of caution and wipe down mail and groceries. We wash our clothes as soon as we get home from the store and leave our shoes downstairs. I fantasize about living a country where no one goes broke from the lack of healthcare. My vote will be for equity for all races, religions, sexual and gender identities and income levels. My vote will be cast for the candidate who will begin the healing process and restore dignity and ethics to our government. I’ll vote for civility, empathy, and kindness in national decision-making.
It is my hope that this once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic will give the human race a chance to reflect. How can we make this country safer for all people? In dark times, it’s sometimes hard to remember the past breakthroughs born from tragedy and political turmoil. In winter, I forget the golden light and blossoms of summer days that stretch endlessly, a flickering of sun glimpsed through the lacework of leaves.
May this time bring us closer to a renewed belief in science, healthcare as a right, not a privilege, and education as an equalizer of opportunity. Along with us, our planet has gotten a brief respite. At night I smell bonfires and see neighbors sitting outside. In the afternoon, children ride bikes and hike with their families instead of staring at computer screens. Family dinners have made a comeback. The songbirds I mentioned are noisy and unfettered. The sky is the bluest I’ve seen.
Lisa C. Taylor is Fiction Editor of Wordpeace, poet, novelist, workshop leader and a great friend.
Note from Founding Editor, Lori Desrosiers:
Monica Hand and I founded WORDPEACE in the hope of making a difference, despite having to live our lives, care for our families, and continue writing and publishing. Monica isn’t with us anymore to see the continuation of this vision, and I miss my friend. Every issue of this journal will be dedicated to her. We are so blessed to have Monica Barron (non-fiction), Ciona Rouse (poetry), Lisa C. Taylor (fiction) and Russell Taylor (art) choosing work for the journal. We all want to stand up to indifference by publishing work that inspires people to think, in the hope that it will spur someone to activism, and, hopefully will help pave the way to kindness, sensibility, peace and social justice.
Founding Editor & Publisher, WORDPEACE.CO