Photo by Xena Coleman
During the publication of this issue, the world is in the middle of its worst health crisis since 1918 and its worst economic crisis since 1933. In America, protests against institutional racism and police brutality have swept across the entire country, often to be met by unaccountable state-sanctioned violence, and a presidential election that should be a referendum on the incompetent and hateful regime currently in the White House is just five months away. We are surrounded by death, anger, and fear. And it is very possible this will all get worse.
Given this climate for writers in 2020, being creative often seems impossible. The ability to sit in a chair and imagine a world on the page for the purpose of entertainment, engagement, and exploration of the ideas and feelings that gives our lives meaning seems, well, superhuman. Yet, this issue of Story is filled with people who have done just that. They believe—just as we and I hope you too believe—that our words, our stories, and the people within those stories matter.
This issue features Anne Elliott, the winner of our inaugural Story Foundation Prize, and her prize-winning story “Night Watch.” In this story, Jules, an adjunct art professor, travels to Amsterdam to see the Dutch masters’ work with her own eyes. The relationships between women throughout the story are striking, and Jules arrives at a fascinating place of self-awareness and acceptance only when her vision of both art and her world shift in the most subtle of ways. We are proud to showcase this unforgettable story, alongside eleven other authors whose writing continues to fill us with delight and surprise.
Separate from the political upheaval of the nation, the last few months have been good to Story. We continue to find new readers and subscribers, and champion new and emerging writers in our magazine. An internship program with Denison University, located just a few miles east of us, is in a pilot stage, bringing in a new group of young men and women to literary magazines. Our state and city arts councils have provided support, and work from our previous issues (“Something Street” by Carolyn Ferrell) has been selected for the forthcoming editions of Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. We are proud of the work we have done, and despite all odds, hopeful for our future and for each other.