Letter From the Editor
Art by Kim Salac
Do you talk to yourself? I do, every day. If I had a text conversation with my own mind, it’d always be at the top of my iMessage list. I’d never thought about it, really, until the idea of the internal monologue began making headlines and, subsequently, making its way into many of my (interpersonal) conversations. When it came up over a recent family meal, I was shocked to learn that this sort of solo discussion isn’t a universal experience.
Sometimes, if I make a silly mistake, I remark to myself, “Ugh, what was that?” Or, if I’m distracted and need to get back to that homework I’ve pushed off for the umpteenth hour, I try to motivate myself with a classic, “The sooner I start, the sooner it’s over.” I use full sentences, as if I’m talking to a friend, but the only ones present are me, myself, and I. It’s therapeutic, as a relatively introverted person, to feel the company of my own thoughts.
All of this raises the question: if I spend so much of my time thinking thoughts that never get expressed aloud, what else does the internal monologue leave unsaid? In this volume of Iris, we shine our spotlight on the silent soliloquy. Among its accompanying pages, we magnify the words floating around the minds of our writers — those which might otherwise never be shared aloud.
In Autumn Confessions of a Part-Time Retail Clerk, Lexi Toufas sheds a customer service smile to reveal her truest thoughts during customer encounters. Then, in Zoom Farewell, Juliana Callen divulges the one thing she can’t get off her mind: the awkward, artificial phenomenon of virtually waving goodbye.
As she considers her heritage and her purpose in On Birth Names & Birthrights, Lulu Jastaniah reminds visitors of her thoughts, “I do it with barrels of oil on my back and diaspora on my mind.” In Two Poems by Cathartes Aura, readers are welcomed into an unfiltered mind that longs for love; one which admits greed in the same mouthful as it reminds itself, “There is no hurry or worry.”
Some of our writers, rather than convey their own, help others’ nestled thoughts flee the nest. Chloe Lyda collects anecdotes of endearment and looks to answer an ever-present question in What is Love? I Asked a Few People. Finally, through interviews grounded in lived experience, Sadie Randall explores the unique dynamic of only-child, single-parent relationships in Alone Together.
Perhaps you have your own internal monologue that runs all hours of the day, or perhaps you don't. Whatever the case, this edition of Iris explores the unverbalized words of writers who are curious, introspective, and amused. Here, we offer a penny for your thoughts, in whatever form they may come — from the paltry to the profound.