Signed, sealed, delivered, I am always yours, Iris. I hardly know how to detangle or compress my feelings into words for this letter—my final letter. All I know is that I can say that I have loved absolutely every single moment of my time with Iris, and I must say thank you.
I have worked with this magazine since my second year, beginning under the editorial leadership of the amazing Laura Hinnenkamp. Each moment since that year has only made my heart grow (I imagine it like the Grinch’s until it bursts out of the frame). I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to write and work with the most creative and wonderful writers and artists—to each of you, I am so proud to have worked with you. I must also thank Leigh Ann Carver for always being prepared to field our questions and hiccups—thank you so much for everything you have done to make this publication visible. I have so much gratitude for the creative, passionate, and lovely environment that comes with this publication and those who work on it.
One of the best things to come out of my time with the Women’s Center has been working with the wonderful Cady Rombach. I was fortunate enough to be able to write with her my first year, work with her as my editor my third year when I thought I was going to lose my entire mind, and then with her this year as my co-editor. Of course, I also have to exclaim from the mountain tops my adoration and love for our program coordinator and editor, Mary Esselman. My entire UVA experience shifted when I was given the opportunity to work with such a kind advisor and editor. Thank you so much, Mary. Mary and Cady will forever have a special stamp on my heart, and I will always cherish every single memory of us together. This year has been a dream.
And thus, I will sign, seal, and deliver to you this final issue of the year.
Katie Jane Villanueva offers us a beautiful collection of artwork featuring the faces of those around her in "A Collection of Portraits." In "10 Modern Albums I Consider to be Required Listening For Any Music Fan," Andi Sink swings us through the past decade of music (and I very much agree with her top choice being #1); Andi Sink also offers a narrative poem on growing up in "I Would've Made a Better Pirate." Juliana Callen questions the absence of infinity alongside her baking endeavors in "My Relationship with Infinity." Chloe Lyda offers two pieces this cycle, one detailing her lovely memories at UVA in "My Love Letter to Charlottesville," but also recognizes the darker elements of working with this university in "UVA Politics: “The Grim,” I Gripe."
In "Here is What I Did," Muntaqa Zaman reveals the hard process of transferring and getting to know oneself. Moon also offers us a poem on the changing and perception that occurs around personal growth in "the aftermath." Yumna Rahan questions the necessity for respect and time for oneself and a balance between labor and alone time in "When Labor and Love Meet."