In her recent Iris piece, “October, Let Me In,” Chloe Lyda wrote about finding comfort in not knowing where she will be in even three months’ time. Meanwhile, I feel as though I am working on a piece titled “November, Keep Me Out and Leave Me Alone.”
I have recently been reverting back to a high-school version of myself in which, around undergraduate application season, I would lie on the floor, stare at the ceiling, and play “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol on a loop for as long as it took me to fully dissociate and then come back into my body. I did the exact same thing earlier today, on my bedroom floor here at UVA (check out my rug, and you'll see the outline of my head and torso). The application process for graduate schools has left me vulnerable, tired, sensitive, and disoriented. I do not know where I will be in half a year, and by February, my chosen schools will have (in all probability) told me they do not want me. I do not feel centered or grounded anywhere, so I try to go everywhere to feel as though I am. I am finding it difficult (in a way I never have before) to figure out where and, more importantly how, to plant myself.
Location is our theme this cycle, and our brilliant writers have engaged with this topic in many different ways. Pasha McGuigan describes some of what I'm feeling, that sense of wanting to be rooted but not knowing how, in her piece, "Struggling to Stay Grounded in Fourth Year." In her poem "where you lead," Sadie Randall contemplates the longing for a place where she truly belongs. Eryn Rhodes wrestles with defining exactly where "home" is in her thoughtful piece, "I Must Say I'm from Texas." In their poem "Balikbayan Boxes," Mesina illuminates the complexities of maintaining a relationship with a home that one has left.
Yumna Rahman tells a story of unrequited--or is it?--love and longing in her beautiful piece "Nowhere." In "Elegy for Pseudotriton Ruber," Cecilia Moore reminds us that childhood was a place of wonder, as beautiful, sad, and fleeting as the red salamander. Kexuan Liu takes readers through a philosophical exercise with the mind, exploring its abilities to extend outward in "How Wide Am I? Asks the Mind."
And if all this searching for a place of your own leaves you needing a little rest, Andi Sink can help you find the best places on Grounds to catch a few zzzzzs, in her listicle "Top 4 Places to Stress-Nap at UVA (Based on Personal Experience)."
Once again, thank you so much Kim Salac for your brilliant art, which brings these incredible pieces to life. Thank you also to Cady Rombach, for heading our gifted freelance team.