Letter from the Editor: Present

Letter from the Editor: Present

Judy Zhao
Media Staff

Dear Beloved Reader,

As the semester draws to a close, I have not only been looking forward in anticipation of frightening finals and a relaxing release, but also backwards in reflection of a tumultuous yet thrilling semester. Even as half of my third year is almost over (oh god), my friends and I never fail to remark how startled each semester flies by. But even as time slips through the cracks of our fingers, I am quick to lick up the sticky memories that cling to my palms, savoring each moment as though it may be the last. 

So, in this issue, we asked our writers to not only grasp at that fleeting thread of time, but to also think of the generosity that both this holiday season and the present moment gift us. Bailey Middleton opens our issue with her piece “Letters to Strangers,” thanking these strangers for all their small acts of kindness. 

Ella Powell continues the holiday sentiment of appreciation with her piece “My Thanksgiving Spread of Gratitude,” where she displays a feast of joy and gratefulness. Susannah Baker also thinks of sources of happiness during family reunions in her movie review “Redeeming Thanksgiving: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. One of the few Thanksgiving films, the Bakers have a tradition of watching it every Thanksgiving, and maybe after reading her piece, your family will too. 

In “Homemade Gifts for Home-Made Love,” Caroline Silvera also tells us about a family tradition, where they show their love and gratitude for one another through handmade gifts. Cheyenne Butler also thinks of gifts, but ones fueled by disdain in her slapstick list “7 Gifts to Give People You Hate: UVA Student Edition.” Make sure you’re taking notes! ;) 

In “Flowers of my Windowsill,” freelancer Emily Miller also thinks about gifts that she’s received, namely the anthuriums her boyfriend gave her. She explores those anthuriums as a symbol of their relationship—past, present, and future—fiddling with temporality. Jordan Coleman also thinks about her loved ones in her piece “Love Letters to Lexi on His Birthday.” Though he cannot read, she writes to her dearest cat Lexington, pouring out her doting devotion. 

Cassie Dallas also thinks of love, but self-love, in her poem “Love Yourself in Every Language,” where she internalizes the five well-known love languages—words of affirmation, gift giving, physical touch, acts of service, and quality time. Lindsey Smith’s “5 Ways (that have worked for me) to Stay Present During Finals Season” serves as another reminder to love and prioritize yourself as finals loom over us with tips and tricks on how to do so. 

To close our issue, Eryn Rhodes whisks us to the past to imagine a fashion-forward future in “Question for a flapper: Can my bar clothes be feminist, too?” In her piece about fashion politics through the ages, she wonders who determines what is feminist and whether or not we should arrive at our own definitions of feminism.

To my writers and artists, you all are amazing and can you BELIEVE we’ve made it through a whole semester already!! I hope you flip through your past work and beam at the beauty of your own creations. You all inspire me, and I feel so lucky to read your writing each week. Thank you also to Mary, Miriella, Leigh Ann, and Smritee for all of your tireless behind-the-scenes work, pulling the strings like clockwork so that the show runs seamlessly. And finally, thank you, reader, for tuning in despite the chaos. I hope Iris can always be a refuge, a hiding place from the storm or lighthouse in rough waters. And remember, to take a deep breath. You got this, I believe in you. :) Safe travels and Happy Holidays, dear reader!

With all my love,