Letter from the Editor: the Story of Iris

Letter from the Editor: the Story of Iris

Judy Zhao
Media Staff

Dear Iris Reader,

This issue, we are telling the "Story of Iris," which is to say we are telling the story of the writers behind Iris. We paired our writers together to write pieces about each other, for sometimes the truest reflection of ourselves is the one refracted through someone else’s eye. 

Our issue opens with Cassie Dallas interview, “Getting Personal (and Political) With Eryn Rhodes” about a rising political powerhouse, who we all expect to be running the country in ten years tops. Eryn Rhodes carries on the torch, with her piece “Jordan Coleman Loves Fantasy and Practicing Vulnerability, and Other Things you Should Know about the Iris Author,” where they talk about the power of emotionality and practice of building closeness to your writing. 

Next, Jordan Coleman tells us about Susannah Baker in her piece “Sisterhood Echoed Through Creative Solidarity,” where they build intimacy and sisterhood with each other as writers, and as friends. Susannah Baker livens up our issue with her interactive piece, “The Bailey Middleton Playlist,” that beckons you to listen to Bailey’s own recommendations for every stage of life. 

In her own piece “A Storyteller’s Story: The Artistry of Caroline Silvera,” Bailey Middleton weaves her own tale about a new, yet prolific, writer on the scene. Caroline Silvera tells us about Cassie Dallas’ wit, humor, and lyricism in her piece “Deconstructing Beauty Standards, Disney Channel Original Movies, and More: A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Cassie Dallas’ Artistry.” 

Miriella Jiffar also paints a portrait of a future household authorial name in her profile, “Meet Lindsey Smith: Raconteur, Spinner of Tales, Storyteller.” Lindsey Smith stands back in awe of a woman who does everything under the sun and more in her piece, “Miriella Jiffar Doesn’t Want Coffee, She Wants to Connect.”

In “Cheyenne Butler: Miss Twenty Something Helps Us Navigate the World and the Mysterious Orange Juice,” Ella Powell reflects on their diverging writing processes and shared sources of inspiration. While in “20 Minutes With Ella Powell,” Cheyenne Butler helps Ella reminisce upon her writing journey, as she looks to the future with hopeful eyes that her writing will take her far—and it surely will. 

Mary Esselman takes us right up to the finish line with her piece "The Story of Jasmine (as told by and to Iris)," a lovingly painted collage of my words and of others. The issue closes with my own interview, “A Love Letter to Mary Esselman: the Girl and the Fish”—a piece about the unsung hero of Iris, our program coordinator, editor extraordinaire, and self-described steward of Iris, Mary Esselman. 

Reading all these pieces, I fell in love with Iris again. The chemistry of our team is underpinned by a true sense of respect, admiration, and love. It reminded me of how lucky I am to work with them and read their stories week after week. Thank you also to Miriella, Mary, Leigh Ann, Smritee, and the social media team for weaving together the story book that is Iris. There truly is no other place like it, and I am so grateful to have found my way here. 

If you have found your way here too, Iris reader, by chance or by choice, I ask that you please stay a moment. Soak in this moment, with all these incredible writers standing together, linked by their writing. This is history. This is Iris. 

With all my love,

Jasmine <3