Letter from the Editor: The Unexpected

Letter from the Editor: The Unexpected

Judy Zhao
Media Staff

Dear Beloved Reader, 

I am no stranger to the Unexpected. In fact, we are now old friends, but we weren’t always so friendly. 

I was nine the first time we met face-to-face. I had just walked home from the school bus stop and my parents’ cars were curiously already in the driveway. As I opened the front door, my parents called me into the kitchen.

They had big news for me—we were moving to the U.S. 

And suddenly, the Unexpected appeared sitting slyly at the kitchen table, lurking in the background of our conversation with a mischievous grin. I remember hesitating at the twinkle in the Unexpected’s eye. It was suspicious, unpredictable. 

From then on, as we moved to the US, the Unexpected trailed after me. Every day, every turn, every move of mine was met with an incalculable result. I tried my best to resist the pull of the Unexpected. After all, I never wanted to move to the U.S. 

I wanted to stay in my childhood home with the walls that I had colored, the familiar creaky stairs, and our eerie basement (that was definitely haunted). I wanted to stay in my childhood neighborhood with the park around the corner and the ancient scraggly terrier who lived in the corner house. I wanted to stay surrounded by all the comforts of home. 

Though we only moved from Canada, a country culturally similar to the States, I still felt suddenly launched into a Twilight Zone, submerged into a familiar unfamiliarity. Every day I felt half-awake, half-asleep. We were transported to a liminal dream space, navigating our new life in the States was like trudging through a constant fog. It was as though you should know what to do, should know how to react, should know how to be—but we never quite did know. 

I felt helpless and alone. 

At nine years old, I was struggling to renegotiate what it means to lose home and potentially never find it again. 

But soon, with time and lots of embarrassment, I gradually acculturated to our new life in the States. Our new house didn’t have colored walls or creaky stairs, but it still had an equally eerie basement—as every good basement is. Our new neighborhood didn’t have an ancient scraggly terrier, but it had an adorable spaniel who had the softest ears that lived across the street. 

I found new things to love, and while there are still some things I miss from my home in Canada, I am proud to know that I can build a home anywhere. Gradually, my resentment and discontent towards the Unexpected, turned to apathy, and eventually appreciation for injecting novelty and spontaneity into the fabric of my life. 

The Unexpected opens a new world of vast infinity, where the known meets the unknown and the predictable meets the unpredictable. It is a space where serendipity harmonizes with chaos, serenading us with ballads of discovery, delight, and often discomfort. 

So this issue, we asked our writers to relinquish control and embrace the uncertainty of “The Unexpected” as the theme. For it is our job as writers and people of the world to curiously search for moments of joy, love, and profound beauty among its many unexpected surprises and challenges. 

Miriella Jiffar’s poem “Death may not oblige me” opens our issue with a beautiful requiem for her passed uncle. It is a story of remembering, of mourning, and of finding unexpected comfort in a different Father. 

Susannah Baker also ruminates on her past as she looks to the future. Susannah’s “Growing Up With No Regrettes” focuses on the unanticipated break up of her favorite band, and the stars that helped her navigate her own adolescence. 

Bailey Middleton also thinks of stars, love, and kismet in her love story “Stargirl,” an unexpected union between two complicated lovers. Jordan Coleman also falls in love with viral pop singer and Mean Girls musical star Reneé Rapp. Her piece “Reneé Rapp, Date Me?” not only doubles as a marriage proposal, but it also explores how the star has quickly garnered such a passionate fanbase.

Lindsey Smith and Ella Powell think about the unpredictability of daily life. In “Things that Weren’t on my 2024 Bingo Card: Preteens Terrorizing Sephora Employees,” Lindsey recounts almost being trampled in a Sephora by preteen girls, encouraging our role in raising the next generation of girls and women. Ella Powell closes our issue with her piece “An Absurd Allure,” a fictional story about Debra who uncovers a world of magic hidden in plain sight. 

We are so excited to be back! Despite the unexpectedness of our lives, I am comforted in knowing that you, our beloved reader, will join us every issue. Thank you also to Miriella, Mary, Leigh Ann, Smritee, and the social media team for working hard behind the scenes to make Iris run so smoothly. In an unpredictable world, I am glad to have you all in my corner. I hope this issue inspires you all to soak in the spontaneity of the unexpected.

With all my love, 

Jasmine <3