Letter from the Editor: Wishes

Letter from the Editor: Wishes

Kim Salac
Media Staff

Dear Beloved Reader,

Every year on my birthday, I write a letter addressed to myself a year from now. I click send (god bless the internet and pre-scheduled emails) and the next birthday, in reading all that I wished for myself, I am renewed with hope and visions of futurity—a gift from the past.

But even more, at that moment, my past self is externalized. We exist together in a third space, outside of chronology and geography. Those letters remind me of one of my favorite poems, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros, that reassures us that underneath all those worn years exist our past selves. 

It is a reminder that in a few days, on my twentieth birthday, I am still the nineteen year old who wishes for everything and nothing all at once,

          And the eighteen year old who clumsily trips through loving others, wishing that she will one day learn to pick up her feet

          And the seventeen year old who wishes to open a hole-in-the-wall bakery after psychotically baking her way through the pandemic, 

          And the sixteen year old who keeps going despite,

          And the fifteen year old who wishes to become a lawyer after watching How to Get Away With Murder,

          And the fourteen year old who just started a new high school and wishes to make a friend, even though she unknowingly just met her future best friend on the first day of marching band camp,

          And the thirteen year old who wishes that the boy who swallowed a giant box of red hots during eighth grade Civics class just to cheer her up likes her back, even though he clearly does,

          And the twelve year old who wishes that a different boy from her seventh grade English class who never returned her pencil likes her back, even though he clearly doesn’t,

          And the eleven year old who wishes to become a CIA agent, rolling on the floor as if she was undercover and choreographing fights with her sister to perform for their parents,

          And the ten year old who wishes she was back in Canada when she didn’t know how to navigate the delicate politics of American public school cafeterias on the first day of class, 

          And the nine year old who wishes she didn’t have to leave as she gifted her two favorite stuffed animals to her two best friends,

          And the eight year old who wishes she could roller skate as her mom tends to the bloody knees of both her and her father after a bad combination of two pairs of roller skates, a steep hill, and a shared “what’s the worst that could happen,”

          And the seven year old who desperately wishes for a golden retriever puppy even after her parents found her hiding in the basement terrified of sweet Stacey, the golden retriever they were dog-sitting, 

          And the six year old who wishes to be a demigod with magical powers as she prances around the playground conjuring canonic stories about Percy Jackson with her friends,

          And the five year old who wishes to be a poet, plagiarizing poems to impress her mom (don't worry I was scolded),

          And the four year old who wishes to have a pink convertible, 3 kids, and to be a teacher just like Mrs. Tierney—the dream my parents never forget, the dream of their little girl,

          And the three year old who wishes to be a professional figure skater even as her frail legs wobble on the ice,

          And the two year old who still wishes for her mom in the middle of the night, 

          And the one year old who maybe wishes for nothing or everything that is possible,

With the whimsical spirit of our theme of Wishes in her heart, Bailey Middleton kicks off our issue with a poem about rediscovering the magic of childhood, “in the face of despair, don’t forget your fairy godmother is still there.” Ella Powell also reminds us of the power of childlike imagination in her short story “Ruby’s Reveries.” 

Cassie Dallas and Jordan Coleman also revisit childhood in the form of Disney Classics. Every year on her own birthday (St. Patrick’s Day), Cassie watches the same movie—Luck of the Irish—and her hilarious movie review and culture critique Luck of the Irish: The Disney Channel Original Movie that Solved Racism,” will make you desperate for a Disney+ subscription. Jordan also takes a novel spin on the classic 16 wishes with her very own list of wishes that will surely craft birthday perfection, “If You Liked Disney Channel’s 16 Wishes, You’ll Love My 22 Wishes.”

Similar to Jordan's piece, in “On the dreams of our parents,” Caroline Silvera also reconsiders retired or past wishes through an interview with her own father about his dreams—past, present, and future. Susannah Baker ruminates on the future as well in her piece “On Being a Writer: Conversations with UVA Creative Writing Students,” where she interviews two aspiring authors. Freelancer Talia Pirron also wonders about the future that lies beyond fourth year in her piece “No, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing After Graduation.”

After attending the recent Democracy360 event, Eryn Rhodes also joins this conversation about the future. Her piece “Democracy360 wants us to save American politics. But what ‘us’ was there,” begs us to question the privilege of practicing politics and to reflect on how we can build a shared future as a collective. 

As Eryn yearns for a better future, so too does Lindsey Smith in her poem “displaced yearning,” where she ponders on the magic of tarot and dislocated desires. Finally, Cheyenne Butler brings our issue to a close with another return to past desire with her poem "To My First Love:”

As I close my eyes and breathe a hushed puff of birthday magic over the cake candles, I am so excited to celebrate again, year after year, with another me that I have yet to meet. I cannot tell you what I wish for my future, or else they may not come true. But to my writers, my editorial team, Mary, Miriella, Leigh Ann, and our truly beloved reader, I do want to thank you for making one of my wishes come true—fueling and sharing in the joy and beauty of Iris. 

With all my love,

Jasmine <3