As the senior fiction/CNF editor, this is my second time playing the lead role in deciding what fiction and CNF is put into the book. I was really proud of the 2019 Fall Edition of Élan and I’m so happy to say that I’m just as proud of this one, if not more. Reading through this edition and seeing the art and the writing fills me with so much pride. Helping showcase these amazing writers and artists’ work is something really special and I am glad I play a part in it.
I say this in every blog post I write, but I always want creative nonfiction in each edition we release. In this edition we have “Faults in a Guitar Strum” by Mia Parola, a creative nonfiction piece about a girl and her father. Even by the first few lines I felt like I was reading something special. Her descriptions of her father and the interactions between the two are really vivid and mirror relationships that we all have with others whether they are our parents, grandparents, etc. I think this piece is really engaging in the way it bridges the line between being really personal but also universal. I’m really happy we have it in our book.
One of my favorite fiction pieces in the book is “How You Learned to Sleepwalk” by Jasper Darnell. Every time I read this piece it’s just as powerful as the first time. This piece lets the reader follow someone who is imagining their father after he has passed away. I think the choice for this story to be in second person is a really strong one because it brings the reader even closer to what is happening. You are truly in the moment and you feel everything the character is feeling. It’s a visceral feeling and almost seems to knock you off your feet when you reach the end. I think of this story kind of similarly as I do to “Faults in Our Guitar Strum” in that we’re seeing something really specific to one person or character’s experience, but can still clearly see ourselves and our relationships in these pieces. I think most of the work in our Spring Edition has this quality to it and that’s a part of what makes it all so meaningful.
Now I want to talk a bit about the art in this edition. It has some of my favorite art that I’ve seen in Élan. A piece I love is Faces of Happiness by Sena Sugunama. I love how joyful it is and I feel like it pairs well with pieces about family. It stuck out to me from the moment I saw it. Another piece I really like is Eldest Child by Erin Murphy. When I first saw it I immediately thought of the Madonna and Child painting from our 2019 Fall Online Edition. It’s a really well done piece and when paired next to “When My Mother Calls Me To Say She Quits Being My Mother” by Noland Blain becomes even more powerful.
Each edition of Élan I have been a part of seems to have gotten better and better. I feel like we are continuing to improve and that is all thanks to the people who submit their writing and art. They are what makes this book so special and meaningful not only to us as the staff but to our readers as well. I think our Spring Edition has something for everybody to enjoy.
– Anna Howse, Senior Fiction/CNF Editor