Letter from the Editor

When I was just 20 weeks old, dancing in my mom’s swollen belly, an ultrasound at Secaucus Meadowlands Hospital revealed my five tiny fingers outstretched for light, waving at my nervous parents. I like to think that from the very beginning, I have been eager to reach out, to converse, and, in those early moments, my little hand became the alphabet and vocabulary I didn’t know yet. At just 18 months, I was playing with words—rolling them on my tongue, catching them in my throat, holding them in my palms, sharing them with others.

Now, nearly 19 years later, I am still carrying words, still excited to share them. In this gently bound, 32-page magazine, we ask you to lose yourself in conversation with a stranger on peace street, linguistics, grief, lovers, familiar places, scents, family, silence, yourself, and more.

A good conversation feels a lot like a home-cooked meal settling into the hungry parts of an empty stomach; ice-cold Poland Spring drenching a parched throat in the middle of Medford’s raging August; frigid fingers interlacing on a walk along Newbury Street, the resulting rush of warmth. I love a good conversation. When I worked as a hostess at Colony Grill in Norwalk, Conn., I courted conversation constantly. You could find me befriending regular Friday customers, memorizing takeout orders, and accidentally getting into 20-minute phone calls with guys named Phil ordering pizzas for their wives who just gave birth, until my boss jokingly gave me a stare. In middle school, I often got in trouble with substitute teachers for chatting too much in class, and, in elementary school, I couldn’t decide who to invite to my birthday parties because I liked talking to everyone.

Sometimes I wonder if everything there is to be said has already been said, if the words, the conversation you and I are sharing now, have already been spoken, analyzed, described in a more creative or intellectual way. And the likelihood is, yes, that’s probably true. But in my poetry class today, someone wrote a poem about loss: the funeral, their father’s chapped lips, and the Yoruba they once sang. I listened, and I felt my chest in a hollowed part of my throat, felt my eyes so close to bursting. So yes, I know grief has been written, described, talked about in a million different ways, and still, today, I sat quietly in Miner Hall, eaten and full at the same time. I was once again reminded of the innate power of words—their invitation to conversation, infinite permutations, and combinations. Maybe we write in spite of the fear that it’s already been said better, and we converse in spite of sounding silly or redundant, in order to feel a little more whole, a little less alone. I hope you find these delicate comforts in our pages. 

Without further ado, I warmly welcome you to Spring 2023, Issue 3: Conversation.

With love, 

Neya <3