Current Issue

Photography by Leeta Harding

Winter 2020

Welcome! Come on in, and make yourself at home. We’ve got one amazing issue to share with you, and it’s just what you need in the middle of winter.

Maybe you’re having a glorious, fun winter, skiing down mountains in Utah like my friend Stan or basking in the sun on an island somewhere. I hope you are! But I’ve seen many posts lamenting how LONG January was and how much slower February seems than January. It’s dark. It’s cold. Everyone has the flu. And here in Virginia, March does not equal Spring. March is when it likes to snow. It’s all a trick.

But I have a remedy. It’s the new issue right here on your screen. It’s time for a change of scenery, to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. To think differently. To explore new ideas. That’s what creative writing is: a creator of places, of people, of ideas. Stories open the world to you. So never mind the doldrums of winter. We’re going on a trip in these pages. And, better yet—it’s free and requires no packing.

It’s this train of thought—a wish for spring— that led to choosing the cover photo. I was thinking of doing something wintery but after January 1st my mind moved full speed ahead to green fields and blue skies. And I was already pretty set on this photo by Leeta Harding.

Speaking of Leeta—she’s been with us as our Art Director for the past year or so. Because of her workload, she’s stepping down from that position. Which is obviously a huge loss for Parhelion. Her work with discovering and featuring photographers took our magazine to a new level and gave us a “look.” And people noticed, because we receive tons of compliments on the photography, and writers submitting often mentioned that the photos drew them into the magazine in the first place.

I considered what to do about Leeta stepping down for a while. I kicked it around with the team. We thought about finding someone new. I had (have) a few people in mind. Leeta suggested a few as well.

Nothing felt right. I’m not sure what we’re going to do going forward with photography. I think we will feature different photographers again, at some point. But for now, Leeta is letting us use her photographs throughout the magazine. Which I couldn’t be happier about. Every photo she takes tells a story. You look at the people in her pictures and you want to know more. Like the cover photo above. Your brain starts filling in the blanks. Who is the girl in the green dress? Where did she come from? What’s her life like?

Where is she going?

I can tell you where we are going right now. Onward and upward, celebrating our continuing partnership with Leeta, sticking together as a band of indie lit magazine editors, celebrating the talented writers we publish, and straight into this issue.

You will find a unicorn in these pages.. Her name is Sierra Lindsay.

Photo not by Leeta. From Elizabeth’s personal collection.

The morning after I accepted her story Babyland, Darren texted me to say he’d also accepted her as one of the poets.

I was stunned. Because when does that ever happen? Let’s raise a glass to Sierra. We accept approximately 5% of the submissions we receive. It’s hard to get a story in most lit magazines. Can you imagine getting one short story and a set of poems accepted for the same issue of one publication?

Congratulations Sierra! Make your family and friends take you out on the town. You’ve done the nearly impossible.

So let’s look at the pages ahead—

Fiction: Sex. Pregnancy. Love? Family dynamics. The Virginia countryside. A nursing home. A cell phone. Disparate voices.

Flash: A reality TV show. A story out of titles. Fresh. Innovative. Fun.

Creative nonfiction: War. A powerful word.

Poetry: A roller coaster ride of vivid imagery and visceral emotion.

Enjoy this issue and thank you for your continued support. If you’d like to submit to the Summer 2020 issue, we’re open, and we’re always taking submissions for features. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates!

Happy winter into spring…

Elizabeth Varel