July 16, 2018
Hello readers, writers, and artists! We can’t believe it’s finally time to share another issue of Parhelion with you.
Since our inaugural issue, a lot has happened around PLM. Word about the magazine got out quickly, thanks to all our supporters, and we are receiving a steady stream of submissions. In fact I think I’ve said this before—our mailbox is bursting at the seams. Because of this, we have several people joining our staff I know you’ll be excited about. I mean, we definitely are! These are professionals from the literary, publishing, and art world who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to contribute to the magazine. Their involvement will be a tremendous asset to us all.
I’d like to introduce you to one of the new editors now. Please welcome Hannah Huber as our new nonfiction editor. Hannah, a fellow Richmonder and Virginia girl herself, earned a BA from Hollins University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University, where she received the University of New Orleans Fiction Award for Study Abroad. She comes to Parhelion with extensive experience and lots of ideas, having served as a reader for Tin House. She has published work in publications such as The Potomac Review and Home of the Brave, an anthology.
Besides serving as our nonfiction editor, Hannah has joined us and basically become my right-hand woman, helping me wade through my plethora of fiction, flash, nonfiction, and art submissions. And, with her background in sales and my background in marketing, we are brainstorming where this organization is going to go next. Like Darren and I, Hannah is most excited about connecting with writers and artists and immersing herself in the literary world we love.
Even though Hannah is new to us, she came on board at “go time” and put a lot of energy into this issue. I thank her for her being a second set of eyes for me, for her insight, knowledge, and trusted opinion as we went through the selection process.
This issue feels very different than the last issue. We don’t read purposely looking for a theme or similar ideas. We’re mainly looking for that voice that pops off the page, that great first line that keeps you reading, that story you can’t put down till you finish it. But I started to notice a thread of darkness that ran through many of the pieces, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, dealing with issues like guns, violence, and especially drug addiction. There’s also poverty, grief, isolation, longing, and a search for self-understanding.
I believe this underlying darkness and anxiety is emotionally representative of the political turmoil we’re experiencing in America, a country starkly divided and obviously off course in many ways. It’s the sort of psychic energy that keeps you up at night pacing without being able to put your finger on exactly why. There’s an uncomfortableness to feeling like you’re out of control and not sure where things are going, and the art we create cannot escape that feeling.
That being said, this is not a big depressing issue. Hardly! It’s full of energy and light, of whimsy and reflection, and beauty, too. In some ways it’s a reflection of ourselves—lovely on the outside, with a touch of darkness on the inside. That describes most everybody, right?
Darren, Hannah, and I considered the idea of becoming a strictly “Southern” publication (to narrow our focus, create a niche for ourselves, etc.) But as you’ll see here, just like last time, our writers and artists hail from across the globe. And while we’re going to celebrate all things Southern in this magazine, and honor the spirit of Richmond, the city we so dearly love with all its controversial heritage, we’re going to be open for business to all corners of the earth, and to every type of writer and artist (red and yellow, black and white, straight, LBGT, Southern, Northern, Western, Eastern, European, Indian, South American, African, Australian, the proverbial North Pole and/or Texas). I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, so, in short, everyone from everywhere.
Because at Parhelion we’re not just Southern, we’re representing the new South, where we strive to embrace change, and others who are different from us (or exactly the same). We pledge allegiance to our state’s marketing tagline: Virginia is for lovers.
Alright. It’s time. Got your beach towel and a drink? It’s time to go on a journey here. You’re going to end up in California more than once, seeing it through different lenses. You’ll hop on a train in England and spend some time in the mountains of Virginia. You’ll hit the Oregon coast and New York City, France and Italy. You’ll do your time in the South, we promise. You’ll run into a flock of pigeons and you’ll search for Oscar Wilde’s grave and endure the painful anxiety of a woman who needs to control any inkling of danger. Oh, and then there’s that sinister kid who plays with guns after school. And a tree that grows babies on it. Real human babies. The question is what do you do with all of them?
We hope you enjoy every second of this issue of Parhelion. If you love it, we hope you’ll share it online with your family and friends. We hope you’ll follow us on Facebook and Twitter. And we hope, if you’re a writer or an artist, that you’ll send a submission our way.
Editor-in-Chief & Fiction Editor