"there's no through trail" —Han-Shan, translated by Gary Snyder
The Time Is Now

2022 Special Issue on Identity
Volume 50

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Editor's Note

Readers, Contributors, and Friends,

Every moment of our past two years has felt heavy with the weight of the unforeseen, and we have all scrambled to find steady footing in the midst of unimaginable challenges. Life will seem to ease toward a return to normal (whatever that means), and then we are catapulted back to the stark edges of uncertainty. The fear that has been Covid-19, the drama of elections at home and abroad, the violence of invasions and war, archaic new laws targeting our LGBTQ+ loved ones, and most recently the leak of a Supreme Court draft signifying their pending decision to overturn the landmark decision Roe v. Wade.

I overheard a student yesterday, while waiting in the hallway outside a professor's door, say on the phone, "It really does feel like the whole world is in flames and I'm just out here wondering if my outfit is fire resistant."  It would have been amusing, but they weren't smiling when they said it and I didn't smile when I heard it.

They aren't wrong.

So what do we do with that? 

We could cry (which we have). We could rage and flail (we may have done that as well). We could invent new curse words to shout at the heavens (no comment). But once the energy of those initial reactions has faded, there has to be more.

Here at CMR we choose to forge forward with an even greater determination to provide a platform for those writers who seek to expose, explain, examine, or engage with the great disparities in our world and the myriad ways in which we navigate them. We have formed Cold Mountain Press, a new wing of our eco- and social-justice publishing work that will produce one book of prose and one book of poetry annually through the Cold Mountain Book Contest. In the even years we will publish fiction, in the odd years we will publish creative nonfiction, and as always we encourage submissions from un- and under published writers as well as those from marginalized communities. Submissions open on June 1. You can find more information on our Submittable page, and I hope you're inspired to send us your work.

As it stands, we must live in the present, and I am personally thrilled to share this issue with you. It is at turns mesmerizing, heartbreaking, stunning, and all kinds of fired up. Just like us. Just like you. Lean into it, if you will, and take some respite from the storm outside.

As Mary Oliver wrote, "Meanwhile the world goes on."


Katherine Abrams