Issue Ten – May 2023
Letter from the Founding Editor:
This issue is a milestone. It’s our tenth one! It’s interesting to think about what that means, and as I try to assign value to an otherwise arbitrary mark, I find my brain wants to turn away from words and toward numbers. So, you math-oriented writers and artists, consider this: In 10 issues, Rockvale Review has published 286 poems, 149 pieces of art, 20 musical selections, 8 creative nonfiction pieces, and 12 short stories. Add to those numbers the total number of human beings that contributed to this journal: 291. I like it!
I think it’s significant that a small online journal can share art and words with a larger world and feel as though some small act of goodness has been accomplished. Something worthwhile has bloomed itself into a tiny space, then burst outward spreading seeds. I think that’s what creativity tends to do. It can’t be contained in its original place. What is alive seeks and finds other avenues of life to commune with. When I read a poem that moves me, I tend to share it with someone else. Same with art. And so it goes, this energy, this light, into new spaces, new minds, building and growing and living beyond its origin.
When I look at this issue, I’m excited to think where its energy will go next. Consider, for instance, LeeAnn Olivier’s two poems, “Hepatic Coma” and “The Girl Without Hands” which delve into her experience with receiving an emergency liver transplant. Or Anna Guntlisbergen’s wrenching poem, “A Prayer for Moms on the Edge of Something,” especially in the context of recent tragic events. Take Dennis Kaplan’s short story, “The First Short Story Ever Written by a Computer,” a story that was not, in actuality, written by a computer, and see if you’re not drawn to think about AI articles that keep popping up everywhere. These pieces of writing speak to the reality of what connects us: our humanity. Then again, they also speak to what is unique and individual about us: our imaginations.
Another contributor to this issue, Featured Artist, Gwyn Jones, excites me as well. At just 14 years of age, Gwyn holds a maturity and imaginative creativity far beyond her years. Her specific type of art, fan art, created digitally, delves into the inner life of a normal American teenager, but I’m guessing viewers will discover something beyond the ordinary in these pieces. They are detailed and dramatic, tender and tense, and they speak to the angst and urgency to place meaning upon a life, to understand what at any age is sometimes beyond understanding: the need to be seen, to be known, to create, to share, to exist.
I think that’s what we’re all striving for, whether with our words or visual art. That’s why we create, why we take the risk to offer a glimpse of our true selves to a world that often values conformity more than individuality. But here, in this tiny journal, we get to be “us.” That’s why Issue Ten and all the other issues make me smile. There’s a whole lot of “you,” and “me,” and “us.” I think it’s beautiful.
Thank you to Roseann, Rhonda, and Elizabeth – the finest co-editors who read each piece of writing with both kindness and acute editing skill. I’m grateful to you!
Thank you, Contributors, for sharing your words and art with us, for trusting us to give your work a little breath, a little push into the wide world. It’s an honor and we appreciate you very much.
Founding Editor, Rockvale Review
Featured Artist: Gwyn Jones
Click HERE to view Gwyn’s art and read the Artist’s Statement