Welcome to issue 6.2 of Gandy Dancer, the twelfth in publication so far. This will be our last issue as managing editors, and we feel honored to have had the opportunity to embark on this journey with you. As we reflect on our year with Gandy Dancer, there are many things that could be said, but we want to focus on the places we started from and the places we may soon find ourselves. Where you, as a reader, may be starting a new journey as you turn this page, and where you may end up after you put the journal back on your shelf alongside other colorful covers and stories waiting to be told.
Perhaps even more than others, this issue transports us—taking us to Europe and the Middle East, the American South, to cities, and to the ocean. The writers included here take us all over the world and take us also to more intangible, intimate places. Pouring over these pieces, we recognized a feeling that kept circulating through stories, essays, and poems—a feeling of hope for the new and a comfort in the old places and spaces. Matthew Cullen’s essay “Self on the Straßenbahn” focuses on a narrator’s time in Germany and his growing understanding of self. Marissa Canerelli’s short story, “Buckyboy” takes us to a farm where the characters come to understand the power of the natural world. Lucia LoTempio’s poem “Hometown, Unraveling” returns us to the city, and explores what it feels like to return to a place you once called home. Isabel Owen’s poem, “the space between daylight & the darkness of the east river tunnel” examines summer love and reveals just how evocative place can be.
We may feel isolated at times—as just one school in the vast SUNY system, as tiny parts of the larger literary community—which makes it necessary to travel outside of our bubbles in order to recognize this world for all its connectedness. Getting the chance to attend this year’s AWP convention served as this type of reminder for us. Although we attended panels that were seemingly disparate, we found that it was inevitable for connections to appear between them, and among the hoard of over 10,000 other writers, publishers, and educators, we still managed to repeatedly run into familiar faces. We’d like to think that Gandy Dancer has the potential to offer something similar—a vessel, perhaps, by which the vastness and odd synchronicity of the world may be exposed. We are always standing and breathing in a space—whether that be a coffee shop in early morning or so far inside the mind that for a moment, no one can reach us. We hope you find this issue to be a place of wonder: a place where you can discover bits of yourself in these pages.
Meghan Fellows & Lily Codera