How exciting it is to welcome another issue of Gandy Dancer! It was such a great first semester as Managing Editors, and we can’t thank our team enough for their dedication these past few months.
This semester has had its unique challenges, between the rattling construction on our usually quiet campus and tackling new and exciting experiences: Geneseo hosted this year’s Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors Conference under the care of our own Professor, Rachel Hall. FUSE is a national organization that fosters visionary magazine work and supports undergraduates interested in pursuing careers in writing, publishing, and editing. We had the amazing experience of meeting with our fellow editors from Wells, Fredonia, St. John Fisher, Cedar Crest, Shippensburg, and Susquehanna, and getting to know their magazines. We attended (and hosted) panels, like “What the Fuck is Up With C*nsorship,” participated in a workshop on political writing, and learned how to bind our own books. We heard from the keynote speaker Becky Tuch, the founder of LitMag News, who roused our literary spirits. Overall, it was an invigorating weekend that reminded us of the strength and creativity of the literary journal community.
There is something truly special about seeing an issue come together. The work gathered here feels connected even though the individual voices and concerns are distinctive. Family dynamics, for instance, are explored in several of the prose pieces. Heather O’Leary considers what it means to be a big sister in her creative nonfiction essay “Can’t Sleep.” The pull between duty and self is evident as the narrator considers, “I couldn’t help but wonder what might have happened if I had given in to sleep, told Beth to go to sleep, and pushed her to the side.” “Dish Pit,” a short story by Leah Beecher, examines Carlos’ family trauma and its long reach. Readers hope his new motorcycle will offer all he envisions: “Soon, he would never have to pedal up that stinking, long Sunnyside Hill Road to Gramma Lewis’s house again. He would fly up there.” The poetry, too, examines generational connections and disconnections. Elianiz Torres’ “as mother’s flowers rot” provides such a glimpse when we see a mother tending a garden through her daughter’s eyes: “Day in and day out she’d watch her watch them. / Wondering why she was the only one that ever held them. / Your father is allergic. She lied.” Torres asks readers to witness how a father-daughter relationship might nurture or poison a garden.
We think the words on these pages offer the opportunity for growth. Our families, our homes, our relationships–they impact who we are, but they don’t define us. As winter dawns on us, we hope you can find something here to help you navigate the cold. These stories, these poems, they remind us to stop and think of where we come from, and where we might go from here.
This semester has come and gone with incredible speed, so we’re happy to grant you a breather, a break—compliments of Gandy Dancer, issue 12.1. Cozy up and read on–
Lili Gourley and Jess Marinaro