This past week has been one of great loss for the writing community: Denis Johnson passed away on Wednesday, May 24, and Brian Doyle on Saturday, May 27. Both were in their 60s.
The outpouring of grief and condolences over these writers’ untimely deaths speaks to the power and effects of the written word. Both Johnson and Doyle touched the lives of so many people they never met in person through their work. For myself, I have a line from “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” tattooed on my left arm and cannot read “Leap” without choking up.
Though the poems and essays in this issue of Sweet were selected some time ago, many of the works speak to loss of all kinds—an ex-boyfriend, a memory, a sibling, a parent, childhood. But it’s not all sadness here; we also have a comic featuring baby blue polo shirts and an interview with Aimee Nezhukumatathil.
How lucky we are every day. I hope, as you read our latest issue, that you can spare a few minutes in appreciation for all the artists—not just ours—who are drawing and writing and living and contributing, each in their own way, to this giant, sprawling community of ours.
All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.
— Denis Johnson, Jesus’ Son
Alysia Sawchyn, CNF Editor