Editor’s Welcome Spring 2023

“Bolivia’s Train Graveyard” by Jeremiah Gilbert

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the spring issue of Change Seven,

Here in West Virginia, we’ve had a series of those spring days were the sun is shining, the sky is a blue so clear and bright that it almost hurts your eyes, and little green buds are starting to pop onto the trees. The purple snow crocuses have come and gone in my yard.  In Washington, D.C., I hear the cherry blossoms are doing that thing they do, that thing most natural which also seems impossible and impossibly beautiful. 

But here is the thing about these specific WV spring days: from the comfort of my sofa, the sun is warm and inviting; however, one step outside reveals the deceit, and the air is sharp. It is too cold to sit on the front porch, and snow overnight is still a possibility. Spring in the mountains is moment by moment question, full of hope and confusion and resignation to just not knowing. Layers are the only way to dress: wrap up warm in the morning, peel off a sweater by noon, flannel pajamas again at night. 

Here is the spot in the editor’s welcome when I would normally say something like “We hope the fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and art work in this issue act as both the sunny outside and the layers to keep you warm when the air is still sharp”  and that is true; we do want that for our readers; however, too often I have found myself writing something about our journal being an escape from the darkness of the world, and I’m tired.  I’m tired of art being offered up as a way to distract ourselves from things like school shootings where nine year old children have been murdered or from state and national legislation proposed to directly censor art and books and—let’s be honest here—certain people. I cannot in good conscious say to turn your eyes, your focus, your heart from the pain happening in our schools, or to our neighbors.  

But here is what we can say: we offer this art to you, not as distraction, but as succor. Take what you can from this, from us; feed your soul and your mind, but then look again.  And take up whatever sword you have—words, paintbrush, camera or pen—and go out again, into that brilliant, confusing, contradicting Spring.  

Natalie Sypolt