I'm delighted to introduce this wonderful collection of work from the writers of 2021's Book Editing and Design I and II class. The title, Stories from the Previous World, highlights the impact of COVID and the pandemic on our individual and collective psyches.
Directly and indirectly, these pieces explore the barriers and isolation accompanying the pandemic and the ways in which our past routines are a distant reality. These narratives reveal injustices, inequalities, and obstacles, but they also demonstrate human resilience and community in the face of extraordinary circumstances.
The anthology features storytelling at its best, through personal essays, fiction, and graphic narratives. Georgie Luiso-Knuckles's personal essay, "While We Watched Him Heal," reveals the division, sorrow, and alienation of being a child of divorce and the healing that comes with empathy and connection with a parent. Bren Swogger's "Of Love Clubs and Bravados'' takes readers on an uplifting journey of music and self-discovery, revealing, through words and photos, how pop artist Lorde's music has deeply affected their life over multiple years. Ky Ancheta-Maeda's personal essay, "Fly Free," reflects on her first time spreading her wings and leaving her close-knit friends in Hawai'i. Haley Taylor's essay, "Battle Hymn of the Snowmen," is a humorous but profound memoir about a group of friends and the battle of their two snowmen with the destructive tendencies of human nature. Zoe Stanek's "Rock Waves and Blurry Photos'' begins with the narrator standing in front of the ocean in a mask, revealing the richness of community from a previous life and the search for connection in this pandemic.
Nainoa Akau's narrative "Building Opportunities about Nothing" is a decree about injustice and sports in the college world and an inspiring examination of how the narrator seeks and receives opportunities. Similarly, Ronald Robertson's "What Do You Want To Be Remembered For" shares a story of perseverance and triumph as Ronald and his teammates go from the worst football team their school has ever seen to champions who made history. And Sagel Bush's "Fuck My Life In New York" reveals the inequalities and mistreatment in high school sports and the resilience and determination of its narrator in the face of injustice.
In their piece, "The Journey of the Last Pick," Rhylee Corpuz and Jace Filipo-Rodrigues gift us with a hilarious graphic narrative following a red ball's yearning to be picked in the game of kickball and search for hope and community in the face of social hierarchies. Through prose and visual art, Emma Peterson's "The Girl I Used to Be" paints a complex and intricate story of the many lives she has walked and how each one impacts her life today—revealing the delicate balance involved in privileging any one identity over another. Tristan Maningo explores identity through a illustrated coming-of-age story. In his essay "Too Tired to Fail," Drew Sherman combines images and text to vividly describe the many trials faced by Navy Aircrewman candidates in training.
Several students produced powerful, dynamic, and thought-provoking pieces of fiction. In "The Literal Untouchables," George Ricketts paints Biblical characters in a new light with a modern, fast-paced story. Ashley Strobel's "'Til Valhalla" is a story of two sisters fighting a war within themselves, and how the death of one devastates and empowers the other, transforming her from a soldier into a Valkyrie. Sophia Lewis's story, "The Children of Mother," is a fast-paced, lyrical, and immersive dystopian twist on a girl-meets-boy story. Ethan Won's "The Adventures of Rax" provides a powerful twist on the fantasy genre that acts as an allegory for colonialism, featuring a scorned clan of goblins as its main characters.
Together, these pieces reflect the struggle of 2020-2021 but also resilience, meaning, and purpose. Thank you for reading.