I’ve thought of a hundred different ways to begin this editor’s note, but I keep coming back to what I really want to say: my step father passed away not even a week ago, only 9 days after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
He would be mad that I’m naming him as ‘step father.’ He would prefer just ‘dad;’ he was married to my mom for over 30 years and was a strong, reliable presence throughout my life, although we often navigated the world through very different perspectives and personalities.
He was bold and outspoken, whereas I was an odd and quiet child, obsessed with gardening and tearing up the lawn to create ever more flower beds and ponds. Meanwhile, he was a meticulous caretaker of turf. He loved the lawn, but even if he grumbled, he indulged and allowed my gardens. I may have even converted him to gardening a little bit. Many years after I moved out, he still adored and maintained the fish pond I created.
And ever since I founded The Indianapolis Review six years ago, he has faithfully read each issue and sent me compliments and encouragement, the same way he has with my own poetry.
Our family was lucky enough to get the chance to see him before he passed; everyone was able to spend a little time with him and say their goodbyes. I waited my turn to be called into his room, and my mind raced, wondering what he would want to talk about or what I should say.
What does a person talk about when they are given just days to live? Well, my stepfather, even though he worked in business, mainly facilitating transportation services for folks with disabilities, he was a theatre major and loved literature. And what he wanted to talk to me about in his last days was poetry. He found great comfort and meaning in the written word, and also talked about the importance of the humanities in education. These were his last musings with me, and I’d like to pass them onto you. Don’t forget that the work you are doing is important, whether it is creating or just appreciating art and literature or championing it in your community or school.
That being said, it’s a miracle that this issue is together and coming out (mostly) on time. I want to send a hearty thanks to my staff, who stepped up and did a bit more than usual.
I also want to thank JL Kato, our incredible featured Indianapolis writer for this issue, who completed a very quick turn around for his interview and feature. Be sure to check it out–he talks about service in the literary community (he recently was awarded the 2022 Indiana Authors Literary Champion Award), the Indianapolis area writing community, coming to a writing practice later in life, managing it all (or not), and more…
Thank you everyone for being a part of this issue and enriching my life with these poems and works of art!