Our Rubble, Our Loss

MEGHAN BELL

Room Magazine - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

I have been think­ing a lot about loss lately. I have been a vo­ra­cious reader since child­hood; I have al­ways filled the spa­ces cre­ated by lone­li­ness and loss with words. For me, and, no doubt, for many, many oth­ers, it’s just been one of those years.

This is­sue of Room is filled with nar­ra­tives of loss: bro­ken hearts, for­got­ten lan­guages, miss­ing and dy­ing loved ones, and thefts of body, land, and rights. The ti­tle is para­phrased from the fi­nal lines of Deb­bie Urbanski’s poem on page 91: “Those who saw her rubble asked / what have you lost? But look at what she has: / the rubble, her loss.” As I as­sem­bled the con­tent, which in­cludes the win­ners of three con­tests and work sub­mit­ted in re­sponse to an open call for sub­mis­sions, the same ques­tions re­curred: What have you lost? What has been stolen from you? And: How do we heal? Where do we go from here?

In the pages that fol­low, a re­cent univer­sity grad­u­ate goes to con­front her wealthy land­lords af­ter they serve her an evic­tion no­tice (page 61), a sis­ter ad­mits to her brother that she was raped (page 45), and a boy in a res­i­den­tial school longs for home (page 72). In one poem, a woman sees her for­mer lover’s face on the sur­faces of grilled cheese sand­wiches and crum­pled Kleenex (page 104). In another, the nar­ra­tor’s dy­ing mother tells her, You have tragedy in your blood (page 55).

In her in­ter­view with Nav Nagra, Chelsea Rooney, au­thor of the ac­claimed novel Pedal, says, “It’s fic­tion that sets us free.” This ob­ser­va­tion has echoed in the back of my mind for weeks. I’ve been ob­sess­ing about the power and com­forts of sto­ries. I’ll end with a comic I drew last fall, on a sim­i­lar theme. I hope you en­joy this is­sue.

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