On Wednesday issue 4 comes to a finale with an essay by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. Below are thoughts by editor Courtney Kersten, on why she selected Xochitl’s essay.
This past spring, I had the good fortune to take a workshop with the generous, spirited, and wise writer Allison Hawthorne Deming during her time as a visiting writer at the University of Idaho. On the first day of our workshop, she drew a line on the board and on one end wrote, “you” and on the other end wrote, “the world.” She described (and I’m paraphrasing) nonfiction as an intersection between the writer and the world where some works, such as Anne Frank’s diary, are more focused on the personal and other works are more focused outward such as Lawrence Wright’s journalistic book projects. Since then, I’ve been thinking about the nonfiction writer’s relationship with the world and how writing engages larger political and cultural issues. When I read Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo’s essay, I was not only captivated by the authenticity and vulnerability of her voice, but also by the expansive scope of her essay. She navigates with precision and grace her personal story, Lázaro’s story, and larger issues in a way that is accessible and emotionally resonant. I am honored to share such a brave essay with you. I hope that readers can not only appreciate the merits of Xochitl’s voice but also use this essay’s broad focus to further examine how literature interacts with the world.