Foreword; Spring 2018


Trigger Warning:

This foreword contains references to violence and rape against women, as well as the restriction of rights of marginalized groups.

Welcome to Willow, and thank you for coming.

We’re excited to present our flagship issue, and feel it couldn’t have come sooner.  2017 was a year rocked by changes; some good, some horrible, and overtime, some numbing. In the United States, we saw the first major female presidential candidate defeated by an opponent who had less political experience and knowledge, but a much louder voice.  Trans-identifying people were barred from the military, and had their basic right to use the restroom brought under fire.  Women around the world, such as Ruth Alicia Lòpez Guisao in Colombia  and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta lost their lives in the fight against corruption and for equality.  As the days added up, and all around us politicians used their platforms to build up the borders between their respective nations, to cast aspersions on other cultures, and to attack their weakest citizens, it sometimes seemed like there was little reason for hope, and even less to celebrate. The idea of facing the world, let alone creating, could become overwhelming all on its own.

But there were also beautiful moments, too, and important victories.  In Lebanon and Jordan, laws that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they married their victims were repealed. In Malawi, El Savador, Honduras, and Guatemala legislature was passed to close loopholes and mitigate the harmful practice of child marriage. The United States elected the first openly transgender state legislator, Danica Roem in Virginia. Helena, Montana elected a refugee from Liberia as their first black mayor, and Charlotte, North Carolina elected their first black, female mayor–victories that were hard won, and a long time in coming.  The #MeToo movement allowed victims of sexual assault and harassment from all genders to come forward with their stories, shaking up power-structures and exposing perpetrators , and forced the world to discuss these issues and redefine and discuss consent. These conversations were hard to have, and especially hard for the victims speaking up. But they were so necessary. And of course,  2017 kicked off with The Women’s March, uniting up to 5 million gender-equality activists worldwide in demonstration.

Things haven’t been great, no, but when we all came together, when we amplified our voices, when we took stands and supported each other,  great things happened. And they can continue to happen.

We are excited to become part of the tapestry of activists, creators, and artists that are determined to go out and make their voices heard, to keep making their art, and to keep fighting the fight. Because we believe art, even just the act of making it in a world that frequently ignores or even despises its artists, is in itself an act of activism. To create, to express oneself, and to allow others a glimpse of our own secret realities transforms the world into a brighter place, and brings people together. And frequently throughout history, it has been the artists who have served as watch dogs against the corruption of the elite and those in power, and helped define the morals of their societies. Each piece of art, every act of creation, is worthy of recognition, celebration, and hope. That is why we wanted to start Willow, and that is what we hope to bring our readers and contributors.

In this first issue we’ve gathered a wide arrangement of beautifully written pieces from female-identifying authors in a wide variety of genres and tones.  M.Stone’s poetry is gritty, hard-hitting and empowering. Pam Munter’s tale of a dream realized with excite the artist in all of us. And Anita Goveas will have you laughing out loud with her story “Sunflower Seeds and Supernatural Beings.” Because it’s important, when times feel hard, and days dark and heavy, to remember to laugh. To make each other laugh. And to share our art.

Thank you, readers. Thank you again, contributors.  With out you, we would be nothing.


Couri Johnson

Head Editor of Willow