Here at S/WORD, we like to keep ourselves, the editors, behind the scenes so that the beautiful and strange things that the issues showcase can stand and speak for themselves. For this issue, however, I need to speak for someone else; I’d like to dedicate this issue to my mother, Connie, who passed only a few weeks ago after a short yet brutal fight with cancer. Connie wasn’t an artist or a writer, but she did love beauty and strangeness. She sought both out in her life, through her work, through her parenting, through her love. The woman was fierce but beautiful, just like we like the pieces to be in S/WORD. Her genetic code must have been laced with some need for beauty, because I believe she passed some on to me. Maybe she didn’t understand all the things I wanted to do with my life, but she still celebrated my triumphs and sighed at my failings along with me. Words like “cheerleader” or “supporter” cheapen what she has been to the creation of this journal and all my other artistic and academic endeavors. She lured the artistic fire out of me in a world that seems settled and even fixated with fog and sand. A matador.

So now let’s fix our eyes on the beautiful and the strange. With a word that is a sword, we make both air and wings.