Please scream inside your heart. What originated as a campaign to limit the spread of Covid-19 quickly caught on as a popular internet meme, and has since remained a poignant reminder of the ways we repress our emotions and censor what — and how — we express ourselves.

We chose to adopt Please scream inside your heart for our second issue because we wanted a theme that would lead us deep into the internal. We sought works that would expose the raw emotional reality that all of us deal with on a daily basis, yet often keep concealed deep inside. We hoped this theme would be an opportunity for those who submitted their work to nurture their vulnerabilities, release what they had refused to express, and coax out their true inner selves.

The poetry, prose, and visual artwork in this issue demonstrate the diverse range of artistic interpretations of the theme. However, certain motifs and commonalities are apparent.

Paintings and photography that obscure the face show us how difficult it can be to look inside and accept our vulnerabilities. The large volume of black and white photos indicates the intense polarity that often characterizes emotion, while images that depict lone subjects prove how isolating this pendulum can be. Stories that grapple with the complexity and heartache inherent in relationships remind us how universal this pain is, and how desperately we need one another. Poetry that explores faith reinforces the deep and internal ways spirituality can help us cope with loss and find purpose.

This collection of work reveals and celebrates our human flaws, confusion, and despair, putting them on display and proving that art is one of the most honest and essential means of expression available to us. Moreover, it bonds us together in a state of collective empathy and compassion; in exposing our hidden selves, we are brought toward a catharsis of release and genuine connection.

We are eternally grateful to the forty-one contributors who entrusted us with their work and made this issue possible. To our readers, we hope you experience a sense of connection and understanding from reading it.

With love,