Word From the Editor

We are tiptoeing into 2021 with careful optimism. Some of our aspirations have been simplified because it’s the little things that suddenly seem to matter now more than ever. However, we do continue to march forward despite the current disarray of the world and once again the wonderful Lunch Ticket team came together, virtually, to discover new voices and art in order to put together the Winter/Spring 2021 Issue 18. This time around I wanted to focus on the Rising and Resilience of our authors and artists. What kept them going during this chaotic time? If I had to wager a guess, I’d say it was their drive to put something beautiful out into the world and the momentum to keep creating.

Within this Issue, artists and authors took a unique approach at finding their own personal ways to combat the world’s bleakness. A flash prose piece that caught my eye was Help by Suzanne LaFetra, which uses dark humor to help us laugh at the absurdities that life sometimes has to offer. In our Writing For Young People section we find a more sarcastic tone with The Shaving Cream of the Month Club by Evan Fackler. The main character uses wit and hilarious comparisons between pumpkin spice shaving cream or Sea Breeze to compare a current debacle he finds himself in. Even on the hardest of days a good chuckle can help break the tension of stress and offer a moment of reprieve. Our mission statement certainly stresses that we seek cutting edge literary pieces and art, but clever humor always catches our eye and offers a great balance to the more serious content found in this issue.

People continue to rise up during this pandemic in order to fight an oppressive system and show their support by marching in the Black Lives Matter movement across the country. Eventually it became a global phenomenon as citizens stood up against the oppressors and called out institutional racism that has plagued us. Many artists used their skills to clearly demonstrate their resilient spirit and drive to show they want a better future. Artist Michael Owens’ pieces Towards A Better World attempts to communicate with humanity and explore human connection. He uses bold colors and visuals to represent the turmoil of our political climate. Lunch Ticket provides a space for unique artwork that challenges our way of thinking and sparks a conversation on social justice and community activism. 

Artist Darius Alexander Dyson uses pop art in his piece Breathing The New Society to “focus on the political errors of the injustice system in the world” with the hope of educating people who view his work. Essayist Janel George highlights in Explaining Black Lives Matter how necessary these conversations are and most importantly she states, “seeing my humanity means seeing me.” These are the discussions we want to emphasize at Lunch Ticket and assist in spreading further awareness. Issue 18 holds many fearless pieces that make power statements on society and our humanity. Author Anna Badkhen even states in her interview she wanted to tell stories that are necessary, which include the violation of human rights. Our team strives to provide a platform, so these stories are told properly.

We suddenly have an odd abundance of time in this new reality and find ourselves making observations that inspire us to write and create great art. Something such as a poem liked Neighbor by Matt Vekakis offers that simple analysis but delivers quite a punch at the conclusion. It’s in these moments where we learn the reality of our surroundings and people’s true nature. However, the Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative Nonfiction runner up, The Beautiful Mundane by Anne Pinkerton also offers a lovely perspective on appreciation to those little moments we certainly take for granted. She states in her narrative of a friend making sure to live every moment he had left on earth: “He lived as much as well and as hard as he could all the time. I still think about this when I feel too tired after work to see a friend or go to some cool event.” Right now, seeing friends or attending places is difficult, but she reminds us to reach out to that person who has been on your mind or relish in those small victories.

There is a level of intensity found in Issue 18, yet we offer gleams of hope in order to demonstrate there is a balance we like to create between the upbeat and the serious bits. Uplifting narratives have a special place in this latest issue and can be found in artwork like the Pineapple Metaphor: Expanding the Narrative by artist April Fitzpatrick. She points out how she uses the pineapple as a symbol for “growth and journey as a guiding metaphor…” Even within our Writing for Young People and Fiction sections you will find a mix bag of characters gaining new mindsets of the world. Flower Food by Angelica Esquivel follows a young girl who comes to terms with her own mental health issues but finds a way to cope by simply taking it one step at a time. She powerfully states in her story: “There’s something lovely about getting lost in the wilderness of my own mind. I hate the word depression, but this villain needs a name.” Our collection of stories and artwork hone in on our theme because we face hardships and we do try our best to grow from those difficult moments.

Our Lunch Ticket staff persevered once again to find those right pieces and showcase new voices and artists. Their hard work has come into fruition and I am proud that our final product reflects their true dedication.

Right now, as the pandemic rages we continue to hold onto that resilience to keep pushing forward towards a better future and eventually rise from the pandemonium of current events. Although we’re all staying home please take a journey through Issue 18 and perhaps you will find yourself immersed in unexpected adventures or experience new perspectives.

Loumarie Ivette Rodriguez is a newspaper reporter in Connecticut and earned her MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. She was previously the editor-in-chief for the Lunch Ticket literary journal for Winter/Spring Issue 17 and Summer/Fall Issue 18. She was also the Flash Prose lead editor for the Women’s National Book Association Writing Contest 2020. Currently she is working on her novel along with several short stories. In her spare time she co-hosts a movie review podcast called Worth a Watch with Loumarie and Steve found streaming on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. She can usually be found lurking in coffee shops, traveling, or attempting to read several books at once. You can find her on both Twitter and Instagram at @rloumarie26.

Photo Credit: Amanda DeMaio