Writer and cultural chronicler Joan Didion, who died on December 23, 2021, wrote in The White Album, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” Didion had been observing and recording since her mother handed her a Big Five notebook and told her to write down her thoughts.
As we get ready to unveil our 34th issue of The Briar Cliff Review, we celebrate the stories this magazine has always told. We need stories to nourish us, to survive, especially in this age of political strife and the coronavirus variants ravishing our world.
Welcome to the 33rd issue of The Briar Cliff Review. We survived 2020, and The Briar Cliff Review emerges stronger than ever. In times of turmoil, we turn to the arts to find solace and safety. As editors, we saw more submissions this year than ever before. People stayed home because of the pandemic, and they wrote, painted, sketched, and submitted their works to us. “Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity,” wrote artist Dorothea Tanning.
Welcome to our 32nd issue of The Briar Cliff Review. It is 2020, a new decade, and I feel an unsettledness around me. It’s more than that. It’s a feeling of being on the edge, awaiting something. We have so much happening – wildfires in Australia, the coronavirus spreading, an impeachment trial, an assassination of an Iranian general, the shooting down of a plane, the bombing of our base in Iraq, fear of nuclear proliferation in North Korea and Iran, distress about lack of cyber security, anxiety about terrorism and mass shootings, the rise of white nativism, and nervousness about the caucuses.
Welcome to our 31st issue of The Briar Cliff Review. We are living in a time of crisis, and with this crisis comes fear of losing everything. Loss brings loneliness as people shut down inside and keep their fears, hurt and anger to themselves. Fittingly, in this issue we see the themes of loss, grief, loneliness, and reminiscence.