In true ADHD fashion, our second 2022 issue is coming in right under the wire. This collection will bring you another five beautiful stories from the initial submission round. Though not by design, a subtle theme of loss, of letting go, has emerged in these stories that stuck with me in the months between issues and thus felt most strongly compelled to share. With these stories, I am thrilled to be creating a more rounded voice of Proton Reader as we move forward.
From the moment I read Spencer Koelle’s A Cat’s Duty, I accepted it as fact that our feline companions are, in fact, protecting us when they tear through the house at 3AM. So, to my cat, Lil’ Pump, I apologize for ever getting angry when you fly across my face as soon as I enter REM. You only ever had my best interests at heart, and are here to defend and guide us through our most difficult times.
Adam Fout’s Baby Boy vividly paints the picture of one of the most base fears we carry as parents—losing our children as they outgrow us—in a way that cuts deep for me. Having children the same age as Anthony, I felt the pain and fear and panic of a mother unable to protect her child.
Katie Conrad’s The Protector of the Forest helps us remember that we are all connected, and cutting ourselves off from our community hurts everyone, but acknowledging our mistakes and working to rectify them can create a stronger system of connectedness than we began with.
Jordan Hirsch’s Let Our Grief Be Fruitful, At Least In This Way paints a picture of one of the most meaningful methods of mourning I have come across. Imagine if we had such a tangible endowment from the torment we face after loss? How would our society differ if we could harvest and celebrate something that could only be produced with our grief?
And an extra big thank you to Scott Edelman for The More Loving One, not only a fantastic story about (quite literally) picking up the pieces after tragedy, but his experience, advice, and reassurances as a seasoned editor. Someone who has been navigating these waters for decades, who has casual conversations with some of the most talented people in the business, taking the time to reassure a fledgling publication that self-imposed deadlines are just that—self-imposed—gave me the breathing room I hadn’t yet realized I needed.
As we enter 2023, I have only the highest of hopes for where this adventure will take us next. Happy reading!