Like many of us, in the weeks following the beginning of isolation in March due to the covid-19 pandemic, we at kitsch had no idea what the hell we were going to do. We weren’t sure if it made sense to ask people to continue writing and creating in the midst of this global health crisis, but when we reached out to our contributors to ask how they felt, many enthusiastically welcomed the idea of continuing on. Being scattered around the world in our various homes doesn’t diminish our drive to write and make art together; if anything, the isolation heightened that drive. So, we’re pleased to present you kitsch as a space where we hope we can all take some kind of refuge together, even when the state of the world is so daunting.
We’ve been thinking about the themes we didn’t choose this semester, about what could have been if we’d chosen a different path back in February. Imagine if we’d chosen one of the other themes on the short list: “crush,” or “bittersweet.” In some ways, they would’ve worked: “crush” because of the crushing sensation of a semester cut short, of milestones missed, of loved ones lost; “bittersweet” because of the grief of everything, at odds with the saving solace of talking to our friends and family, even through a screen.
Ultimately, “Blue” feels the truest as a theme for the time being, perhaps because it embodies an immeasurable depth of feelings—feelings which sometimes lie beneath the surface of our everyday lives, and sometimes engulf us completely. The contributors to this issue embrace the complexity of feelings and reflection. In “Portraits in Blue,” Emma Eisler explores the emotional complexity of Joni Mitchell’s legendary album Blue, contemplating the ways in which different phases of life and love have brought her new understandings of the music. Evelyn Kennedy Jaffe paints an intimate portrait of the early moments of a new love in “A Quick Little Story About Me Falling in Love,” and Jamie Anderluh marvels at the corporeal vulnerability of swimming and the delicate lifeblood of glaciers in “Life Frozen in Time.” All this and more is contained in this issue, published digitally with love and hope for the future. Thank you for reading.
Anna & Annie