Issue 76  of Kaleidoscope explores the theme of “Life’s Unpredictability.”

Essentially, how people can be going about the business of their daily lives and suddenly everything is upended by a circumstance beyond their control—something we all can relate to in one way or another.  

Our featured essay is “Gravity’s Tilt” by Ellen L. Case. The author shares her experience of being slowed down by multiple sclerosis—how she was once very athletic, enjoying hiking, running, skiing, but then as her balance grew more unsteady she reluctantly must accept using a cane. She goes shopping with a close friend, looking for more stylish canes that will blend with her wardrobe. 

Other personal essays include “Someone to Hold” by Luke Emile Williams. His son has autism and he and his wife are caregivers for his mother in law who is in the end stages of Alzheimer’s. Williams shares the frustrations that occur as a result of lack of communication and understanding. In “This is the Way the World Ends,” Staci Bernard-Roth talks the technician who is performing a routine MRI into allowing her to look at the finished films. Instead of finding more lesions from multiple sclerosis, she sees something even more frightening. 

The fiction pieces in this issue include “No Green” by Abby Lipscomb. Two little girls, Emma and Juney who has autism, become friends. Juney’s mother is very loving and caring. Emma takes care of her mother, a very bitter woman. When the girls are playing mermaids, their favorite game, together, Emma can shut out the starkness of her own life. Then, near the end of the summer, Juney suddenly disappears. 

“The Way I Am,” by Lorna Rose McGinnis tells the story of a boy who from grade school through college struggles with severe social anxiety disorder. Mary M. Sheridan’s “The Girl Who Was” is a short but very powerful piece about a homeless girl during winter. 

Kristina Gehrmann, our featured artist, creates incredibly detailed and vivid digital images using a Wacom tablet and stylus. Many of her digital “paintings” evoke the style of the Old Masters. The artist prefers historical subjects (both people and events) and the lifelike images she creates immediately draw the viewer into the scene. 

Issue 76 also includes Mark T. Decker’s review of The Right Way to be Crippled and Naked, an exciting fiction anthology by writers with disabilities focusing on the experience of living with various disabilities. 

The 17 poems in this issue features some familiar names to regular readers of Kaleidoscope including Barbara Crooker, Sheryl Nelms, Maura Gage Cavell, and Yuan Changming. 

We hope you enjoy this thoughtful exploration into how life can suddenly change from “normal” to a “new normal” and how people cope with these changes.  

Read issue 76 of Kaleidoscope here!