Along with nearly everyone else in the world, we were eager to wrap up 2020 and we are looking forward to a brighter, healthier 2021. In the midst of this pandemic, we are truly connected through this shared experience in a way we have never been before. This is evident in the art we have selected for Issue 82. During a time when so much is on hold, creativity seems to be bursting at the seams and artists from across the globe have created images that are comforting, empowering, and relatable, because we’re all going through the same thing. “We Are Worthy” is the theme of this issue, a sentiment palpable in the powerful cover image by anonymous Philadelphia street artist Blur.

In our featured essay, “Wrap Me Up and Tie It with a Bow,” Shawna Borman reveals the apprehension she felt during her first encounter with an orthopedic surgeon when she was only five. The wary little girl with a neuromuscular disease, poked and prodded most of her life, had no reason to think he would do anything but inflict pain. The unconventional doctor found a way to change her mind.

Author Marilyn Slominski Shapiro writes in dramatic fashion with vivid imagery in her fictional story, “Rejoice the Archangel Raphael!” Inspired by a family member who has autism, she has crafted a captivating story with an unexpected ending.

If you need something lighthearted today, author Judi Fleischman writes this short, charming and sweet creative nonfiction story, “My Man George.” Ironically, several of the stories in this issue bear the name of the main character in the title, all of which happen to be male

This issue contains our first lyric essay, an eloquent tribute to the author’s late wife, and our first publication of a drabble. In poetry, “Anxiety” speaks to something that many people have struggled with, especially during these tumultuous times. Swirling anxious thoughts are “Intruders” in the mind of Mari-Carmen Marin and you can see her read her poem aloud by visiting our Video Gallery and selecting her video. Within these pages you’ll also find many other incredible stories, personal essays, and thought-provoking poems that reflect the experience of disability and life in the midst of a pandemic.

Read Issue 82 now!