When Margit first suggested the topic of “Peace” for my guest-edited issue, I rolled my eyes. I envisioned big peace signs on garish tie-dye with that hippy-dippy bubble font, maybe worn by long-haired hippies burning incense and telling each other they were blessed. Think Don Draper on a mountaintop. It just seemed so banal and saccharine, the “thoughts and prayers” of holiday topics.
Then I remembered that I have a baby daughter and that every time we leave our home I am terrified about what might happen to her in this world.
Then I remembered that this relatively new fear for me is old hat for a black person running into a cop.
Then I remembered that I maxed out my personal giving donating to the refugee crisis, though then there were other reasons to donate: to Planned Parenthood, to Sandy Hook Promise and Everytown USA. And there always seems to be a GoFundMe campaign supporting mass shooting victims, at best for wounded survivors, at worst for funeral expenses.
Then I remembered Donald Fucking Trump.
At that point I was starting to feel really bad for dissing peace. Only someone privileged enough to take peace for granted could be so casually dismissive of it. And those brand associations! It was maybe the white privilegiest thing ever. Also, I actually like tie-dye.
So I decided to give Peace a chance. (Groan. Sorry. Not at all sorry.) And I put out the call amongst some of the smartest women I know to think about the subject and unpack it, er, piece by piece. (Again, not sorry.) I asked them to think of how peace was part of their lives, or not; finding peace after loss, or not; making peace with our own inevitable death (or, you know – not); peace in the Middle East (no one was brave enough to tackle that); why we hate the #Blessed hashtag (by now it is clear that I do); World Peace, in case I knew any former pageant queens; and the solution to the Syrian refugee problem, if anyone happened to have it.
Also peas. It’s a very underrated vegetable.
I emerged with what I think are six wonderful essays, all a variety of smart, thoughtful, funny, wry, poignant, real and profound, all of which address the notion of peace in very personal yet wholly relatable ways.
- Merici Vinton learns to be a parent without the parents she lost as a child
- Bridget Todd grapples with overwhelming stories in her breaking news work
- Whitney Johnson wonders whether her brother’s suicide really did take him, and her, to a so-called better place
- Kara DeFrias shares her Instagram dopamine hits to relieve a hectic workday
- Tanya Tarr finds acceptance of the hypercritical nags in her life via a few roundhouse kicks
- Anastasia Liapis traces her born-again love of her own fucking amazing body
And me, I’m writing this with my boob out, baby on my lap going to town, as I race down the clock to publication before taking us both on a cross-country flight tomorrow. Peace means different things to different people but I will tell you what any writer knows as peace: hitting that motherfucking send button.
Boom. Enjoy the issue, and peace be with you.
Is it too much to end with “Peace out?” No? Good.