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Editor's Note

Welcome to the much-delayed 24th issue of The Ear, and our first ever online issue. While we plan to release the journal in print when we're back to in-person operation, like so many other things right now, it seemed safest to keep the issue online.


All of the pieces were submitted before the pandemic, and we’d decided on most of the content before the staff was scattered to the winds by COVID-19, but we’ve found, of course, that they still feel relevant, because they’re telling us true things about what it means to be human. Revisiting the art, poems, stories, and essays as I worked to convert the issue to a digital format reminded me why we do this labor of love every year, despite the fact that our staff is entirely volunteer.


These pieces give us a chance to feel ourselves again—remembering what it’s like to share a beer with a neighbor and admire a freshly cut lawn or appreciating the transformational power of music in our communities, even admitting the messy imprints left on us by dating in the digital age—and also to recognize what we appreciate most in the midst of a pandemic—the recipes for love, bath time with children, those quiet moments when we appreciate the seasons, the light, a particular place, and the ability, of course, for people to return to each other, even in spite of tragedy.


Many folks deserve our gratitude for this issue: the contributors, of course, who waited patiently for its release, especially Van Lenigh for the beautiful cover art, “Inner Minds,” which became a lynchpin of our online design; Natalie Camunas and Jennifer Johnson of Digital Mountaineers, Michael Opsteegh, Bonnie Widerman, and Neil Aitken for their patient advice in putting together the online edition; our student staff members, especially Sofia Buitrago-Yepes, Mary Camarillo, Lexi Cunningham, Payton Dodd, Kayla Hanson, Aine Molvik, Alyssa Nakatsukasa, Annika Sial, and Hedieh Sorouri, the MVPs who kept us going after we switched to fully remote; Dean Bui and my colleagues in the School of Humanities, especially Lisa Alvarez; and all the folks at Irvine Valley College who have supported and continue to support The Ear.

I hope you enjoy this collection of amazing work as much as we do.

—Virginia Shank 

    Faculty Editor

About the Cover Artist

Inspired by great masters as Vrubel and Monet, Van Lanigh creates figurative and landscape pieces. Her unique style is a reaction to abstractionism in an attempt to capture surrealistic yet casual reality. This is especially underlined by new forms and materials used in Van Lanigh’s artworks aimed to achieve the viewer’s resonance between visual effect and message of the painting. Discover more on Van's website and connect on Instagram.

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