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Editor's Note

Indulge me in taking you on a little historical journey of The Ear. It began as a labor of love under the editorship of Elaine Rubenstein and faculty guest editors in 1982, when Irvine Valley College was still Saddleback North. In 2002, Michelle Mitchell-Foust brought out issue 19, and then—due to circumstances we won’t explore here—the journal pulled a Rip VanWinkle and snoozed away 14 years.


In 2015, one year away from tenure, I slipped a request for funding to revive the journal into our resource request process, and it was approved. In the spring of 2016, The Ear returned with issue 20, as a labor of love guided by a faculty editor or two, but largely directed by student volunteers.

Perhaps it’s rather a strange thing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a journal 40 years after its conception. But life, and institutions, are strange animals, friends. And what I want to celebrate here is that, for 25 issues, we’ve had the privilege to publish some amazing work. 

Issue 25 is no exception. And this year we’re bringing back a much-beloved feature of Ear issues past: the interview. Please celebrate with me the dogged persistence of the amazing Mitsuye Yamada, her daughter Hedi Mouchard, and student editor Daria Berenfeld, who worked together to build an interview despite the pandemic. What an honor to include the words of a renowned poet, writer, and speaker. Mitsuye was also kind enough to share a poem with us, though we’re sure you’ll want to pick up a copy of Camp Notes, Desert Run, and Full Circle to read more. 

We're sure you'll find Irina Greciuhina's gorgeous acyrlic on canvas painting, "Shifting the Shizo-pole or gorgeous product that you can sell" as hauntingly beautiful as we do. 

Of course, we also have more excellent poems, essays, short stories, and art to share with you. We admit that death—of animals, of people, even as a desire—walks through these pages, but so too does life. From the vibrant colors resonating in the art to the crayoned colors of childhood, in the mouths and eyes of birds, the overcoming of popsicles, chugging RC Cola, the first time a mother really hugs her daughter as daughter. 

Let’s celebrate together our contributors, all the people in our local community who make each issue happen—from the student volunteers (especially Audrey, Ashley, Mina, and Faith) to the folks at our printer—and of course you, our readers. Here’s to a future with many more issues, whenever they arrive.

—Virginia Shank

Faculty Editor

PS - If you love the two issues available on our site as much as we do, you might want to make a donation to receive your own beautiful print copy of a special back-to-back issue that includes 24 & 25. Once we've received your donation, our elves with lovingly handwrap your issue and send it via snail mail. (International subscribers are encouraged to donate toward extra snail feed to sustain them in their long journey.)

About the Cover Artist

Irina Greciuhina was born in 1982, she lives and works in Moldova, as an artist and architect. She works on exclusively female archetypes and personalities. Previously her paintings were exhibited in France, Romania, Italy, Spain, Russia, and Moldova, but now are in private collections in Europe and Asia. Discover more at Saatchi Art and connect on Instagram.

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