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  • Leslie Jill Patterson

gates open: and so we begin

We admit . . . we had a long summer: some tragedy among our ranks, and lately, it seems as if there is no way to bring Americans together. Too many people would prefer to keep us separated one from another, via walls and prejudice and anger and fear. This election season promises to be particularly difficult emotionally, and social media has become anything but social--it is, in many ways, simply intolerable.

Despite all of the dread and foreboding, I remain an optimist. Our office is open again, we've just received permanent funding from the TTU President's Office via President Lawrence Schovanec (!), and we insist that the future offers hope and potential.

So we at Iron Horse are kicking off this production year by considering what humans can accomplish when we learn to embrace difference enthusiastically; when we fight for the civil rights of those who have long been denied them; when we defend the beauty and power behind the intent of America, with all of her many cultures and voices; and when we remember who we were but mostly where we're headed--instead of suggesting we should go backward to "again." For when history repeats itself, it's never for the good.

Thus: we're dedicating our first issue in volume 19 to the State of the Union. We're looking for poems, stories, essays that focus upon the potential of unity and union, the splendor of diversity, the belief in progress----and yes, we're also looking for the darker manuscripts that contemplate those moments when we have failed. Let's look forward to what we might accomplish and mourn when we have foundered.

Send us your best work--literary, artistic, grounded in reality (or the surreal!), and not sermons on the obvious but rather manuscripts that deliver maverick scenes and stories and people so distinctive we cannot deny them. Submit now through September 23. The issue will hit stands in February, just after inauguration.

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