Notes from the Editors


Ours is a world that thirsts for connection. Despite the myriad tools we’ve developed to keep us together through long-distance love, help us coordinate nearby meetups, enable us to share our perspectives around the globe, and keep us connected to the news of nations far and wide, many have built up their defenses, damming the rivers of their lungs to avoid breathing the air of perspective.

In a popular TED talk, Research Professor Dr. Brené Brown talks a good deal about connection, and the mental barriers that keep us at odds. Dr. Brown states:

…We are the most addicted; we are the most medicated; obese, and in-debt adult cohort in human history. We’re numbing. And this doesn’t even include busyness. I didn’t even put the “busy” slide up. You know, when they start having “busy” recovery meetings, you know, “busy” 12-step meetings, they’ll have to rent out football stadiums. Because we just stay so busy that the truth of our lives can’t catch up. That’s the plan.


And so, what are the consequences of numbing vulnerability? What are the consequences of trying to beat vulnerability to the punch? Here is the consequence to numbing that I’ve learned. As a vulnerability researcher I spent the first 6 years of my research studying shame, empathy, and courage; and the last 4 years studying joy, authenticity, love, and belonging. And one of the things that I learned that was very startling for me personally and everyone I’ve ever met, is that you cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb the dark emotion, when we numb vulnerability and fear, and the shame of not being good enough, we by default numb joy. We cannot selectively just numb the dark emotions.

In other words, invulnerability (or our perpetual desire to become invulnerable) is literally tearing us apart.

The mission of Spry Literary Journal has always been firmly rooted in vulnerability. We are continually humbled by the work contributors share with us. By their willingness to be vulnerable with strangers, to trust in our process, and, frankly, to allow us to be humble and vulnerable with them when our lives delay the process of publication.

We’re so honored to feature the artists, writers, and poets we’ve published this issue. These are humans who have truly embraced their humanity. They may not be unafraid of vulnerability, but they are courageous as they wander through its darkness.

We truly hope you enjoy this issue, and that you find connection and resonance among these works.

With warmth and gratitude,

Erin and Linsey