Letter from the Editor

     The Parliament Literary Journal was birthed from a seed of an idea -- a humble but beautiful little seed and one that I had carried in my pocket with me for some time. The idea was, simply, to create a place where the talents that surround me would feel welcomed to gather and share their creations in a unified space. Perhaps it was the time quarantine provided or perhaps it was a newfound sense of the precariousness of life that pushed me into a 'seize the day' mentality. Whatever the motivation was, I took the seed from my pocket and I planted it. I set it firmly, lovingly into the grounds of my small town of Highland Park, New Jersey and invited some people to help me tend to it.  Within just months, my seed grew not only beyond my town, but my state, and my country, too. Writers and artists gathered with me, representing 34 states, 28 countries, and 6 continents.

     As such, the only way to properly start off this introduction to the premiere issue of The Parliament Literary Journal is with a Thank You. A GINORMOUS-sized Thank You. No literary device -- no metaphor, allegory, hyperbole, nor alliteration -- is capable of painting the depth of gratitude I have for the people who have supported this venture.

     For my team -- my friends -- who propped me up when I got nervous; who remained patient and forgiving as we hit some hurdles; and who never let their brave, encouraging faces fall even as the submissions (and the workload that meant for them) began to grow exponentially, I am truly grateful.

     For the writers and artists who trusted us with their creations -- which, I know, is akin to baring your very soul -- I thank you. Your talents were a continuous reminder of the necessity of maintaining places like this journal. Your words and your art deserve to be shared far and wide so that they may, as they did for me, inspire and propel others to create, as well.

     And to you, the reader, who now gives our journal a chance: you, too, have my profound thanks. It is my sincere hope that you find this a place for you to gather, as well; to find insight, motivation, or perhaps even a good chuckle.

     For our inaugural issue we chose as our theme the concept of "viral". While the rationale for this may seem obvious, my motivation was more complex than reflecting the state of the world right now.  My degrees are in psychology, with a particular interest in the psychology of linguistics.  Words, simply, matter. Those that we have access to shape how we perceive our world. The connotations of a word evolves, too, with the world around us. What one year ago may have been brought to mind -- your thoughts and emotions -- by the word 'viral' is likely very different today. This call for submissions was equally a literary and artistic challenge as it was a psychological investigation into the state of words currently. We were excited to see the returns. How would this word be interpreted? What is coaxed to your surface by this word?

     We also held an ekphrastic contest, asking writers to find inspiration in a work of art we provided entitled "The Broken Man" by @ram_artdesign. From nearly 100 submissions, we had the impossible task of selecting our favorite. Our Editor's Winner, crafted by Kanika Ahuja and entitled "The Body Distorts into a Manufacturing Defect", unanimously struck us hard and resonated long after. I'm sure I need only to invite you to read it for yourself as explanation. Our artist, too, selected his own favorite. Natalie Kormos's "Rebirth of a Perspective" captured his art in a way that surprised him and affected him, both; a connection between artists that is quite unique.

     What all of the selections for our first issue have in common -- be they from the viral theme or our ekphrastic winners -- was their ability to move us. As our team at The Parliament Literary Journal continues to find our collective voice, we know this: We strive for quality and diversity in the works that we present. We are looking for pieces that provoke. We hope that more than a few of these stories, poems, or works of art will be the stick that pokes the bear, waking in you your own inspirations and reflections.

     We will, with your help, continue to find our voice and to give voice to writers and artists of all backgrounds.  Thank you for reading on.

Nikki Gonzalez

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