FROM: Rachel Charlene Lewis [Editor]

The writers in this issue are overwhelmingly not straight, not white, not male, not established; the writers in this issue are women, they are queer, they are young, they are of color; this, in itself, to me, is magic.

This is the meaning of grit: pregnancy scares and trying your best and changing the water in the fish tank and swimming or drowning and fucking and being fucked.

Our writers exposed themselves on the page. Come and see them. You have their permission.

There is nothing sexy about brutality. There is nothing sexy about vulnerability. There is something real about brutality, about telling of the times you’ve been brutalized, about telling about the times you’ve been brutal. There is something real about vulnerability. You know this.

We promise our writers we will love their work the way they want to be loved. We tell our writers to tell us about how they’ve been failed. In this issue, our writers tell us the ways that they’ve failed. The ways that they’ve kept going, or given up, via carnival food, the gaps between fingers, books closed. They are the tug of impulse when manic becomes the new normal.

Soak in their screams. Learn, or re-learn, your own. Be silent alongside them. Hold your laptop in solidarity. They’ll be waiting.

We love you, always.

FROM: Chelsea Ardle [Assistant Editor]

Let’s talk about spaces. Between us. Inside you. Empty. Too full. The intangible spaces without walls, without volume. How do we measure these gaps?

Do we use the standard ruler? Do we assign it a monetary value? We are all still figuring out how to fill the spaces in our lives–the absences or overwhelming presences. What our writers know is that these gaps can be filled with words, and perhaps, for now, that is enough.

As a new part of Vagabond City, I’m honored to be a part of this issue–to join our hard-working editor, Rachel, and Elena, the enthusiastic and careful reader. As an online publication, connecting with this staff is mostly done through keyboards and shared spaces on the cloud. These, we measure in megabytes. But they are more than megabytes, right? This is art. It is priceless, unitless. Right?

So I ask you, while you read, to think about how you measure these spaces between here and there, him and her, us and them, Oz and Kansas, the moon and the earth, the Russian philosophe and his love, sanity and that gray space surrounding it, petals and the fluttering wings of a bee, the metaphor and its subject.

In the past, I’ve thought of relationships in miles–how many can we put between us before we break; in rhythms–I always want to waltz, but you’re stuck in common time; in motions–brushing teeth, drinking coffee, walking out the door one after the other. But can’t we also measure things in words?

Like “depth,” & “love,” & “negative,” & “happy,” & “scream,” & “silence,” & “breath.”

Welcome to Vagabond City Summer 2015. Breathe it in; let it fill you; breathe it out.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.