“May you live in interesting times,” says the ancient Chinese proverb which people often refer to as an ancient Chinese curse. These are certainly interesting times: refugee children being separated from their parents at the border, Donald Trump meeting with King Jung-un, Mueller investigating Russia’s possible interference in a US Presidential election… We have much to concern ourselves with these days, as it seems the entire world is shifting and churning. Yet, exactly because in these same interesting times the future rolls towards us in an ominous cloud, we invite you to reflect on our roots – as Americans, as global citizens, as Southerners, if you’re from this neck of the woods, but also as parents, as children, siblings, aunts and uncles, as organisms of a biological world that connects us all at the root.
This issue of Wraparound South asked our contributors to sends us their interpretations of this strange word “root,” its connotations so mixed and often ominous in the American South because of the violence of its past, but also one that echoes with familial love, with reverence for traditions that, in the end, we preserve to honor our ancestors, those whose lives, struggles and sacrifices permitted us to move forward into time, to greet another day, another year, another decade. It was not surprising to see how many responded with literature that focused on family bonds, but also on ancestry, from Europe, Africa, Latin America, intuitive, tender reflections on the immigrant experience, on the ultimate sacrifice of exile and adaptation that many of our ancestors submitted to out of love, and on the effect of that sacrifice on the younger generations.
We hope that you will enjoy our selection. We hope that as you read you reflect as well on your own roots, not only with respect to an abstract ideal of the “greatness” our country presumably enjoyed, but in terms of that which connects you to the depths of this planet, our mother earth, that which enables you to thrive and grow.
Thank you for your continued patronage of our journal, and thanks to the volunteers and interns who helped us complete this issue. We would not be here without your support.
Laura Valeri, Managing Editor