Volume 16, Issue 2 – Summer 2022

Content Warning: This issue “preamble” includes content on ableism, sanism, racism, misogyny, transphobia, classism, poverty, abortion access, healthcare and reproductive rights, gun violence, dis-ease and life-threatening illnesses, death, loss and grief, war, and climate change, as well as other themes that may be distressing to or for some readers.

Welcome to the Summer 2022 issue of Wordgathering—Volume 16, Issue 2 (aka Issue 62). This issue is brought to you just in time for the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (July 26, 2022).

As Editor-in-Chief, I am grateful for ongoing and outstanding collaborative support from my esteemed colleagues at Syracuse University—Kyle Jaymes Davis (aka “Wizard Kyle”), Patrick Williams, and Steve Kuusisto. Thanks, too, to Dr. Kate Deibel for behind-the-scenes creative labors to ensure and advance Wordgathering‘s accessibility and impact.

Immense gratitude goes, as always, to our exemplary editorial team: Assistant Editor, Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri; Flash Memoir Editor, Dan Simpson; Gatherer’s Blog Editor, Ona Gritz; Prose Editor, Sean J. Mahoney; Poetry Editor, Emily K. Michael; and Special Guest Editor, Kenny Fries.

P. F. Anderson, Karen Christie, Jim Ferris, Maya Larson, Jules Nymo, Rebecca Ribeiro, and I provided book reviews for Issue 62. This issue’s Gatherer’s Blog, “What’s Form Got to Do With It? Finding Shape in Memoir Projects,” was written by Sarah Fawn Montgomery, based upon an AWP presentation of the same title. The Reading Loop, “Horror Video Games, (In)accessibility, and (Mis)representation,” was written by Syracuse University alumnus and staff member, Benjamin C. Jones. Sarah invites readers to think reflectively about memoir creation in mindful and innovative ways. Ben’s interdisciplinary Disability Studies analysis and close reading provides rigorous, layered descriptions of the genre under consideration. As always, the Reading Loop and the Gatherer’s Blog are invited contributions, and I thank Sarah and Ben for their exemplary work.

The poems “Smoke” and “Spirit Chime” by Nancy Scott and “Names I Don’t Remember” by Roy Wahlberg were audio recorded by me. Other poems were audio recorded by the poets, themselves.

Issue 62 is dedicated to the memory of our beloved friend, Prof. Lydia Fecteau, who died in early May of 2022.

Rest in power and peace, Lydia. Thank you for everything you did to teach about, engage with, and advance Disability Justice and Disability Studies—particularly for young folx—including in the realms of “Cripping” the Comic Con (aka CripCon) and geek cultures, writ large.

Lovely, funny, and brilliant, badass Lydia was a stalwart activist-scholar, mentor, and leader. She was a central part of the planning committee for the CripCon—beginning in 2014. That year, her presentation entitled, “The Disabled Immortal Body: Body Atypicalities in Torchwood: Miracle Day, American Horror Story, and The Walking Dead” was unforgettable. I cherish the photographs and video footage of Lydia with our mutual friend, “Bad Cripple” Prof. Bill Peace (who, dressed as a zombie, gave a keynote on assisted suicide and The Walking Dead), leading the 2014 CripCon’s “Zombie Walk and Roll” along with Rachael Zubal-Ruggieri, me, and many fellow “Crip Zombies”—symposium guests, Syracuse University students, faculty, staff, and community members. Writing these bittersweet words a mere few weeks after the third anniversary of Bill’s untimely death in the face of trenchant medical ableism, I wonder what protests and creative endeavors Lydia and Bill are perhaps cooking up together now.  

Wordgathering readers who may not be familiar with Lydia’s myriad contributions to Crip education, activism, research, and cultural work are encouraged to check out “Mutants and Cyborgs: Disability and Pop Culture” | Lydia Fecteau | TEDxStocktonUniversity. [Brief Image Description of Video Content: Lydia, a dark-haired white woman using a power chair, is shown on-stage in this TEDx talk with her beloved service dog, Phoenix.]

This issue’s arrival occurs in the midst of trenchant forest and regional fires, desperate draught, the hottest days on record in many parts of the northern hemisphere, the specter and ubiquity of newly dangerous Covid variants, daily public and private shootings and fatalities—including the death of schoolchildren, monkeypox’s having been designated officially as a global public health emergency, the one-month anniversary of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a season of war against the Ukraine, ongoing and blazingly inadequate responses to (racist, ableist, sanist, classist, transphobic) police brutality, the persistent undermining and dangerous destruction of marginalized people’s freedoms—including access to healthcare, and a looming fear on some folx’s part that it may be “too late” to turn things around enough to make a vivid difference in the worsening climate crisis.

Joining many of my friends and comrades who feel similarly, in the midst of this maelstrom, I often comment that arts and creativity may matter more now than ever before—but this statement has always been true. (As I’ve said before, I believe in certain—but not all—simultaneous truths.)

On a happier note, I’ve been invited to participate in a number of conversations over the past few months about why accessible journals need to continue among caucusing communities and why we press on. In late May, I had the joy and privilege of meeting on Zoom with my friend and colleague, poet/author, editor, and Disability Studies activist-scholar, Dan Sluman, who is starting a YouTube channel to engage with Disability poetry, Disability poetics, and theories of creativity. As lovely Dan noted, he seeks to “get more engagement around Disability poetics and applying Crip theories to writing.” I agree with Dan that it would be great to deepen the connections between (as he put it) the “UK Disability poetry scene and the scene in the U.S.,” in part via a collaboration with Wordgathering.

And, while what Stella Young famously called “inspiration porn” continues despite many people’s seemingly endless efforts to intervene, some readers might be heartened by a few recent interventions in various mainstream literary spaces. In contrast to unencumbered inspo-porn, these other kinds of communicative efforts are often far more hopeful than repugnant. What I might call a “mixed bag” example of this sort of effort appeared in a recent New Yorker article about DeafBlind communities.

Wishing you and “yours” a reflective, accessible summer, during these continuously challenging and nuanced times.

Thank you for your ongoing engagement with and commitment to Wordgathering. I hope that you enjoy and find meaning in this issue.

Huzzah, friends.

—Diane R. Wiener, Editor-in-Chief

Underlined content throughout Wordgathering is hyperlinked (each underlined element is a clickable link), leading to further aspects of the content shared. Any questions about accessibility can be addressed by emailing us at: wordgathering@syr.edu.

Please note that the opinions and perspectives shared by our contributors (in their published work or elsewhere) do not necessarily align with or reflect the opinions and perspectives held by the members of the journal’s editorial and administrative team.