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Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor 11.14.2021

On Red (Taylor's Version), falling in love, and finding my redemption arc


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Photo: Isabel Liang

The first time I heard “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)” was just after 1 a.m. on the last warm night of November. I cried big, hearty tears in front of a gaggle of frat boys on the 41st block of Spruce Street, unconcerned with how I looked but deeply concerned with how I felt. 

The second time I heard it, I penned an angry letter in my Notes app to an ex–boyfriend that I will probably send two weeks from now, drunk with lingering rage. “You may be a nice man, but you are not a good one. And every day I wish a little bit of my heart was tethered to someone else’s,” it reads. I unfollow him on Instagram directly after, and tuck into a bag of white cheddar Cheetos, my comfort food. I can’t recall the taste of them. 

The third time I heard it was in a messy kitchen somewhere in Wynnewood, swaying in the refrigerator light with a man who’s unexpectedly lovely. My feet stand atop his—like those father–dance scenes in movies—and he kisses my forehead. I tell him I love him and mean it for the first time, even though he’s been saying it for months with no expectation of reciprocity. “So, this is what it's like to be loved unconditionally,’ I think to myself. I’ve had a boyfriend this entire time, only now I allow myself to luxuriate in having one.

The story of Red (Taylor’s Version) isn’t really about retaliation or unfettered breakup blues, however many Jake Gyllenhaal hate Tweets we send in our groupchats. It’s about redemption, or being able to confront the worst of your feelings years later, distant and appreciative of the art they made in the first place. I’m still trying to get there, clearly. But each listen brings me closer, and one day I hope I will be able to appreciate the art I created–the magazine I forged–while blindly loving someone who used me. 

That’s what Taylor Swift would want at least, anyway.

This week’s issue is about redemption and regeneration, of growing something unexpected from the pits of struggle. We have a retrospective on ABBA’s sadness–tinted disco pop bangers and a look into how brain implants can treat depression. As for our feature, it’s a profile on Slought, the art gallery–slash–nonprofit next to our office that was born out of 9/11 trauma and the pitfalls of the war in Afghanistan.


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