From the unaided perspective of the individual, climate might be a mere collection of weather data sourced across some amount of time in a centralized place in space—on this planet, in this corner of the world, on this coast or up in that mountain range or over here in this flyover midland. But we’ve all felt the climates of our internal landscapes, the cerebral and the bodily spheres, and how they acclimate or resist the external. Or we’ve mourned or spurned changes in tradition and culture, from lost family practices in efficient laundering to experimentation with sustainable cuisine. And though we’d probably use a whole slew of different words in politics—depending on where we stand, maybe even depending on our exact places in space, at exact places in time—I’ve certainly felt a pressure change in the air.

This issue of Ninth Letter complicated all of these conceptions of climate. It includes elegies and jeremiads, meditation and calculation, the speculative and the investigative. But I think all of these pieces, and each of these artists, never let the daunting task of our external realities domineer the power of the internal. These ten writers have created new landscapes of possibility—some of them ugly by necessity and difficult—and prepare me for the world I step into each morning.

Climates consist of small choices and miniscule forces and random events, much like the letters rolling across a line or the phrases cascading into a narrative. Thank you to these writers for building these systems. And thank you to our team of young editors, all climatologists of an undecided future. And thank you reader. You are not the end of this small climate we’ve created, but the next wave, the next front and the new morning light.

—Zachariah McVicker 


Editor: Zachariah McVicker

Editorial Assistants: Faiz Aboobacker, Alejandro  Alberto, Aiden Baker, Jessica Berbey, Kait Boehm, Sullivan Brawn, Stephanie Cohn, Rachel Finegold, Zachary Flynn, David Kula, Ashli Landa, Kara Lane, Dan Levin, Brandon Perez, Rachel Reeter, Elli Wills, Kelsey Wort