Author Statement: If your sheets could speak // a letter from your sheets. by Elizabeth Kemball

Have you ever felt like something was watching when you were all alone? Or wish that something was? Laid down at night to find yourself straining to hear anything other than your own breath and heartbeat in the pitch black? Have you dreamt of someone, something, and woken to find only air between your fingers?

A letter from your sheets // if your sheets could speak. gives a voice to that feeling; it explores the idea of vocalising to the inanimate, through imagining a letter written from a person’s bed sheets. When I started writing this piece, I was looking at writing a poem distanced from the ‘I’ which I find myself writing most often; I wanted to instead write from the perspective of something that does not have a voice of its own. Sheets are witness to a huge portion of humans’ lives: sleep, sorrow, romance, sex, death and more. This book is a voyeuristic but gentle observation of a place in which humans are often at their most vulnerable; it is a fragmented narrative, of flashes of actions and images that gives us an insight into the person’s life through the moments that they spend in their bed.

Our sheets are primarily places of comfort and solace, but also isolation. Loneliness is something we all feel – something I certainly have felt, especially when staring at the ceiling lying in bed in the darkness. I was intrigued by what people are like when they think nothing is watching – when they are allowed to be their barest self. It may read like a confession or a love letter, and I think to each person it will vary depending on their own relationship with sheets and sleep (one of the few activities all humans partake in). For some, these sheets may not be sheets at all; sometimes we find our own voices, or others, in the most mundane objects.

Thank you to everyone who reads this book; I hope that, perhaps, this will make you feel more connected to the world. Not everything can speak, but everything says something.

Author Statement: Cemetery Music by Birdy Odell

For as long as I can remember, I have contemplated death. Even as a child, I tried to make sense of it and observed the feelings and rituals associated with the passing of loved ones with a kind of peculiar curiosity. My younger self developed a sense of acceptance in these observations and I found it comforting. Death seemed ‘normal’, sad but not frightening.

As I got older I began to think of funerals as an ordeal and nothing to do with the person who had died at all but simply a public display of grief. It annoyed me.

I wasn’t sad when my maternal grandmother died. She had never been afraid to die herself, so I was ok with it. At her funeral, there was a little old lady in the back row who sang every hymn in a high warbling voice that lent a much-needed sense of comic relief to the occasion. I enjoyed the contrast. Grief was a state of mind alleviated by joy.

I began writing poetry to sort through my feelings at a very early age as well. It has been my way of putting my feelings somewhere outside of my body where they could be looked at as a separate entity. And yet I have never written poetry to examine personal losses. Death is still more of a riddle to be solved than an expression of grief.

In Cemetery Music I chose to pair poems about death with lighthearted images in attempt to illustrate the contrast I have so often felt. But in looking through my work later on I realized that there was still a lingering sadness. I felt that what my work was really conveying was the poignancy of memory and the mixture of happiness and sadness that resides there.

To me, death is both a comfort and a terror and always will be.

Birdy Odell

Author Statement: Gravity by Lynne Schmidt

Dear Reader,

When I was in the process of coming back together after a traumatic relationship, I met someone. For a moment, it was like everything in the universe had come together for this second – for time to stop, our eyes to lock, and then everything went back into motion.

For a long while, I believed in magic because of him. I believed in Taylor Swift songs. I believed above all things that he was like super glue and could fix me, even as he told me all the reasons I wasn’t right for him. He was the gravity keeping me on the earth, causing me to look forward to whatever is going to happen tomorrow. My hands would sweat any time I heard his voice because he was this mythical unicorn that I could never catch. I knew the entire time we would never end up together. But that didn’t mean my heart listened.

This collection was put together because at the end of the relationship, and even now, there was so much left unsaid and my heart wasn’t done talking. The words needed somewhere to go and they wound up here.

So, Dear Reader, this collection is for you – for anyone who has had their heart broken, healed, broken again, only to find that you were the one capable of reassembling yourself.

Please, remember what you’re worth, what you deserve, and never settle for anything less.

All my love,