Journalists are telling story after story about the COVID crisis and the devastating government policies of the past four years. Every morning, papers march across our improvised desks with headlines announcing bars reopening for indoor drinking, schools reopening for childcare…followed, of course, by late editions reporting spikes in case numbers. For the first time, thousands of families fresh out of work feel helpless as they try to choose between food and a home. As if that’s a real choice. To make matters worse, mothers are at the end of their rope, betrayed by the systems and communities that claim to revere motherhood.
A country divided by ideological schisms manifesting in our living rooms is the agonizing splinter coming out of the Trump years—rooted in the deeds of generations past. Here we are. With shockwaves still reverberating, might we be tapped out on rage so much so that our nervous system is now on the brink of numbness? We feel the crushing toll of our society’s decision to pursue profit at all cost. Every cell in me, as in you dear reader, screams out in the face of our present condition. I desperately want to reconnect and be here for each other…and see a new day.
While media coverage is vital, stories about discord and loss reflect only parts of our lived experiences. We’re more than our pain, even as we watch a second impeachment trial unfold. However small it may be right now, the part of us that feels joy also wants representation. Space to grow. We need an archive for stories about sparking pleasure, too. Understandably, stories like this won’t take up much space on the digital or print pages of large publications.
This column aims to meditate on delight—not just for ourselves as writers and readers, but also for our fellow man. Let us feel the power of communal joy. Rise up like waves and unite into a greater ocean to reshape these shores. Rise up like Nina did in song, and stretch our consciousness beyond the visible horizon. Ride the swell into bigger unknowns, provoke bigger questions, reimagine futures—even when we differ…this is a holy practice of man. For what is a movement, if not a chorus of wild notes waiting to be sung? What is unity, if not ripples converging into a tidal dance? All this is to say, we’re stronger together.
I always thought words were part of the body. A proxy for that primal call born in our very marrow. It’s from within that words ripple out and linger on the edge of our lips. So, what sing you? What is your dance with delight, oh so delicately swaying to the beat of your pulse? What simple pleasures and bright passions ring from your breath into the world? For there’s little more miraculous than the breath bearing witness to the truth. May this be a space for meditating on delight. Delight, as in what it means to be a human experiencing it, in search of it, or even at odds with it. Because we’re not perfectly blissed or sublime, nor is perfection ever the goal. Maybe, as we pause to consider joy, we can find the capacity to create more of it on the planet. Ripple by ripple.
To start, I asked a few talented writers to respond to the same question: how do you see delight? Each writer interpreted the prompt in a unique way and shared a bright treasure. We’ll add more pieces to the archive as we’re able to commission more contributors. Now, read the new, exciting work from Daniela Groza, Terry Jackson, Rahima Rice, and Jason Reuven Kropsky. The stories they tell about fostering delight are moving, vibrant, and necessary.
Ioana Friedman is an art director and Editor in Chief at The Daring. She’s led digital creative at Estée Lauder Companies and e.l.f. Beauty and has served in a creative capacity at Magnum Photos and powerHouse Books.