A Letter to our Readers 2020

I wish I could be writing this under different circumstances. In an ideal world, we’d all be moving into our dorms and apartments and houses excited to see our friends again and resume college life. We’d be excited for class (sort of), ready to read through each syllabus with a rising fear as we review the semester’s every assignment, ready to walk through bubbling Durham filled with apprehensive freshman making new friends and upperclassmen finding their niche a little bit more, ready to feel the palpable excitement that rings through a college campus with the start of each school year. I’d be stoked to hold our first meeting in the newsroom, welcoming both new and old faces to what we do here at Main Street. The problem is, we don’t live in an ideal world; the world is kind of crumbling around us everywhere we look, and all of the things we thought we knew are now a little more unclear.

I recently spent three days in Acadia National Park in Maine hiking and enjoying the sublime, jagged landscape of the northern Maine oceanfront. Acadia feels like a different world, brimming with beatitude and bursting green life and overwhelmingly rapturous landscapes. While I was there, my friends and I were at a gorgeous beach enveloped within the mountains when suddenly we saw drooping, ominous, heavy rainclouds race toward us on a mission. Everybody at the beach got up and split before the lightning storm swallowed us whole. Meanwhile, my friends and I stayed put as the storm blossomed over the beach and opened up in a blasting of precipitation. Sheets of rain fell on our heads, lightning and thunder rang all around us, and everything we brought with us onto the beach became soaked. After 15 minutes of this, we ran up the granite stairs leading to the parking lot as the rain waterfalled down the steps in a cascading of flash floodwater. Getting back to my car (a black 2007 Jeep Patriot) I realized I had left the windows down. My car was completely soaked. I tried to play music through my phone as we left, but none of the buttons worked aside from the volume; oddly enough, it was stuck on the CD setting and could only play the last CD I had listened to in the car, Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange. For the rest of the trip, we were forced to listen to Channel Orange on repeat as we drove through the bowels of beautiful Acadia.

I say all of this because at the beginning of our drive back home – while spirits were high and easygoing conversation flowed throughout the cabin of the Patriot like the rivulets that run down the Acadia mountain ranges – my friend Dave pulled out his phone and let out a deep sigh. His brow furrowed and he looked extremely worried; his whole demeanor changing in a matter of seconds. I looked over and saw why—on his phone he was watching the video of Jacob Blake being shot by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He looked on in horror as seven bullets tore through the back of shirt and skin and flesh while Blake’s children sat in the car. Frank Ocean’s “Crack Rock” echoed throughout the now-silent cabin of the Patriot. “Crooked cop, dead cop / No good for community / Fuckin' pig get shot, three hundred men will search for me / My brother get popped and don't no one hear the sound / Don't no one hear the rounds (Sound) / Don't no one hear the shells (Shells) / Don't no one hear a sound / Don't no one disturb the peace for riot / Don't no one disrupt nirvana / Don't no one wanna blow the high / Crack rock.” And just like that, everything felt completely wrong.

The world isn’t right these days. A pandemic is tearing through our country, devastating both physical and economic health as the disease withers people’s bodies and avenues to support their families. A rippling political divide is ravaging our country’s people, as Black Americans fight for true equality against ingrained systemic racism while a sector of ignorant, apathetic Americans somehow find a problem with this. Nobody knows what to do or how to carry on given the unrest ringing in the air. I wanted to address this here because I don’t know what to do either. It’s scary and weird and unnatural. Yet, there is one piece of advice I saw on Twitter that I think is extremely resonant in these odd times. Earl Sweatshirt, one of my favorite musicians, tweeted in May, “planners its time to plan. builders its gon b time to build. storytellers speak the ever evolving truth. lovers love. warriors gon war. know your role.”

Despite the uncertain times and ensuing crippling anxiety, it’s important to continue to do whatever it is that you do to find and deliver solace to yourself and those around you. At Main Street, that means fostering a creative, wacky, welcoming community of UNH students that use words and art as an outlet for their emotions and an exploration of the things they hold near and dear. It means promoting the voices of those too often silenced and giving them a platform to share their heart candidly in whatever medium suits them best. It means pouring our all into creating 100 pages of colorful, wonky magic and sharing it with whoever will take the time to indulge in our shared funkanomics.

This year, we’ve got a bunch of incredibly exciting new changes on the way. We’re changing from 40 pages an issue and two issues a semester to 100 pages an issue and one issue a semester. This was decided on the basis that we champion absolute quality without limitations or bounds on the fragile life of our collective, creative spirit. We’re also working on redesigning our website, making a new logo, putting out more digital content, and a whole lot more. Along with this, we’re welcoming two new content editors to the team, Caroline and Sadie, who will bring a whole new palette of insight and expertise to what we’re trying to conjure with the perfectly imperfect passion project that is Main Street.

With all this being said, I don’t know if we’ll still be able to meet up every Tuesday in the newsroom (which breaks my heart); I don’t know how much in-person contact will be possible this semester; I don’t even know if everyone will still be on campus by early November when we aim to release the magazine. But I do know that we’re going to use Main Street as a cathartic outlet of hope, art, philosophy, photography, fiction, poetry, personal essays, satire, and anything else people want to create to help us and everyone else through the tumultuous times we’ve found ourselves in. If you want to send us anything you’ve created or have any questions or just want to say what’s up, email us at mainstreetmagazine@gmail.com, check out our website at mainstmag.com, and follow us on Instagram at @mainstmag.

As always, with love,

Caleb

Main Street Mag

The most practical insurrectionary tactic of the present is the sabotaging of archetypes. We are bored of the apocalypse . . . Art should lighten. The architecture of suffocation and paralysis will be blown to bits by our celebration of everything. Our jubilee concept.

Nostrum Grocers

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