Letter from the editor

    light coming from a small lamp illuminated the pieces of paper I had in front of me. As I read each story, the darkness that surrounded me seemed to embrace me and I was dragged into the depths of each writer's thoughts and pain. I was captivated by the words that graced each paper, flowing from agony to amusement, memories of those whose story was being told. And while many expect a happily-ever-after as an ending, most of these stories reflect that life is a work-in-progress, always changing, and ever-evolving.

    In this issue of TUSK, we are confronted by the scarring of abusive relationships, the torment of living with AIDS, going blind, anti-war sentiments and pride over a name. We are showered with the glittering world of drag and what it means to perform for a young man. You will travel a the fork in the road, embracing an answer to the burning question many women ask themselves, and the struggle of self-identification of a young woman between two ethnicities. You will sympathize with a runaway wife, jailed in her own home, and with a student who is diagnosed with a rare disease, submerged between life and death.

    Some of our staff traveled down to Guatemala aiding a nonprofit organization, bringing medical attention, clean water and education to impoverished communities. Students encountered the smiling faces of children who did not know the only health care they would receive that year would be through the volunteers of Refuge International. Students reported and Magdalena Guillen photographed surgeries, dental procedures and physical checkups of the people of San Raymundo, Guatemala. They trekked up the mountainous terrain and observed the warm colors of the SarstĂșn sunrise, shocked by the grandeur of mother nature.

    Inspired by these stories, our editors, designers and photographers envisioned to illustrate the unfolding of the writer's life onto these pages. The creation of this magazine was a process that unraveled into an overlay of different stories, artwork, photographs and designs created by our incredibly talented team. Between many nights that turned into days and countless revisions, I am constantly amazed by their work. This magazine could not have been made possible without my team and the advisement of Arnold Holland and Jeffrey Brody. I thank each and every one for their dedication to this magazine.

    A year ago, I was chosen to be this year's editor-in-chief of TUSK, and now, I sit here reflecting on our journey. I hope that the small light illuminates you with each story. I hope that although, some never reach a happy ending, we see their lifeunfold into a new beginning.

    - Magdalena Guillen