Welcome to a new year with quarterlife. In the spirit of beginnings, and the endings they inevitably follow, this issue of quarterlife is themed Catch and Release. Be it a fish, a house, a friend, a good meal--life is a pattern of comings and goings, a long list of all those things we have hooked and then tossed back into the river, and of all the things that have caught and released us, as well.

I had a friend my freshman year who was on the verge of graduating, leaving behind this phase of his own quarterlife. He went through the processes that seniors seem to go through every year; he sold all of his furniture, donated his clothes to the Goodwill, and gave books away to friends. I left his apartment one day with five or six books, all the way home wondering how he could so easily part with his personal library.

My whole life I have compulsively collected books. At some point in my childhood, I was convinced that the Communists were going to invade and confiscate my growing library of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Tamora Pierce. I wanted to create an underground shelter, where I could save my books to give to my grandchildren--I could hand them my copy of Walk Two Moons and say, "This, my children, this is a book."

The Communists never came and still I find myself collecting. As I look at my shelves of books and realize that so many of them are in that place next to my bedside table where dust jackets take their name, I wonder what it is that I am caught on. Is it the books themselves or the spirit of a full shelf? As I begin the end of my time here, and think about that day when I will shed whatever I can stand to part with, I slowly understand that it is all just a game of Catch and Release-- of letting go all those things that will not fit in boxes, and holding on to the spirit they hold within them.


View this issue HERE.


editor: Naomi Gibbs
layout editors: Molly Esteve, Deirdre Gorman
copy editors: Hanne Jensen, Brett Weiss
selection staff: Michael Bell, Ari Frink, Philip Hofius, Sean McNulty, Nick Michal
staff artists: Isabel Blue, Lara Mehling, Markel Uriu