Editors’ Letter: Coming of Angst
Occasionally, for no reason at all, the two of us talk about what it would have been like if we had known one another as teenagers. Wild, we say. Disasters. So much angst. In our friendship we have swapped stories of our separate experiences of feverish, adolescent wanting—desires so intense they could not be contained within our own budding frames. We consider how our combined energies would have blown out the walls of any room, how our parents would have dreaded our spending time together, how boys would have craved and feared us, how our words could have written one another, exploding into being side-by-side.
If we had met at fifteen or sixteen, would we have given each other and ourselves the permission to be angry, alive and reckless? Would we have ended up stranded, intoxicated or impregnated, in some back-roads desert commune we mistook for adventure? Possibly. Most likely, we would have been the same angsty, suburban teenagers, crushing unrequitedly and decorating our jeans and converse with colored sharpies—though we would have felt far less alone.
Unfortunately, we didn’t know each other as teenage girls. We met as hungry women, both figuratively and literally, bingeing on shared experience and gross Chinese food, comforting one another through the torment of adult-level growing pains and exploding into some version of ourselves we could recognize as human, real and evolved and sometimes only known to each other. Anyone who has lived beyond their teen years knows you spend three or four years in puberty, and the rest of your life coming of age.
When we began reading for this second issue of The Hunger we immediately noticed a trend. There is a lot in here about teenage girls and angst. Would that be the unintended theme? But as we continued reading, consuming words with a rabid fury, carefully curating pieces that resonated with those same intense experiences of youthful longing, of grown-up life lessons and learning, we realized that even stuff about teenage girls is never really about teenage girls, just like poems about food aren’t really about about the lemon and the garlic. The pieces in this issue, like all meaningful artistic expressions, are about the interconnections of humanhood and the shared sufferings of tragic endings, joyous beginnings, and all things that exist in the ether between the two.
We couldn’t believe the work we received for this issue, how deeply it radiated through us, and how much we wanted to share it with the world. We couldn’t believe the variety, the depth, the difference. We have feminist grandmothers and the fate of their granddaughters; weeping women and MILFs who fuck with innocence. We’ve got mermaids, and tarot readings, and mountain towns cursed by wicked women and legend. First-time masturbators, shady Spanish professors, and fathers with no chance of redemption. We’ve got bold artwork: colorful, courageous, shaped by the curve of known and unknown experience.
We hope this issue will make you laugh, cry, and blossom with brightness. We hope it will remind you of growing up, of growing young, of the selves we outgrow and discover, of the never-ending exploration inside of you. There is grief in the growing, but there is also a shaky joy in stepping into a new self, a new life and way of being in the world.
We hope this collection reminds you of the way it feels to become, and that you are able to share that feeling with someone who understands. The stories of our joys and sorrows transcend space and time, providing a kind of companionship even when we feel most alone. In these stories of becoming, we are all here together.
Lena & Erin
Editors & Co-Founders