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Editor’s Letter – 2/6/19

Short days, cold nights, and prairie winds spell psychic misery during the winter months in northeastern Oklahoma. A rare spit of snow fakes a magic feeling, but it’s otherwise undressed death and decay—Green Country, beloved, gone gray.

Aside from my usual regimen of Lexapro, bike-riding, meditation, and therapy, stories help me cope with dark seasons. I’m at my lowest when I feel disconnected from other people, so it makes sense that the act of engaging with someone else’s narrative would jolt me into a better space.

With that in mind, I’ve got an issue for you. First: a literal reading of this metaphor, courtesy of Human Library Tulsa. Holly Wall drops by the Gilcrease Museum, whose “Americans All!” exhibit becomes the backdrop for an intimate storytelling experience highlighting just a few of the immigrants who make our communities great. You’ll meet Sky Taing and learn about his harrowing escape from the killing fields of Cambodia to the United States, along with the local organizers who are creating “a space where people can grow in empathy.”

And we’ve got more connection in store during these lonely months. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, check out our cover story by Damion Shade, which is about sex and dating in Oklahoma in 2019. He talked to locals from all walks of life about the pleasures and pitfalls of getting together in a changing technological landscape, which can both deepen and deplete our connection to each other.

Even stories about bad stuff, like the intensely stupid and destructive government shutdown that ended (for now) last week, can strengthen our connection to each other. Fraser Kastner talks to Eileen Bradshaw, executive director at Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, who was on the front lines of the relief effort while the president held peoples’ livelihoods hostage for a racist border wall—the opposite of connection.

Elsewhere, to kick off Black History Month, you’ll find a story about Muskogee’s historic all-black high school by Kimberly Burke. We’ve also got an interview with Pulitzer finalist Margaret Verble by former TTV assistant editor Cassidy McCants; a look at the possible changes ahead for the Brady Heights Neighborhood; ‘honest’ Latin cuisine from Que Gusto; gluten-free indulgences from New Era Fine Fermentations and Bobby O’s Slices & Pies; plus, to really warm you in the winter months, a story about vodka.

That should hold you over until we meet again on Feb. 20. In the meantime, here’s my advice for the dark season: Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Dress for the weather. Talk to someone. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Exercise. Meditate. Read.

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