This issue arrives at the cusp of the one-year anniversary of a period unlike any other in recent history. It is hard to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down the country an entire year ago now, scattering Northwestern students across the globe. Our college lives have taken place through screens and digital correspondence since then, and a return to normalcy is still out of sight. Nonetheless, creativity has persisted in inspiring us despite—and maybe to an extent because of—the trials this year has presented. Self-quarantining saw many rediscover a side of themselves that had last been seen years ago in high school art classes as they dusted off their paintbrushes. Others, impassioned by current events, put pen to paper with new urgency. 

          Recognizing these impetuses for creation led us to hold Helicon’s Share Your 2020 Story initiative, which solicited submissions of art and writing inspired by the events of 2020 from the Northwestern student body to share on our social media and website. A selection of the submissions from the initiative are included in this issue. Submissions depicted students struggling with quarantine-induced lethargy, indignant about injustices happening in the world, nostalgic about a pre-pandemic lifestyle that seems worlds away. Their creations offered a peek into their psyches, continuing to do what art does best: inspire empathy, especially in a time of such distance both physically and socially. 

          A year ago, Helicon was making preparations for 40th anniversary celebrations that still have yet to happen. Little did we know that 2020 would lead to momentous change for Helicon as well: this year, we decided to become an independent student organization and part from our host body, the Residential College System. While our relationship is no longer official, the cherished history and deep ties we share will sustain our continued collaboration. With this transition, I look forward to a Helicon that can expand its reach to the greater Northwestern community and beyond, continuing to flourish and thrive even in this year of great uncertainty. 

          I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Office of Residential Academic Initiatives, Director of Residential Academic Initiatives Bradley Zakarin, Program Assistant Mary Dworak, and especially Associate Director Nancy Anderson for their many years of support for Helicon. Without them, Helicon may have long ago fallen into the annals of history. I am also incredibly thankful to the executive and editorial board members, whose support and input were invaluable throughout the transition and who have tirelessly worked to make Helicon the best it can be in a trying year. And last but not least, I am deeply grateful to Brian Bouldrey, a long-time pillar in Helicon history who has returned to the advisor position—thank you so much for your boundless dedication to Helicon and everything it stands for. 

          I hope that this issue of Helicon can serve not only as a collection of thoughts and emotions from the current moment, but that their messages can spark a thread of connection in you, creating an invisible but resonant web between each of us. 

          We cannot and will not cease creating, even as we move toward a still uncertain future.

Tara Wu
Editor in chief



The works published herein are the sole property of the writers and artists who created them. No work may be used without the explicit permission of the author or artist.