FOREWORD

Rhiannon Wood - Editor in Chief

This first official issue of A Coup of Owls has been such a wonderful experience for all of us. We have been inundated with some fantastic work, and it was incredibly difficult for us to choose from it all. So much so we had to close submissions for a while, as we have filled the next three issues! The forest is full of joyful hoots! We thank all of you who submitted, and please try us again if we couldn’t choose you this time. We will be briefly reopening submissions from the 1st to 7th August for flash fiction only to fill a few little slots, beyond that watch our Twitter feed for updates on future submissions.

I would also like to take a moment to thank our lovely artist, Alek, who created the cover of this issue. It is just so beautiful that we could not stop looking at it, and it fits so well with this issue’s stories about love, travel, change, and new perspectives. We adored these two lovers locked in an embrace, suspended as if in water, gleaming in the darkness. They encapsulated our remit so perfectly, and we thank the artist for her incredible work.

After the rather sedentary life we have all been living this past year, I think it fair to say we are all longing for far-flung places, adventures outside our living rooms, and the carefree days of easy international travel. It was no surprise that we received so many stories about exotic places or changes in perspective. Themes of going somewhere else, leaving the bad behind, and discovering something new about yourself were all at the forefront of these stories. Change can come in many forms; through our relationships with others, romantic or otherwise, a new place or person can change our perspective in all kinds of unexpected ways.

Maybe it’s waking from a long slumber and finding life has continued in your absence, allowing you to start again, find new aspects of people, and truly enjoy a life you have earned. Or travelling to the ends of the earth with someone you love, just to see the look on their face when they realise everything they believed has been wonderfully and irrevocably altered. Or perhaps you hear a song that, like a Siren, calls to a part of you that you never knew was missing, allowing you to move on from your pain and find a whole new way of living and loving. Or maybe you are freed from a cage you had grown accustomed to, but now life is your oyster, and nothing can ever stop you from exploring all it has to offer. Of course, it could be that you just want to daydream when you are catching a train, imagine flying through space and time, look at the world through words and what they mean. After all, what does any of it mean? What happens when we miss that train…?

As the world begins to open up again, and we find ourselves able to explore new places, meet new people, and find new loves, let’s hope we all have a bit more appreciation for those around us who might be a little different. The world is a huge and wonderful place filled with a myriad of experiences from a myriad of people. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that differences can – and do – bring people together if we allow our minds to be open and our hearts to be free.

Finally, thank you for reading these wonderful stories, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we did. Don’t forget to hoot at us and the authors and artists on Twitter, so we can all join in on the chorus. For now, please go forth and explore...