Letter from the Editor 

While I was home over Spring Break, my family and I biked over to our town’s new art installation. Entitled “Temple of Time” and designed by visual artist David Best, the installation was a temporary, non-denominational, wooden temple structure meant to commemorate those affected by the shooting that had taken place nearby at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the alma mater of me and my siblings. The temple houses an interactive space in which visitors can mourn, leave mementos, and write notes to loved ones. After three months, the temple is burned down in a gesture of fiery catharsis intended to aid the community in the healing process. 

As I walked through the interior of the temple, reading the messages left by the parents, siblings, and friends of those killed in the Valentine’s day shooting last year, my stomach started sinking the way it did when I first heard the news. It was clear that, a year later, I was still processing the implications of the event, and, looking around at the other visitors walking through the temple, I realized that I couldn’t even imagine the pain still present for those much closer to the tragedy than I was. As I sat with with the anger, confusion, and sadness that was still rumbling deep in my core, I realized that, while the “Temple of Time” was a beautiful and powerful work of art, its whole concept belies the true nature of healing. The healing process does not culminate in an explosive moment of catharsis like the burning of a wooden temple; more often, it never culminates in anything. Rather, healing is gradual and ongoing, a perpetual process that never truly ends. This realization was both comforting and disquieting, but, as I biked home from the temple that day, I knew that the truth of it was unavoidable.

The ambiguous, sometimes frustrating, often beautiful nature of the healing process was the inspiration for this year’s Culture Guide. We at Scene+Heard wanted to spotlight some of the various forms that healing can take - from Chicagoland businesses making an effort to heal the communities around them to musicians documenting their healing processes on record, from local alternative therapy centers providing new forms of care to writers recounting their own healing journeys in personal essays. We endeavored to deconstruct common myths about healing and explore its manifold manifestations, choosing to tell stories of recovery and renewal with the hope that they might provide some comfort to those in the midst of their own healing processes. Because, in one way or another, we all are healing, and we always will be. It’s time we embrace it.

Thank you for reading.

~Steven Norwalk, Editor-in-Chief