Welcome to August

Erik Flesch & Sara Lomasz Flesch

It’s not hard to find creativity in our nook of the Driftless Area — even amid a pandemic. That’s not to say that we don’t dearly miss the in-person concerts, exhibits, lectures, parades, theater, workshops and other community gatherings that typically fill our summer calendar pages.

It’s undeniable that COVID-19 has irrevocably changed the nature of how we live, work and play. And its impact has not affected us all equally. 

This month’s cover art is a papier mache sculpture titled “Poetic Muse: Savoring Solitude” created by Susan Krause. Susan, who’s lived on an old Iowa County farmstead in the Driftless for 44 years, is a member of the Driftless Poets Workshop hosted monthly by Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point. Susan, pictured with her muse at last month’s outdoor workshop, credits the Driftless Poets with inspiring her to begin creating her muse — starting with its hands, feet, and head — after her garden closed last year and before the COVID-19 pandemic began impacting our part of the world. Many thanks to Susan for her contribution to our cover! For more information about the Driftless Poets, see www.shakeragalley.org/literary-events. To share art or photography for a future cover, contact us at info@voiceoftherivervalley.com.

As a colleague recently put it, we’re in a storm, but we’re not all in the same boat. That same colleague expressed a sense of guilt for feeling positive, for being inspired by the beautiful place where we live, and able to focus on creativity. 

But creativity isn’t canceled. Just as we forage for nature’s seasonal delights, cultural events continue, businesses are open, and organizations are creating new ways for us to safely engage with them in person and virtually. Please support the businesses and organizations whose advertising supported the printing of this month’s issue. For a current list of where you can find our print issue, see www.voiceoftherivervalley.com/find-a-print-copy-of-voice.

We’re grateful to the contributors who have shared their voices with us this month — Ainsley Anderson, Michael Brandt, Doris Green, John Heasley, Vincent Kavaloski, Angie Mitchell, Jennifer Moore-Kerr, Patrice Peltier, Bill Robichaud, Kathy Steffen and Etienne White — and to Susan Krause, who shared the “poetic muse” that graces our cover. If you’re craving connections and a chance to meet or learn more about some of the people who’ve chosen to make their home here, we invite you to enjoy the debut “Building Bridges” column by Jennifer Moore-Kerr.

Happy reading,