For its third annual prize issue, Proximity was looking for true stories that explore the theme of THE BODY. Our bodies hold our deepest secrets and our greatest joys. They lead us on adventures and temper our dreams; they teach us to persevere and allow us to be surprised by our own resilience; they limit and empower. Bodies can be both desecrated and exalted. They offer stories of boundless inspiration and boundless tragedy.

In this issue, our nineteenth collection of true stories, you’ll find nonfiction storytellers pushing form, and reigning in narrative to explore this range of the body.

Robert Wallace explores what it means to give up on our your body or to recognize that it has given up on you in “The Secret to Everything.”

Ann Mahdavi’s “Wait” forces us to sit inside the luminal space between the known and the unknown—what is happening, how much time, what should we do now or next—and, in “The Diagnosis,” Jude Hopkins brings us inside the hospital room where her frail, young body lays very far from the city of her dreams,

Joni Renee considers exactly when we celebrate the female form in “To Eat with her Hands,” a prose poem, and Annabel Lang brings us inside an emotional tsunami in “Viral Sensitivity.”

“blind field,” an experimental essay, by Tayo Basquiat, brings us inside the conflict between body, gender, and identity, while Alison Powell explores our own extinction through “Already we are Less than Ever Before.”

This issue — our third prize issue — represents the finalists of our of 2018 Personal Essay Prize. A special thanks goes out to judge Hanif Aburraqib who took the pressure off of our team to select a winner and runners-up from the stunning prose on our finalist list. Together, we hope this collection will leave you considering a more nuanced narrative of the body.

Read, share, and discuss—

Editors Shasta Grant, Carrie Kilman, Towles Kintz, and the Proximity team.

Please Note: Unfortunately, this year, our narrative journalism judge opted not to select a winner, but our team continues to encourage submissions of this important form of telling true stories.