Ahoy, and other nautical expressions!

We are terribly excited to share with you our Apparition Lit barnacles illustration by Claudia Pardo. But hang on, ‘What’s with the barnacles?’ you wonder.

It all started when, in a fit of frustration, my then-9-year-old son Max cursed “BARNACLES!” instead of using a swear word that might get him in trouble. I shared this funny moment with the editor gang, and the use of “barnacles” as a swear or as a general expression of enthusiasm eventually stuck (pun intended). There were barnacles aplenty in our editor conversations (e.g., “Holy slush barnacles, this submission is great!”). Barnacle references and symbolism became A Thing.

Turns out, barnacles are pretty neat. There are all different sorts: adorable “acorn barnacles” and dinosaur toe-shaped “gooseneck barnacles” and badass barnacles livin’ dangerous on the sides of underwater volcanoes. And the more we thought about it/made barnacle jokes amongst ourselves, the more we became attached (pun still intended) to this idea of a sticky, stubborn barnacle as our little magazine mascot.

As our very esteemed associate editor and cover art director Rebecca first noted in our newsletter, “Barnacles attach themselves to hard surfaces, have no heart but are sensitive to touch. Sometimes they cling so tightly they ruin the thing they’re attached to. There’s something beautiful and poetic in that.”

Our also-very-esteemed associate editor/poetry editor/webmaster Amy suggested we commission a barnacles illustration and knew the perfect artist for the job. Our delicate barnacle souls could live in perpetuity through the medium of digital art! (Of course, if over time you happen to notice these four barnacle-folk start to wither and fade while we editors seem to possess unnatural, youthful beauty, it’s… fine. Don’t worry about it. We, uh, all use really good face cream.)

We think Claudia did a bang-up job. Just look at these characters! Those faces! That side-eye! The piece is everything we hoped it’d be… it’s splendid… spectacular… no, it’s barntacular (credit goes to supremely-esteemed managing editor Taco for “barntacular”). Can you tell we’re excited?!

If you’d like to see more of this artist, you can follow Claudia on Instagram @everydaybudda and check out her Etsy site.

illustration of 4 anthropomorphized barnacles
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