By The Seventh Wave

A continued response to our impossible present.

In times of speechlessness — when either words don’t feel sufficient, accessible, helpful, or possible — we at The Seventh Wave have always turned to questions. Below are 25 questions that we’ve pulled from our past eight years, spanning calls from 16 issues and inspiring writing and art from hundreds of contributors. We have always endeavored to ask questions that are both timely and timeless, and these 25 in particular feel like they speak to this moment. Consider these questions as prompts for critical thought or even questions to help spark more words and conversations as we continue to navigate these tumultuous times, together.


  1. How do we do things not in spite of but alongside — in relation to — everything that is happening around us? (Issue 16: Proximities)
  2. How do we determine what is worth giving our attention to; how will this shape our future? (Issue 16: Proximities)
  3. What are we as humans surrounded by — do we choose to surround ourselves with — and how do we situate ourselves within language? What power does this positioning bestow? (Issue 16: Proximities)
  4. What truths have you unearthed beneath the falsitudes, and how is what is real related to what’s possible? (Issue 15: Root Systems)
  5. What are the institutions — family, religion, education, and beyond — that dictate your understanding of the world, and where do you locate the sting of disillusionment? (Issue 15: Root Systems)
  6. As writers and artists, our medium is quite literally the message, so how can we hone a deeper awareness of what that very language has worked to conceal? (Issue 15: Root Systems)
  7. How can we construct a society that implores us to take care of one another above all else? (Issue 14: Economies of Harm)
  8. When we scrape away the excess of our personal and professional relationships, our roles and our obligations, what is at the core of who we are and what we value? (Issue 13: Rebellious Joy)
  9. How we can make room for a wider form of story? (Issue 11: Actionable Storytelling)
  10. How do we encourage critical thought around stories that may have once seemed heroic, but are actually harmful? (Issue 11: Actionable Storytelling)
  11. How can we learn from moments of failing so that our anger, grief, and shame can propel us toward conversations and healing? (Issue 10: Willful Innocence)
  12. What does forgiveness look like from where you hurt? (Issue 10: Willful Innocence)
  13. What role do apologies have in our individual and collective endeavors toward progress, toward both being and doing better? (Issue 10: Willful Innocence)
  14. How has our inaction caused hurt? (Issue 10: Willful Innocence)
  15. What do we value and how do we place value in this country and within each other? (Issue 9: What We Lose)
  16. Is there such a thing as a compromise that is fair to all? (Issue 9: What We Lose)
  17. Is there a power that is ever responsible? (Issue 8: Power And)
  18. How do we tackle conflicts of belief, and make the best use of them as a tool for understanding? (Issue 7: In Opposition)
  19. Why do we reject bodies in danger? (Issue 6: Dangerous Bodies)
  20. Who can we trust to tell us when, where, and how we are safe? (Issue 6: Dangerous Bodies)
  21. What is the role of art, and the responsibility of storytelling? (Issue 5: Artificial Realities)
  22. Can we utilize technology to examine the truth, expose falsehoods, and hold power accountable? (Issue 5: Artificial Realities)
  23. Why belong? What is worth belonging to? (Issue 3: Who Gets to Belong?)
  24. What have you recorded during this time, and what are you trying to forget? (Issue 13: Rebellious Joy)
  25. What do the questions you ask yourself, in turn, demand of those around you? (Issue 13: Rebellious Joy)

Join the conversation!

Once or twice a month — we only send newsletters when we have things to communicate — we send announcements, opportunities, and inspirations.

Thanks for signing up! Oops! Something went wrong, please try again.