Dear Readers and Writers,
How are things going? You’re reading this on a screen, with minimal stakes; it’s safe to be honest. If your answer is Great, great. If your answer is Not great, you’re not alone. This is a moment of provedly and unprecedentedly grim events, both ecologically and anthropologically, both locally and globally. Each of us, in our own way, has contended with loss, with subverted expectation, with other incidents of a negative ilk.
Of course, it’s not all bad. But it’s good to be honest. Honesty, after all, is what separates private anxiety from public acknowledgment, blundering optimism from genuine hope.
I left Morocco about six weeks ago, after an artist residency that began in May (incidentally, it was 113 degrees Fahrenheit, not exempting the interior of the small airport from which I departed), and beyond the up-close lesson on climate change––and on privilege; I get on a plane in this story, while others head to homes without air conditioning––there’s an expression that recurred through just about every exchange in North Africa.
A number of our readers will recognize the dictum Insha’Allah, which at its most religious means God willing and at its least means We’ll see. It’s the sort of thing you say when you hope to meet someone again, or (somewhat less touchingly) when a pilot conveys the hope of safely reaching your destination.
The defining characteristic of hope is, arguably, its unlikeliness. Literature, like hope, imagines other iterations of reality into being. There is, in the act of writing (and of reading), hope.
By hope, of course, I don’t mean the blithe optimism of ignorance or deceit, but hope as strength. Such hope shines through the extant/undead vocabulary of Jason B. Crawford’s “translations of an ancient text,” in the memory and discovery of Hyun-Joo Kim’s “persimmon song,” in the sly evolution of Sarah Fannon’s “Sea Change” and the intricate recipe of Beth Cleary’s “Mother Cake.”
Hope––in a number of forms––pervades this issue. The works in this collection, at times quietly and others overwhelmingly, speak to meaning. They speak to hope. Survival.
Let’s do our best to imagine something new together.
I hope you enjoy this issue as much as I do.
–A. J. Bermudez, Co-Editor of The Maine Review