CY: Here in the Midwest the weather is warming up, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and we can finally get back outdoors after another long Covid winter. This month I’ll be attending my first local book festival in the area and I’m excited to read the work of the authors who will be visiting. Maybe it’s because we’ve been indoors for so long, but the idea of getting out and handling physical books and meeting the people who wrote them feels especially novel and inviting right now. I’m excited to discover some new authors writing in different genres. Science fiction and fantasy are my first loves, but I also need to go back to the well to fill up and be inspired by realist fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
AS: That sounds so fun! We went to see The Batman in theaters. Every time I go out I have a mix of feelings, including being happy to be out and doing stuff, but also including a touch of nervousness and a dash of guilt. I’ve been to two major conventions recently (World Fantasy in Montreal and Worldcon in Washington D.C.) and I’m so excited for things to be more fun, less stressful, less worrisome. I’m definitely a fan of writers and works which straddle or defy genre definitions! Genre writers often understand the ongoing conventions and conversations, which can be great; but sometimes folks who started in “mainstream” or “literary” and are just starting to play in genre bring fresh, unique perspectives. As readers, stepping outside genre (at least, in my opinion) can be wonderful. Great writing is great writing, whether or not it has unicorns or aliens.
CY: “Going back to the well” is a theme that comes up frequently in my life, both creatively and in a more mundane getting-through-the-day way. These have been trying times for everyone, and we’ve all had to make sacrifices we never anticipated, and give more of ourselves in ways that were unfamiliar and painful. We found ourselves drained in a very real sense: drained of energy, of inspiration, of resources, and sometimes of hope. We are going to have to find ways to fill up again. That will look different for everyone. For me I think it looks like taking a walk with a friend, reading a short story collection by an author I hadn’t encountered before, and learning something new.
AS: So true. I love going out for a nice meal; I think I get a similar thing from it sometimes. Or even cooking, if I’m doing it for someone I care about, putting that love into it. Reading can definitely be cathartic, or healing. Even when it’s just plain entertaining, sometimes that distraction is exactly what’s needed. I know many writers find that sense of going back to the well in putting together a short story or poem. There are always new and interesting things in the work we publish, and we publish many new writers who have fresh perspectives. I am confident that readers can find energy, renewal, or even just the distraction they need in our pages!
• • • •
In this issue’s short fiction, Hannah Yang takes a different kind of look at the magic of love in “How To Make A Man Love You,” and in Kristina Ten’s “Beginnings” we get a new twist on “once upon a time;” in flash fiction, Martins Deep plays with format, imagery, and emotion with “Isio,” and fantasy meets reality in “Practical Childcare Considerations for Knights Errant” by Rachel Locascio; for poetry, we have “Great Sage, Protector of Horses” by May Chong and “Alice Is Much Farther Than She Appears” by Laura Ruby. Plus essay “Stereotypes, Godhood, and The Wicked + The Divine” by Priya Chand. Enjoy!
Spread the word!