Notes From Crew Quarters: Finding the Road Back
With so much going on in the world, it can be difficult to remember how and why we found our way to prose and poetry in the first place. Trying to find his own answers, Ethan Brightbill asked our staff why should we care about writing.
Jacqueline Boucher, Managing Editor
We should care about writing--and more specifically about creating a literary journal--because it means taking ownership of the curation and shaping of our small part in this cultural moment. This journal--any collection of literature--is literature on purpose, and our endorsement of something, our lifting it up to be babied and meticulously prepared and sent into the world, is an act of care that feels revolutionary to me. It's the opposite of almost everything else that exists because everything about it speaks to an act committed with intention and thought and purpose. When the world is scary and feels random, I find deep comfort in that intentionality.
Jason Teal, Associate Fiction Editor
Writing is resistance and promotes understanding of others, but it can just as easily pervert our best intentions. We need good writers, honest people with the best ideas for humans, speaking out, speaking for each other.
As much as we need writers, though, we also need readers concerned with engaging with this sort of writing. We need to foster a community of thinkers and better modes of communication, and writing, whether social media or fake news or real journalism, makes a real difference, as we've seen. We can no longer ignore this--we see where the new hostile right is targeting America, in its learning communities, brandishing false tirades against a blanket "political correctness," rather than adapting thoughts in order to create spaces for everyone in your life.
The new right means to destroy empathy and caring. We writers and readers and thinkers are the front lines of the American conscience. We are the first they will seek to corrupt or shut down. We must resist. We must write. I will write. I will resist.
Krys Malcolm Belc, Associate Fiction Editor
My wife and I are afraid sometimes, for our own safety and our friends'. It's been hard for us to turn away from the news, to disengage from media.
Often I think of writing as a way to engage with this fear and with the big questions I have about people and the world. To draw attention to things I care about and that trouble me. I write my way into and out of the problems I see around me, and it feels like a way to gain some insight and control. To make myself and other people think about the scary things.
But in the last week, my wife and I have turned back to literature as escapism--and that's what it was for both of us as queer nerds for most of our lives--and it's been amazing. We've been trying to read the same short stories and then talk about them as a way to talk about something other than the election results and articles everyone is sharing. It's funny because the story we talked about today had queerness at its center and yet was a way more refreshing conversation than the doom and gloom we've been putting ourselves through.
I want to write things that help other people engage but also escape. And to help find writing out there that does that for me and can do it for others, too.