Words By Dani Hedlund
Dear lovely reader,
It’s been a weird couple of years. From politics to Hollywood scandals, it seems like unrest is everywhere. People are angry, they’re disenchanted, and they’re taking matters into their own hands. In a world on the offensive, we can’t help but put on our armor and prepare ourselves for the next battle.
I’d love to say that we’re immune from that unrest here in the F(r)iction office. But we’re not. For years, we’ve been rebelling against the established way of putting out a literary journal. We’re fighting an industry that believes good literature cannot have an ounce of magic in it, not a hint of genre. We’re fighting, at a very basic level, just to make something that lasts.
Our authors and artists are rebelling, too—against a big, hard world that tells them no one cares about stories and art. They resist parents who say they’ve got cotton between the ears, peers who wonder when they’re going to get real jobs, and agents who would rather they focus on creating for an industry instead of the industry of creating.
But, unfortunately, we don’t always rebel in helpful ways. We procrastinate, we conflagrate, we argue. We seek refuge in empty vices and our own indignation. These offer temporary comfort, but little in the way of solutions as to what triggered our revolt in the first place.
So, dear reader, what you hold in your hands is a different sort of rebellion. One that aims not to fight for the sake of fighting, but to try—and to try damn hard—to transcend our circumstances. This rebellion is not focused on the enemy, but rather looks upward, toward the goal.
This issue is about uprising.
Here you’ll find characters rewriting reality, unwinding convention, and preventing a giant from eating a monkey. Alasdair Gray traces the spiral of human history to the absurdity lying at its core. Isaac Marion leads us on an ascent that, as an end in itself, alters its own course. In our “Breaking Ground” feature, Aimee Molloy shows us a woman in revolt against her own motherhood. Poetry by Erika Luckert reminds us that merely making it through the day can be its own form of resistance. And, in an exclusive sneak peek for our “Pioneering Author” feature, humorist Christopher Moore shares a chapter from Midsummer, his novel-in-progress that sees the return of one of his most beloved characters, Pocket of Dog Snogging. Chuckle manically as Pocket, yet again, challenges everything—including his own survival instinct.
Combining fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art, and comics with a poignant feature from the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, F(r)iction #10 continues our rebellion against traditional publishing.
Like each of us, the characters in this collection have their own struggles to overcome—to escape from the shadows of parents, rivals, and in one lovely story, the shadow of an enormous celestial object. Also like us, each aspires toward something greater. As we read of their attempts to rise above, we witness uprising at its purest—all the good and the bad, the tragic successes and spectacular failures both. Let these stories and poems be a manual for your own uprising. Take them to heart, let them lift you up.