Words By Dani Hedlund, Art By Samantha Dow
Dear lovely reader,
If the submission pile at F(r)iction tells me anything, it’s that all us neurotic creative types are obsessed with memory. Perhaps we’ve all watched Memento—or, heaven forbid, The Notebook—one too many times, but recently it seems like every other submission we receive is about a protagonist getting diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, someone trying to eradicate the memories of their ex-lovers or past traumas, or—my personal favorite—creepy shadow governments toying with our minds, manipulating our memories to make us do unscrupulous deeds.
But the mind, my dear reader, is a fickle beast. It’s constantly rewriting our memories, cobbling them together like some sort of deranged Mr. Potato Head. Think of your very first memory, for example. Perhaps you’re chatting along to one of your stuffed toys, getting your head stuck in a fence (oddly common), or, in my case, laughing my cherubic little bum off as my mum pretended to eat my feet.
But do we actually remember these memories? Or have our parents just told us each story enough times—or showed us enough photos—that they have been imprinted in our malleable minds?
The truth of it is that every time we recall a memory, it changes, like an endless game of telephone, each retelling changing the root memory until we can never be completely sure what happened to us . . . And this makes me wonder: if memories are so fallible, why do we cling so desperately to them?
It’s this difficult question that F(r)iction #17 explores.
From heart-wrenching literary tales exposing how memories fade to wild genre stories exploring what happens to our memories when we die, this issue is all about the faulty film reel of our past, and how those captured moments sculpt who we are. Some of these stories are frankly hilarious, some real tear-jerkers, and others are, well, frightening (honestly, have you checked out the comic yet?). But each piece drills into that quandary at the heart of memory: when to hold on and when to let go.
I’m always surprised by the process of exactly how an issue comes together, and this one was no exception. Although I expected a slew of big-action stories with memory-erasing weapons at the ready (bring on the shady shadow governments!), our authors had other plans. This is likely our most thoughtful journal. Don’t get me wrong, there’re still ghosts and purgatories and even a reverse volcano—this is F(r)iction, after all—but each of these stories and poems digs deep into the human experience, into the moments too poignant to forget.
So, as always, I hope you enjoy the hell out of these pages, dear reader, and that you learn a bit about how your memory works, why we’re all so obsessed with it, and which of those constantly changing mental mementos are worth holding onto.