Greetings and Happy New Year to the readers of Synchronized Chaos Magazine. Many people make resolutions this time of year, to get in shape, lose weight, or save money. One other good resolution is to find balance, some sort of harmony among the different aspects of one’s life.
This month’s issue deals with different aspects of balance. Charlie Keys Bohem’s narrator must stay steady while rock climbing and find footholds on new terrain, yet is able to appreciate a magnificent view.
John Grey’s work touches on both interior and exterior life, with a physical storm that cements personal relationships and present day scenes suffused with cultural memory. Mike Cohen’s abstract writing highlights the uniqueness of our existence and life situations by pointing out the rare mathematical probability that the conditions needed to bring us to any one moment would all occur.
Other contributors touch on the balances involved with social justice, the need to respect the value of each of us as individuals and to build a society that provides opportunities for all.
Laura Kaminski’s poetry relates experiences from her youth in Nigeria. Rich and full of images of running children, meals prepared for family and neighbors, water wells and swimming pools and prayer beads, the poetry also conveys everyday and transcendent spirituality. Faith of different sorts becomes integrated into daily life, a motivation for endurance, compassionate living and respect for life and our inherent dignity.
Christopher Bernard’s piece, a modern day retelling of the Christian nativity story, also draws upon tradition and faith. His poem asserts that average people, rough around the edges, staying in a rundown motel are worthy of remembrance and part of something larger than themselves.
Tony Longshanks leTigre also contributes a short and poetic memorial piece for San Francisco tenants’ rights activist Ted Gullicksen.
Hip hop artist Bink$ Win$ton brings us a music video of his new song ‘Nickels, Dimes and Dubs,’ a piece that thrusts the harshness of street life in our faces. It illustrates how the daily struggle for even small amounts of control and sustenance wears people down to the point where normal conversation and connection becomes difficult.
*video includes language and content for mature audiences*
Other writers illustrate the complicated mesh of factors that all go into the human psyche. Kahlil Crawford claims his personal identity and heritage as a writer within the African-American community of Chicago. He shares television shows, music and places that have shaped how he sees the world to give us a sense of who he is, someone whose writing and thoughts are informed by his past and his local and broader cultural milieu.
The poet who goes by the single name of ‘Davis’ describes a complex and painful relationship between the speaker and his mother. He didn’t get along with her and feared her, but can’t forget her. As with Kahlil Crawford, he’s a mixture of his own thoughts and words and the influence of his past and heritage.
In his sixth monthly Play/Write column, author Ryan Hodge describes what mastering the game of Pokemon shows us about how we learn. Figuring out a new world, or system or language, involves starting with known information and then experimenting with the unknown, always teetering on the edge of our understanding.
Finally, in her monthly Book Periscope column, Elizabeth Hughes covers a variety of new books where characters escape or outwit peril and oppression. These include Erika Mitchell’s North Korean suspense spy novel Bai Tide, Fulvio Ciano’s techno thriller Digital Wilderness, and Grace Chen’s historical romance Forget Me Not: A Love Story of the East, set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.
Other books she discusses, such as Dr. Loretta Breuning’s popular science guide to mammalian neurochemistry Meet Your Happy Chemicals and Linda Baron-Katz’ children’s book on understanding mental illness, Peter and Lisa, deal with navigating and understanding one’s own mind in order to make our psyches more habitable and less oppressive places.
We hope that the life balance you reach this month enables you to have time to read our January issue. Our group of contributors may be smaller this time, but each piece is still thoughtfully crafted and offers material for consideration.