June’s Synchronized Chaos: Foreground and Background


Happy Father’s Day, Graduation Day, Bastille Day, first day of summer – whatever you celebrate this June! And welcome to our latest issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine.

June’s theme is Foreground and Background – with a set of works which explore how individual lives fit into larger ethnic, political, historical, and cultural contexts. Somewhat reminiscent of a large landscape painting or one of those 3-D puzzles from a decade ago, the protagonists and/or creators of each of this month’s works stand in relief against their cultures and societies, encouraging people to look deeper at what and who helps to make us who we are.

Elina Hirvonen’s debut novel When I Forgot, reviewed in this issue, presents characters who look to literature to help them communicate nearly unspeakable personal struggles with violence, mental illness, and the aftermath of war. By stepping back and seeing their traumas in light of the larger human history surrounding them, they are able to distance themselves enough, ironically, to remember those who need their attention.

Laila Lalami’s novel Secret Son also grapples with individuals seeking out places to belong within their larger cultures. In a sobering contrast to the tender hope of Hirvonen’s piece, Lalami shows how people can get lost amidst undercurrents of family, cultural, and religious politics originating long before their birth. When I Forgot’s characters discover a background for their own lives which empowers them by giving them words and a framework for what they have experienced, while Secret Son’s people are hunted out and manipulated by their pasts and by the cultural divides and tensions within Morocco and within expatriate life.

Reclaiming and discovering one’s personal heritage by choice can be an empowering and fascinating experience, as Mary Jane Daugherty-Srubar finds in her memoir Ozark Princess. While she enjoys her own life, its simple country pleasures and calm, decent people, she seeks out information on her Irish clan, linking herself to a broader past out of curiosity. Her memoir shares anecdotes from her childhood, her marriage, her family, her spiritual journey – and celebrates family and belonging to a certain place through starting with a chapter on her family before her birth.

Azerbajani scholar and magazine co-editor Narmin Ka tries an academic tack to explore these themes – as opposed to a particular person or place, she probes how one can define the concept of creativity. What does it mean, in a philosophical or organizational context, to come up with new ideas, and how can we facilitate creativity? She begins with an anecdote about a gentleman on a train endlessly re-reading the same newspaper articles, and progresses to tie in creativity to a history of philosophical and cybernetic thought, to put the concept in its philosophical context.

The band Aryawn, seeking to provide cultural critique through experimental acoustics, lists classical composers among their leading inspirations. Classical works are still used within popular culture to set tones and moods for other pieces, and honored for the structure and psychological impact and sensitivity of their motifs and organization. Uniquely, Aryawn seeks out lesser-known composers, out of a mutual curiosity as to why and how certain music was rejected from production or why its creators were rejected from the canon of celebrated composers. Also, the band hopes to provide cultural analysis and social commentary through its sounds and unusual titles, such as “Sensationalism is the Opiate of the Asses.”

Finally, a contributor who left his/her piece in Synchronized Chaos’ online LiveJournal community (chaos_zine) is published and recognized here. This contributor presented a short existential piece encouraging us not to give up the quest to find and define meaning in our own lives, to ask the questions which matter and not settle for easy answers.

Thanks to all of the contributors for such a diverse, intellectual group of submissions this month! We welcome readers and encourage everyone to think through and enjoy the works.

Also, this website is intended as a resource for writers, artists, musicians, etc. We try to post submission and publication and gig opportunities, if you would like please comment anytime and let us know who you are, what kind of work you do, and what kind of opportunity you are looking for. Also, if you are with a gallery or concert venue or literary agency or publisher and need artists meeting certain specifications, then please let us know and we would be honored to provide some recommendations.