This month, August 2013, brings us to the fifth anniversary of Synchronized Chaos International Magazine. We celebrate with all of you, and thank those who have worked hard to keep this publication alive.
This month, the works submitted suggest a collection of artistic renderings, either literally or by applying the concept to other areas of experience. An artistic rendering involves reproducing something very accurately, paying attention to light, shadow, shape and proportion. This might seem more technical than artistic, but sometimes we need to understand what’s going on before we can start to interpret and react to it.
UC Berkeley astronomer Dr. Mate Adamkovics presents a complex picture of weather and climate on Saturn’s moon Titan, extrapolated from data from the Cassini mission and other recent observations. Using mathematical models, we can determine quite a lot of information from just a few empirical details.
Neuroscience columnist Leena Prasad does something similar, turning brain anatomy comparisons into a narrative about creativity, as expressed by a painter and his wife. And Evelyn Posamienter renders X-ray images of human brains into a series of formal poems, her Brainiography, suggesting the scientific precision of the medical examinations, but also the humanity of her protagonist, who reflects upon naivete, curiosity, and a changed life due to disability.
Painter Courtney Thiesen describes much the same thing as she outlines her mental process in generating work. She notices interesting objects around her and feelings she has, and lets them percolate in her mind and ultimately take shape as a completed portrait or scene. Poet and novelist Christopher Bernard looks at a finished painting, Haymaking by Jules Bastien-Lepage, and probes how much we can know about the character and the scene just by viewing the work, and how much is left a mystery.
Elizabeth Hughes examines a whole series of titles in her Book Periscope column (Sondra Sneed’s What to Do When You’re Dead, Gary Huerta’s Divorce: A Survival Guide for Men, Evelyn Posamienter’s Poland at the Door, Ekaterina Gaidouk’s The Adventures of Chi-Chi the Chinchilla, Mindy Mitchell and Edward Land’s Lube of Life, Taquila Thompson’s Hood Wolves, and Dean Hartwell’s St. Peter’s Choice). This month’s authors don’t shy away from the ‘big questions,’ tackling religious faith and doubt, gender relations and marriage, and urban crime and poverty. They also point to new and expanded life possibilities for seniors as we live longer, and illustrate life lessons for children in complex and unique ways. These books show how we can rise to deal with our challenges by re-thinking matters. Whether by discovering healing through faith, rejecting limiting dogmas or expectations for your age or cultural groups, rendering history and tragedy into art, or choosing to respond to difficult circumstances with compassion and patience.
Travel writing represents another way to capture and synthesize experience. Rui Carvalho’s Text from Portugal and Lukas Clark-Memler’s final memoir chapter show us Lisbon, Portugal and the island of Borneo in a way that lets us actually see the destinations, rather than focusing on the author’s internal psychology. We are thus able to learn about these places and visualize them through photos. While reading some popular memoirs, people can be tempted to cry out, ‘Author! Periscope Up, Mirror Down!’ in order to refocus the travel narrative onto the outside world. While some travel writers can effectively balance internal and external journeys, it can be good to have the chance to see a different place for what it is before bringing interpretations to the scene, and Carvalho and Clark-Memler allow viewers to do this.
Evelyn Posamienter travels metaphorically through European history and her speaker’s personal past in her poetry, with scenes of old age, lonely childhood and insecurity alongside creeping continents and crumbling cities.
Finally, debut author P.B. Gookenschleim, the ‘Lunch Lady’ returns to the grand scheme of things in her work, Beanum Infinitum. Reviewed here by staff writer Sarah Melton, the book poses existential questions about our place in the universe through the short illustrated tale of Beanitrio, one talking bean alone in the cosmos.
Reading this month’s issue can remind us that we are not alone in the universe. Others, from different times and places, have raised similar questions about our purpose and destiny, and have expressed themselves and sought to understand the world through science, art and writing.
Please enjoy this issue, and join us in celebrating five years!