Happy holidays! Whatever you celebrate, we wish you a warm and pleasant time that will nourish and enliven your spirit.
This month’s theme is Imagination and Experience.
Our returning Bangladeshi poet Mahbub’s new set of pieces highlight flights of fancy related to creativity and romantic love.
Norman J. Olson, who hails from Minnesota, shares another travelogue, this time with vignettes of Malaysia and Australia and an accompanying photo spread. As Ibn Battuta said, ‘First travel leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller.’
Iraqi-born Canadian author Ahmad Al-Khatat revels in imaginative fancy nearly as much as Mahbub, although acknowledging the power of painful memories to inspire grief and withdrawal from the world.
Ohio native J.J. Campbell’s protagonists compare ways to escape reality, or sometimes take pride in facing it.
Nigerian writer Chimezie Ihekuna’s latest relationship advice essay encourages us to make carefully considered decisions about marriage and divorce. Rather than getting swept up in infatuation or petty grievances, think through everything you do clearly in light of reality.
Imagination can guide us to better understand reality
In San Francisco Bay Area book reviewer Elizabeth Hughes’ monthly Book Periscope column, she reviews Peggy Wheeler’s novel The Raven’s Daughter, where the highly rational protagonist learns to embrace the knowledge that comes from her dreams.
Sometimes experiences and objects can be gateways that inspire us towards deeper, more abstract musings.
American/Canadian dual-citizen author Michael Lee Johnston’s pieces convey atmosphere through capturing time and place. We glimpse young couples in cheap diners, New Orleans’ after- dark population, and a cracker jack box, through which we reflect on memories, aging, and the passage of time.
Brian Rihlmann’s protagonists speculate on the potential, even if inscrutable, life lessons they can ascertain from getting stuck behind logging trucks, playing Pac-Man, or their own appearance after serious partying.
Imagination can help us cope with reality
South African writer Abigail George remembers the comfort she found in the small rituals at a psychiatric hospital where she received help. While there, she also took refuge in books and in our human literary heritage.
Caution on our use of imagination: There can be gaps between how nature works and how people think, and maybe nature and evolution have better ideas than our imagination.
Mark Young’s poems mind the gap between human engineering (design by committee) and natural evolution, as well as between official language and truth.
Imagination can make life more pleasant
Reviewed by Ronald Primeau, Carol Smallwood’s new poetry collection Patterns: Moments In Time illuminates ordinary things, after Wordsworth, in an ‘unusual aspect,’ making them more lovely and intriguing.
Our social and ecological ‘imagination.’ What kind of society could we have, who could we possibly include?
Jaylan Salah, from Alexandria, Egypt, analyzes Nicholas Winding Refn’s film Drive and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin through the lenses of race and gender. Who do we embrace and include in our concept of humanity? What factors underly our own experiences, and how would our lives differ if our race or gender changed?
From Albuquerque, PW Covington’s poems explore gender through power exchange in relationships and our relationship to the natural world by remembering the cycles of seasons and how ultimately, nature and geology are humanity’s ‘landlords’ and ‘border guards.’ We should be thankful for the privilege to pass freely.
Portuguese author and artist Daniel DeCulla contributes a gentle environmental poem with a serious message about living with, rather than harming, animals.
Ike Boateng, radio broadcaster from Ghana, poetizes about Christmas as a public civic celebration of joy and unity as well as a faith-centered holiday.
Speaking of Christmas, one of our regular contributors, Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) has released a new book for the holiday season, entitled Christmas Time!
From the book’s website: Christmas Time! Is a collection of short stories that reflect the mood of the season—Christmas—as it affects the lives of people who appreciate it’s worth. A story collection related to children and young adults, it mirrors the ordeals people go through to observe the yuletide and reflects the courage they summon and the inspiration and encouragement they receive in order to celebrate the season in merriment.