Welcome to our March issue – which comes at a time of change and development. Wherever you are, whether you’re at the beginning of spring or fall, it’s a time when nature builds off of processes already set in motion, of regrowth or decay. When we start to notice what’s been happening almost imperceptibly beneath the surface for weeks, when we realize we’re in the midst of another transformative cycle.
This month’s contributors encourage us to look beneath the surface and go deeper into journeys and ideas already started. Geri McGilvray, a self-described ‘colorist,’ explains how she views the choice and combination of colors as a crucial element of her work, and experiments with a piece until the tones and hues provide just the effect she intends. In the same way, Sonoma poet Janine Canan gradually probes and depicts through words the process and life’s work of several artists and spiritual leaders. She presents life processes – birth, creativity, death, even extinction – as part of a naturally cohesive whole, rather than isolated events.
Photographer and visual costume and fashion artist Alisha Fisher creates and develops each of her images, working together with her natural inspirations over time rather than pointing and shooting in the moment. Through her work, she becomes her chosen natural settings, intentionally seeking to take on qualities of the rocks, sky, trees – even of garbage and busy cities.
Ramana Vieira most admires singer/songwriters who embody the characters and the emotions they sing about, who go through the process of traveling in time and space to create, rather than simply present, the music. Elizabeth Hughes unfortunately has no choice but to live out the lifestyle of a homeless person, and encourages others to look beyond their initial reactions and imagine themselves in her place. Her written work and her ordinary life become inseparably intertwined, and we present both together, as a statement about how Hughes’ writing and photography provide meaning and distraction and sustain her during the process of rebuilding her life.
Patsy Ledbetter encourages the process of empathy through a personal example, describing meeting a disabled lady in a wheelchair at the farmers’ market. While she cannot restore the woman’s ability to walk or give her a normal life, Ledbetter can talk with her and make a connection, treat her as a human being. Her spiritual faith inspires her to honor the dignity of all life, to look beyond first judgements inspired by someone’s appearance – whether that first judgement would be to write someone off, or to see them only as an object of pity, and thus also underestimate their real potential.
Deborah Fruchey’s book on coping with mental illness, Is There Room for Me, Too? directly addresses those with bipolar syndrome, schizophrenia, clinical depression, and other conditions, involving and empowering them to take steps towards managing their own lives. Like Elizabeth Hughes, she speaks from experience as well as research, sharing insights which have helped her weather her own unpredictable emotions. With the famous twelve-step process for overcoming addiction as a metaphor, she presents surviving these conditions as a process of acceptance mixed with hard and continual work and self-examination.
Jaylan Salah’s introductory chapter to her novel When Lovers are Sinners sets the stage for a long process of self-examination and personal growth. Bored with high school and a series of shallow, immature friendships, Hayam restlessly seeks escape while mourning the death of her mother. Readers will not be surprised later when Hayam risks her social standing to defy convention for love – and ultimately, for personal freedom and self-determination.
Jean Wong and Reuben Rutledge examine physical objects in order to ascertain a deeper understanding of history and personal psychology. Rutledge details the creation, near-destruction, and unearthing of Tibetan Bon Scriptures to present a little-known side of history, while Wong describes telephones and automobiles in search of experiential truth about various stages and processes of life. Rutledge’s work makes ancient Eastern mystics and rulers seem all too human, at times out for political power as much as spiritual enlightenment, and Wong also personifies and gives life to the physical objects in her work as she recreates her subjects through detailed examination.
And, finally, Matthew Felix Sun, usually our painter of alienation, frustration, fear, and totalitarian social control, felt inspired to celebrate life and growth by painting flowers this time. Flowers represent plant reproduction, a step in a long process of growth and development – and we can rejoice with the flowers because they remind us that we, too, are growing and changing, and have hope of evolving beyond our present condition.
Again, welcome to our March issue! Please feel free to comment and let us know if you would like to work together with or mentor/be mentored by anyone in this issue, or if you have any announcements regarding your published work.
Also – in light of the economy, we are working to assist those in search of work, by creating periodic newsletters for our Facebook groups, where we mention the names and backgrounds of those within our magazine community who are seeking employment. Please also comment and let us know if you would like us to drop your name in our next newsletter.