On July 27, just a few days before the publication of this issue of Synchronized Chaos, millions of people around the world tuned in for the opening ceremony of the 30th Olympiad. Since then, Olympic fever has continued to take its characteristic grip on the popular imagination, and quite a few commentators have remarked on the intense level of dedication which it takes to participate in the Games. Olympic athletes must put their bodies at risk and devote years of their lives to rigorous physical training, yet they often receive very little recognition or financial gain for their hard work. Instead, they dedicate themselves to their sports purely for the joy of competition and the self-validation which comes from participating—and, therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to make the August issue of Synchronized Chaos a study in dedication.
As many readers of Synchronized Chaos will certainly be aware, the life of an artist often requires just as much dedication and tiring labor as that of an athlete; the hours which artists spend honing their craft might be compared to Olympian exercise regimens. In this issue, we have two pieces dealing with artists who are committed to constantly bettering themselves and their work. First is Christopher Bernard’s review of “The Vertigo of Identity,” the exhibition currently featured at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For more than thirty years, the challenging pieces of photographer Cindy Sherman have divided and inspired the art world, and Christopher provides us with some very interesting thoughts on her photographs and their relation to the notion of the self.
Elsewhere in this issue, we’re presenting some of the work of Hitman and Rezrection, a young hip hop duo who have recently begun to electrify the Bay Area music scene. Rather than rapping exclusively about materialistic pursuits, they have dedicated themselves to producing songs which support more positive values, and you can hear three of their new songs in this post. Be sure to check out “Hip Hop” for some of their thoughts on the genre in song form!
Art and athleticism, of course, are not the only fields where dedication is required for success; the pursuit of scientific knowledge requires an equally heavy commitment. The latest installment of Leena Prasad’s monthly column Whose Brain Is It? takes on the topic of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it describes how increased knowledge of its mechanics, combined with a dedicated focus on lifestyle improvement, can be greatly beneficial for people who suffer from the condition.
Our latest book review also deals with medical and scientific issues. In this article, Joy Ding takes a look at Dr. Loretta Breuning’s Meet Your Happy Chemicals, which describes the biological mechanisms behind the emotion of happiness and explains how humans can dedicate themselves towards understanding and increasing the pleasure they get out of life.
Regular Synchronized Chaos contributor Linda Allen has several new poems in this issue, and several of them depict their narrators’ dedicated drive to accomplish a particular objective. The goals vary from the validation of one’s existence to the provision of aid to those who have been unjustly harmed to the achievement of a break with one’s past, but they share a common sense of admirable determination.
Another of this issue’s poetic contributors is Sam Burks, who gives us a set of interconnected “road poems” whose narrator travels the highways ofAmerica. Each poem take the sights and sounds which arise from the journey as springboards for the contemplation of larger issues, and the works demonstrate two kinds of dedication: the determination to explore the nooks and crannies of the country as well as a commitment to philosophical inquiry.
Religious beliefs are another source of strong philosophical dedication, and Kim Brown expresses a sense of spiritual commitment in her poem “Jesus Insert.” The work depicts the sense of joy associated with religious devotion, and it certainly fits well among these works which examine dedication and loyalty.
Our fourth and last poet to be featured this month is Faheemah Ali. Combining a variety of memorable metaphors with an effective economy of language, her poem “Rummage” provides a snapshot of a formerly dedicated and loving romantic partnership in the midst of a process of gradual decay.
Sometimes, romantic relationships may slowly disintegrate, as the one in Faheemah’s poem does. However, there are other factors which might bring them to a chilling halt with greater speed than their participants could have imagined. Joseph Johnson’s story “Silent Requiem” features a most unusual narrator who must examine his relationships with his girlfriend and other close companions—even after his own death…
The lack of dedication can be a telling character trait as well. In this issue, we’re honored to present an excerpt from Newman-X, an as-yet-unpublished novel by Peter Lynch. Its protagonist has a worrying history of putting drugs and procrastination before necessary work—and yet there seems to be more behind his past failures than a mere lack of commitment.
We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Synchronized Chaos Magazine! As always, feel free to leave comments for the contributors and if you’re interested in submitting to the magazine, send your work to firstname.lastname@example.org.