Issue #6 of Interfictions, co-guest-fiction-edited by me, is out now.
When my dear friend and writing hero Carmen Maria Machado asked me to be her co-editor for the fiction section of two issues of Interfictions, the journal of the Interstitial Arts Foundation, I immediately assumed some sophisticated hacker with intimate knowledge of my most specific desires had hacked her email account. Because I adore Interfictions, and the crucial work of the Foundation. I had volunteered to work on the IAF’s IndieGoGo fundraising appeal the year before because I believed in their mission, and the beautiful things they shepherd into the world.
Now, many months later, our first issue is out in the world. AND IT IS AMAZING!!!
There is so much excellent stuff in this issue. And not just the fiction, which Carmen and I are very proud of. There’s phenomenal stuff curated by arts editor Henry Lien, as well as nonfiction and poetry co-editors Alex Dally MacFarlane and Sofia Samatar, “intoxicating mixes and beautiful clashes of language, mythology, and memory,” as the editors’ note so aptly puts it…
Several of the issue’s pieces deal with family: in “A Primer on Separation,” Debbie Urbanski provides a heartbreaking how-to manual for navigating the gulf that opens up between parent and child, while Lisa Bradley’s “glass womb” reaches into the obscure and frightening territory between siblings. Shveta Thakrar tells a slipstream story of how our mothers’ gifts help us, and sometimes fail us, in “Shimmering, Warm and Bright.” In “Answering Crow’s Call” by Alina Rios, family history falls like a thunderclap.
Moving from personal history to spiritual heritage, “Psychopomp” by Indrapramit Das looks at life and death through the lens of Hindu philosophy in the shadow of a cosmic tsunami. In “Assemble”, theatre dybbuk, in collaboration with the Center for Jewish Culture, Leichtag Foundation, and the New School of Architecture and Design, create a unique theatre/dance/architecture piece inspired by the ancient ritual surrounding the harvest festival of Sukkot. Along with these works that engage some of the world’s oldest cultural forms, you’ll find lively interactions with more recent literature: Amy Parker reimagines the young girl of Nabokov’s Lolita, Matthew Jakubowski follows a critic who is trying to write about Mercè Rodoreda’s novelWar, So Much War, and Lauren Naturale searches for lesbian history in the imaginary space of historical fiction. Uche Ogbuji’s “The Furies of Mad Max” engages a contemporary film narrative, while Rebecca Gould’s translations of five ghazals by Hasan Sijzi (d. 1337) bring to English contemplations on gardens, birds, swords and wine.
These works ask how we perceive the world and how we communicate. Such questions lie at the heart of Nneoma Ike-Njoku’s “Old Ghosts,” which conjures the other world through sound, and “Perhaps, perhaps” by Saudamini Deo, which traces the limits of photography and ultimately the limits of sight. In Rebecca Campbell’s “I Just Think It Will Happen, Soon,” a woman and others like her are beckoned by an urgent, pulsing mystery beyond the realm of most people’s perception.
Finally, in a special roundtable dedicated to translation, the Bulgarian, German, Hebrew, Hungarian and Japanese translators of Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice talk about the changes and inventions required to represent the novel’s gender ambiguity and female pronoun usage.
I must take a moment to acknowledge the real heroes here, our fearless insightful wise and tolerant slush readers! Christian Coleman, Eugene Fischer, Val Howlett, Susana Marcelo, Patrick Ropp, Gabriela Santiago, and Isabel Yap all read a staggering volume of contributions – in a submissions window of only two weeks, we received over five hundred stories!!! Many of them amazing! Many (many!) of them… not. But thanks to these hard-working and astute judges of literary quality, we knew which were which.
Seeing it online, now, with all these incredible stories we chose, alongside so many other exciting works of poetry and prose and art and all the ineffable categories in between, makes me feel proud in a totally different way from the pride I feel seeing something of mine in a table of contents. It’s more parental, almost, or like what a teacher must feel. “I have helped someone do something awesome; I am helping someone shine,” instead of “I am shining.” I understand why people are editors. These people are wonderful people. Because editing is hard. It is super super hard.
And, oh, hey, writers – as Carmen said so well on her blog:
We’ll be guest-editing the spring issue, as well. If you’re thinking about submitting, a note about stuff we saw in this submission pile: For some reason, we received quite a few stories that, while they were excellent, were not in any way interstitial. Not in form, or genre, or anything. They were straight science fiction/fantasy/realism, and traditionally told at that. The problem is that even if these sorts of stories blow our socks off, we can’t publish it in Interfictions, which is a space for weird, hybrid, unclassifiable work. (The Interstitial Arts Foundation defines interstitial art here.) So we wanna see the stuff of yours that doesn’t fit anywhere else. Send it to us! *makes grabby hands*
The full list of stories from the issue is here: