no filter

Sometimes we need a filter to see and feel clearly. Other times, we can only see clearly without one.

I have spent most of the day this Sunday reading the  Winter 2014-15 issue of The Stinging Fly. If you are on Twitter, find them, follow them. Or better yet, check them out and subscribe! I discovered this magazine a few weeks ago and felt it might be something I would have to sit down to really read, Internet browsing wouldn’t suffice.

As most of you already know, there aren’t many magazines out there I have mentioned since the writing doesn’t really move me. It all feels stale. I stopped reading The New Yorker 8 years ago, not as a boycott but because I just gave up. Whenever I could browse online, I did, and sometimes I would find nonfiction gems but fiction didn’t impress. Other magazines that offer new writing by new writers disappointed too. Everyone in these “alternative” magazines trying so hard to be different that they forget the object was to write a story, a good story, not be different.

Not this. The writing in The Stinging Fly is so alive you could feel the stories moving without even opening the first page. The essay, the poetry, the reviews, the fiction, just all of it. I am inspired, I am moved, I feel hopeful. Art is not dead. Honestly, I don’t think I can articulately review any of the pieces in it, I am too stirred with joy upon this discovery. The writing is fresh, the perspectives unique, and it made me realize how it is our obligation to protect what is unique in one another. Moreover, having checked out the website of Deborah Rose Reeves and a few others who are published in this issue, I can toast to what Jamie is always saying, “You can’t encounter the richness of life if you never live it.” And if you never live it, you can’t really write it, create it.

I have never felt this more profoundly than I do today, of all the reasons that exist to create Art, the quintessential is to move us to a deeper understanding about ourselves and the world around us, and if Art can’t achieve that, at the very least it ought to give us a confirmation, more than mere hope, for an alternative. For some of us, those of us, whose standards are not aligned with that of the general public, that hope is not as readily available. But when it comes, it illuminates everything so clearly, that even the shadows become beautiful.

light

 

4 thoughts on “no filter

  1. How interesting that you should find that this very Irish literary magazine speaks to you! Isn’t the world fascinating–so many unexpected encounters and connections. Perhaps it makes perfect sense, given your appreciation of the stories of Frank O’Connor. Say what we will about the online world, it does offer something very new–information and ideas no longer have to be local, and the jump to a wider, very disparate audience is not so big anymore. You don’t have to be part of the literary scene in Dublin or Derry to tune into these voices. Glad you found something you like so well and happy reading!

    • I suppose I should have included that I discovered The Stinging Fly via a story by Colin Barrett in The New Yorker of all places, a magazine I am claiming to not read! It was by chance and upon finishing the first paragraph I knew the author was not an American. For several reasons. So, maybe there is hope for The New Yorker after all. And yes, despite how annoying people have made it to be, I am grateful for the connections The Internet has allows! Thanks for stopping by, Lucy. Always a joy to hear your thoughts.

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