I am especially proud of the work in this current issue of M Review.
It has been intensely gratifying for me to have taken part in creating a
space where individual voices can be heard. In a time of so much dogmatism
and fear, it becomes ever more essential for us, all of us, to tell the
stories we want and need to tell through the medium of our choosing. What
could be more hopeful than putting forth individual ideas and visions of
life….passions, troubles, reckonings, bulls in china shops, spilled
secrets, lies and truths. Memory. Imagination. History. It takes guts to
make art—to take those moments and bring them to the next level, even
if that means a small, private poem that stays locked away in a journal
or takes the form of a painting, a novel, a film, or a song that millions
of people hear. We go about this process of creating in myriad ways, and
I delight in the discourse between contrasting and complimentary methods
of making art. In a letter to his friend Oskar Pollak, Franz Kafka wrote,
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.” I agree
with him. It’s a challenge to create something real and lasting that
succeeds at getting inside you, not letting go, changing you in some way.
But not all of it has to reside in the darkness of Wonderland… some
of it can simply express love, peace, or a spiritual awakening. It is so
easy to feel overwhelmed by the negativity around us and to feel like nothing
we do matters. But making art can be the light in the darkness…the
window we can all peer in to see a kind of truth, a shared moment of a life.
There is a song I love by Tom Waits that goes… The sun is down and the moon is in the meadow / And the world keeps turning, the world keeps turning… Like so many of his songs, there are moments of life-giving poignancy and deep beauty to subsist on, amidst the fearsome worlds he invents, and for me, this is the perfect metaphor for the importance of art in unsure times. For as much as the world can be a frightening place, as much as things sometimes seem to be on the precipice of falling apart, life continues. As long as we continue to record life through stories and images, to capture the pure, pure moments of humanity, we will remain intact. The act of making art is the direct counter point to those who want us to live in fear.
I want to thank everyone who contributed to the creation of this Spring issue. I hope you enjoy it.