Dear Loyal Readers,
We are so pleased to present to you this fall’s issue of Hot Metal Bridge. In this issue, we find seemingly ordinary narrators, speakers, and characters in fairly ordinary positions. But what’s extraordinary is how again and again our phenomenally talented contributors present a courageous unveiling of the drama that unfolds in the periphery of ordinary sight. The writing in this issue presents a kind of struggle and perseverance to see what might stay hidden, not a pull-up-the-old-bootstraps struggle, but more of a patient courage, a willingness to uncover the indiscernible in daily lives. And to us, this is wildly exciting.
Across all genres there’s a quiet kind of unveiling of discovery—whether through the struggle of relationships, the senses of the body, or simply exploring the nature of illusion. Thomas Page McBee draws the curtain to write about the body as frozen in a moment—the self as both fluid and static. We find it in Elise Moser’s “Tiny Roundhead” as we witness the struggles of a child’s mind as she races to keep up with her own body and its frantic neuroses. In Ashley Kunsa’s “Grace,” in Dan J. Fiore’s “Townhouse,” and in Marissa Schwalm’s “Dog,” we read of strained relationships moving forward through the mud of life’s travails—for ill or for good. In “The Pearl” by Jane Huffman, the speaker writes of illusions and disillusions—a struggle to see, to make sense of what’s right in front of us ready to be examined.
Even in our interviews with the writers who are kind enough to stop in and visit us here at the University of Pittsburgh—Peter Hessler, Adam Hochschild and NoViolet Bulawayo—we learn of their experiences with an unexpected kind of patience, patience to let characters emerge, to let experiences catch up to one’s writing, to embrace the dutiful work of revision.
And so, we’ve titled this issue Unveiled and Unexpected because we are treated to an unveiling of beautiful pockets of story and lyric and sight—to see emerge something unexpected. As first-time editors here at HMB, it’s a privilege to share these words and images with you, our loyal readers.
Sara and Tim