Sustenance, the theme of this spring’s edition, might normally be thought of as a collection of ingredients that we need in order to produce existence: food, water, air, shelter, love, faith, etc.
In language, then, we tend to think of sustenance as predicative object:
People need food.
Yellow sweet clover relies on bee pollination.
Beavers require wood to chew lest their constantly growing teeth bore into their brains.
The stories in this issue, however, come to the idea of sustenance from a different vantage point. It’s not simply that they enlarge the notion of what it is; these stories seem to emanate from a way of thinking about sustenance that has been conceptually reconfigured—no longer as a cache of resources necessary for a subject to obtain, but instead as a system of relationships in which traditional notions of subject centricity are destabilized in favor of a mode of interpretation focused on the process by which entities are interacting.
Modern theories of predicate logic mirror this process- and relationship-based way of understanding language, and given the rising urgency of our current ecological and political challenges, it is heartening to find both theories and practices of language that habituate us to more sustainable ways of looking at the world.
The stories you see here might be said to inform or be informed by an ecological, rather than a finite, grammar.
“Save the Bees” explores coexistence through the loss of the organic and the irreplaceable.
“Concealment in the Love Space” is about a young woman trying to find a niche in the cultural ecology at the intersection of two very different parts of the world.
“After Dancing” observes one train passenger’s fears and drives mingling with disparate others as each heads towards an unknown both unique and universal.
The subjects and objects in these stories hold no hard and fast primacies; rather the interest tends toward shifting and balancing within a flux of characters and desires. These are stories oriented towards harmonics rather than attainment. At their best moments, they offer us into narrative space composed of chordal dynamics, as though we, like musical vibrations, might find new ways to resonate within the same temporal space as we enter these fictional progressions.
–April Flynn, Frank Huerta, Jacob Spears