In his essay, “White Girls,” Hilton Als speaks of his ailment, personifies it. It is a part of him, at once both literal and symbolic—representative of something much more:
“My infirmity sat on the back of my head, just above my neck. My ringworm was my cruddy friend; it had no other friends and so many enzymes, a dark flower could be forced in it. My ringworm was philosophical. It had certain ideas about the world, about me.”
The three writers in this issue each approach their own ringworm in different narrative forms. In each piece there is a threat, danger, fear. The threats are literal, but also representative of things beneath the surface, universal fears inside the writers’ heads themselves.
In DM Philip’s scene, it’s the fear of the family matriarch discovering the secrets within her own home. In Liz Martin’s essay, it’s the always present threat of floods and fire, natural disasters and tragic accidents. And in Matthew Vollmer’s micro essays, it’s the danger of death, embodied in the small interactions between strangers and family.
The works in this issue show us that nonfiction, in the end, is the yearning for a truth, a close-up of the pleasures or pains in a life. We invite you to join us in these confrontations.
As Als says, “My ringworm was as infested with longing as I was.”