Letter from the Editor
As we approach November, the incoming winter announces herself with her usual unsympathetic dryness and affectionate rouging of noses. As a Californian implant here in this strange land, I am reminded of the way I used to comprehend the arrival of this brutal yet necessary season, which also happens to be the reason I started writing poetry: oranges. To me, the perfect bright sweetness of that citrus of my heart is as good a signal as the idyllic crunching of the leaves strewn about a red-brick paved street. Gary Soto’s poem, Oranges, is about winter—“December. / Frost cracking / beneath my steps, my breath / before me, then gone.” To me, Oranges represents what art is supposed to mean: a kind of simple attempt at rendering the lives we partake in, which unfold before us, always simultaneously as if the table of contents was picked at random (unlike this magazine’s!) but also somehow in exactly the right order, as the seasons (just like this magazine).
Joan Didion, another reason why I write, wrote that “The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself.” More often than not, we cannot explain why we write what we write. I am unsure of how appropriate the “letter from the editor” is as a place to get Freudian, but I do think of art kind of like how Freud posits dreams: amalgamations of things we have seen before, never anything completely new. The things we experience and see are the only things that we truly know, and no matter what you are creating—whether it’s a sculpture composed of giant rainbow noses, or a story about whoever lives on Saturn’s rings, or a poem about paying for chocolate with oranges—we are informed by the world immediately surrounding us (or perhaps the worlds we poke our heads out of to spend hours in a Wikipedia hole trying to comprehend). This isn’t to insinuate that everything we do has been done before, but rather to admire the human compulsion to give something to the world, to leave a trace and say this is what I saw and this is what I made. In a similar vein, to absorb each other’s art is a particularly intimate form of sharing ourselves, which I am honored to have facilitated in editing this issue. I do hope you enjoy this surprisingly slim package of multitudinous beings which we have so lovingly amassed for you all. And please, remember to eat your oranges this winter.