You deserve to be angry. If you’re questioning yourself, if you think you should magically acquire a hyper-masculine stiff upper lip and stop “overreacting,” if you find yourself feeling diminished just by walking on your college campus or at your office job or sitting down at a family dinner—I promise, what you’re feeling is valid. Why is it always you who has to change? And why does that change have to be on a fundamental level of your identity? Why is it always you who is wrong or inconvenient? Look, it’s not. I promise. It’s not. That’s what this issue is attempting to say. Anger is—at it’s core, I think—an immense show of vulnerability. Real anger is the display of bruises and a demand for change from an ignorant or abusive authority figure. Someone or something that already had the power or something you entrusted yourself with by choice until it proved destructive.
There is a surprising range of tone in this issue. “Boat Guy” is one of the funniest stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading while also expressing frustration at failed beginnings we think will resuscitate our spirits and shock us into feeling alive again after a period of stagnation, while “Mindcunt” just bleeds off the page and circles around the heart of its thesis in painful and unpunctuated revolutions. There is room for nuances in an issue about anger because I think anger is something people approach much more comfortably indirectly—through grief or through humor or through despair.
I was also very interested by the amount of Asian-American pieces we received in both prose and poetry submissions. I expected there to be pieces about immigration and growing up in a minority group in America and was very pleased when so many Asian-American writers stepped up to bat. Those pieces were a joy to read regardless of whether or not they were accepted.
A strange and malformed creature has emerged from the submission call of this issue, which is as it should be. Anger interrupts us and acts upon our figures in ways we are forced to reconcile ourselves with. Dorthy Ray’s piece, the cover of our issue, shows us the whites of a black man’s eyes, presenting a complicated racial duality—a vision of a man of color turning inward but whose outward expression sears opaquely into an image we can’t see or fathom. Anger is a personal thing, after all, even if it is a reaction to external forces. Even when we sound its bell, it is our bodies which must house the ricocheting echoes no one else can hear.
It has truly been a privilege to lend a helping hand on an issue that was very much a joint effort and required much intense eye contact, many debates over the numerous lovely submissions we received, and a lot of dark roast coffee. Thank you for the opportunity, cahoodaloodaling. Enjoy the issue, everyone.
Guest Editor’s Spotlight:
Mindcunt by Alison Rumfitt