At the end of Scott Owens’ contribution to this issue of Glint Literary Journal, a pastor gazes into his palms. With only one letter’s difference, he might be scanning the “Song of Songs” for emotional assistance; but, instead, he finds mere cupped space that Owens calls emptiness. If the pastor were a student of palmistry, he might discover Fate lightly sketched from wrist to middle finger.
When consulting instruction manuals for answers, visual learners often prefer diagrams to words. Yet, how often have discrepancies between pictorial representation and the unboxed gadget left the erstwhile do-it-yourself-er utterly confounded?
In Sarah Rae’s “Northshore,” a short story that recounts an extended family’s reactions to the events of Hurricane Katrina: This has to be the worst part. Watching minnows flit in a toilet’s cistern by candlelight, she thinks, There was something beautifully unique about it, and it pained her to know she was about to condemn these little fish to the septic tank. The reader cannot help but recognize the equivalence of the story’s human survivors and those trapped, endangered, little fish.
We look to tea leaves, to cloud congestion, to microexpression, hoping to perceive something beyond what is obvious, and, thereby, unsatisfying. We look to the creative arts with similar motivations. Sometimes, we settle for words that articulate what we already intuited. Other times, we’re eager for epiphanies. We want confirmation and refutation. Why bother to consult imagination if we cannot accept the marvelous, the atrocious, the ambiguous?
Sometimes we look to art to tell us how to live. Sometimes, we just want it to nudge us in less-travelled directions.
For the reader, needing guidance on how to behave in the next Great Emergency, poet Susan Yount offers advice that contains common and not-so-common sense: Look honey, this isn’t high school. Just because you left your coat there doesn’t mean your seat is saved.
Things can always get better or worse. Or, as the narrator keeps telling herself
In issue two of Glint, the reader will find points and counterpoints, such as those shared in the dreams of Jeffrey Alfier’s “The Airman Wakes with His Lover.” Does the airman minimize nightmare when he describes his night vision from a shot- down bomber? Does his lover mean what she says when she describes her own dream as nothing grand. Just [a vision] of starlings / painted on the white ceiling?
Starlings may be common in some environments, but, surely not embossed above two lovers’ heads. The domestic interior becomes a Sistine alcove, the poem a brief, but poignant aubade.
Sometimes, we need murals swirling on our ceilings just as we need owls blinking through our windows. When the newspaper is merely a whole lot of people speaking at once and so, it’s confusing, and full of lies, with only a little bit of truth at the bottom, where hardly anyone notices, Rich Ives offers us “Horseradish,” an essay that seems as much poetry as prose. Feeling a little fed up with his own penchant for sentimentality, Ives offers a poem of expurgation that turns into a visit from the dead, a winged sister hooting from a nearby tree.
There is much that is surreal in the realism of issue two of Glint Literary Journal. From the “Underwater Things” of Jim Fuess’ anthropomorphic paintings to the strangely stilled life of Ernest Williamson’s “The Artist as Vase,” the visual contributions exemplify qualities that appealed to this issue’s readers. Even the photographs, which we have featured on our homepage, demonstrate characteristics and themes echoed in works we have selected from other genres.
While Keith Moul’s “Private but Not Forgotten” reminds us of the decay that survives to cast nature’s greenery as so much nerve, Christopher Woods’ “In the Gloaming 2” conjures a twilit past when an American Yeats might have taken trees for fairy folk. Indeed, as I glimpsed the spectral imagery of Woods’ treescape, I thought of a resonant passage from another submission, M.J. Nichols’ “The Little Book of Nothing,” a short story that reveals some writerly truths.
For Nichols’ protagonist (Elise), writing is indisputably
the most horrendous thing a person can do, short of attaching electrodes to their nipples, in public, naked, while dogs chew the stumps of their dead frazzled legs, in the rain, in the snow, in the burning flames of hell, in Swindon.
Elise wants to be Jeanette Winterson. Or Anaïs Nin. Or Doris Lessing. She can’t make up her mind. So she uses torturous metaphors about trees.
We do so depend on metaphors, and not just from Winterson, Lessing, or Nin. We appreciate whether we find them whorled or etched on the skin of our hands, or, else, cast against a Prussian blue background, like so many disappearing and reappearing trees.
At Glint Literary Journal, we recognize that creative artists should always be encouraged to indulge in such stunts whatever their medium or mode. And we hope to publish more poetry, fiction, nonfiction, photography, paintings, and, hopefully, more interstitial forms in the future. We always need reminding of magic that was already there.