In most parts of my life, I am an insufferable perfectionist and logical thinker. I don’t buy into magical thinking. I observe and observe and observe some more. This is the way a scientific mind approaches the world. Give me all the information and I will wrestle with scenario after scenario. Myers-Briggs calls me Introverted-Intuitive-Thinking-Judging. In some ways this personality is beneficial. It helps me improve my art through research and experimentation. But in some ways I become frustrated and caught in what feels like an endless loop of wanting to know more, to try more. Knowing when to stop research and start writing is difficult. Analysis is good, but there is a point when it hits a wall, when the world ceases to make sense, when your own mind turns against you, when you long to grab onto a whisper of wonder over the unexplained, to let yourself succumb to possibility vs. impossibility. This is why I love fiction. It is truth told through lies. Sometimes these lies are small and the story world isn’t so different from our own. Sometimes these lies transform human and animal and everything in between. The in-between spaces of this world and other worlds are the height of magic, of wonder. Fiction writers ask: What if we could fly? What if animals spoke in a way we understood? What if rats were kings? What if there really were wizards and witches and portals between worlds? What if ghosts were real? What if? What if? What if?
I believe winter is the ideal time to curl up and wonder. To look out your window at the world crystallized, washed in gray, muted, and question all that we think we know and are. Sometimes the world out there is bleak. Terrorist attacks. Rampant poverty, hunger, and disease. Hatred for difference of any kind. Hegemony. Mansplaining. It is easy to get cynical. It is easy to become bitter. It is easy for many to fall into depression this time of year, but to me, there is always hope when we have stories, especially stories with some element of the unreal, of enchantment. In the immortal words of Roald Dahl, we should, “…above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
Welcome to The Enchanted Issue.
We kick off The Enchanted Issue with an unusual birth in Amy Scharmann’s “Perimeter.”
“Life Begins Here” by Emil Ostrovski examines the consequences of a plastic neighborhood overrun with bunnies.
“The Kingdom of Crayfish” by Minnie Joung shows how a child’s eyes can still find beauty even amidst a desolate landscape.
Christopher DiCicco’s “Cavemen Until Blue” links one blue soul to another.
Fortunato Salazar’s narrator Lucia finds a wandering soul has pinned itself to one of her spoons in “Fanning.”
In “The List of Impossible Things,” Matthew Kabik shows us a father desperate for magic and how some relationships continue in spite of separation.
Ariel Bernstein’s “The Trade” asks what if a mysterious stranger offered you the chance to escape your life for another — free of attachments and responsibility?
In Joel Kopplin’s novel excerpt “There is a Light,” we witness a young family discovering their home has a history of tension, which has “settled in the walls like cigarette smoke, in the floor like flakes of skin.”
William K. Hugel’s “The White Stag” shows a narrator at war with the idea of himself and the universe entire.
“The Once Flightless Swan-Girl” by Khristian Mecom follows the trials of a girl born with a “peculiar affliction.”
“We Hungry Gods and Our Universe” by Sheldon Lee Compton digs into one world’s aftermath and what happens when we become the monster.
Finally, we close The Enchanted Issue with Robyn Ryle’s “Weeds,” which gets to the heart of the question: what if you found yourself alone in a mysterious wood and something you could not quite imagine happened?
Photo By: Ferran Jordà