The Interrelatedness of All Things
Volume no. 2 – Summer
Late last year, during a particularly challenging time in both my personal and professional lives, a friend emailed me a link to “The Known Universe,” a six-and-a-half minute video produced by the American Museum of Natural History. As its title indicates, the video visually captures the relative position of planet Earth within the universe as we know it. It is a 13.7 billion light year journey to the outer edges of science and the imagination, where we meet “our cosmic horizon in space and in time.” The viewer is left with no choice but to confront the infinitesimal stature of our planet, especially when considering the fact that the size of the universe is too large for the human brain to comprehend. No metaphorical analogues come close; imagining the earth as a grain of sand suspended near the bottom of the Pacific Ocean is still tens of thousands of scales too small. Even though I’ve watched the video countless times, I never tire of it, perhaps because it simultaneously yokes all time, all life, all meaning, and all experience into a truly universal perspective. In doing so, the video reveals the incomprehensible fragility of life, counterbalanced by the wonder and power that inhabits all beings on Earth.
Many of the contributors to this issue grapple with similar problems of scale, with fragility, wonder, and power, and seek comfort in the interconnections within our individual and collective experiences. Fiction pieces from Jessie van Eerden and Nels Hanson contemplate the long-term effects of choice while Lorie Kolak considers the limitations, both physical and figurative, that all forms of life must accept. Our visual artists, Shannon Rankin and Jason deCaires Taylor, experiment with place and perception. Rankin re-imagines the way we experience cartographic representations of space, and Taylor uses beautifully symbolic underwater sculpture to expose the causes of environmental degradation. In poetry, Nolan Chessman and Bradley Harrison explore the tensions between negative space and the dense imagery those spaces define while Steve Wilson lyrically invokes the forces that bind life together. In nonfiction, F. A. Chambers looks closely at the powerful meanings we attach to the ground we all must traverse. And our wide ranging reviews provide a compelling, multi-genre exploration of the interrelatedness of all things.
Finally, in a very special interview, Cameron Turner invites Christopher Coake to reflect upon the power and vitality of fiction, the pivotal role of place within the human imagination, and the nomadic impulse that stimulates nostalgia.
As you experience the words, images, and emotions evoked by our contributors, please feel free to share your thoughts and engage their ideas in meaningful dialogues. Comment boxes are available at the end of each piece.
Eric Stottlemyer, Managing Editor