We Want Your Writing.
Dear Fellow Readers and Writers,
As a child, I remember seeing my sophisticated teen sister reading Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. I also remember feeling annoyed by the title. “Grass doesn’t have leaves,” I said. “It has blades.” I was proud of my knowledge, my ability to distinguish this thing from that thing, real from imaginary, correct from mistaken.
When I pointed out the poet’s error to my sister, she said not only was I wrong on the science (grass certainly does have leaves) but that the title had greater meaning. I shouldn’t get mired in the purely literal because the pathways to truth are many. In other words, my critical eye had robbed me of the book’s beauty. (I much later learned the word “blade” comes from the Old English blæd, meaning “a leaf.”)
This memory returned to me the other day when I was walking in the garden with my grandson. He turns three in November and is becoming a true admirer of all things autumnal. Especially pumpkins. Spotting a giant, green orb growing on a trellis, he cried, “Punkin! I can eat it?” Likely he was thinking of the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies his mother had recently made.
“It’s not ready yet,” I said, pointing out its greenness. “We have to wait until it turns orange.”
“Not an orange,” he corrected me, believing I was calling the squash a fruit. “It’s a punkin. My punkin,” he quickly added.
He’s right that a pumpkin, though orange in color, is not an orange. And I was wrong to say it would turn orange. Pumpkins are orange all along, but the color is masked during the growing season by chlorophyll. When the days turn cooler, as they are now, the chlorophyll degrades and reveals carotenoids, like orange beta-carotene. It’s beautiful to realize that, on a chemical level, oranges, carrots, pumpkins, and autumn leaves have more in common than we first see. There are many paths to orange.
When I encountered the work featured in Issue 7.3, I heard my sister’s voice telling me again that there are many ways to truth. Historically (and still today), the childish assertion that literature must have a certain structure, a particular voice, or a kind of author, has robbed the world of manifold beauties. Reading Chad Gusler’s flyBaby and Julie Zuckerman’s Growth Hacking, I was faced with stunning new possibilities. In Praise Osawaru’s Orhionmwon, Jefferson Navicky’s Child Poetica, and Hannah Larrabee’s Machine, I was invited to rethink my assumptions about reality and memory. In Mark Osteen’s Why I Break Stuff and Anju Sharma’s A matter of opinion, I was instructed again that a fixed point is merely a beginning, not a place to plant my feet. Reading all the incredible work featured in our September issue, I remembered that as distinct as our creations sometimes appear, there is more held in common there than I immediately perceive.
I find solace in this and in the harmonic movement of creative minds. We believe you, too, will find enjoyment, solace, and harmony in Issue 7.3.
We at The Maine Review wish you good health and happiness, always.
Rosanna Gargiulo, Editor