20 December 2012 § 3 Comments
As I wrapped up the final book project for Folded Word’s 2012 list, I realized that my subconscious might be driving our paperback acquisitions. The last word of Guy Cranswick’s Nine Avenues (to be released by New Year’s Eve) is home. As is the last word of Mel Bosworth’s Freight (2011). Add to that the prevalence of homesickness and the redefinition of home that takes place in Smitha Murthy and Dorothee Lang’s Worlds Apart (2012) along with the analysis of childhood environs in Jessie Carty’s Paper House (2010) and you have the concept of home being central to every non-anthology paperback that Folded Word has published to-date.
Now I am a scientist by training (MS Biology 1995), so I understand that correlation does NOT equal causation. My search, whether conscious or subconscious, is not the only reasonable explanation for the prevalence of home in my print selections. Alternatives might be:
- Home is a central concept for most humans, therefore it plays a key role in most manuscripts.
- Being a competent writer requires a degree of “square peggedness” because the societal tension created by not fitting in allows a person to more objectively observe the world and its inhabitants, thereby creating a yearning to find a place to fit in (i.e. social/emotional home). The resultant observations form the basis of the conflicts that make written work interesting.
- The appearance of home in these books is mere coincidence. Random. A fractal-like artifact of our chaotic submissions queue.
- These books haven’t actually been about home at all, I just projected that onto them. [Any thoughts, my long-suffering authors?]
I’m not sure how aggressively to explore this. It’s difficult to design any kind of scientific analysis since there can be a 2-3 year lag between the time a submission is accepted and the book actually makes it into print. But I think it would be really interesting if, after the relocation issue is settled and I’m home (where/whatever that ends up being), Folded never publishes a home-centric book again.
I would love to hear alternate theories or support/rebuttal of the theories above. I’d also love to know if you’ve recently read any books that deal with the concept of home, or even if you are writing one yourself. The comments section below is ready and waiting for your input:-)
29 October 2012 § 5 Comments
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Many of us, myself included, have friends we only know online. Some are merely acquaintances or notches on a networking belt. But other online friendships are more substantial, built on honest communication and/or collaborating on real projects. For me, Jessie is one of these friends. And I have often wondered what life is like for her on the other end of cyberspace, in those moments where the computer is off and the smartphone is put away, in her “real” life.
This chapbook gave me a glimpse into her other world. A world filled with objects and someone to share them with. This world–—her nest, feathered and re-feathered as she moves from what she thinks is expected to what she knows is needed, is made so real on the page that I could feel her couch and taste her casserole. And yet.
And yet I started wondering what “real” life actually is. And whether this poetic construction of Jessie’s life is given to us to satisfy that voyeuristic tendency we all have at some level. That she, in her clever way, might actually be protecting the world she loves by showing him/it to us in a controlled context–—allowing her “Jack” to walk away “nimble and quick to situate himself without any light.”*
I may never know the truth, even if I do meet her in person someday. But in the end it doesn’t matter. The idea of “real” in this chapbook is so enjoyable that I’ll take it, believe it, and wait impatiently for what her next (chap)book will reveal.
*From her poem “What I fear”