The Poster, which has the names of all our lovely and talented contributors and editors.
ISSUE had an unofficial bookclub in a manicured residential park, because we couldn’t afford the flight tickets to get to the Pacific Crest Trail, which is the focus of Cheryl Strayed’s journey in her memoir “Wild: A Journey From Lost to Found”. We kidnapped our other co-editor, brought along a camera and some recording equipment and then I spliced it all together on iMovie. It was crazy fun to shoot, and also a really meaty book to discuss - so I hope you at least enjoy our efforts if you don’t feel compelled to read the book (you should, tho!) Watch it here.
We got a fantastic email from Toronto artist Joshua Vettivelu (ISSUE: Bringing People Together) and we interviewed him about art, and featured his amazingly articulate and thoughtful answers alongside some of his gorgeous cut drawings. Read it here.
Big month! (Hopefully) big year! I’m excited for it, and hope to get more and more awesome people on board. Our next theme is TRASH, and the deadline is January 31st. Find out how to contribute here.
PS: That’s our sub-editor Syaz hiding behind that copy of Wild!
I’m deep into The Importance of Being Iceland, a collection of travel essays in art, all by EM herself. I got it in September, but I only started reading it in early October. I have dog-eared a lot of pages, and tumbl’d a lot of quotes. This book is resonating with me, in significant ways, and often. Here are excerpts that really hit me, from an essay she wrote about going to therapy. Jim Fahey is the name of her therapist.
I had a job, but I didn’t have enough money for say a hundred dollars a week. I needed a cheap shrink. The whole thing was beyond me, but I really was in trouble and was willing to pay somebody to be on my side. That was how I felt about it. Everyone was either Jewish or middle-class in new York and they all had shrinks. So I was going into the inside room in the world that I knew. It was not church, it was not God. I was pretending there was an inside of me, and it could be found in a room in the world. (page 256)
I had amazing moments with him [Fahey]. I remember the morning, honey coloured, the room got mellow and deep when he asked me Eileen can you tell me any time in your life when you did feel safe. It was like a thunderclap. Before my father died. It was like my life folded. I did have an inside. I just hadn’t been in it for most of my life. I had a home. It was gone. It was devastating. (page 257)
I was doing a performance and I invited him. I didn’t know if it was right. but I did. And there I was performing and looking down I saw Jim and I’m not sure it was a good feeling. I didn’t know if it was right. And when we talked about it he told me that after I performed I looked at the audience and I smiled, but it was an uncomfortable smile. Not open, maybe kind of false. I think I smiled in response to that and he said like that. I felt like I knew what he was talking about but I didn’t need to have him tell me about how creepy I was. I mean it was already hard to have this kind of dry heart, or feel you looked that way, like a hard window. (page 258)
What sucks is that most of us, if we call ourselves writers, don’t get paid for what we love to do. Some of us enjoy teaching, and we do it. And some of us really love it. But some of us just love writing and can’t find anybody willing to dole out tons of money to us just so we can sit in a room all day without having to see other humans.
"My idea of a solution is to say screw it, and let the apartment look like a rhinoceros went ice skating in here. I go three weeks without writing a damn thing. I find time to do the things that absolutely need to get done right now, like eating, and having sex, and leaving for work, and occasionally mailing a Netflix disc. Eventually I will sit down and the words will come erupting out of me, because if they don’t I will twist somebody’s head off. And that’s how I live."
Yet who reads to bring about an end, however desirable? Are there not some pursuits that we practice because they are good in themselves, and some pleasures that are final? And is not this among them? I have sometimes dreamt, at least, that when the Day of Judgment dawns and the great conquerors and lawyers and statesmen come to receive their rewards - their crowns, their laurels, their names carved indelibly upon imperishable marble - the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say, not without a certain envy when He sees us coming with our books under our arms, “Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.”
I wish I’d read Norwegian Wood a year ago when I needed it most, rather than at the tail end of a deeply frustrating period of personal growth.
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. That’s the world of hicks and slobs. Real people would be ashamed of themselves doing that.
The years nineteen and twenty are a crucial stage in the maturation of character, and if you allow yourself to become warped when you’re that age, it will cause you pain when you’re older.
‘You know what girls are like,’ he said. ‘They turn twenty or twenty-one and all of a sudden they start having these concrete ideas. They get super realistic. And when that happens, everything that seemed so sweet and lovable about them begins to look ordinary and depressing.’
Sure they sound trite when taken out of context, but it would have been good to have something to cling to when stewing in the emotional pits of late adolescence. The last quote is particularly apt, especially if you add to the realistic line ‘also bad-tempered and deeply anti-social’. This isn’t to say, as my 21st birthday creeps over the horizon, that I’ve totally pulled myself together and things will be super dandy from now onwards (oh it’s not) but at least I’m not so foggy-headed about Life and Everything In It. etc.