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Welcome to Issue 124 of Litro
It’s difficult to define what we mean by transgression. That’s partly because transgression is a relative term – there are some acts and ideas an individual might call transgressions, while society might have a totally different opinion on the matter. And then even those opinions aren’t concrete, because what we (or society) might call transgressions don’t always stand the test of time.
Naturally, there are some transgressions we could argue are absolutes – murder, rape, incest. But there are those that become normalized – women’s suffrage, for example, or homosexuality; and others still that become taboo – slavery, child abuse, rape. (And if you ever thought rape wasn’t taboo, watch 1985’s adorable time-travel comedy Back to the Future and have your mind blown as you realise Marty McFly’s mother is victim of an attempted rape by the man who ends up happily running errands for her future family. Oh, that Biff. What a character!)
So bear in mind that this month’s issue of Litro is simply a time-capsule of sin – featuring sexual fetishes, cannibalism, rape, homosexuality, criminal trespass, and murder. In Amber Dodd’s Dark Matter, a young woman struggles not so much to come to terms with her own sexuality, as society’s reaction to it; in Duncan Taylor’s Jørgen Opdahl: Celebrity Burglar, we feature home invasions as entertainment, while in Shannon Bennett’s Visiting Rachel, breaking and entering takes on a more cathartic purpose. Ironing Night by Pauline Masurel is a traditional boy meets girl, boy irons girl’s clothes, boy is sexually aroused by ironing kind of a story; Matt McGee’s New Ground, Again finds us literally unearthing a transgression of the past, but without the same kind of due diligence we might expect from Waking the Dead; in Matthew Dexter’s The Bird in the Urn, we find ourselves in the company of a bereaved father enacting a distinctly Jacobean revenge in the American Southwest. Finally, we witness to a lifetime of transgressions in the confessions of a homeless drifter in Rhuar Dean’s Dinner for Two.
As you might expect from a theme like this, these stories will hopefully all provoke a reaction. But it may be that in twenty or thirty years’ time, some of the transgressions we feature in this month’s issue will seem quaint – and in some cases, I very much hope so (it’s heartening to know that even as I write this, the ban on gay marriage in California, and by extension, the rest of the USA, is being challenged in the US Supreme Court).
That said, I’m going to go ahead and throw my hat in the ring and say feeding your dead child to old people will never be considered an acceptable act under any circumstances. But hey. You never know.