Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
We have a resistance to change, whether it’s beneficial or not – we are programmed to resist change. People fear the unknown and would rather stick to the status quo, even if it’s harmful. The suffering may provide a meaning or purpose for one’s life.
As George Bernard Shaw said, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Staying the same is a comfortable choice, even when change is necessary. As a result we become comfortable in our misery. Many have attributed the current political shift to the right and the embrace in many countries of national¬ism as a resistance to globalization and the changes that come with it. Rather than low¬ering borders and embracing the changes required, the western world is currently shift¬ing back to the dark old days of fear and nationalism. What with Brexit, the rise of Trump and the alt-right (where “alt” is code for neo and “right” for Nazi), etc., it doesn’t look a whole lot like things will be changing for the better any time soon. We all too of¬ten fear change which – along with nation¬alism, sheer racism, whatever – driving a lot of anti-immigration feeling.
This month’s collection of stories are not explicitly political – though there is a distant glimpse of the States’ current pres¬idential plight in Taylor García’s “Wheel of Fortune”. Change is what fiction – usually, traditionally – deals in: personal, psycholog¬ical change – a fictional character is meant to come out of the other end of a story slight¬ly different from what he or she was at the start, through some modest epiphany or mo¬ment of truth, some kind of emotional arc. Change is also tied to time – you can’t re¬ally have one without the other – and the biggest change, of course, coming to each of us far sooner than we’d like – final, total, the end of our personal time – is death. We could easily have made this an issue themed entirely on Death. Kathy Stevens’s “Ol¬ives” deals with loss, and Nancy Ludmer-er’s “A Bohemian Memoir” offers a unique perspective on the changes that time can bring. Both time and death figure in Eden Summerlee’s strange sort of science-fiction fable, “ootd” – set in the distant but may¬be not-distant-enough-for-comfort future, when everything’s changed, while still re¬flecting our own changeable reality.
Taylor García – “Wheel of Fortune”
Nancy Ludmerer – “A Bohemian Memoir”
Kathy Stevens – “Olives”
Jenny Bhatt – “The Prize”
Eden Summerlee – “ootd”
Emily Wildash – “Growing Younger” (essay)
Lindsay Hicks – “Remembrance” (essay)
Photography – Dax Ward