Issue #14

November 20, 2015

Letter from the editor

Rebecca Starks, Mud Season Review editor-in-chief

Karen J. Weyant’s poems return to the immediate sensory perceptions of a childhood spent immersed in the natural world, until intruding adult figures reveal their unnatural view of the world. In everything Weyant encounters—a two-headed calf, a dead opossum, her mother’s irrational fear, her parents’ oracular utterances—she is, as she concludes “Collecting Caterpillars,” “searching for what I needed to know.” It is meta-searching, an open-ended search, a search that opens like the ending of her poems.

In Jacob Guajardo’s short story “We Have Commandeered Our Bodies to Science,” a set of volunteer terminal patients have given themselves up to a childlike state of dependency (and the less childlike attribute of passivity) as the doctor runs experiments to prove the existence of the soul. From this unnatural basis for a community, the patients evolve from strangers (arguing “in that polite way only strangers can argue”) to something both more and less than friends, a “we” that is able to narrate its own formation.

Megan Bush engages with a similar theme in her nonfiction piece “Knit to Feelings,” as she links storytelling to the creation of connection, community, love. Only belatedly, after her grandmother’s death, does the narrator realize what drew her, as a child, to listen to her grandmother’s stories, and she regrets walking away when they turned toward false, psychosis-induced memories. “Tell me the stories that mattered to you, Grandma. The emotionally charged moments of her life, as real to her as any reality.”

Harry Wilson’s black-and-white photographs from San Francisco in the mid-1960s, capture their unsuspecting human subjects in charged poses that hint of that isolated reality each of us inhabits, especially toward the end of life. The pictures don’t tell a story, but they make you wish you could hear the stories their subjects might have told.

Rebecca Starks, editor