I always liked the word periodicals. As a child the word sounded archaic and obscure to me. In those days, I never bought magazines or journals at B. Dalton Booksellers or Waldenbooks, but perused the periodicals in that ever so special section of the out-of-business grocery store turned branch public library near my grandmother’s house. My periodicals brought news, many months or sometimes years out-of-date, from around the world. There were stories then, contemporary fiction and also essays that opened up the world for me in a way the news never could.
I loved getting books from the stacks, but there was something special and communal about the periodicals section. This was the place for what I imagined to be the serious people of the town. They were mostly a collection of men in patched hats and women in salvation army dresses who were old enough to wear hose with their sandals. Sometimes a pagan with crystal necklaces and long hair would sit cross-legged on the floor, doling out occult reading lists to the children free from parental oversight. A teen boy who on the street wouldn’t have been caught dead speaking to me would suggest a good music magazine or a story he’d read in one of the sci-fi magazines. They were my leisure class with their font of obscure knowledge and stacks of aging periodicals that they shared back and forth with the reverence that must have been afforded the first bibles translated into German.
They were my leisure class with their font of obscure knowledge and stacks of aging periodicals that they shared back and forth with the reverence that must have been afforded the first bibles translated into German.
There amongst the study booths, hard wood chairs, and cracked linoleum floor a community of autodidacts ebbed and flowed throughout the day trusting one another with what I would later come to realize is among the only things of worth in this life: their thoughts and passions.
When we began this online periodical, I didn’t know what it would become. I hadn’t thought of those serious people in years, hadn’t considered the impact of being trusted by our writers and readers to connect them to one another. Nor had I considered the talent and generosity of our editors, none of whom I had known before we started this periodical. You’ve all become my serious people, my leisure class and I am delighted to tidy the shelves and organize the chairs.
Now that we’ve relocated The Flexible Persona to Troy, New York, I feel certain that a new period has begun, and I’m looking forward to how this community evolves.
Right now, somewhere in the multiverse, I’m walking around in a house in the northern woods with a copy of Bullfighting in the pocket of my robe and a mocha in my hand. The house is lit by beeswax candles. Outside, it’s always twenty-six degrees and snowing.