The following is the introduction to the Imagination Issue.
“Visualize a parking space,” my grandmother would say from the other side of the bench seat in her dusty brown sedan as we circled the parking lot outside Publix, the noonday heat of the Tampa sun slowly roasting us. There was always a little bit of magic in those trips for me because inevitably, even if many minutes passed, we would find that close parking space, near the door, easier for her to maneuver both herself and me to the sliding doors and welcoming air conditioning.
I recently read Mary Ruefle’s On Imagination, a quote of which appears as the epigraph to this issue. Before reading her essay, I had not considered Ruefle’s premise that thought is imagination, that they are one and the same. Perhaps because I did not know I was to separate the two in the first place. Thinking and imagining require us to embrace visualization. My grandmother imagined her perfect parking space; I imagine a world of my own creation. This is an inherent part of the process of writing fiction, but it is also a way of being—of being a being in a world that often feels unsafe and unpredictable. “Je pense, donc je suis,” or “Cogito ergo sum” for the Classicists out there. And I am where I am because I imagined it possible. And sometimes, yes, I too, visualize that parking space at the grocery store, but in my case, not one close to the door, just a place in the crowded
lot away from anyone who might take more than their allotted space, in a vehicle big enough to hold a small village.
In these pages, from the beautiful cover art by San Francisco-based artist Maria-Nicole Ikonomou, to the poetry and prose by our twelve contributors, disparate minds come together to form something new, something beautifully unique, from their thoughts, their imaginations. We’re fortunate that they’ve chosen to share it with us, their readers, who will bring our own thoughts and imaginations to their work, making them our own, creating them again.
I love Virginia Woolf, Kazuo Ishiguro, Dorothy Allison, Jesmyn Ward, George Saunders, Larry Brown, Tim Gautreaux, Clarice Lispector, Kevin Barry, Nick Flynn, Julian Barnes, Jennifer Egan. My Goodreads is in constant chaos. I have stories in places including QWERTY and SmokeLong. I’m in the process of revising a novel. In lieu of flowers, please send good vibes.