Moving to Ann Arbor at 24 is the opposite of moving to New York at 17. I go into no wilderness of feeling. I tell my friends and parents how pleasant things are. I keep saying the word “pleasant.” For a few months, I work diligently on revising my poems from the last couple of years, putting the right sheen on old woods. When it’s time to write something new, pleasantness has put me at a loss.
Ideation should always be this concise and rewarding. Many of those maps I have kept and found again and again. They end up, intact, as a bookmark for Flaubert, or at the bottom of my bedside table drawer under loose change and a pocket knife. As urgent as the notes are made, their meaning, for the life of me, has been all but lost. They are still so compelling that one can make a painting directly from them. My own thoughts dial around their archaic symbols and half-words, the key of which had been pantomimed on a cold snowy walk or cupped into a rolled-down car window—If you see this, you will know.
A few years ago, I was teaching a middle school writing elective at a well-regarded summer camp for the arts. The students in this class were not primarily interested in writing: they were there as young musicians, or dancers, or studying “general arts” which usually meant their well-off parents thought it more edifying for them to draw with charcoal and write poems and create spliced-together musical theater out of the latest pop songs than to let them spend the summer watching TV and lighting matches in the backyard.
Do we remember Diogenes of Sinope? Diogenes—the Greek cynic who famously wandered around holding a lantern up to all the men he passed in the marketplace, asking them, “Hey, are you full of shit?” Yes? We remember this? Good. Because that’s essentially the plot of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (Vice Films, 2014), only we’re in “Bad City,” Iran and it’s always nighttime and Diogenes has been recast as a vampire, and she—the titular “Girl” (Sheila Vand)—is dope as hell.
I’m very pleased to announce that Rachel Farrell has accepted the position of MQR Blog and Social Media Editor.
Rachel is well known at the journal, having served as an intern here while working on her MFA (Fiction, ’13) and afterward as an assistant editor. I have long appreciated and enjoyed Rachel’s intelligence, good humor, creativity, and managerial skills.
Her work has appeared in The Hairpin, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Ninth Letter, and Pank. She comes to us with considerable experience in social media, having previously served as the Senior Manager of Print and Online Media for Cision US in Chicago, a global PR and marketing company.