Autumn is so often regarded as a time of loss, disintegration, and separation from all else. As though repeating words from the oldest myth, we even call it "The Fall". In this issue, we have death by dire arrangement, by droning degrees, and by delirious song... everywhere the crackle of fading existence. And yet, like the season, the tales we tell here have a unique poetic life. It is the mark of the living that we can make myth about death and find, through such stories, enduring icons of the heroic struggle to transcend it. Autumn is also the time of harvest, when sowing and nurturing yield to reaping the turn of yield and plenty. It is with that in mind that we gather a bounty of delicious words and bid readers to our table. This is true food, whether stark, sour, or sweet. Come. Dine.
Amanda Lam's fiction is about the conflict between the rational world and the world of experience. The Romans thought that the history of a civilization could be defined by its roads, but it is at the crossroads that we find its stories. Myth is partly about intersections between the tangible and the sensible, the crossroads of perception and imagination. It's tempting to ask that all such points of encounter be reasonably marked and clearly defined, but that is just the point -- myth is less about mapping our mind's eye than questioning what it is we see.
It would be tempting to describe Norman A. Rubin's fable as the story of a morally flawed man who gets what he deserves. But the author doesn't let us get away with it. In reminding us to be careful what we wish for, he is also challenging our sense of value and standards of worth. So, if you're in the mood for a just dessert, bite into this tale, but also let it show you how to chew wisely.
Anthony Miller marries two disparate purposes in his flash fairytale. Tony's piece also makes the point that retellings do not always require a pedigree. It is one thing to dust off Pinocchio or modernize Hansel and Gretel, but there are also themes and plots that live within the general tradition, munching on the edges of our awareness, and these too must be revisited.
Sometimes, when we start to come apart, it takes a friend to remind us who we are. Then, too, a friend is someone who knows one's true name, and so is able to call the various pieces back into an integrated whole. Elizabeth Thomas Wenning's piece adapts this theme to a particularly difficult kind of dis-integration.
Have you ever had such disturbing vision that you thought of escaping, to avoid inflicting yourself on others? Perhaps, too, you would have left, except that nowhere seems like home. J.P. Moore's fictional work leaves a boat on the shore and asks whether to take the journey even without knowing where to land.
Every society that endures has its golden age and, frequently, these become the stuff of legend and political myth. William Lengeman's parable wonders if there is something to be learned from all such times or if, perhaps, we already know.
John Grey's poem reminds us what we share with the season, namely, the fragility of our lives. Concealed, as it may be, in the magnificence of our machinery, the brilliance of our thoughts, and the singularity of our creations, nevertheless we are dust.
There was a tribe whose members each had such a strong sense of identity that they were unable to bear subjugation to any foe. But, they knew that one threat in particular could not be defeated, and each of them would be completely conquered by it in the end. In response, they would ritually eat smoke, knowing quite well its harmful effects (though we often think them ignorant). It was as if to say "I cannot defeat Death. It is an intractable enemy. So I will defend my sense of self at the expense of my very life. I will embrace my enemy every day, impaling myself on his sword and constantly tasting his poison. Though it destroy me, I will show my will unsubjugated by death, by running toward it in defiance." Similarly, Elizabeth Barrette's poetry suggests that heroism is, perhaps, the meeting of the inevitable on one's own terms.
pogo's review looks at the use of symbols and allegory in Michelle Miller Allen's book. The reviewer writes, "In using metaphor and myth, Miller Allen is free to explore the abstract meaning of love without restricting herself to a single interpretation." From Plato to Mithraism, this look at Allen's novel contributes to our understanding of how to understand our writing.
Asher Black was thinking about dreams, when he wrote the most recent Black Asher story by that title. At the same time, he wrote an essay on the subject. Because of its suitability to MYTHOLOG's theme, we've decided to include it in this issue. Meanwhile, Asher is planning another installment in the series, entitled "The Meeting".
People often ask about pieces that don't seem to fit well into a magazine about myth. Frankly, that's exactly what a magazine about myth is looking for. Unicorns genies, and fairies are certainly a part of myth, but so are Westerns, Romance, Detective Fiction, modern tales, and cross-genre works. If you're interested in our theme, read our recently updated About Us page, and do let us know what you think.
We're taking submissions for the Winter issue right up to November 12th. It will be our Second Anniversary Issue, so we're looking forward to December with bright Autumn eyes.
With our Autumnal issue, and the completion of our second year and volume, we'd like to thank donors to our Writers Fund and generous contributors of every sort for making it possible to be a paying market.
In the case of contributors, special thanks to The Warbler, Mike "Warble" Finucane, who has been promoted to Senior Illustrator for consistently responsive and excellent work. Just look at Mike's recent "Black Lion" cover, highlighting the exploits of "Black Asher", the main character in an exclusive MYTHOLOG serial.
Speaking of serials, if you're a fan of the BBC, I Claudius, Kenneth Branagh, and such, the Mosaic Soliloquies by Joseph P. Farrell, another MYTHOLOG exclusive, is for you. Thanks most of all to our readers for helping us finish our second year so strongly.