Hello Ordinary friends! I couldn’t have been more excited about this issue. Probably shouldn’t have launched it during a thunderstorm/hurricane/tornado/flood. But here we are. I hope you’ll take the time to read any or all of it.
Here’s my letter from the editor, which I hope my fellow Ordinary friends will appreciate.
Hello, fellow magpies! Thank you for taking the time to read our magazine.
In some ways this is an apology, or at least an explanation. For this, our second issue, I contacted a lot of people I admire and asked if they would share their work. Some I know, others I do not. A few people responded, and I was genuinely thrilled with those who did. I started to compile the issue, to build on what I already had, to figure out how to add to it, to form something interesting to read. And then, one sleepless night, it suddenly occurred to me that every shiny thing I had collected had been written by or about a man. Now, I’m fond of men, three of the three humans I live with are men or soon-to-be men. But I had hoped to share a wide variety of different voices, in every. single. issue. And if you consider the history of all that has been written, the vast majority of it has been by or about men.
Did I panic and start over? I did not. I decided to lean into it, to embrace the situation, to pretend it was all a calculated decision. Because I started thinking that all of the men sharing their work for this issue of Magpies are fairly odd men, just trying to find their place in the world, their path through it. And maybe it’s because we just dropped my eldest son at college in a city, and I’ve been thinking a lot about my two fairly odd teenagers, and how they’re trying to decide who they are in the world, but it all started to make sense to me.
Just because your people wrote the rules doesn’t mean you’re comfortable with those rules. Just because people like you assigned roles and defined notions such as success, progress, work, and purpose, doesn’t mean you need to apply them to yourself or to anyone around you.
My boys are beautifully defiant of roles and expectations, they move through life with their own style, and rhythm and ideas. With brash elegant humor and fierce, disarming intelligence. It’s thrilling to watch them figure it all out, and maybe that’s why so much of what I’m sharing this week appeals to me.
This is not a themed issue, but, like all humans, I like to find connections. To me, this issue is like a funhouse. Everything is either connected by strange unlikely corridors, or is an unreliable reflection of the article or feature that came before–or of the writer, or the reader, and of me as well.
I had written a whole list of those connections, but I’ve just erased it. I’ll let you make your own connections.
So, I suppose this issue is dedicated to my boys, heading back to school after the strangest and most disappointing year. I hope that they will find inspiration and connection and community. I hope you’ll find some of that here, reading Tidings of Magpies.