At some point I decided that I’m not going to be a writer. Reading amazing works of literature was incredibly rewarding, but it came with a cost: how could I ever write anything that would compare? I felt that every idea for a story, every line I conjured in my head, and every character I imagined, were all derivative, a pale imitation stitched from the texts of my betters. If that wasn’t enough, I shuddered at the thought of the world criticizing my work, perhaps unfairly dismissing it as worthless, exactly as I had done so often.
Not until after I finished my degree, did I realize that I lacked forgiveness. I needed to forgive the new flaws I found, so different and glaring in comparison to the flaws in writings of the past, which we’ve all learned to embrace or ignore. And once that happened, the experience was incredibly freeing. I allowed myself to enjoy a Beyoncé song, a Buffy TV episode, or a teenage movie, without guilt. I recognized the value in each one – how they brought a smile to my face, recalled a distant memory, or moved me to tears. I appreciated the freshness, the new complexities, and the original voices that I discovered. The world seemed infinitely richer.
Despite my progress, I’m still not brave enough to attempt writing myself. I applaud the writers of this issue for their resolve to write and for their courage in the face of criticism. But above all, I congratulate them for the great work they share with us – interesting, fresh, original, and truly moving.
Yoni Heiblum, Editor.