Written by Melissa Gutierrez
I want to frame the following set of works with a fact: people take up time and space. Your body occupies a certain volume in the universe, and your actions occur across a series of seconds, minutes, hours, and years. This is simple stuff, but stuff that’s hard to remember in an increasingly busy world that tries to ignore basic physical limitations; a world that is constantly trying to be more and do more with less effort and less time.
It’s a sort of environment that sets the standards for success in our culture today: getting the best things the fastest, or overcoming the hardest obstacles with the most measurable results. The people who do these things, typically, are the people who get their names all over the internet, who get their pictures in the paper — the people who get your attention. In this world, under these standards of success, time and space seem like things to be earned.
All art, at its best, plays a double role: it exists as itself in its own particular time and space, and it serves as a representative of another certain time and space. Every story, every photograph, every collection of words and images is almost a sort of time travel — allows you to be where you are and also wherever the work takes place. If I tell you I am at my desk right now, in a green director’s chair and waiting for my hot water to be ready for tea, you might be able to picture it well enough to feel like you’re there. You can be in two different places, two different times, all at once.
Stories cheat time and space, but they can only do that if two things happen: if the storyteller pays attention enough to create a real time and space, and if the story-reader pays enough attention to see the real time and space created before them.
As a staff, we’ve done our best to create real time and space. We tried to remove those standards of success that make life a contest. We took the time and made the space to hear and re-hear and look over and over again at stories from a group of people who gave us their time and shared their space. When we did this, we found all kinds of good things, all kinds of hard obstacles, all kinds of evidence, all kinds of ways to measure all sorts of successes — all this in one person, all this in every person. Everyone became suddenly more multidimensional than we ever expected.
This magazine is really about the amount of attention we pay to ourselves and to others. It is about the idea that it takes time and space not just to be, but also to see and to hear. Sound and light waves travel across space, and they take time to get to your ears and eyes. It’s why you hear the thunder and the see lightning at different times — unless you get really close.
So get close. Read the stories, spend time with the pictures. Be with them. Existence is not a thing to be earned, but a thing that is there already. All you need to do is make space, take your time, pay attention, and enjoy.
Melissa Guttierez / Editor-in-Chief