I grew up in a house full of news. Papers cluttered my family’s dining room table, stacked in the spaces between placemats. They filled magazine racks and old wooden chests and countless recycling bags. There were morning editions and community journals, alt weeklies and copies of Newsweek and TIME. Even now, when I visit my parents in their little suburb just north of Chicago, the house is aswim in print because—and this is hard to believe in this day and age, but it’s true—my dad doesn’t use the internet and my mom only seems to go online to collect information about the ongoing decline of the American educational system. As a child, I was never ignorant of the goings on in the world because if it wasn’t a newspaper or magazine, it was 60 Minutes on Sundays, or the nightly 10 o’clock news, or WBBM blaring through the kitchen radio. This onslaught of current events peppered my youth, and because I was an avid reader from an early age (and perhaps, in some way, wanted to emulate my parents), I quickly learned that sometimes what happened in real life was just as exciting—or, I would glean, horrific and grim—as what we made up in stories. Events propelled my everyday. They became an encyclopedic reminder of what it meant to live—of what it meant to be a participant in our collective history.
The idea of the event is first and foremost what binds the pieces in Issue Two. Though each is unique in its own way, the stories, essay, and interview contained herein all grapple with the way events—current and past, repeat and singular—give shape and add greater context and meaning to a life. How do the things that happen, these pieces seem to ask, catalyze and affect our relationships with others? How do they form (and inform) our identities? In a world where every action begets consequence, what does it mean for an event to transpire in close proximity—how do these occurrences build us, and how do they destroy us? What does it mean for something to happen that’s beyond our control—how does this compel us to survive, to carry on? And how, on a different level, does an event evoke a sense of nostalgia, and invite us to remember why we’re able to view the world with lightness and humor and relief?
Slow apocalypses, childhood grief, fraught familial relationships, revisionist history, dangerous summer jobs, and a surly gargoyle are just a handful of things you’ll find in Issue Two. But I hope you find more. Much more.