She read the letter six times. Each time she unfolded the stapled sheets of paper with a different sequence of hand motions and in a different part of the house and in a different pair of socks, hoping, somehow that the text would read differently.
Editor’s Note: On Running a “No-Bullshit” Literary Magazine
The hardest part about running a literary magazine has been, thus far, pulling my hands away—that is, to not be so forceful in molding the publication that I accidentally strangle it, robbing it of its potential. When I started Specter back in 2011, I had high hopes, big dreams, and even bigger ideas for what it should be, and what it should look like. This caused the magazine to swell in scope and size—the damn thing became too unwieldy.
Almost three years later, everything about Specter encompasses a minimalist approach to publishing literature, interviews, and art.
We are all museums of fear.Charles Bukowski, “Poem for Nobody” (via human-voices)
Be obscure and do not attempt to be famous, and do not elevate yourself in order to be remembered. Learn and conceal, find safety in silence.Imam Ali (as)
I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.Franz Kafka; from a diary entry dated 23 March 1914. (via tobia)
Ils disent que je peux faire quoi que ce soit. Jacmel,Haiti (Cristina Garcia Rodero)
Epabutu people usher in the morning star Maria statue shrine. 2011. Nabire, Papua, Indonesia. Photo: Pigai Amoye Roberth
Her mother’s bathtub is where she ate jars of pickles, read expired horoscopes, and texted random numbers. On the anniversary of her mother’s second marriage, she found her mother huddled in corner of the bathroom clawing at the all, mumbling about a passageway to China.
He was a stranger in an orange sweater, but she looked at him with ambitious familiarity. She tried to arrange orphaned memories and misplaced emotions into a meaningful sequence that would make the touching of their hands feel less strange.
In preparation for the rapture, she gathered a tub of shea butter, seven jars of fermented cabbage, and a quilt made by her great aunt. Unfortunately, the rapture was postponed and the quilt had to be returned.
Beverly chewed her gum loudly. It sounded as if she was chewing a wad of water. I hated the way she chewed just as much as I hated way she hummed “Diamonds and Pearls” when she boiled hotdogs.
It’s easy to feel uncared for when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you need. And it’s so hard not to internalize that silence as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is that the way other people operate is not about you. Most people are so caught up in their own responsibilities, struggles, and anxiety that the thought of asking someone else how they’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind. They aren’t inherently bad or uncaring — they’re just busy and self-focused. And that’s okay. It’s not evidence of some fundamental failing on your part. It doesn’t make you unloveable or invisible. It just means that those people aren’t very good at looking beyond their own world. But the fact that you are — that despite the darkness you feel, you have the ability to share your love and light with others — is a strength. Your work isn’t to change who you are; it’s to find people who are able to give you the connection you need. Because despite what you feel, you are not too much. You are not too sensitive or too needy. You are thoughtful and empathetic. You are compassionate and kind. And with or without anyone’s acknowledgment or affection, you are enough.