July 2016 saw the second issue of online short fiction journal Flight Journal. For lovers of or those curious about short fiction, it’s a journal well worth looking into: flightjournal.org. We present a taster here, in the form of Issue 2’s editorial.
Flight Journal Issue 2 Editorial
January 2016 inaugurated a new team of editors for Flight Journal. With it came a new look, but we wanted to keep the journal’s fundamental purpose intact: to publish bold short fiction of no more than 2,500 words. We were excited about discovering fresh voices, and we found many amongst the 250 submissions. Narrowing these down to only six was no easy task, but we are so thrilled to publish this fantastic range of writing talent.
When we were selecting the stories that eventually comprised Issue 2, we were looking to be surprised, and even challenged. These pieces all achieve this by casting what is commonplace in a new, unexpected light. Chris Torry’s Trauma blends poetry and prose to illuminate a world we might think we already know: a hospital ward. Only here the author encourages us to slow down and look again, and, reading it, to paraphrase the author, something deep is brought closer.
Across many of the stories, we also found another theme speaking to us: placelessness. A feeling of being unrooted, or of struggling to find a place in the world. It’s perhaps not surprising to find this common thread in light of recent world events, and, closer to home, a young generation struggling to secure permanent homes for themselves. Some of the stories handled this with great wit. In Janet H Swinney’s Moving In, we witness a home that resists its new owner at every turn, denying comfort or settlement. It is a gravity-defying story brimming with exuberant flights of the imagination.
Bronwen Griffiths’ The President’s Cats examines placelessness within a dystopian setting both in the defiant babushka who goes against a tyrannical government, and in the black cats that represent the ‘other’ not accepted, generalised and often demonised individuals in society; a sadly timeless allegory relevant both hundreds of years ago and today.
In Abroad by Chantal Korsah looks at African diaspora, and how sometimes the home you leave behind is more comfortable than the one you migrate to. Through the realist, often comical, narrative we are taken on a journey through the different layers of London, and how this compares with the narrator’s hometown Accra.
The namesake for the longest story from Issue 2 is also its coffee cup narrator. Pascal Colman’sPolystyrene Coffee Cup in a Phone Box channels hints of le nouveau roman and defamiliarization (ostranenie). Through the personification of a household, disposable object, the idea of being left behind and becoming obsolete is explored with wit and incision.
Finally, Annie Dobson delivers an incomparably quirky slice of life with Thereness. Packaged as a colourful off-beat insight into Eliza’s habits, this short story’s underlying subject-matter takes the reader from wonder to sympathy as s/he moves through several vignettes, which flow in a manner evocative of the stages of grief. From placelessness to Thereness.
We hope you enjoy reading Issue 2 as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.
Marianne, Sara and Shreeta