School’s in and summer’s out. Finally, in my case: I (Nate) spent nearly half the summer feeling like a lost sock, smushed underneath the edge of a ratty couch, sick as the proverbial dog. My sense of place was skewed by spending most of every day, week, and the better part of two months inside my own four walls–sick.
I got to thinking: place is in a lot of places, and this one ain’t worth while.
When you’re chained to your body and your body is chained to the ground (or at least feels like it is), the place you inhabit gets real small, real fast. I got hungry for heat, and earned exhaustion, and stretching sky. I got hungry to read, read like I do when my synapses all show up for work. But I couldn’t, not without falling asleep, most times.
So that was my summer, or at least the most recent half. As I’ve recovered though, I’ve been thinking, unsurprisingly enough, of place: inhabited and uninhabited, and what happens to a place’s placeness because of that lack of or fullness of habitude. I’m not sure yet, but I’m working on it–which leads me more to the point: our sixth issue is here. And while many of these writers aren’t the kind who dwell much on what we usually call setting–and many cheaply call place–the places inhabit are imbued with a fierce particularity that I couldn’t be more proud to present to you.
From Ryan Sartor’s titular character’s isolated office space to Rhea DeRose-Weiss’s meditation on a relationship on the run, from Chris Moyer’s moon landing to Leesa Cross-Smith’s Rowdy, all of these writers inabit a specific placeness. Tasha Cotter’s “green heads / slick as butter knives,” Sara Hughes’s twinspeak, and Kevin O’Rourke’s marvelous opening sentence all speak to it, as does the narrator of Daniel Romo’s “Pick-Up Games,” realizing a victory he “didn’t really / earn.” Here, failure is a place. Here, the sentence is a place: as is getting sick, getting better, and going at it again, and inhabiting the general placeness of life, no matter how shitty–or beautiful–the placeness might seem.
I hope you enjoy Collapsar6.
Nathan Knapp & James Brubaker, September 2014
Stillwater, OK & Cape Girardeau, MO.