“To see the world beyond its appearances is to see it as it is.” This quote from Stephen Dunn, a poet featured in this special All-Interview Winter Issue, describes one way of considering why writers do what they do. We see the world we live in, we function in it and learn new ways to do so as we grow older; but still we sense something behind the curtain of perception, something we can attempt to understand only by excavating our inner lives and putting language to what we find. We operate within a paradox: explore the inner world to understand the outer.
The question of why we write, why we continue to engage in this paradox, can never fully be answered, simply because there are as many answers as there are writers. This is one reason why Solstice continues to present as diverse a range of writing as possible. If “art is about finding truth,” as J.D. Scrimgeour says in his interview, then we know that truth grows more slippery the closer we get, resisting our efforts to pin it down. And yet, truth is something we sense behind perception, a reality we experience in the way our minds and bodies respond to it, even when we haven’t quite yet discovered the language for it. “Truth can heal,” Scrimgeour says, “it can wound, it can keep you awake at night, and it can tell you where you are when you feel lost.” We know it when we feel it.
One side effect of searching for truth is creating meaning. Randall Horton, who first studied writing while in prison, discovered as he wrote and rewrote his life story that he was “better able to deconstruct and reconstruct [his] life’s purpose.” As we write and rewrite a poem, a story, or an essay, trying to build clearer and stronger language, we find that we are never quite finished. Still we continue the effort, because as Dunn states, “you need to revise the world to get it right.”
We’re excited to feature in this special Winter Issue authors who offer both insight and wonder into the artistic search for truth and meaning: poets Stephen Dunn, Ben Berman, Danielle Legros Georges, Marius Surleac, and Marc Vincenz; fiction writers Jaimee Wriston Colbert, Marjan Kamali, Meg Kearney, and Elizabeth Searle; and nonfiction writers Richard Hoffman, Randall Horton, Leslie Lawrence, J.D. Scrimgeour, and Jean Trounstine. I hope you enjoy these insightful interviews and find inspiration in both the questions and answers.
And remember—our 2017 Annual Literary Contest is open! Click the link on the left sidebar for more information, or click “submit” if you’re ready!
If you haven’t yet, get your copy of our new anthology, Solstice Selects: Two Years of Diverse Voices. Click “Books and Ebooks” in the sidebar to order.
Thank you for reading, and as always, thank you for supporting Solstice and our mission to promote diversity in the worlds of literature and photography.
All-Interview Issue Editor