Letter from the Editor: Seasonings

Ho Lin

Ho Lin: Seasonings

Can you smell it? The fragrance of year’s end and the beginning of a new cycle? No, we can’t either. Oh, it’s not for lack of trying on a lot of people’s parts. You can look long and hard at anything and see portents for the next widening gyre: Congress and budgets, the best-of lists and the watch-out-for forecasts, Ryan Seacrest and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. One person’s Arab Spring is another’s Ukranian winter, and who can say if they will even resemble each other in the future? We’ll sit back and read the celebrity obituaries as one calendar gets dumped in the bin and another gets tacked to the wall. We’ll be invited to get the scoop on what’s really going to happen, and be told what actually happened, because who has the luxury of comprehending what’s happening as it’s happening?

We here at Caveat Lector don’t claim to have a handle on the life and times of every little thing on this planet, but what we do offer during this hectic change of season and epoch is a breath -- even if that means just slowing down to pay attention to the pause between heartbeats. Because as truth and biology and entropy tell us, everything changes, all the time. Rather than getting caught with the prancing ponies on the merry-go-round, worrying about when the ride will end and fumbling in your pockets for another ticket, why not stand stock still in the center of the rotunda, pick out an interesting blur here and there, and then watch as the blur grows, decays and plain flabbergasts as it whirls around? Pish and posh to arbitrary demarcations like seasons and Gregorian calendars – we’re going to let ourselves be a bit more free than that, and make ourselves happy and dizzy. Preoccupied with that grain of sand? Found that panoramic view of life, the universe and everything? Have at it.

Having said that, it would be remiss of us not to at least acknowledge this time of the year, and for that we have David Lawrence’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Just for kicks, juxtapose that with co-editor Christopher Bernard’s “Between Two Cups of Time,” which is a rocket back in time -- or should that be a boomerang? Looking for something a bit more granular? Try Jeanne Bryan’s “The God Particle,” or John P. Kristofco’s “Geology,” which is as tectonic as it gets. Sometimes change can happen in a seeming instant, as it does in Chris Waters’ “Upgrade,” an ode to a truck stop, or it can suspend itself in the reverie of memory, as it does in Janice Wilson Stridick’s “Afterward” and Anthony Botti’s “Sunday Phone Call,” and every so often we find ourselves dazzled by the present, as we do in Sean Lause’s “The Fortunate Fall.” If you wish to enjoy the thrill of the pause, we offer music from Dave and Sabina, who pull off the neat trick of making a road trip sound like the most deliciously lazy thing one can do.

In this issue we’re also pleased to present the poetic stylings of Ivan Arguelles via a filmed reading at one of salons from the previous calendar year (not that it matters, as we’ve already noted) -- speaking of living in the moment, Mr. Arguelles certainly qualifies.

We're also happy to report that past Caveat contributor Rita Piffer is having her work featured in New York as part of the NewFilmmakers New York Documentary Series at the Anthology Film Archives, Maya Deren Theater, 6pm, on January 4th, 2014.

We at Caveat Lector wish you happy wanderings in the coming demarcations of time -- or let’s just say, as long as you roam. That has a better ring to it. And in the spirit of roaming, we’ll let Alice Munro have the last word, for she certainly has earned it, and she certainly has roamed:

A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time.


Ho Lin is a principal and co-editor of Caveat Lector. His work can be read, viewed, and listened to at holin.us.