I’m writing this three days after the presidential election and like so many of you, I am struggling. I am sad, scared, and furious, and I’m questioning the relevance and impact of writing and publishing fiction in a time of deep social and political crisis, when lives and safety are at risk.
This is my first issue as Drunken Boat’s co-fiction editor. While thinking about what to write for this introduction, I thought about how I had initially responded to the call for editors because I was drawn to the journal’s mission of promoting the work of underrepresented artists. I’ve always believed that for those of us who have been forbidden or discouraged from telling our stories, writing can be an act of survival and resistance. And so can publishing the stories of underrepresented writers – women of color, queer writers, international writers – especially in the face of ongoing white supremacy, American imperialism, misogyny, and homophobia. Writing and publishing are not the only forms of action, but they’re not insignificant. I reminded myself too of a quote from Jeff Chang’s Who We Be: The Colorization of America: “Cultural change always precedes political change. Put another way, political change is the last manifestation of cultural shifts that have already occurred.”
So it’s my hope that with the eight compelling stories in this issue – with settings that range from the US to Angola, South Korea, India, Malaysia, and Jamaica – we are doing our own small part. Our work is cut out for us. But we’ve already been writing.
Huge thanks to my co-editor, Sybil Baker, Fiction Assistant Editor Tracey Rose, Fiction Associate Editor Piyali Bhattacharya, and Fiction Reader Kathryn Henion. It’s a gift to be able to work with all of you.