Letter from the Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Editor:
There is something primordial and comforting about the image of a bird in the act of taking flight. A leap, a spreading of wings—the clichés abound. The invention of flight came out of the dream of escaping a terrestrial existence in favour of an aerial, spirited journey. To a certain degree, creative texts favour this same sentiment. They offer a reimagining; a condition of contexts that unravel possibilities. They also can, in the instance of the stories in this issue of Particle, provide a telling and a re-telling of life’s implosive moments. In the face of trauma, the imagination, always avian, takes flight. It soars, it persists, and along the way, it finally settles on a tree, on a story.
The bird that graces the front cover of Issue 4 of our student literary magazine is a crow. Crows and their cousins, ravens, have appeared in literature as prophets of darkness, foreboding, destruction. The crow in the English poet Ted Hughes’s collection ‘Crow’ is God’s companion in the nightmare of life, always working to better the nightmare, to correct God’s mistake of creation. In ‘Crow’s First Lesson’, a poem that beautifully renders the difficulty of effecting love, the bird has no choice at the end but to fly ‘guiltily off’.
And this is where our stories begin, where the crow left off. The stories in this issue are crow-like, dark, ominous. They reveal some of the toughest dimensions of realities. They tell you when life is rough, when the moment is what it is and yet something fundamental is missing. There are little pretensions. A girl observes the decay of parental relationship. A boy is deeply aware of the rift between his parents due to the curse of addiction. An observer understands the hypocrisy and the truth behind ideological conventions that slip through formal education: hell is a place for those who have been damned except that the damned may be sweeter than expected. A man battles his inner demons to a point of utter despair.
The stories in this issue are stories that want and need to be told because they expose certain truths: the truth of the imperfection of human relationships, the truth of mental disorders, the inadequacies of an education system. Redemption is nowhere in sight yet somehow, lurking in the white spaces between the words, the reader senses a faraway route out of the current set of circumstances, untold by the writers.
Finally, in the spirit of speaking about flight, creativity, the imagination, seeking and discovery, I note with great pleasure the growth of this literary magazine. From its inception one and a half years ago to its present form, the quality and quantity of submissions have increased. I hope you will enjoy this issue as much as the staff and student editors have enjoyed working together to create a meaningful and interesting edition. Like the bird in mid-flight, there is much to look forward to in this literary (and avian) voyage.
Fiction & Creative Nonfiction Staff Editor
Essays & Reviews
Blade Runner: The Final Cut – A Re-examination
A Broken Piano in the Next Room
Puteri Yasmin Suraya
Puteri Yasmin Suraya
Please Don’t Call
Olivia Yeoh Yunn Xin
Afiqah Izzati Azhar
A Villanelle for Beckett
Watching the Children Play