a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society
Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
When I was asked to read for this issue, my first thought was: do I have the time? This seems to be a perennial question these days and I know I’m not the only one asking it. Can I afford to take a lunch break today? Can I spend half an hour on exercise? Budgeting, saving, running ourselves into a debt of minutes and hours as if time really were money. Particularly, as a graduate student, I always seem to find myself short on both, no matter how careful I am.
Little did I know that this issue of About Place would receive a record-breaking number of submissions. The Entish pace at which I wandered through the ever-growing list became completely impractical. I set a timer—a regular chirping reminder to resist the urge to linger too long on one piece. When I reset the timer to read more or re-read or look more closely, I knew I’d found something that compelled me to listen. Something rooted in a truth so deeply worthy of my attention that I would recklessly spend time I couldn’t afford to hear what it had to say.
In this issue, it’s my hope that you’ll find works that will make even the most time-pressed reader less, as Treebeard might say, hasty. It is my belief that such generosity with your time will be richly re-payed in lovely language that names and stories all of the tangled ways we hold ourselves upright just under the surface.
I’m so grateful for Katy’s time and care as she read and discussed alongside me. My sincere thanks to editors Lauren and Melissa for their faith in us and for their astounding ability to envision a forest where I could only see trees. My gratitude as well to everyone who took the time to submit your work for our consideration. I read every one. And I promise: I was listening.
Erica Charis-Molling is a Creative Writing Instructor for Berklee Online and was Eco-Justice Anthology Support Intern for Split This Rock. Her writing has been published in Crab Fat, Broad!, Anchor, Vinyl, Entropy, Mezzo Cammin, and Dark Matter. An alum of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, she is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Antioch University. More of her work, both published and performed, can be found on her blog.