Letter From the Editor
As I write this, it’s early October and the Bay Area is experiencing its first rain of the season. Summer officially ended two weeks ago, but the Bay Area’s seasons are like peculiar party guests—hanging out just late enough to make you uncomfortable, but sneaking away right when you were starting to get used to them.
The sky is bleached gray. A boat shaped like a horse pulls forcefully into the harbor. And our wet, stretched-out winter begins.
I realize that not all of our readers reside in the Bay Area. This summer we received subscription and single-issue requests from all over the world, every one of which was fulfilled eagerly (albeit late at night, at a kitchen table, and not through Paypal). Issue 15 paints pictures of specific seasons and seasonless cities alike, from wintering in New York City (“Ice-Cream-Filled Martini Olives”) to biking in Los Angeles (“Two-Wheeling in Tinseltown”), and from there, bigger than the weather, it tackles living green on a budget (“Earth Balancing”) and sustainable design (“So Fresh and So Green”), in addition to the conservational stance of Jessica Hoffman’s aforementioned bicycling essay.
That last piece also considers identity, which could be another unintentional theme for this issue (and not just because we’ve got two blonde Elkas writing for us this time); other leitmotifs include creative collectives and Christianity, with three stories each, in multiple sections. But KS doesn’t DO themes anymore, right? We’re nearly four years old now, and therefore more sure than ever of who we are and who we aren’t,* perhaps less apt to wear a band T-shirt or afix a bumper sticker to our ride. In fact, the word “gestalt” comes up twice in this issue, so perhaps we should just accept that concept—per Merriam Webster, “a structure, configuration, or pattern of physical, biological, or psychological phenomena so integrated as to constitute a functional unit with properties not derivable by summation of its parts”—as a theme for our entire publication project, and call it a personality.
With maturity comes focus, too, and sections take on their own color: People who think too much often think too much about the words they think with, and so KS15’s Paper City section centers heavily on language, from Michael Lukas’ column on naming (and not naming) things in the novel Apex Hides the Hurt, to the improvisational text-and-music performance pieces chronicled in “The Diviners” (an article that, in typical KS fashion, could fit comfortably in our Louder Than Words or Untitled sections); and from Ben Bush’s fictional heroine—a Caucasian girl who speaks perfect Korean from birth—to Jeff T. Johnson’s meditation on line breaks in poetry, to the four poems themselves (yes, poetry is back in the mag, after a several-issue hiatus).
All told, I think we’ve given you something to warm your brain over the winter months, no matter what your weather. —Stefanie
*And on a more personal note: Speaking of who we are and who we aren’t, it’s come to my attention that I may have given a mistaken impression of my years at the East Bay Express in issue 14’s Letter from the Editor. My time at that paper was, on the whole, a pretty great one; I owe my editors and coworkers there a great debt, for trusting me enough to promote me twice, helping me develop my strengths, and allowing me to depart gracefully when I realized the weekly newspaper world was not for me.