I've been using the term life-affirming a great deal lately, and thinking about what necessitates it in both action and art has been the source of some tension. More frequently, I am asking myself: What are you putting into the world; how are you contributing to growth and change? Where art is concerned, this is a difficult—and perhaps unnecessary—question. Still, I've been wondering at what point, if ever, we'll stop using art to establish a shared recognition of suffering (the simple answer to this is, of course: when it ceases to exist). Is articulating one's suffering and conflict—the hinge or impetus of so much creation—actually an act of empathy, emboldening one's audience to face up to their own? Does clarifying struggle help to ameliorate it; or by emphasizing such a thing are we in some way glamorizing and perpetuating it? I found a measure of resolution to these questions while walking beside the highway in Key Largo last night—a certain starkness and clarity of form exists so far south: palms, shadows, concepts. I looked up to a pearl hook of moon and thought: Any manifestation at all is an affirmation of the life from which it stemmed. This is true in art, as in anything—existence confirms itself; existence confirms the self—though that definition is left for us each to decide. Art helps.
Enjoy the issue, it's a beauty, and I daresay, quite life-affirming.
Executive Editor, Fogged Clarity