Editors’ Note for Issue 1

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The following is the full Editors’ Note for Issue 1:

“Life as a human is hard. Plain and simple.

Life on this spinning rock is sometimes nasty, often brutish and always short. As digital technology continues to become more pervasive, ever increasing our connectedness to the other people scattered all over our floating space stone, it seems as though the Hobbesian state of nature counterintuitively becomes more present. We have constant and instant access to all of our species’ triumphs and tragedies, past and present, sitting side by side in our taskbar or in our App Store. Brunelleschi and beheadings in 1080p.

We live at a time of human hyper-cognizance, unprecedentedly exposed to the nastiness and brutality that exists in our midst and increasingly aware of the shortness of the time we have to counteract those forces. We are now confronted with everything all at once, all the time; consequently, we can feel powerless to affect anything. The empathetic twenty-first century human struggles with the knowledge that there is so much collective pain in the world and that there is relatively little they can individually do about it, especially as they deal with those growing feelings of alienation and lonesomeness that come from this realization. That sense of simultaneous responsibility and impotence can crush the spirit and/or strangle the soul.

It is out of an unconscious duty to this feeling of responsibility and to combat this feeling of impotence that Sobotka Literary Magazine was born. We believe literature provides an outlet for the alleviation and externalization of some of that intangible psychic pain that seems elemental to our experience, both for the author and the audience. A story can make us forget our personal pressures and a poem can give voice to an emotion we never noticed existed inside of us. Most importantly, literature provides us a unique insight into the experience of one of the other human beings that we share this tiny corner of the universe with and, in the best pieces, helps us learn a little about our own experience as well. David Foster Wallace expressed our sentiment well when he said of fiction, “There’s a kind of Ah-ha! Somebody at least for a moment feels about something or sees something the way that I do. It doesn’t happen all the time. It’s these brief flashes or flames, but I get that sometimes. I feel unalone — intellectually, emotionally, spiritually. I feel human and unalone and that I’m in a deep, significant conversation with another consciousness in fiction and poetry in a way that I don’t with other art.” With this first issue, we hope we can foster a conversation that helps writers and readers, not to mention ourselves, feel more human and less alone. To us, literature is the only medium that allows us to transfigure the nasty, brutish and short into something satisfying, beautiful and transcendent despite its transience.

We chose the following works not only for their inherent strength as individual pieces, but for their collective ability to give life and light to the bloody, beautiful nature of our existence here on this crowded sphere that we share. Every one of these stories and poems, while varied in structure and style, strengthened our belief in the illuminative elements of literature in a world that can too often seem dark and daunting.

We sincerely thank you for picking up this little booklet of printed words when you could be spending your time with any one of the billions of stimuli available to you at this very moment. We greatly appreciate the opportunity to have this conversation with you and look forward to speaking to you again sometime soon.

Above all else, we hope this makes you feel human and unalone.

Kathy Klimentowski/Nick Rossi
Urbana/Nashville, 2014”

Sincere thanks to everybody who has been involved in helping us take this magazine from an idea born on a bus stop bench to being the box of books that is going to show up on Monday. Thank you.

editorsnote
Photo Credit: Sarah Genis

Little Burning Bottles

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A paragraph of Thomas Chaplin’s “witness to the deterioration of the human spirit, or a short tale about dormancy and doubt” reads,

“He feels strange gripping the sides of the toilet: despite all the chronic nausea that has sporadically bedridden him for the past few months, it has never led to a vomiting episode. One typically feels physically relieved post-puke, but he is already convinced that it won’t subside after he is finished. If anything, it’s only going to get worse. He retches a few more times into the porcelain bowl. With his head still halfway submerged, he reaches into his pockets and produces the prescription bottle with shaking hands. When he is satisfied that that will be all to exit his body for the time being, he falls back against he wall, arms resting on the floor. He shifts his eyes to look down at the bottle.”

In his piece, Chaplin captures the struggles and pain in everyday life that we go through as humans through the eyes and thoughts of a character living through one of the lowest points in his life. Catch the rest of his story in our first issue to be released in the near future!

Chaplin
Photo Credit: Three Lions/Getty Images
(http://kfrog.cbslocal.com/2014/07/08/whats-your-partners-grossest-habit-frogmens-tmi-tuesday/)