The City: Isolation/Togetherness Issue 3 – December 2016
Issue 3 marks a year of Flight Journal, as well as the end of our tenure as editors and Flight Associates. Its spearheading editors shaped the identity of the magazine as a publication for bold short fiction.
With this second and final issue for 2016 we narrowed our gaze to the city, and with that the opposing feelings of togetherness and isolation it can trigger. Our call for submissions went out with an added proviso: stories had to be up to 500 words rather than 2500. This aimed to mirror the thematic: micro/flash fiction is reflective of the fast-paced city life, and can hone in on a moment, a feeling, a breather from the city. While we set a theme for this issue, the fundamental goal of publishing dynamic short fiction remained. We are delighted to present you with a range of commute-length stories, diverse in form, tone, voice, and subject-matter.
We start at dawn, with portraits of individuals removed from fast paced city life. A dreamlike city setting meets the prosaic banter of a troupe of bin men in Sarah Wallis’ There’s Violets for You, a story which reveals the way the rhythm of city living can both isolate us and unexpectedly draw us together. In The Sugar-Picture Man, a waitress’ humdrum life is affected by a mysterious dreadlock-donning customer’s unusual creations. Karen Jones questions the boundary between voyeurism and human connection.
Then we move through the morning with daily commutes on the bus: the systematic, bordering robotic, cycle of modern dating, relationships and city life, is taken literally in the quirky Monday Morning in a Wheeled Box by Kevlin Henney. Then we find ourselves on another mode of transport: a flash of anxieties and a plea for empathy, Eliot Kierl’s The Interval’s stream-of-consciousness gives a voice to the people who run metropoles but are so often unseen.
Also exposed are the toils of misunderstanding in relationships, and in mind. Sara Jafari’s Be Positive snapshots the anxiety-ridden mind of a girl unrecognised both by her partner and the city as a whole. Marianne Tatepo’s People Who Have Never Hurt Me (Or So They Think) embraces listicle-storytelling and comedy to chronicle the sinuous forms love and kindness can take, exposing the pitfalls of (mis)communication.
In a break from city life, we are given a moment to ponder. Freya J. Morris’ The Tree of Life shows us a city dweller longing for a connection with nature – and with something that causes us to pause, think and feel in the hubbub of city life.
Moving through to the confines of city dwellings: Elizabeth Lovatt’s SHARKS depicts two lovers’ playful musings on the housing market in big cities and the obsolete idea of utter isolation therein. Whereas, Nick Ryle Wright’s sharp Sight Unseen captures a man mourning his departure from the city, his home, in sacrifice for the man he loves. Then we enter a community in which home means something different. In Corners by Shreeta Shah, we head to the fringes of London’s suburbs and a world of 20-somethings whose cars are their own independent states, the closest thing they have to being at home in their lives.
The night brings out a different side of the city. In Andrea Eaker’s The City’s Plan for You, we see a city’s nightlife, how it draws people close, too close for comfort. Moving into the early hours of the morning, Paul Attmere’s chilling, engrossing, vivid Earth Mother – much like the soil in which its protagonist finds herself writhing – explores the dark side of estrangement and anonymity.
We hope you enjoy reading Issue 3.
Sara Jafari, Marianne Tatepo and Shreeta Shah