Read the Editor’s Note
It’s good to be back. This is Mount Island’s fourth issue, but truthfully, in spirit, this is another debut—the inaugural issue of a new beast. Four years ago, when we released Mount Island No. 3: Folklore & Fairytales, we were a merry band of young writers trying out this publishing thing for ourselves. Passionate, but unfocused. Had we continued publishing back in 2015 we might have found some unifying purpose beyond love of lit, but I was too impatient to wait and see. I was a sucker for purpose then, a total Pepé Le Pew. I probably still am, but these days I just might be chasing an actual skunk.
In the years since Mount Island No. 3, I’ve kept at this publishing thing in one way or another, as often as not despite myself, because it just won’t stop mattering to me. Art and literature matter to the body and soul. Sharing art and literature with the world matters, and it matters that what we share with each other be good; that it raise up the spirit, and that spirits who need raising be bathed in it, made ready for the day by it. The spirit needs a cup to share, a fire to gather around, other spirits to gather closer. That is the publisher’s purpose: to make sure the bath is full when you need it. To keep the fire stoked and introduce people to friends, to offer the cups.
In my life, few forces other than publishing have been able to bring people together so earnestly, with such dignity and care. But now more than ever, there’s no ignoring the publishing world’s power to separate and violate. I’ve been lucky to gripe about this over the years with no shortage other creative smarty pants, and even luckier to work with the folks who came together to bring Mount Island back. The new Mount Island is our a shot at lighting a fire where there’s been none; at tending a gathering place for those who share our experiences, our spirits: We’re country. Queer and trans, black and brown, and picnicking on mountaintops, turning the soil and splitting the logs, driving winding roads in trances. It matters that we be together. That we’ve shared the same solitary path through the woods, the same pang of loneliness cut short by the gasp of beauty—crystal stream, bluebird, the green and gold canopy, life. That we can gather together as who we are, unbothered, and that we welcome others to raise their spirits in affinity—that matters. I may be a love-drunk skunk, but I know a good bath when I need one.
In Mount Island No. 4, two deep-sea scientists and a navy lieutenant face death with camp and grace in Claudine Griggs’ “Raptures of the Deep,” while in Thomas Kearnes’ “And Now the News,” a squad of East Texas gays crashes into the dreaded thirty-something wall. Christa Feazell’s “SNAFU”and Sarah M. Goulet’s “Heliocentric” weaves lines between American gun culture and two queer women’s coming of age. Damien Benavidez’s “5:25” and “El Valle” deliver brief epics on growing up bi in the Rio Grande Valley, and Caitlin Moran’s “No Trespassing” maps out a butch and a trans boy’s growing room. Robin Gow’s “escape” and “hair” and Tyler Orion’s “Selections from Inferior Normal” commune with bodies and souls in transition and the ghosts they leave behind. And Lilly Manycolors’ 7WOMXN series answers in otherworldly tapestry our burning question: “How do we live in the in-between spaces, and live well?”
Read Mount Island No. 4
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