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"There's nothing more unnerving, yet empowering, as the making of connections." Adrienne Rich


Taking the known, the familiar, the fact, and making it more. Prose poem. Literary collage. Lyric Essay. Meditation. Shadowbox as window. Shadowbox as mirror. Shadowbox as puzzle. Shadowbox as shrine. Shadowbox as archive. Shadowbox as key hole. Shadowbox as alchemy. ORIGINS: Harrison Candelaria Fletcher lived among fragments. Pottery shards. Skeleton keys. Strands of rusty barbed wire. Artifacts covered every surface of his boyhood home. His mother, an artist and collector, spent weekends exploring the back roads of New Mexico seeking treasures others had overlooked. She'd load them in the trunk of their faded green`67 Comet, wipe away the dust, and nail them to their walls. She found inspiration in these relics, and with them, transformed their home into a museum, cathedral, graveyard and self-portrait. Often, Fletcher would stand beside her as she her hair back with a blue bandana, placed The White Album on the stereo, and assembled her discoveries into "little shrines." While she worked, he'd hold her objects under slanted light of their broad front window, trying to divine their secrets. After an hour of mothballs and cobwebs, his mother would smile, pull him aside, and point to a corner table holding a Pueblo rattle, a string of Tibetan prayer beads, a vase of range grass, and an antique clock turning in slow dry ticks. "Look closely," she'd say. "Everything tells a story." John-Michael Rivera found language 30 years ago. He and his mother had left Texas--a vacation unfolding--Disneyland E-tickets create a small apartment complex in North Hollywood, 100 yards from The 118, where they paid weekly. Brown stucco, two stories high, they lived on

the bottom floor--his mother managing to manage the place, collecting rent, collecting belongings from those left behind, of those dead. Beneath them, Sahagún, the first tenant. A native of Chihuahua, he moved to California alone, like them. Sahagún collected things Latino. Cookbooks of all eras. Yearbooks from High schools never attended. Menus from neighborhood taquerias. Cookery, 30 or 40 molcajetes, five comales, boxes of spices. Cacti from every region. Records and eight tracks, Little Joe, Jovita G., boot-legs from at Mexican clubs on Sepulveda. On a table, a platter of perfectly placed pan dulce, a stacked monument made from the largest pan de juevo, a layer of cuernos, of empanadas, of bisochos, of elotes, of marranintos, of almohadas, topped with the smallest purro--built 100 years ago when Mexico met France. The smell of his things, of skin, of dander, of dust filled Rivera, sucked oxygen from his body --a fever of history taken in through the nose. Things framing imagination, things unfound. INSPIRATION: Joseph Cornell (1903-73) - An American artist born in Nyack, N.Y. best known for his "shadowboxes" made of found objects, maps, photos, engravings, other materials. Influenced by surrealism, these constructions are personally symbolic and evocative. Preserved in Cornell's boxes are items as divergent as drinking glasses and a cork ball; a clay pipe and a diagram of the orbits of earth and the moon; images of a Medici Princess, each accompanied by a wooden sphere; and a translucent marble in a cascade of blue sand. Cornell fuses his work with poetic intensity and a private and enigmatic sentiment, which together affect the viewer as if these very objects formed a recording of a burst of Cornell's sense of joy, wonder, love, sadness. TRANSLATION: "There really are three kinds of images. First there are those seen with the eyes wide open in the manner of realists in art and literature. Then there are the images that are seen with the eyes closed. Romantic poets, surrealists, and everyday dreamers know them. The images Cornell has in his boxes, however, are a third kind. They partake in both reality and dream, something that doesn't have a name. They tempt the viewer in two opposite directions. One is to look and admire the elegance and visual properties of the composition, and the other is to make up stories about what one sees. In Cornell's work, the eye and the tongue are at cross-purposes. Neither is sufficient. It's the mingling of the two that make up the third image." - Charles Simic

"As a writer, I am more interested in the art of it as opposed to the craft, so I like to conceive of things that I'd like other people to imagine or conceive of. I'm far more interested in creating and experiencing atmospheres, or as my teacher would say, ground situations, interesting combinations of things in the world, as opposed to setting them in motion in some specific narrative direction." - Michael Martone "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." - Thoreau INTENTION: To publish the magazine we always wanted to read ­ a biannual journal exclusively devoted to contemporary nonfiction of every shape, style, and incarnation. Each issue will include interviews with masters of the form, reviews of provocative published work, a gallery of visual and literary collaborations, an archive of resurrected writings, interactive links with like-minded types, and much more. Our strongest pieces will be showcased in a printed anthology. We like edges. We like B-sides. We like heart, mind and soul. If you're driven to explore the possibilities of literary nonfiction, please send us your work. We'd love to read it. [email protected]

Harrison Candelaria Fletcher John-Michael Rivera Editors


Microsoft Word - ShadowMission.doc

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