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Issue 5, April 2010

 

we do have a mission and it goes like this:


Once Upon a Time There Was a Story. Everyone has a story. Maybe everything is a story. Maybe stories are everywhere. People recount the events of their lives in snippets to one another on the phone, in emails, in text-messages, in letters, and occasionally, in person. People publish formal stories in books and then we read them. People tell moving stories and we watch them onscreen. Yet others freeze stories into captured visuals with paint on canvas, with charcoal on paper, with film in print. Inanimate objects often suggest stories: a shirt left on the train tracks, mud splashed across the kitchen tiling.  Stories help us make sense of ourselves and others: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where might we head next?
 

  • Story – an account of an incident or a series of incidents, either true or invented

  • scape – suffix: a view of

Imagine a landscape, a cityscape, an airscape of stories. Stories hover around listeners like hot breaths on cold necks. They’re all around you, waiting for you to pause and notice. Will you pause? Will you notice? 

And then we did this funny thing: we categorized the stories. Things just seem so much easier to digest that way. We’ve got books and novels and memoirs and autobiographies and biographies and short stories and personal essays and creative non-fiction and poetry and reportage and interviews and book reviews and myriad other categories that, I guess, help us avoid all those categories we’d rather avoid. As readers we want to know what we’re getting into before we get there, because there might not be where we wanted to go.  And it totally matters if it’s true or invented, because I need to know if I should run around screaming based on the information you gave me or just imagine myself running around screaming. The details are important.Calls for submissions read like personal ads: Looking for slim blond straight-acting 18-24 year old hunk into bran muffins and bubble wrap. No short-shorts, please.  But we’re not eradicating categories here exactly, just blurring the lines.

Storyscape breaks it down to:

Who decides what story goes where? The writer self-identifies. And what qualifies as the truth? Is fiction the truth, or is non-fiction? Isn't there something inbetween fact and invention? And what about your poem? What about the songs your sister sings in the shower? What about visual stories: can it be a story if there are no words? We create new problems even as we solve them, and Storyscape is fine with that.

Storyscape aims to collect stories of all kinds:  ones that adhere to form and ones that don’t, ones that really happened and ones someone invented, ones steeped in tradition and those that are a-traditional, ones that make you cry and ones that make you wet your pants, ones a writer labored over for days using a dictionary, a computer, and an MFA to craft, and those someone overhead at the bus stop. You may call it a poem, but we call it words with spaces. You call it a book review, but we call it a story about another story. You may swear every word really happened, but we still call it a story. 


Copyright © 2007-2009 Storyscape Journal ISSN 1941-3157