Introduction to Our Contributors’ Prose
At VoiceCatcher, we don’t set “themes” for our journal, instead preferring to discover them among the wealth of submissions we receive. Themes tends to emerge on their own and feel like a gift wrapped in a Tiffany blue box when they do. Early on in the reading process, the theme that emerged among the prose entries seemed to be “roles” – women’s roles as daughter, mother, wife. But as I neared the end of the reading process, the theme shifted to “transformations” – illness, divorce, death, rebirth.
At first, I felt some sort of weird tension, like I had to decide between the two. Now it seems perfectly reasonable that they exist in this issue side-by-side. For we do not stay static in one role. We start as daughters and become mothers – where hope and pain are poignantly portrayed in “Your Hand at Your Throat.” Then we are lured back into our role of daughters as seen in “Black Sharpie.” “Something Permanent” and “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” show us the trajectory of going from single to married life and then finding ourselves alone again. We are healthy and then not healthy, and – hopefully – become healthy again in “Diagnosis.” We yearn for a kind of rebirth that is ached for in “After the World Ends” and gloriously achieved in “Breathing Underwater.” These are all corporeal stories, stories of the body. Our bodies. Ourselves.
It was an honor and a joy to work with each of the prose authors featured in this issue. Reading their work taught me a little bit more about what it means to be human. I can’t think of any higher aim for literature.
Guest Prose Editor