Welcome to the tenth issue of Mason’s Road: A Literary & Arts Journal. This issue happens to also commemorate our fifth anniversary of publishing top-notch literary work with an emphasis on education and community, and we couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come. Over the last five years, we have published an increasingly complex and accomplished array of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, and craft essays from a diverse set of authors from New York to California to Europe and beyond. At the beginning of our reading period, as we thought on this humbling accomplishment, achieved only through the hard work and dedication of our editors, readers, production team, and of course, the authors who support us through submission of their work, it seemed that the most appropriate theme for an occasion such as this would be that of Memory. As usual, our authors did not disappoint.
Virginia Woolf believed that emotions cannot be fully developed in the moment, rather, only by remembering them in the past. Perhaps that is why, while we exist in the present, we have a tendency to live in the past, feeding on memory and experience to inform our future. Literature in particular has all to do with memory. It is no coincidence that so much of fiction is written in the past tense, as if these stories are not being made up at all, but recounted from some unconscious, collective human experience. In nonfiction, the word “memoir” is derived from the French and Latin words for “memory,” and poetry is often reflective on things past even when it looks towards things that are yet to come. But why is literature so tied to memory? What compels us to share stories with one another? What value does it add to the human experience? As Mark Twain said, “A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” The implication is that our consciences are not clear, and our memories both inform and help to soothe that sometimes difficult reality. Without memory, we would not be able to learn, to create, to grow, and most important, to love.
My own memories haunt me, sometimes more than I’d like. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned after serving as both the fiction and nonfiction editor on the last issue of Mason’s Road, and now as Editor In Chief, it’s that I’m not alone. Memories haunt us all. It is only through sharing them—storytelling, film- and drama-making, pontificating, and the like—that we learn to accept our pasts, whatever they may have been, and to use those pasts to inform, shape, or simply bring joy to our futures.
In the words of Aldous Huxley, “Every man’s memory is his private literature.” It is a humbling privilege to be allowed into so many private libraries, and we are delighted to share some selections from the well-guarded tomes therein with all of you here in our tenth issue of Mason’s Road.
Joshua G. C. Wise
Editor In Chief