What is image? This is a difficult question to answer. Image is the prism of color dancing across the floor when the sun pours through a broken window. It’s the way her curls bounce, his eyes shine, or how her chest rises and falls like each breath is more important than the last. It’s a winter storm so heavy, so dark, you can’t see three steps in front of you through the falling snow. Images are ways of seeing, of feeling how the world around us is colored by the way we look at it.
In fiction, image is perhaps the visual elements of a story: those metaphors, analogies, and figurative moments that illuminate details in a unique and impressionable way. But, what image is and how it acts in a solid work of fiction is so much more than that. Image is a way to understand the realm of a character, everything that goes on in and around, and often how that world is perceived by those who are a part of it. More than that, image is how an author communicates with his or her readers. It gives us common ground, the building blocks of deeper understanding in a story and the characters that comprise it.
The fiction authors in this fourth issue of Mason’s Road not only understand the importance of image in their fiction, but each executes powerful prose that fully transports the reader into the scene, leaving us to find our way out by reading on, opening our eyes to what the story wills us to see. In “Big Swede” we are witness to the death of a violent father and the memories that haunt his son. The images of “To Dispossess” transport us into the heart, the explosive tragedy of The Intifada, alongside those individuals who witness it firsthand. In “Old Friends and Lovers” we see how the remembrance of past love stays in the mind well into old age. Finally, “The Skin” presents us with a narrator whose world is so unlike anything else, the reader is left to navigate a labyrinth of metaphors and all that they imply.
Whether the images are of death, war, love or dinosaurs, one thing is clear. Each story took us to unusual places, breathed life into vibrant characters, and guided us through a world entirely of its own. It is our hope that you will find yourself lost in these stories, and come out of them, as we have, with a fresh pair of eyes, a desire to explore the images in your own world, and what they mean for you.
Phil Lemos and Stephanie Harper