When you sit down to write, does your story come out in chronological order? Or do you start writing scenes, images, descriptions and characters in random order, knowing that later you will apply a temporal structure? Do you rely on flashbacks or flashforwards? Do you think about how much time should pass in one scene from an essay, short story or play? Or do you ponder how to craft a poem that reveals a single speck of time or a grand moment in history?
In this issue of Mason’s Road, we asked our contributors to focus on time. Time is relentless, and it can be a tyrant or a truth teller, depending on who’s telling the story. It’s a broad subject, open to many interpretations, but we believe we’ve found a great mix of unique and engaging work that will open your hearts and inspire your own creativity.
Within these pages there are stories in which time renders memories unreliable, essays about how dreams change as decades pass, and poems in which the past and present comingle and cohabitate, and time takes a physical form. Please take your time and read through this issue at a leisurely pace, allowing yourself to absorb all its detail and nuance.
The editors offer special congratulations to Sylvia Pollack, the author of the poem “Gregory,” which won the 2012 Mason’s Road Winter Literary Award. As well, congratulations to Nicole Cuffy, author of the short story “Lessons in Breathing,” which received an honorable mention. We are grateful to our guest judge, novelist and professor Eugenia Kim, who read finalists from all genres and selected these two pieces as the best.
As you browse our pages, please take a few moments to read the feature stories on the writing craft, written by our editors. They offer insights from fine literary minds, including poet Carol Ann Davis, novelist Rachel Basch, essayist Jerald Walker and novelist Karen Osborn. As well, we are highlighting the art of magical-realist painter Colleen Browning, on display at Fairfield University’s Bellarmine Museum of Art, along with comments from chief curator Jill Deupi.
We hope to be a meaningful part of your literary world. And we are always happy to hear from you.
Sarah Z. Sleeper