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Myths & Delusions • Editorial • January 2018

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By the time most of you read this, a difficult year will have drawn to a close, and an even more challenging one will still be in its early days.

I’m grateful you’re choosing to linger here, and I hope you find that the stories and poems contained in this issue provide entertaining, moving, thought-provoking distractions from and reflections on the relentless real-world barrage.

Before I talk about the zine issue at hand, I feel a need for a short detour, as I’m in a reflective mood. One thing 2017 represented for me personally was the demarcation of my 25th year as a published author.

I got to reflect back on my long, strange, mostly below-the-radar career in an interview with Locus Magazine that just appeared in their December issue. Some, but not all, of the history of this magazine is woven into that interview. I’m super-grateful Locus decided I was a worthy subject.

Over the course of all those years I’ve met many talented people who have talked themselves out of pursuing their creative dreams, and more than a few folks who plunge ahead despite drastic overestimation of their own skills and their understanding of the publishing business. Sometimes a person in the latter group catches on and gets better. Talent matters a lot, but in my experience perseverance matters even more.

In my day job, I get the opportunity to interview painters, sculptors, musicians, curators, playwrights, actors, directors, filmmakers, dancers, and, yes, fiction writers. Some have achieved towering financial success through their artistic pursuits. Most have not. They pursue it on the side, however they can, and in a number of cases, I’m certain they would paint, or dance, or play, or write just as much even if they had no outlet whatsoever for reaching an audience. I get where they’re coming from. These are my spiritual kin.

If there’s anything I might wish to have done differently, perhaps it would be to commit fully to writing many years earlier than I actually did. And yet, there are experiences I treasure and wonderful people I’ve met that I can’t imagine coming into my life through any path other than the circuitous one that I took.

Among those treasures I count the issue before you and the stunning cover art that adorns it. Ruth Sanderson, an award-winning illustrator with more than 80 books to her credit, based this haunting scratchboard image on Beth Cato’s poem “This Body Made.”

Our stories in this issue venture into the shadows, and few who follow after will emerge unscathed. In “When the Bough Breaks,” Jaymee Goh shows us how terrible it can be to see the warning signs, supernatural and not, when those with power won’t heed them. A heartbreaking injustice burns at the core of Jennifer R. Donohue’s “A Thing with Feathers,” while evil calls coyly to evil in Tiffany Trent’s “The Papyrotomist.” All three authors are making their first appearances in Mythic Delirium.

As for our poets this issue, Beth Cato returns with a darksome narrative of sibling vengeance, as well as the moving work that inspired our cover artist. Christina Sng chronicles a growing nightmare, while Donald Raymond hints at hungry myths. Cassandra Rose Clarke also provides two poems, visions of eerie magic and sensuous death.

Our next issue, coming in April, will mark a truly special occasion. Mythic Delirium will celebrate its twentieth anniversary, and its 50th issue overall (counting both the print and digital issues) with a double-sized stack of tales, holding six stories instead of the usual three. I can’t wait to unveil it!

And you shouldn’t wait any longer to read what lies ahead. Let’s start with the view from the next hill . . .

 

—Mike Allen, Roanoke, Va., December 2017

 

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