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TriQuarterly’s Notes from Donna Seaman

Booklist editor Donna Seaman was the guest editor for the most recent issue of TriQuarterly (133). In her introduction, she begins: “My respect for the mystery implicit in creativity runs high, so I decided not to interfere with the process in my role as guest editor for this brimming issue of TriQuarterly. I did not name a theme, or assign a topic. Instead, I sought out writers who see life whole, who are curious about the interconnectivity and complexity of existence, and who care, deeply and unabashedly, about the world. When asked what I was looking for, I simply said, ‘strong medicine.'”

“Good writing,” she goes on, “is a tonic. The work of inquisitive, imaginative, unfettered, and courageous observers, thinkers, and dreamers provide succor. Heat and light. Food for thought and balm for pain. Lucid and compassionate literature breaks the isolating fever of the self.”

Seaman has more to say on the parallels of this soul-felt medicine, introducing numerous contributors in the issue and their works, but it was her closing remark on the concept I was most comforted by, as so often, I don’t find what I read so much soothing as jarring, awakening me to feelings unlike any salve should. Seaman addresses this as well: “Strong medicine may make you sick before it makes you better. Here, writers and readers alike face harsh truths about humankind’s diabolical paradoxes and planet-altering endeavors. Strong medicine goads us into asking questions, articulating objections, and fueling the coalescence, let us hope, of new ways of seeing, and new ways of being.”

Will my insurance cover this prescription of TriQuarterly? Oh, heck – the cover price is less than my co-pay, and no nasty side effects!

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