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THEMA – Autumn 2008

The editor of Thema announces themes a year or more in advance. So, when Virginia Howard chose “When Things Get Back to Normal” thinking of her house and her life in Louisiana in the post-Katrina years, she could not possibly have known how much many more of us would be longing for “normal” in Autumn 2008. “For us, things will never get back to normal. We are trying to forge new versions of normal,” she writes in her introductory notes.

The editor of Thema announces themes a year or more in advance. So, when Virginia Howard chose “When Things Get Back to Normal” thinking of her house and her life in Louisiana in the post-Katrina years, she could not possibly have known how much many more of us would be longing for “normal” in Autumn 2008. “For us, things will never get back to normal. We are trying to forge new versions of normal,” she writes in her introductory notes.

The poets and fiction writers in this issue explore the “not normal” of natural disasters (poems by Marjorie Bruhmiller and Virginia McGee Butler); accidents (stories by Madonna Dries Christensen and Jeffrey Melton); family disturbances and relationship troubles (stories by Zoey L. Brown and Toby Tucker Hecht); unexpected good luck (a story by James A. Stewart): an amazing weather event (a poem by Rich Heller); grief and loss (a story by Jennifer R. Hubbard); and over indulgence or substance abuse (depending on your perspective and how much you’ve imbibed or smoked before reading Ryan Kenner’s poem).

“Normal’s overrated, anyway,” James Stewart concludes in “The Hound Dog’s Ain’t Nothing” (the story referred to above about unexpected good luck, the surprising success of a losing sports team). These poems and stories remind us that, on some level, art is always about what’s “not normal” – offering a novel approach to the ordinary and extraordinary we encounter every day.
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