This issue of Beeswax Magazine, with its red and gray letterpressed cover and “hand-turned metal binding pegs,” is so beautiful I had a hard time opening it. When I finally did, I discovered the inside is just as distinctive as the outside.
Beeswax focuses on experimental writing and artwork, and a glance at the table of contents reveals that this magazine does things a little differently. None of the pieces are labeled by genre; they are simply listed in the order they appear in the magazine. As soon as I began to read, I discovered the reason for this. Most of the work defies labels: poetry without line breaks, prose that is as terse and mysterious as any poem, artwork based on words. Usually a more traditional reader, I found it refreshing to immerse myself in this unconventional atmosphere. In one instance, however, this lack of signposts was frustrating. Ari Samsky’s piece, “Some Events of the Spring of 1999, Bordeaux, France,” is either a very well-researched essay or a detailed but mystifying short story, and I long to know which.
I especially enjoyed David Morini’s surrealistic story, “The Testimony of Karen Ueno,” about Karen, the only person in her office building who can admit that something strange is happening outside the doors. I was also intrigued by the images in Andy Nicholson’s prose, such as this one from “Last Words from a Chorus Line”: “[The wheat] overtook them, growing onto and into them, turning their skin, their muscles, their bones into grain.” Laura Hughes’s drawings are so tightly packed with interesting pictures and words that you could look at them a hundred times and still discover something new.
If you’re a stickler for realism and coherence, this is not the magazine for you. But if you’re a fan of experimentation, or an open-minded reader looking for something new, or if you just want a magazine that looks great on your coffee table, check out Beeswax.
Editor's Note: Ari Samsky wrote on 9/16/08: "Medders wasn't sure if this was fiction or reportage, and she wrote that she would very much like to know which one it was. It was fiction, although it used many real Bordeaux landmarks."