November 1, 2018
I’m writing this intro to issue three on Halloween night, a time where we revel in the unknown, the darkness, and the terrifying. We watch horror movies and brave hayrides through haunted forests where actors jump out with chain saws just to scare us, to take our breath away, to stop our hearts for just a second.
If you think that’s scary, imagine the Celtic festival of Samhain 2,000 years ago, where they dressed in costume and lit bonfires and told each other’s fortunes. The festival was a celebration and an evening of true terror, for on this night the Celts believed the lines between the living and the dead blurred, and the dead walked the earth again.
Without handy Google and other reliable sources of information, these ancients had no way of researching what was true and what wasn’t. They only had the signs of nature and their imaginations to rely on. Consider how one person’s ghost story might blow up and become increasingly terrifying tell after tell—only to be reinforced by the dark, by a lack of knowledge.
Today’s watered-down, edited version of Samhain is more light-hearted (plus, we don’t sacrifice animals) and we’re well aware that the movies we watch and the costumed ghosts and the guy in the forest with the chainsaw are all make-believe. We celebrate this safe, controlled fear with abandoned glee, pleased to ogle the huge purple monster in our neighbor’s front yard and the giant witch across the street.
None of it’s real.
That doesn’t mean we’re off the hook, though. There are plenty of other things to scare us to death. Like another mass shooting at a Synagogue in Pennsylvania. Like certain role models speaking without knowing the facts (or flat out ignoring them). Per the Washington Post’s motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” And then there’s the updated prediction on climate change and the temperature climbing more quickly than originally thought—but hey, that’s only if you believe in science.
This daily, uncomfortable sense of the unknown future before us pervades the writing and images you will see here. As you begin your journey through this issue, at times, it will feel like you’re left running in circles, trying to find an answer, trying to survive. And other times, you’ll see all the beauty and the transformation that emerges from the hardships we endure.
On that positive note, we’re excited to finally share this new issue. Poetry editor Darren Morris has worked with some incredible poets we can’t wait for you to read. New editors Hannah Huber and Leeta Harding have been on board for this entire round, so we’re eager for you to see what they’ve put together. We’re also excited that we have our first high school contributor, Femi Fleming, an aspiring photographer from New York. It’s never too early to start following your dream and Femi is on his way for sure.
As we move into Thanksgiving and the holiday season, please know we are grateful to you, our readers, submitters, contributors, and supporters. A big shout out from me to the Parhelion staff for all the hard work you do in the midst of everything you’re doing IRL “in real life.” We are looking forward to great things in 2019.
Happy holidays from PLM! Now, please enjoy issue #3.