Once you commit to rearranging a room, there’s no stopping half way through. If you do, you usually end up leaping a coffee table to reach a window, waltzing with a hat stand to get at the light switch, or upending an armchair just to get out the door.
takahē is having a reshuffle, with fiction editors Jane Seaford and Rachel Smith handing over the keys to the fiction room. I’ll be safeguarding those keys in my pocket, and come April the shutters will be opened and the curtains thrown back on our 95th issue, and a new selection of fiction. I’ll have done my best heavy-lifting to get it looking kind of fresh, and to keep it feeling kind of homely.
I was recently lucky enough to attend the Marina Abramović retrospective, The Cleaner, in Florence. All ready for an upcoming reperformance of her 2002 work, The House with the Ocean View, three 3-sided rooms were suspended in the gallery, their interiors open to the public. It made me think of journals like takahē for a moment. The way we repopulate ourselves, with inhabitants coming and going, and the way we rearrange the contents, laying out the pages like rooms.
It’s not IKEA we’re hauling here though. The furnishings at takahē are lovingly handcrafted, full of sleepless nights and uncertainty and dedication and an impulse to follow an idea without any certainty of where it will lead. And always – with visual art or poetry or prose – there’s a impulse of leaning in, both for the creator and their audience. It’s quietly drawing a chair closer to the senses and the heart of another.
For takahē, come 2019 there’ll be a bit more space for flash fiction pieces (the snow globes of prose), and when the moon’s in its zenith, a chimney will appear, momentarily in a shadowed corner of the room, down which to send those submissions edging towards the speculative.
Others things will remain. Jane and Rachel have worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to encourage and support the fiction writers whose pieces come to live in takahē, and I’ll do my best to continue that tradition.
Also, as Jane and Rachel have done, I’ll keep sending feedback as often as possible on the work submitted, and keep ensuring we include diverse voices. After all, there are no real walls in this metaphor – it’s all about seeing each other and having a conversation. Tea and talk. Beer and banter. This house is made and remade by many peoples’ hands.