While the fall issue of Inlandia includes work from artists and authors from all over the country (and a few from distant lands), much of this issue resonates with the landscapes of lives in inland California. Many writers and artists sent us work that interacts with the desert—both literally and metaphorically. They move into the arid alone, seekers, like the early desert fathers.
In “Dusk Therapy,” Barbara DeMarco-Barrett considers the creative possibilities of being alone in utter darkness. Sherre Vernon’s “Dedication of the Fire-Fish” and Caroline Cottom’s “Hors D’Oeuvres” juxtapose the exterior desert with an interior well of strength. The series of paintings, Of Sky and Earth, by Stephen Linsteadt looks out to the desert landscape in a variety of weather conditions and seasons.
Our writers and artists emerge from the solitude, sometimes to play and experience joy as in Matthew Friday’s “There be Whales!,” sometimes to lament the onslaught of crowds as in Jordan Rodriguez’s “California Super Bloom 2019.” Becca Spence Dobias’s “Neighborhood Alert” imagines the interaction of diversity and nature in the suburbs, while Adam Rodenberger’s surreal “Orchids & Moonlight” evokes an extraordinary night in an ordinary house and yard.
And always there is the medley that is California. Richard Rutherford’s “Balance and Motion” marvels at its geological variety; that variety is imagined as a difficult lover in Tyler Dunning’s “When California Calls.”
We have a new feature in this issue, our editor interviews. I asked our poetry and fiction editors to talk about what they look for when they select work, what books they recommend to our readers, and what resources they recommend to writers. While Lavina Blossom, David Stone, and Cati Porter discuss poetry, Linda Rhoades and Becca Spence Dobias focus on fiction. However, I think their insights apply to all forms of writing, and I encourage you to peruse each of their responses.
I agree with the great suggestions each of our editors gives. Look into literary journals, support local authors, and read widely. My current local read is California Continuum, Volume 1: Migrations and Amalgamations by Grant Hier and John Brantingham. For writers seeking good books of advice, I will add one classic to our editors’ picks: John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. I covered six other, more recent, books on the creative life—that is, books that help in any sort of creative endeavor—in the blog post “Ignite Your Creative Process.”
As we begin our tenth year of Inlandia: A Literary Journey, I wish you joyous and insightful reading!
Victoria Waddle, Managing Editor