When I was asked to accept the editorship of this prestigious journal, I immediately thought of the 16 years over which more than a half-dozen of my stories have appeared in Amoskeag or its earlier incarnation New Hampshire College Journal, and the boost that I received each time a story was accepted for publication. To have the chance to offer those same opportunities to other aspiring and established writers is a privilege.
This issue is a testament to the growth of the magazine brought about by the work of editors before me, and the continued support and dedication of an office of Vice-President of Academic Affairs, an Editorial Board, and an Editorial Assistant, without any of whom this magazine could not be.
In collecting these pieces here, the Board and I have chosen to focus on memory—recollections and reconstructions of hazy, distant memories, and memories so fresh they scream to be captured before they begin to even lose breath.
For several years, I worked with folks with traumatic brain injuries. They were never the same after their injury as they were before it. I watched as they spent their after-life trying to piece their world back together again. Many got stuck at the moment of trauma. They tried, but they could not move beyond it. Others got stuck in an immediate past, always coming back to the last five minutes to re-live and try to reconnect, and each time they would insist they “got it”. But they didn’t.
Our writers too, in sharing their poetry and prose, have tried to “get it”. They share their epiphanies like kings presenting gold, frankincense and myrrh. They have relived, reconnected, reconstructed, and finally written down memories whose worth and value will reach far beyond actual memory. Their memories will become intertwined in the memories of their readers. Their characters will not be fully alive until you, dear reader, make them alive.
If only that memory was simply a mathematical thing. For this issue, I counted memories and dreams to 1, 184 submissions. How long had each wavered in memory, or diary, or dream, before being touched on and bundled up by their authors to be deposited at our doorstep?
The Argentine writer, essayist, and poet, Jorges Luis Borges, speaking through his character, Ireneo Funes, in Funes the Memorious, tells the narrator (Borges himself, perhaps!?), “My memory, sir, is like a garbage heap.”
So be it. Together, let us sift through that heap and mine the gems that lie hidden there.
Michael J. Brien