This Ain’t No Disco
This issue’s cover features another striking image from our friend Muhammad Al-Digeil. The picture resonated for me immediately. As we enter our second COVID summer, I suspect many of us are feeling a bit like this stoic camel: adrift and lonely, all dressed up in our best shoes with nowhere to go, hoping to find an oasis from the seemingly endless exile. But the patient dromedary suggests more than that, something more hopeful: an exotic creature somehow both gorgeous and grotesque, hinting at the mysteries of fiction, other worlds beyond, wonderful places we can go in our imaginations while our physical realities feel so helplessly mired. And isn’t the camel the ultimate survivor and symbol of endurance? A tough, irascible beast who soldiers on despite heavy burdens, despite drought and dangers, able to self-nourish.
My five years of helping Mark read fiction for The Fiddlehead have been a joyful privilege, despite the often heart-breaking responsibility of having to turn away so much excellent writing. Thank-you to Ian LeTourneau, Emily Skov-Nielsen, and the rest of the team at the office (especially editor Sabine Campbell, who has known me since I was wee girl and is never afraid to point out when I use a flat phrase or awkward word). Huge thanks to former chief Ross Leckie and Kathryn Taglia for giving me the opportunity to help out and to our current boss, Sue Sinclair, for steering us all with her wise and gentle leadership. Thank you to Muhammad for the camel, and above all my gratitude to the eighteen brilliant writers who make up this issue and honour us by sharing their imagined worlds.
Yes, thank you to our writers in this issue and huge thanks to Clarissa for her tireless reading and editing; she has been far better than I at sifting through the Submittable portal and we will miss her abilities and her eye. We’d also like to extend a warm welcome to Saleema Nawaz who will join our masthead as a fiction editor. And I am happy to report that we have heard from our far-flung correspondent Gerard Beirne; he assures us he will keep out a sharp eye for Irish and international stories to send our way. Last February we bumped into him in Venice under the statues of the pale lions, a happy time. Someday soon we will all be able to travel and see our old friends again. Cassettes are back, the world will come back. Have a good summer.
Mark Jarman and Clarissa Hurley, June 2021