Letter from the Editor(s)

Dear reader, 

First of all, thank you for your patience as we put this issue together. It’s a time of tumult for many, and I as well as our small but mighty staff have been affected by these changing winds. I know that the pieces we’ve been lucky enough to feature for this issue will be worth the wait.

Though the South Florida summer brings sun and storms in nearly equal measure, there’s a certain promise to the season that even those of us far removed from school days of watching the clock can still feel. A summer can be anything—a summer of reunion, of rest, or of “blue cans,” as is the case in Coco Hull’s fiction story—but they rarely offer stasis. In the spirit of poet Hibah Shabkhez from this issue, “Now the abyss/Stares back, then blinks you an invitation,/And you dive right in.”Change bursts through these long, golden, abyss-like days, and it’s all we can do to jump in and hold on.

We’re so grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with the varied pieces sent to us by a talented and diverse group of writers throughout this reading period. Whether drastic and far removed from our world, as is the case in Mindy Friddle’s dystopian fiction piece “The Empathies,” personal and uplifting as in Leo Williams’ nonfiction piece “Searching for Scorpio Rising,” or subtle and cyclical as the turn in Tim Moder’s poem “Loon,” changes echo through these digital pages. 

Personally, I have a complex relationship with change (despite or exacerbated by the last couple years), and I’m sure many of you can relate. I used to wonder, even during times of tooth-baring joy: how can this moment matter if the end is already in sight? Growing up in South Florida, endings buzz in the air like gnats. There are plenty of approaches to dealing with gnats—swat them, ignore them, shower to wash them off your skin—but they persist. Yet as is the nature of change, the endings I’m meeting will bring new beginnings. So I can accept that the gnats are here. And they might cloud the air, but they don’t erase it. We can still breathe, create, and revel in the strange, no matter who we are by the end. 

Speaking of change, I’ve had the pleasure over the last few months of training the next managing editor of Sinking City, Megan Ritchie, introduced below. I’m thrilled to be passing this magazine to her capable hands and so excited to see what she does with it! Thank you again for your continued dedication to and engagement with our magazine. We hope you enjoy issue 12!

With love, 

Amanda Lamadrid

Dear Reader, 

First of all: I am so excited to meet you!  

It’s a pleasure to be taking over as managing editor of Sinking City from the talented Amanda Lamadrid. And I can’t wait to see where these upcoming issues take us—in more ways than one. Many of us are back to traveling this summer and as we all cross borders, I’ve been thinking about the ways that this can serve as a balm to our cultural divide. 

As a reader, I'm always seeking work that feels international, whether it’s set in a writer's home country or written in their mother tongue. I'm interested, too, in place: where do you feel out of it? What do you identify as home? What futures do you see there? Miami is an international city, and though I’m a transplant myself, I hope Sinking City can remain true to the many universes it holds. 

I’m so looking forward to reading your work. It’s a privilege to do so. 

With gratitude, 

Megan Ritchie

Thank you for reading,

Amanda Lamadrid and Megan Ritchie

Letter from the Editor

Dear Reader,

It goes without saying what a pair of years it’s been. I know we’re all tired of talking about it.

It’s okay to acknowledge that ‘a new normal’ like the one we’ve been attempting a return to doesn’t exist. For that to come about, there had to be a ‘normal’ to base it on in the first place. But the human experience is round, brilliant, with infinite twinkling facets. Our world shifts, person to person, evolves and transforms with each set of blinking eyes. We thought we shared a world. What we share is space. Going back to whatever the ‘normal world’ was may not make sense any longer; we’ve all changed in ways we didn’t expect during the course of our often overwhelming shared experience. But we can, and will continue to, share space. 

I guess my goals, as I worked on putting together this issue, speak to that. I wanted to hold and share space. In “Bahía Solano,” Benjamin Faro puts it well: “Geography/isn’t the only thing/that    separates    us.” It feels like more and more is added to the list every day. I don’t usually feel like I have answers to anything. But the thing that has always made me feel more fully present in myself, is tossing a grappling hook outside of my own vortex and climbing up it, until I can see someone else. My other goal was just to feel deeply, and give others the same opportunity. Sometimes, we need art to give us permission to simmer in what’s already filling our hearts.

Everyone reading this is here. We survive and exist, and we have the privilege of experiencing creative work alongside other people. I’m so grateful to the creators who have shared their work with us for this issue. Their works – relatable, vivid, prescient, stirring – offer us a chance to live, over and over, and know that, in our infinite lives, we are here together. 

It hasn’t really stopped feeling like the world is ending, the sky is falling, or the city is sinking. Maybe this is the new normal, and maybe it’s not really new. But I’m looking forward to soaking up the sunny Miami ‘winter’ for as long as I’m here. I’m eager to catch up on my backlog of fiction, to scatter myself across even more existences. And I’m happy to welcome you to Issue 11 of Sinking City!

With love,

Amanda Lamadrid

Letter from the Editor

View from a dock in Downtown Cocoa, FL. If you look closely enough, you can spot a dolphin almost surfacing the water.

Dear reader,

I think it’s safe to say that most of us do not follow the concept of time with the same sense of constancy we used to. This issue has taken longer than anticipated to get together, but like much of life, Sinking City has had to go through many transformations. Thank you for your dear, dear patience.

We have been graced with a multitude of pieces this reading period, by a diverse collective of writers, especially by emerging writers, and for works that bend the boundaries a little more, because what else can we to make sense of the world than by breaking the very structures (of anything) at the seams?

As a nod to our fiction writer from this issue, Anita Goveas, I constantly think about the concept of “environmental disturbance”, and what that looks like in our everyday world at this point. The way in which the physical world destroys, more and more every day: “the building or the tearing down” that Bryan Harvey talks writes about. Or we can extend it to metaphorical, what we “take for granted, for what it is” (taken from Thad DeVassie’s poem), or to the idea of “saving time”, or bending the continuum” (quoted from Chloé Firetto-Toomey’s poem).

“But what of the field, you ask?” (Esther Vincent Xueming). We can think of “field” through so many dimensions. The field of the backyard, in which we inhabit for most of our days nowadays, when we need to take a break from the screen. Maybe we come back to the field our childhood. Or perhaps we take time to revisit fields of our memory, to remember what a more transient :

“when it starts raining frogs and broken crutches / everyone will take notice”.
“Perhaps for the first time / since the toys were taped shut […]”, we play with them again.

What I’m attempting to get at is we have been gifted with a new issue which addresses and speaks to all of this unrest. Each piece responds in some way with deliberate meditation, care, sometimes through the element of the fantastic, and others with humor (I’m thinking specifically of Michael Chang’s piece, which includes the collective “we are poet”).

Thank you all again for your continued dedication and engagement to our magazine. We hope you enjoy issue 9!

P.S: I dedicate this issue to my close friend, Michael, who left this world too soon.

With love and gratitude,

Clayre Benzadón
Managing Editor