It’s hard to discuss this issue and the wonderful work of our talented contributors without addressing the pandemic. In times of social distancing, the word “boundaries” means something different. For the first time, at least in recent historical memory, erecting and enforcing physical boundaries has been vital for the health of our communities. Humans are social creatures, but now we must isolate in order to survive.
Initially, when discussing the theme for this issue back in December 2019, we were thinking about how boundaries uphold the structure of society. Whether they are helpful or hurtful, boundaries enforce our experiences of daily life. We wanted this issue to explore a range of physical and emotional boundaries, calling into question which we need to keep and which we need to destroy. The stories, poems, and art in this issue still reflect this intention. Together, they artfully examine the varied manifestation of boundaries across all facets of life.
At the same time, this issue of Caustic Frolic now exemplifies the shift in “boundaries” as a word. Staying behind closed doors, we are eliminating other unnecessary divisions. Technology has given us the power to connect and communicate across physical boundaries. In the small ways we can, we are showing up for loved ones and strangers alike. As we continue to live separately, for however long necessary, we must remember to continue to examine which boundaries are necessary and which to fight against. We cannot hide in the rooms we are in. We have a responsibility to use the digital and creative channels available to us to be there for each other, to fight for the health, safety, and wellbeing of everyone.
Beyond the timeliness of our issue’s theme, recently I’ve been reflecting on what it means to publish during this pandemic. On a personal note, art has kept me afloat during these strange times. Since I began sheltering-in-place in March, I’ve attended concerts via Instagram live, virtual readings, and Zoom writer talks. I’ve participated in a collective journaling project; whose email prompts make me smile every morning. I’ve written as much or as little as I’ve needed to every day. Without all of this art, I don’t think I would have been able to cope with all of the uncertainty; the creative community has reminded me that even when physically isolated, I’m never quite alone.
All of that being said, I feel even more honored to have the responsibility of curating and publishing the Spring 2020 issue of Caustic Frolic. With the current need for writing and art as sources of comfort and hope, it is with the deepest gratitude that I help introduce the inspiring work of our contributors to the greater creative community and to you, our readers. Additionally, I’m thrilled we added a subsection of the digital edition of this issue addressing the pandemic. Using the journal as a platform to document this historical moment was another reminder of the power of creativity. To those that submitted to this subsection, I hope this was a fruitful and cathartic exercise.
To our contributors, thank you for sharing your thoughtful and moving work with us. To all of our readers, I hope this issue makes you think about all the ways we are connected and divided, wherever you are.