Daniel Young is the founder and editor of Tincture Journal. His work has been published in Hello Mr Magazine, Mascara Literary Review, Seizure, Rochford Street Review, Verity La, antiTHESIS Journal, The Suburban Review and more. He recently finished his MA (Writing) and is slowly reviewing all the novellas at allthenovellas.com. You can find him on Twitter @jazir1979.
With the long hot Australian summer still burning fiercely here in Brisbane, it’s hard to think of this as the Autumn issue, but here we are. A few months ago, while reading submissions, I tweeted: “the skin as map / body as landscape metaphor feels very overdone”. Images came to mind of black-and-white cinema advertisements tracing a body’s contours in close-up, making them look like geographical formations in order to sell moisturiser (or something); or slightly more obscure references like lyrics from the song ‘Cardiac Atlas’ by June of 44: “he finds his way with a map of arteries / he makes camp just above your heart”. So yes, it felt overdone to me, but I was quickly forced to qualify this with another tweet: “but I’m reading a piece by someone who’s doing it well, so who cares?”
Who cares, indeed. I was tweeting about the opening of Charlotte Adderley’s non-fictional ‘Ethanol, Eschar’, which executes what could be a tired metaphor so beautifully that the first few paragraphs left me breathless. This is not cliché, it’s great writing. Beyond that, it’s the harrowing story of a burn victim and the advanced treatments offered by the Queensland Skin Bank.
Meanwhile, avoiding cliché in editorials is a tough ask in itself, which is why I often keep these as short as possible or outsource the job altogether, such as in last issue where Kirby Fenwick’s editorial discussed literary journals as a space of dissent, a topic raised by Patrick Allington in his research and at last year’s Small Press Network Independent Publishing Conference. Would it be clichéd to think of each literary journal as a unique geographical formation in Australia’s—and the world’s—literary landscape? Each fulfilling its own function, each shaped in a particular way by the stresses of the weather around us: costs, funding concerns, history, readership, audience demographics, distribution models, and the varying energies and competing commitments of the staff. Clearly, landscapes are on my mind. The underlying constant, what we all share, is a love of literature, of providing space for new work, particularly work that may struggle to find a home elsewhere. I certainly hope that’s what we’re doing.
My recent preoccupation with landscape metaphors was further reinforced when I read Gerald Murnane’s somewhat-linked story collection, Landscape with Landscape, republished by Giramondo in 2016. In ‘Landscape with Freckled Woman’, he writes:
The young man believed he might draw a map of a city beyond the reach of normal perception and only faintly recalling the city where he had lived his early life. The suburbs and districts in the new city would be sized and spaced according to the intensity of the poetic feeling he had once felt in this or that part of another Melbourne. Thus, a huge glowing core of what he called vivid imagery—with its centre where Fitzroy might have been—would spread outwards and drive to the farthest margins the shrivelled remains of places where a young man had once tried and failed to feel what was expected of him.
We don’t publish themed issues of Tincture Journal—or we haven’t to date—so I won’t proclaim that landscapes are a theme you’ll find running through all of the pieces within. But maybe now, since you’ve read this far, you will. It might be unavoidable. Perhaps the huge glowing core of vivid imagery won’t materialise in any other way.
This issue starts with the first in a series of postfiction pieces by Johannes Klabbers that we’ll publish in 2017 under the title ‘Moederland’—a series concerned with Johannes’s return to his motherland after thirty-six years living in Australia, a shift of landscape that brings with it questions of belonging. We’re also beginning a new series by Alexandra O’Sullivan, ‘Political Reflections’ starting with ‘The Day Trump Won’, which examines the intersection between the personal and the political, and how macro events can impact our lives in myriad ways.
And, of course, there’s the very best fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry that we’ve been able to find. Please, enjoy the view.
PS: in case you’re wondering about the significance of the duck on the cover, there isn’t one. They just make me smile.