When we suggest that “writing works,“ we are joined in a collective mindset, believing that the act of putting pen to paper becomes an art that opens many arteries to greater understanding of self and the world that each of us inhabits. Writing can be as freeing as it is frustrating; it can make you feel like a genius one minute and an idiot the next. But if you invest your authentic self into the process? It works. Writing works the muscles of your soul, making your mind expand and your heart explode. Writing can capture a moment of simplicity that takes the reader on a ride through the senses. Take, for example, Jim’s Whitrock’s breif glimpse of a sensorial memory so vivid that it jumps off the page.
I was outside pulling weeds; the ground was soft and the weeds came up easily as I yanked them out by the roots. The moist soil smelled rich and pleasant. From another realm, I sensed a divine wafting—yeast, warmth, and pleasant freshness that likely could only come from an oven. I dropped the long grass with its dirt bulb root and rose to scurry into the house. I rushed into the bathroom, washed my hands, hurried into the kitchen to see that my mother had just opened the oven door and had emptied two large loaves of heaven-sent bread from their loaf pans onto a cotton dishcloth (which had been made from grain feed sacks which Dad had used to feed the horses). “Would you like to slice off a heel?” she teased, knowing that the heel was my favorite part. I picked up the sharp knife and cut into the end of the loaf, slathered on a slushy gob of butter, and bit into a taste that was out of this world.
I don’t know about you but it makes my mouth water. And so might our first full-length pieces about the art of kissing, delivered by Nick and Nicholas. Whether, like Nicholas and Nicky, you are examining the sumptuousness of a kiss or, like Jim, refusing to believe that death is final—our Housing Works writers are in a mode of discovery, allowing the story to tell itself, as they reveal themselves (whether the story is autoiographical or not).Barth creates a yarn that recalls a mid-Century John Cheever short story, loaded with enough ambiguity to make us yearn for more. Finally, note the rich complexities of faith (spelled with or without the f) as interpreted intellectually by Ramon and emotionally by Brenda. Both writers approach the word with a unique perspective, presented in a distinct style.