Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Red Wheelbarrow Review (RWR)! For those of you who have been patiently waiting for the launch, THANK YOU! As you are well aware, 2020 has been a strange year so far (to say the least). It appears that it might get even weirder as the coming months unfold. Whatever the case, we live in interesting times.
Allow me a few paragraphs to pontificate. I will then get down to some nuts and bolts about how the RWR project continues to unfold.
Independence Day 2020 is upon us! Considering the unchartered waters this year has already sailed into, it may be prudent to consider what kind of Independence we are celebrating as a nation. Is it independence from the government? Freedom from oppression? Freedom from religion? Freedom from all constraints? Are we celebrating independence and the responsibility this places on the shoulders of each individual citizen, or are we advocating license to do whatever we wish?
When Americans revolted against British rule, they did so with the battle cry of “No taxation without representation!” But the American experiment is much more than that. Our constitution is grounded upon the notion of transcendence, of natural rights bestowed not by humans but by that which transcends humanity. Without this transcendent ground, if you will, The Constitution of the United States falls into an abyss of relativism which leads inevitably to nihilism where truth can be anything and therefore is nothing at all. We do not celebrate, then, independence from All. Our independence is necessarily dependent upon each individual’s relationship to the whole.
Our best wishes to the writers and readers who come to this journal in the hopes of getting a peek at transcendence winking out of the mundane through the creative act of writing. As our Mission makes clear, we believe Logos is the foundation of Western civilization. If you find that the world of humans makes less and less sense these days, you are not alone. Logos, the very structure of reality, is under attack due to ideological politicization. At the risk of sounding overdramatic (it has been one of those years!), here’s an excerpt from the RWR Mission:
“Western Civilization stands or falls on the concept of Logos. What the term means will depend upon the context in which it is utilized. However, no matter the context, Logos is inextricably intertwined with reason and language, which, in turn, are intimately related to one another. The ancient Greeks saw the universe endowed with a kind of reason (or structure) that could be communicated to humans through observation of the natural world and transmitted across time through language. For Christians, Logos became the divine Word that is God, or, to hearken back to the Greeks, the rationality inherent in creation. Logos has been contextualized in Judaism, Neoplatonism, Islam, and, more recently, in the psychology of Carl Jung. It is with us today. No matter the context, the essence remains unchanged: Logos is the foundation of Western Civilization.”
Each of the pieces in this inaugural issue serves as a testament to what we hope solidifies into a tradition in future issues: awe at the spirit of Logos rather than an attempt to fully define or control that which is rightfully beyond human reach. You know what I mean if you have ever observed myriad stars on a clear night far from artificial city lights. The symmetry of a sea shell or the Golden Spiral in a galaxy bespeak of the beautiful mystery of Logos. Sometimes it is impossible to capture meaning in words, just as the nature of consciousness itself continues to elude static definition. But words, like seeds in fertile soil warmed by the sun, contain the stuff of life. Creative writers have the power to plant seeds of inspiration that celebrate the mystery of Being.
In other words, RWR strives to be the place where Spirit Meets Word.
The writers in this issue are old friends and new, many with accolades, some just starting out. I encourage each of them to read one another and, when the mood strikes, to reach out and keep the conversation going.
We decided to go no-frills as far as bells and whistles. Let the words speak for themselves. The stories, poems, and essays take front and center. No pics to distract. Readers can click on the Issue 8.1 tab at the top of the page to read author bios. Click around! You won’t hurt anything! We are still experimenting with format and that will evolve with the next issue.
I will be showcasing one or two pieces every week or so with written commentary. I’ll send emails when I do this but be sure to check back often for updates. You wouldn’t want to miss anything! Or, to see how order arises out of chaos, just go through past posts and click at random to read a piece. Logos does not preclude spontaneity!
We hope you enjoy the issue. It has been a challenge and there will always be more work to do, but the writing itself is more than sufficient to keep RWR afloat and cruising. Thanks to the writers for that!