Transcending pleasure, Foreword by Kelvin Kellman SRL Issue 30

Transcending pleasure

 In the film, V for Vendetta, the protagonist, a Fawkes-masked hero, after taking control of the Central London’s television station, in what would seem a terrorist take-over, spoke to the teeming millions of Londoners. One of his many striking sentences was: “… words will always retain their power; words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.” After the movie, I remember agreeing with a friend about the near impossibility of the film winning major awards, and in this case, the Oscars, owing to the disruptive, beyond the pale thinking and anti-herd / anti-collective ideas it espoused. We were right.

Of course the most painful part of the job of editing is sifting through a pile of baloneys cobbled together in a word processor; works that can stretch as far as units of thousands of words on end. Sometimes the cynic in me begins to nurse the idea that perhaps the writer is a facebook friend, and having read one or two of my posts or shares, decided that he didn’t like me, and to get at me, to ruffle the waters of my state, decides to send in a ton of rubbish for me to read through; getting at me by wasting my time, by increasing the often many low moments of being an editor. Still, I would think that they had studied me keen-eyed, know that my faith in people’s art and humanity generally would often not make me toss a piece away after a few paragraphs (because I like to think that nobody would be deliberately obtuse as to arrange words after words, sentence after sentence of pure drivel. Perhaps there is a catch in the end? How untrue! There is often no catch. It is not hard to see from their bios that they think very highly of themselves as Avant-garde artists. Bios that span another neck-wrecking length of how they see the future of civilization today through the special lens of their art).

There is no limit to human wickedness to fellow humans; no limit to human wickedness to editors. But we sail through, coming out often unscathed from the fires of bad writing.

But there are moments when your faith in, and love for reading is rewarded in the works of certain writers; moments when your job as an editor means nothing, because you are at once, and again, the ordinary reader reveling in the joyous rapture of creativity. Like Ayn Rand once said, All writers are philosophers. Because while we read oftentimes for pleasure, we are (if fortunate) rewarded with bursts of wisdom and philosophy. Take the fiction of Rotimi Babatunde and Virginia Konchan for instance.

In Rotimi’s Story, The Engineer of Transparent Buildings, there is a striking line that would get a keen observer thinking: “…the future is oftentimes also in the past…” This for me transcends pleasure, and if one is stretchy enough, it transcends literature.

Virginia’s story holds similar promise. She was apt in her observation when she says: “.  So much is made of lovers, but what are lovers, except a temporary stay against loneliness, the body’s attempt to generate heat by proximity to another? ”

I could go on and on, but that would mean me giving away the juice of issue 30. The skillful brilliance of Ibukun Adeeko’s use of metaphors, the deceptively simple prose-poem of Derek Annis, the climax of Hillary Leftwich’s closing sentence, the fantastic adventures of Karen Petersen’s Indonesian travels and her power of detailed recollection. I will not be unkind to give spoiler alerts. Be transported, be transfixed like I was.

Issue 30, shall we?

Kelvin Kellman.