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And the ices keep melting, SRL no 18, foreword by Sofia Capel

Art: Flickr


At the end of the night I stripped out of my sparkly dress, pulled the silver shoes from my bleeding feet and slipped into something long and black. It felt natural to wear funeral colours, leaving 2016 behind.

We laid down in bed, glitter fell from my eyelids upon my pillow, and as the new year dawned, I found myself wondering what the fuck had just happened.

I thought a year consisted of four seasons, twelve months or three hundred and sixty five days, not 25 consecutive punches in the stomach, completed with a total knock out.

We woke up to the sound of London rain, watched through the window as Camden’s homeless fought and quarrelled on the street. If you liked 2016, you will love 2017.

French bistro, the rain still poured. He took his coffee black and I did not invite him back.

I never liked happy endings anyway.

*

The worst part of turning 30 – I never leave the house anymore.
The best part of turning 30 – I never leave the house anymore.

It is Friday, such an excellent excuse to stay in bed!

Fitzgerald had published three best sellers at my age. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should have been not to compare myself to others?

Maybe I should just turn off my phone, pick up a book and read until the words stop making sense. Little has made sense in the last year and little will continue to make sense in the years to come.

So sod it.

Reality, sit down, we need to talk. It’s you. The ices are melting, Europe is crumbling, the borders are closing and today the US hails a fat blonde child as its 45th president. So I’m leaving you for the world of fiction.

*

It is not such a radical notion. Even in fiction, people leave their reality for a different one. They fly, swim, swirl, hop on a train, follow a trail, fall down a hole, climb up a stalk, walk through a wardrobe.

In Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, Aomame transfers into a new world so subtly different from reality it takes her days to realise it. The police officers wear slightly different guns, the newspapers report incidents she has no recollection of, and in the night sky hangs two moons.

Aomame needs to be in this alternative universe in order to be reunited with her one true love. Wendy needs to go to Neverland in order to come of age. Jack needs the castle in the sky to get him out of poverty. And some of us just need a bloody break.

Maybe I’ll become one of those people who argue that Harry Potter is more real to them than many actual physical beings.

Aomame killed rapists and wife beaters for a living at my age. Maybe this year I’ll start comparing myself to literary characters instead of their authors. When I fall behind their successes, I can at least tell myself they aren’t real.

Maybe the last year has been but a dream, like in the Wizard of Oz, and tomorrow I’ll wake up to a world that is not a dystopian disaster.

But chances are that I will wake up to the sound of London rain against my window and the world turning as normal.

But hey! At least there is the new issue of the Stockholm Review of Literature to look forward to.

Sarvat, Cian, Alex and I wish you a pleasant reading.

Issue no 18 will go live on Sunday 22 January at 11am GMT and will feature fiction by:

Latifa Ayad
Leo X. Robertson
Scott Nadelson
Hilde Susan Jaegtnes
S S Haque

and poetry by:

Laura Seymour
Dave Drayton
Šime Knezevic
June Nandy

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