When I was just a child, a lonely boy
I held onto my dreams, like they could run from me
The hopes I harboured fled, as they often do
But I still dreamed of you
And now my dreams come true
– ‘Little Dreamer’, Future Islands*
THE SOUTH CIRCULAR and I will relocate to Toronto, Canada, in April this year. Know that this is a positive move, one of expectation, desire and, I think, courage. I am not throwing away, giving away or running away from any of what my home country and my adopted city of Dublin have provided me with.
Rather, know that I am taking it all with me. Whatever I’ve seen, heard or been told now travels to Toronto. Call me an envoy because I certainly consider myself a messenger of sorts. How could I resist telling Toronto everything of what I know in Ireland, when that is so good? And how can Toronto fail to impress upon me some of what I hope to find, and more of what I never knew possible? The transaction will go both ways.
Dublin has risen above its boom and has met its bust face-on, like the heroine it surely knows itself to be. Dublin is self-involved and dying to please. She is now the same and unrecognizable, still checking herself out in shop windows, and still spotting something inside and going right in, to see what all the craic is about. This culture of canny competition and coaxing has forced me to positively realize a potential for expression I have always assumed would give me a life less ordinary.
So, in these final weeks, while preparing issue 9 of THE SOUTH CIRCULAR, dilatorily packing boxes, pinning lists to lists, ‘reaching out’ to strangers and gathering ever closer my people, I am distracted by the effect that belonging has on one’s sense of self. And the stories we have chosen for issue 9, by Gila Green, Mary McGill, Mary O’Donoghue and Warwick Sprawson, address this universal concern: what happens when you drop out, resist the new order or just can’t connect any longer?
Dave Comiskey‘s cover has a gorgeous delicacy while at the same time being robust and utterly present. Of it he has said: ‘I started this cover by drawing objects that I thought might potentially play an important part in an imagined story, things that a plot could hinge on.’
These separate elements then, belong in the ninth issue of THE SOUTH CIRCULAR, for as many reasons as there are people reading this. Somehow, our quarterly digital journal of short stories is still one of a kind but it also belongs here, for the time being. Just where here is exactly, is happily, necessarily in a state of flux.