We live in incoherent narratives.
I spend my days shuttling from task to task, from email to email, from meeting to meeting. I work on magazines, I work on movies, I meet with people. I try to be a good father, a good son, a good spouse, a good brother, a good friend and feel like I fail at them all, it seems. And then I am another month older, with nothing seemingly accomplished—the email inbox is still full, the papers on my desk still a mess, the home projects still unfinished. Friendships and familial ties are still undernourished.
Writers like those you’ll meet in this issue take our messy existence and give it structure. They help us find meaning in a seemingly meaningless world. When the latest breaking-news alert compounds the feeling that the world is spiraling into malicious chaos, our nonfiction chroniclers help us understand the bigger picture, giving us context and sometimes hope. When family news brings heartbreak, our poets touch our souls in ways that remind us of the pleasures that sorrow echoes. And our novelists help us flee the quotidian rhythms of our life, taking us on journeys to emotional truths.
I am reading Ben Fritz’s “The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies” to understand the seismic shifts affecting me professionally, as a movie producer, and personally, as a movie lover. I am reading Christian Wiman’s poems to attach some words to the emotions I am feeling about the tragic death this month of my youngest cousin, Christopher, just as Wiman’s poems helped me get through the death of Christopher’s father, my youngest uncle, just seven years ago. And I am reading Rebecca Makkai’s “The Great Believers” to visit another world, one both familiar and entirely new.
As much as I love books and the existential solace they offer me, so too magazines. For every book I finish, a hundred magazines have taken my time and my thoughts to better places. If you share this passion, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the magazine you’re reading right now. If you’re inclined to do so, visit newcityshop.com and sign up. We’re asking just five dollars a month, with no commitment. If we fail to deliver a publication that brings value to your life, cancel anytime without further obligation. And if you’ve already subscribed, please know that, as one of the first, you are so very special to us.
Look for Newcity’s June 2018 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week.