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Ken Foster

I Should Have Known


When I was asked to come up with a theme for this issue of the Blip Magazine Archive, location was the first thing that came to mind. I thought of my favorite stories, the ones that haunt me long after I’m done, and the one thing they share is location. (And, in addition to the sense of place in those stories, I always remember where I was as I read them, the two realms, reality and fiction, infinitely bound.) Read William Maxwell’s novel They Came Like Swallows, for example, and you know—through the characters’ eyes—the Morrisons’ house inside and out—every carpet, every wall paper pattern, and with it, every change that takes place. Every dislocation.

It seems to me that that sense of place is fading from much of what gets published today. We can travel to the places we used to only be able to read about, so maybe people have forgotten how place—exotic or plain, familiar or foreign—shapes our experience.

Yet I was completely unprepared for the enormous—ENORMOUS—number of submissions that followed—and the narrative questions they raised. For some people location seems based entirely in language. For others it is the mystery of fate, of loss, of nature and the elements. Of war.

The truth is, I’m still reading and finding amazing gems to share. So there will be some more stories coming up, but for now here is what I’ve found. Here is your summer reading. And thanks to the internet, you can read these stories from around the world, from wherever in the world you are today.

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