Barking Sycamores Issue 14 marks two major milestones for us. The journal celebrates its fourth birthday on April 1, and March marks its second anniversary as part of the AutPress family.
As more potential contributors asked us about publishing short fiction, we expanded the journal’s scope to include it. Our second year saw the inclusion of creative nonfiction, and in the third, we began welcoming hybrid genre work. We’ve now published two anthologies, and look forward to our third yearly volume this fall.
While the journal itself transforms, so do its editors. Both of us came out as transgender and are undergoing our own metamorphoses, our enduring goals being to live as our authentic selves. That is a never-ending story, friends, and we’re not sure there’s a “journey” or a “destination” involved. Physical, emotional, and psychological changes come with access to gender-affirming therapies, legal procedures, and shifts in our self-concepts. We transform: sometimes in increments, yet sometimes one aspect of our selves immediately moving into a different state.
In truth, metamorphosis can occur within the space of a picosecond or it can take eons to accomplish. Earth has evolved over billions of years, and humanity itself has been in development for several thousand millennia. Yet, we face a critical turning point at which corporate greed, the legacy of European colonialism, and political duplicity, all egged on by religious fanaticism, threaten to undo both our planet and our species in just a matter of decades. We are surrounded by calls to resist, revolutionize, and even overthrow old structures and build anew.
Honestly, we had no idea of what our future would hold for our journal, our lives, or the larger sociopolitical landscape. Right now, we’re simply looking back over the last four years in awe. With all these head-cramming thoughts in mind, we’re presenting a wide range of poetry, art, and prose that speak to this issue’s “Metamorphosis” theme. Most of it comes from brand-new (or, new to us) contributors offering fresh perspectives from all over the globe. That includes our cover artist, Andy Hall, and their piece, “Movement #2.”
As Lauren Oya Olamina says in Octavia Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower:
“The only lasting truth
May this journal be Earthseed. Read it, share it, spread it far and wide.