When I came out as bisexual, I discovered that there’s an assumption that bisexuality means indecision. “Pick a side!” I’ve heard. Or, “You can’t have it both ways!” But to me bisexuality personifies balance. There are two sides to every story. The moon both waxes and wanes. We balance work with play. Body with mind. Community with solitude. Without balance, we lean toward extremes. Not to say everyone should be bisexual—you are who you are—but it’s important to be mindful of imbalance in our lives. Are we only telling people what they want to hear instead of speaking our truth? Are we working our bodies to exhaustion while avoiding emotional trauma? When we stifle key aspects of our individuality, the buildup can unleash itself in destructive ways.
In this Spring issue, we take a look at the extremes of violence and splendor. In Merhia Wiese’s piece “Burn It Down,” she captures the oddly tranquil aftermath of a church fire in Paris. In Joshua Finley’s painting, we’re reminded of the potential for the macabre amidst a pastoral setting. Our darkness leaks out at the seams, covering bathroom walls and mattresses, like in the memoir excerpt from Gogo Germaine. Despite “Aquarius On Her Throne” (by Sarah Gilstrap) looking meditative and serene, there’s a sword tucked behind her right shoulder, ready to slay at a moment’s notice.
In his fiction piece “Cities of the Future,” A.C. Koch speculates on the destruction of a young life for the benefit of humankind. Adrian H Molina’s poem complements this idea, proposing the option of violence, while astutely implying its downside. In these pages you’ll find other examples of polarized extremes, such as a fiercely femme character covered in blood and wielding deadly weapons, or rebellion in a world denied of artistic expression.
All this makes me wonder: Would there be less brutality if we were more intentional about seeking balance? Maybe that’s not necessary, or even possible. There are extremes that are inevitable, and often uncontrollable. Consider mental illness. The highs of mania or the lows of suicidal ideation. In Morgan Beem’s comic “It Starts With A Seed,” we follow a character plagued by self-destructive thoughts, but who addresses her darkness and finds a way to balance her own extremes with self care.
Maybe the spectrum of extremes are their own form of balance. But who am I to say? I see it both ways.
By Amanda E.K.
Editor In Chief
Amanda is a memoirist, short fiction and freelance writer, and a member of the Knife Brothers writing group – a small collective of short fiction writers. Her work has been featured on the Denver Orbit podcast and on Mortified Live. She has stories in Suspect Press, Birdy, Jersey Devil Press, and the Punch Drunk Press Poetry anthology. She’s currently working on a memoir about the damaging effects of growing up in evangelical purity culture – available late 2020 through Suspect Press.