Backstory: Letter from the Editorhttps://barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/983BE120-3675-4F36-992B-9A939F49D407-e1537594047981.jpeg19001065Jason D. RamseyJason D. Ramseyhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/01e7aeef9b69e291252d4c3db32e6cdb?s=96&d=mm&r=g
When I was in high school, I picked up a copy of The Sun magazine, a diamond in the rough of wannabe-smart lit mags. It spoke to me: a corner logo color burst atop a monochrome photo of an African boy with a water pail, mired in dirt and poverty, eyes wide and white. There was a timelessness to its aesthetic. A sophistication. A thoughtful, worldly perspective on things best left unspoken; a tender bite of culture with a pacifistic nod, an almost cap-tip to the unsavory notions of days gone by. I admired it for the way that it made me feel when I looked at it, but not necessarily when I read it. I was always more into the poetic composition of words, and not sociopolitical commentary. Even though The Sun is much more than that, I found that I cherry-picked articles and was most attracted to the ‘Sunbeams’ at the back of each issue.
Barren Magazine isn’t a Sun clone, but its inspiration comes from it. I want it to stick.
This publication is as much for me as it is for you. It fills a hollowness in my otherwise chaotic life. It’s a catharsis to my depression. Its goal is to create the feeling I got with The Sun through poetry: poems, poetic stories, poetic essays, poetic photographs. It’s not my first foray into editing, designing, and managing a publication (see: ALTARWORK), but with any (divine) luck it will be my last. You have given me hope of it.
I am in absolute awe of the quality of writers and photographers who have entrusted me with their creative material. I am more in awe of the support that they have shown for each other. Their authenticity. Their kindness. Their willingness to promote each other. We’re only two issues in, and yet the numbers are staggering and the sense of community is humbling. I am honored to be able to provide a platform that showcases such beauty, even if the beauty seems only intrinsic.
I have been asked if there are plans to make Barren a print magazine. Two months ago that would have been a pipe dream, not a plan. Right now it seems more appropriately a plan. So, yes, with proper funding, I would love to make these words and photographs palpable for your fingertips and coasters for your coffee tables. First step: a ‘best of’ print. Then, the moon.
I can’t thank you enough for being here.
Slightly known fact: Barren Magazine got its name from a poem I wrote, which garnered the tiniest bit of reception. I’ll leave you with it:
These Barren Fields
These barren fields, wolf-grey coats of bark and dust, coarse lines bleeding trails, idle in stillness, parsed, perched, widows of breath, brittle as ash in wind sit slack-jawed, cold, hinterlands of impervious past.
Fields once green with life, sealed to drought, shielded by lushness, beauty, palpable energy, footprints, hoof prints, sun-soaked stems and petals under dalliances of bliss, impenetrable to heaven’s prevailing winds
at long last burn – shimmers of light, heat, soft sparks glinting at night, radiate in glory as hunters’ souls fall dim. These barren fields, once fortresses, iron trestles, mastheads of solitude, now lay bare, soiled by sin, awash in blood splintered from their roots.