Volume Eight: The Shape of Your Daydreams
This year’s issue of Runestone came from a joyous in-person semester, student editors ruminating over submissions together in the same room. Masked up, we talked at lengths throughout the semester about the care we owe each other as peers, and the responsibility of care we owe Runestone submitters and contributors. For many of our emerging, undergraduate writers, Runestone is the first place they ever click that intimidating button — submit. With that comes a great vulnerability editors must honor and cherish. Our Runestone student editors plunged deep into the question of how exactly do we do that — when do we know a piece is ready to be published, and what do we do when we see the seed of a great poem or essay or short-story being planted, but not quite ready for harvest? Careful reading paired with a sense of honesty and patience was the approach our 2021 team took, and for that I am ever grateful.
We take our title this year, “The Shape of Your Daydreams”, from Annie Przypyszny’s poem “Feeding The Birds”. We felt that this line captured the mood of this year’s Runestone. Readers will find that many of the pieces within to have an ephemeral nature with an obsession with the intangibility of the divine, while at the same time finding pieces that play with structure and form, pieces that give a daydream shape.
“I know longer think of God as being strictly one way, but rather as vast enough to be both ethereal and material, Camille Whisenat’s writers in her essay “To Breathe, To Blow”, which reminds the reader of the preciousness of breath. “I look for Him everywhere, and I find Him — I hear His name in the deep breaths of my roommate at night, and find bits of divinity stuck to the bottom of my shoes.” Geoffry Ayers gives us another unique view of divinity in his poem “God”, the unassuming first lines of the poem (“there is a thing / that is in a place”) descending into an indelible image of our world as a web, holding strong even when facing immense pressure.
We also enjoyed experiments in form this year. In Ellery Beck’s “Garden Manifesto”, we see an ambitious leap in form with flash fiction that also serves as a palindrome, creating a brief but cyclical reading experience. Saitharn Im-Iam re-appropriates the clinical form of economic quantitative analysis in “Stock of a Writer”, illustrating just how ineffable the character of a writer is, at its most authentic when resisting monetary value and capital gains. In Hailey Thielen’s “Berlin”, the protagonist strains against the social constraints of his small town, a ticking clock bringing him closer to his destiny. Jack Mitchell’s poem “daphne devine died with the room key” takes an aphorism and increases the frequency, twisting words of wisdom to test the limits of love.
A conversation about form and plot, amongst other brilliant and intriguing thoughts about the craft of writing fiction, was had during this year’s annual Author Interview with Kawai Strong Washburn, author of the New York Times best-selling novel Sharks in the Time of Saviors. “You can embrace the conventions of a genre, and then figure out how to make those work the best way possible, and at the same time push beyond those boundaries,” Kawai said in his interview with Runestone student editor Calvin MacFarland. This conversation was a true master class in fiction, and we are ever grateful for Kawai’s presence and Cal’s thoughtful questions.
From all of us at Runestone, we wish you happy reading, good health, community, and care.
Halee Kirkwood, a 2019-2020 Loft Mentor Series Fellow, received their MFA from Hamline University. Their work has been published in The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day series, Water~Stone Review, Lunch Ticket, Muzzle Magazine, Grimoire Magazine, Cream City Review, Strange Horizons, and others. They have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, as well as a nomination for a Best of the Net prize.
Kirkwood was an inaugural teaching fellow for the 2019 Desert Nights, Rising Stars writing conference at Arizona State University, and has served as a writing mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Their mini-chapbook, Exorcising The Catalogue, was published in Fall 2018 with Rinky Dink Press. Kirkwood is a proud first-generation college student and a direct descendant of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe.