Editors’ Letter: The Beasts We Embody
This summer we both celebrated substantial birthdays. Milestones like these, which recognize nothing of true personal accomplishment beyond the simple act of continuing to exist, serve as cultural reminders that where we ought to be by a certain point in all of our meandering life-living is often somewhere entirely different from where we find ourselves. As individuals, we already experience the daily shame of questioning our identities in respect to the expectations of those around us; throwing our age into the mix of factors that deem us successful or unsuccessful at being human feels just a tad sadistic.
Happy fucking birthday.
We like to think of a birthday as an invitation to reflect on the journey of that year–the unexpected, winding, devastating and enlightening changes and choices we were thrust into or clawed our way out of. So, let’s talk about journeys. If you’ve ever been on a long, treacherous hike, you know the brief hope that radiates when you finally spot a mile marker in the distance, the one about to tell you how all your hard work has paid off and that you are a beast of unfathomable accomplishment. This hope, this expectation of acknowledgment is, of course, typically followed by crushing, yet inevitable disappointment upon reaching it and discovering that all your suffering only brought you .75 miles on a much, much longer hike you know deep down you were never actually equipped for.
So, let’s talk about summers, and birthdays, and journeys, and all of the ways to live a life inside of a human body.
We were lucky enough to spend this summer gloriously together, in a community of talented traveling artists, living in the forest, in an ancient mansion made of dark wood and pleasant hauntings, sleeping sometimes on floors and couches and in cars or sleeping not at all, wrapped in a haze of glittering excitement and oppressive heatwaves. This summer we both got older and walked further into the embodied experience of living a life all woman-like, all binary and non-binary, all makeup and hairspray in the middle of the woods, all fresh-faced and scrubbed clean like our femaleness could only be painted on, all “this is what it means to love someone,” all “this is what it means to be forgotten,” all “this is what it means to try to forget” all “please don’t share that photo of me living a beautiful life because today I don’t feel beautiful,” all “I know it would be a disaster if I let myself love him,” all “how can I get fucked and not fucked over,” all “I want to run in the rain with you,” all “I want to swallow the burning night sky until this yard no longer screams,” all ravenous to be filled and to be hollowed and filled again, all sex-sext-sexy, all unsolicited dick pics from ex-FWBs, all “let’s not get murdered in New York City,” all “I wish this city could tear me limb from limb” all rage, all bubbly, all smiles likes smiles are currency, all “there’s twenty-five billion ways of owning this body,” all “there’s thirty billion ways of burning it.” All over the planet there are beasts pressing through skin and bone of women, and men, or whatever kind of people we embody. If we are lucky, only some of them are catastrophic.
This summer, at the end of two-and-a-half months of vagabond-like exhilaration, we celebrated another milestone birthday: the first year of this magazine’s existence. The Hunger was spawned from our craving for a single place to hold the writing and art that makes us writhe and howl. When we began it, our lives looked very different from the ways we live inside of them now. This first year of issues is nothing if not an embodiment of journeys through our human hungers, thirsts, wails, hollers, shouts into the void, all trying to figure out how to live with others and ourselves–and, we hope, the beginning of a beautiful new community, a place to figure it all out together.
So this is where we were this summer, amidst our near-constant state of existential crises. Most of our curation of Issue 3 was a crapshoot, a hope that it would turn out as incredible as we knew it eventually would, without any plan for how that might happen. We started our reading with a literal “BANG!” and knew the entire thing would be electric. But it was only in retrospect that we noticed a theme of embodiment emerging from the collective work.
Within each of us as writers, artists, and people, there are conflicting stories we tell ourselves, and that the world tells us about ourselves. There are pressures and allowances that come with these stories, especially those of masculinity and femininity and the potential for fluidity, or the rejection of it all for something that fits more honestly. Regardless, the ways we choose to inhabit our bodies and the narratives we inscribe to them are so often related to our journeys through living. The struggles are so often what bring us to our knees, hollow us without us knowing if we will ever find a way to be full again. In many ways, that is what we have accumulated for Issue 3. Humans doused in the wrong kind of light.
We didn’t know where it was going, but now that it’s complete, we can promise you that Issue 3 is fucking stunning. It is bold and wild and there are literally stories of madness within it. It is both poised and unhinged, unflinching and running scared. We invite you to join us in the uncertainty.
Happy fucking birthday.
Lena & Erin
Editors & Co-Founders