Moments of recognition are difficult. Say you’re an artist, or maybe an activist. Maybe you’re a journalist, or even a politician. Whatever you do, there is always a moment where you look out that the world and realize that everything you have, everything you do, is not enough. Your words have forked no lightning, to paraphrase old Dylan Thomas. You have given everything you have, and the world is no better than it was when you started. Possibly, it’s even worse.
You’re faced with a decision at moments like these, one where you have to take stock of despair and futility, and make a choice between giving up and moving forward. No one would fault you with quitting. You’ve done your part, after all. Maybe even more than most, and you have very little to show for it. Maybe some publications or exhibits, maybe a couple awards. Nothing much to speak of in your bank account, though, and a whole lot of funerals whispering in your ears. You wonder if it’s all worth it. You look out at the state of the world, and wonder if they’re worth it. The answers you come up with are sentimental and not compelling. You wonder what’s on TV tonight. You have Netflix.
Still, there’s a voice that rumbles from somewhere deep inside of you, one that pushes you forward: fully cognizant of the futility, the Don Quixote of it all. And you write one more poem, or one more essay. You paint one more painting, sing one more song, hold one more rally. You hit your beat for one more story. You put a doomed bill to committee one more time, because it’s the right thing to do. Because it’s the only thing you can do.
You know you have to measure success in inches, while the bad in the world spreads rapidly, by miles. You can’t win, but the game isn’t about winning. It’s about what you do when you’re tested in the dark.
But moving forward doesn’t mean repeating yourself. This is a time of change, and Radius found itself recently with a choice, which is really the only choice any of us make: Fold, stagnate or change. Over the course of the next year, we’re going to be making some changes to our format and to what we publish, to better position ourselves to preserve what’s unique in our voice, and to better welcome newer voices into the mix. We’ve been blessed since 2011 to have presented a diverse selection of brilliant writers from all around the world, and we intend to continue. But there will be changes. Because there always are.
Perhaps that’s an overly cryptic note on which to congratulate our 2018 Pushcart Prize nominees, but really, they’re all the sort of writers whose work and belief always drives us forward when everything seems pointless, each a small explosion of light in the darkness. It’s been a privilege to publish their work, and to present them to the Pushcart committee as some of the best we’ve had to offer this year.
- The Patriarchy Apologizes, by Tony Brown (Jan. 1, 2018)
- Sestina for My Unborn Daughter Without the Family Album, by Hajjar Baban (04/28)
- What Would Rumi Do? by Nahal Jamir (05/09)
- After the Latest Mass Shooting, by Janet Barry (05/26)
- A Lesson While Hiking Mt. Skylight, by Colin Pope (06/11)
- Donald Trump Points to the Sun During the Solar Eclipse, 21 August 2017, By Andrew Rihn (11/22)
Thank you, to our nominees and all our staff and contributors, for making Radius the singular publication that it is, and as we gear up for some changes, for reminding us of what we’ve always strived to be.
Victor D. Infante is the Editor-In-Chief of Radius and the author of the ebook of essays, Feels Like Failure, Every Time: Thoughts on Writing, Pop Culture, Politics and Violence, 2004-2018.