This issue of Embark marks the first complete year of the journal’s existence, and as the founding editor I couldn’t be more pleased with the way this venture has turned out. In the past year, we received well over 450 submissions from a dazzling range of writers—young and old, novice and veteran, from an array of different countries and backgrounds, writing novels in every genre. I’ve found great pleasure in reading through the submissions for each issue and thus exploring a sampling of our world’s passionate, eclectic novelists.
This fourth issue, like the previous ones, offers a wide spectrum of subject matter and approach, while readers at the same time will see coincidental but striking similarities. Reading through the ten featured openings, I realized that several of them deal with loss: a thirteen-year-old boy mourns the death of his best friend; a teacher in Philadelphia mourns the betrayal and departure of his husband; a girl in Biblical times mourns the impending loss of her sister to marriage.
These are difficult subjects, but in literature—as, we hope, in life!—loss often comes before new discoveries. And these too abound in this issue: a Cajun girl in the 1920s encounters her first camera; a woman who can communicate with animals learns how to put her ability to good use; a teenager in a dystopian future comes across a bookstore and a potential new friend; a man in Florida discovers an object on the beach that brings back the most exciting episode of his boyhood.
In many of the stories, the transitions between two states become the most fascinating moments: geographically, in the case of a woman moving from Indiana to Colorado; professionally, as with a doctor going from the death of one patient to the imminent birth of another; gender-wise, when a baby, through the foibles of its parents, transforms from a boy into a girl and back again. Fiction is about change, and these ten openings vividly depict this inevitable experience, with an intriguing and inspiring array of stories.
— Ursula DeYoung, Founding Editor
Table of Contents
THE WORLD IS MINE – Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge
DOLORES COUVILLON – Sharon LaCour
THE JOURNEY ITSELF – Sandra Miller
SQUAWK – Mary Portser
SKUNK: AN AMERICAN LIFE FROM CONCEPTION TO COMMENCEMENT – Kenneth Robbins
THE WATER MASTER – Peter Selgin
JUDITH AND THE GENERAL – Melina Selverston
THE COLOR READER – Laura Wareck
WAITING FOR THE REAL JAMES – Karen Wilfrid
TERRAIN VAGUE – Emily Wortman-Wunder