Everything Is So Political
A Collection of Short Fiction by Canadian Writers
In a video interview with Writers’ Confessions in 2008, St. John’s-based author Lisa Moore asserted that “all writing is political.” Editor Sandra McIntyre takes that same assertion for her conceit in crafting the new short story anthology, Everything is So Political. However, Moore and McIntyre differ in their reasoning.
For McIntyre, there is always “something of how the artist sees the world and how the world affects the artist materially, some connection with the ‘public sphere’” - not to mention the reader, a politicized agent. And there are “small ‘p’ politics,” which she calls “markers of our political selves and our place in the world.”
McIntyre offers Everything is So Political in a way as a retort to the artists and writers who demur from calling themselves political. She wants to assert that the dichotomy of message versus story is moot, that one doesn’t negate the other, that”facing up to the politics in our natures” leaves us better off.
But what McIntyre doesn’t discuss is the political act of fiction itself. The writers she mentions - Orwell, Huxley, Achebe, Hemingway, Morrison, de Beauvoir, et cetera - are not political merely because of their subjects. Their writing itself was a political act. This is what Lisa Moore understands.
“In terms of fiction, when creating characters, sometimes even the most evil of characters, the reader has to empathize … when you can empathize, crawl into the skin of another BEING, even a fictional being, and even if it’s just a subtle change from your own position … those kinds of forays into other worlds I think are political acts. They teach us to empathize. And I think that’s what writers do for society, if anything at all.”
And Moore is dead on when it comes to the work in Everything is So Political - the best stories are the ones that achieve that empathy. Some do and some don’t. The discrepancy in the anthology exemplifies just how difficult this task is for the writer.
Everything is So Political is published by Roseway Publishing, which “aims to publish literary work that is rooted in and relevant to struggles for social justice.”