‘For me it is always really important to go and meet the story. The need to go to Chartres was obvious for me, and I went several times for this story. It was important just walking around, even though it has changed so much since the time in which I was researching, just to see the way the wind moves over the land and how the sun rises and falls. There were limits to for me to explore, also you find yourself up against the limits of your own skin.’
It’s funny how your mind gives a face to a voice, isn’t it? How do you imagine me? Do you imagine me plain? Am I detailed? Have you read my name and assigned a character to me? This letter is for you.
Ever since its’ inception in 1997, the Dublin based magazine The Stinging Fly has been dedicated to seeking out, nurturing, publishing, and promoting new writers and new writing. After its first print in 1998 under founders Aoife Kavangh and Declan Meade, the independent magazine has expanded to become a book publisher, education provider and online platform. The literary magazine prints an eclectic collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, with a notable focus on short stories.
Letter by Sonya Moore
P.S. My editor read this letter to you, and wondered if the talk of creative process imposes distance.
How to get closer?
I booked cheap tickets to Chartres.
Then, because my chest was tight in anticipation of pain, a hotel with more stars than my budget allowed.
‘The escapade offer,’ I confirmed, to a silky-voiced receptionist. ‘For two.’
Perhaps it’s a mix between my hopeless romantic personality and the fact I’m an English student that has made me think the ultimate gesture of love is a handwritten love letter. It also helps that they appear repeatedly in movies and books, and even in real life. Well, others’ lives I assume, not mine.
I have never met my neighbours. Occasionally I hear Flat 2 pottering around downstairs or the sound of Flat 8’s washing machine spinning through the wall. Sometimes I catch a few notes of Flat 3’s interesting music taste (I’m talking Kid Rock at 8am) through the ceiling. But none of us have ever spoken.
‘I was walking, and I passed by this botanical garden, stumbling on this wild corner of it. In Belgrade, there are lots of overgrown, luscious green spaces; there weren’t any mowed lawns. Sometimes, you would see people come out of their houses to plant things in what seemed like random spaces, and whilst they were overgrown, you could sense they were still tended and cared for. Within the city people were totally surrounded by plants, by pockets of wild, growing spaces which I was able to explore.’
In its quest for new creative work, The Tangerine provides a platform for new artistic voices who aren’t afraid to get their hands sticky. From poetry and creative prose, to long-form pieces with a journalistic focus, the writers of these pages capture the beauty and reality of culture and politics in Northern Ireland and beyond.
Letter by Grug Muse
During the lockdowns, I regularly dreamed of gardens. Not because I was deprived of one, unlike the millions confined to concrete and windowsill during those pandemic springs. I was living then with my parents, in a rural part of north Wales, with a large garden and an expanse of common land that I could freely access.
When I find myself missing home, I close my eyes and picture it. Not the little house where I grew up, but the many mountains right outside my doorstep that I spent my childhood hiking in, and the vast ocean at their feet. I see how the water glitters and I feel the shock of cold when I jump in. I think of the tall mountain ranges that are capped with snow even in the height of summer, and the smaller ones that are so steep you can only think about breathing while you climb them.