Editor’s Note: Money
Probably no one single word, with the exception of “love,” has inspired so many clichés and self-help books as the word “money.” The last three years have heightened our experience of money, or its lack: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine driving up fuel prices for heating, cooking, irrigation, and transportation of goods has made life miserable far beyond the range of a missile. Covid shuttered our beloved neighborhood businesses, changing the face of our cities, and left many of us unemployed. But beyond serving as a means of exchanging goods and necessities, money has a life of its own. Is there anything else we argue more about, measure more obsessively? Is there anything else that bestows as much power and control, or renders us powerless and voiceless in its lack?
This last question is one that our special guest contributor, Jeannine Ouellette addresses in her piece “The Cost,” in which a family member threatens to sue a literary magazine for publishing a powerful piece in which Ouellette comes to terms with a difficult, awful truth about her childhood. Ouellette shows a world in which people are afraid—of themselves, of family, of the systems that are supposed to protect them. And her wise vulnerability in sharing the cost of telling among those who use money to buy safety is powerful. Voices from Italy, Peru, Israel, Canada, England, and the United States render the joys of wealth and having enough; contemplate cost, worth, and the power, shame, and anxiety money provokes.
We are grateful to our guest editor of creative nonfiction Ayelet Tsabari, who has lived and thought deeply through poverty and sufficiency, as we see in her gorgeous memoir, The Art of Leaving. We thank our poetry guest editor, Alison Powell, whose Boats in the Attic explores the impact of climate change and end of the world as we know it, issues inextricable from our global economy. We hope you like this issue!
Marcela Sulak, Managing Editor