When we voted on the theme ‘Endangered and Dangerous,’ for Issue #9 of The Quarry, we had no idea what to expect.For many of us, this was the first time we had written to a theme, and the question ‘what am I going to write about?’ was on everyone’s mind.
With all the usual chaos of university life – assignment deadlines and exams like giants on our calendars – we could have opted for the easy and obvious responses to what is endangered, and what is dangerous. But what would that say about us as writers? What would that say about us as undergrad students, soon to head out into the mouth of the wolf? No, we were going to savour this opportunity. We were going to create something meaningful. So we began the writing process and faced down the blank page. We drafted and redrafted. We worked on writing exercises that pushed and pulled our pieces in different directions and encouraged us to be bolder and more vivid. We workshopped together, for some of us, we’d been workshopping together since first-year. Three years of collaboration, learning to trust in each other’s ideas and opinions, forging friendships, and a cohort that has given us writing partnerships that will last long after we leave university.
So here they are, this year’s fiction pieces. Stories filled with ferocious gryphons, cyborgs, wayward romances, and unrelenting storms. There are stories of class collisions, and stories that take us back to the conflicts of the Roman Empire, conflicts of greed and power with terrifying parallels to our time (W.T.F Trump). Emma Stubley’s ‘Bright Stars’ hones in on what it means to be a young queer woman in a world dominated by heterosexual values. There is ‘Portrait of a Life in Watercolour’ by Daniel Bingham where the fast-paced digital, and corporate monsters threaten creativity to the point of extinction. A threat very close to our hearts. This journal gave us the opportunity to explore what is dangerous, what is endangered, today. These stories of what is under attack, what is threatened, and what menaces, enabled us to come to understand what is precious to us, what we value, what we hold dear, and then, through that primal gift of storytelling, these stories enable us to share our discoveries with you.
It is our hope that you are transported by these stories, as we have been. That you connect with them, and see the hard work that has gone into each. Because while we wrote these to a theme, and crafted them in ways that show our individuality, our stories have been produced with you, the reader, in mind. Because if we didn’t have you, there would be no one to see what we most hold dear.
Written by Mischa Parkee and Laura Schwebel