by Leah Bobet
Fiction, like so many other endeavours in life, is all about perspective. It’s said there are a finite—and quite small—number of tales to be told: boy meets girl, girl loses boy, the coming-of-age story, the tragedy, the comedy, and the rest are just the trappings. In other words, an infinite number of spins on a few old tales.
Many would find this very discouraging. Looked at in a certain way, it can be rather liberating. A great many beginning artists of any discipline get caught on the idea: the idea’s the thing, the crucial element required for a successful project. Others worry about the craft: technical rules, development of style, the million tiny decisions that go into creative work. These are definitely valid concerns, and things to pay a great deal of attention to, but perhaps it’s the perspective without which our project fails.
Boy meets girl, boy loses girl…we’ve all heard stories like this before. Our culture is rife with examples of every basic plotline in existence: they have become discourses to think with, according to some schools of thought perhaps limiting our very sense of narrative or appropriate subject matter. At one point one has to ask what made that last variation on an age-old theme so fresh, so affecting, so able to reach to the very heart of matters. Perspective: we aren’t haunted by the fact that the boy has lost his girl. We’re haunted by seeing that through the eyes of the author, the artist, through the photographer’s lens. It’s a step out of our mindset into someone else’s. There’s a reason people speak of seeing something “through fresh eyes”. It’s someone else’s perspective, someone else’s viewpoint that keeps us coming back, and that ensures that we’ll cry every time boy loses girl.
In this issue, we present some very daring—yet very traditional—short fiction. The subjects are indeed familiar, but the camera angles are slightly tilted. The light falls through the piece just so, draws one’s eye in different and new directions. In altering the perspective, showing comfortable things in new contexts, perhaps these stories say something about the nature of perspective itself.
Leah Bobet is a student at the University of Toronto with dreams of becoming a starving artist. Her work ranges from urban fantasy all the way to mainstream literature, and has appeared in various publications. Like the rest of us, she likes to think that she is able to keep things in perspective. Most of the time.
Art Director: Bonnie Brunish