Sixteen Months Old, Art as Magic
The Agabus, by Vincent Louis Carella
On the Nude Beach, by Kevin Tosca
The Color of Dead Things, by Aleyna Rentz
At the Mirage, by Cheyenne Nimes
My Body Feels Full of Stars, by Lydia Copeland Gwyn
The Human Bullet, by J. Bradley
An Unspoken Exchange, by Adetomiwa Victor Owoseni
Wait, I Drank What? by Dan Tremaglio
Choke Point, by Dorothy Rice
9×9, or how we sold toys at the end of the world, by Elizabeth Morton
The philosopher and sometimes-aesthetician R. G. Collingwood had many ideas about art, including a distinction between Art as Amusement and Art as Magic. I’m no expert on R. G. Collingwood, but understand the first to be escapism and the second to be defined by its ability to change the way we live our lives. James Baldwin’s “The Invisible Man” is a good example of Art as Magic. James Patterson’s latest Cross thriller is probably a good example of Art as Amusement.
We at Jellyfish Review enjoy reading both types, but are especially drawn to publishing the magic art. The stories that inspire some revelation, be it large or small. Like this line from Lydia Copeland Gwyn’s story this month “Sometimes this happens. Sometimes they don’t stick”. Or the image from Kevin Tosca’s story this month of his narrator undressing and walking into the sea. Or Adetomiwa Victor Owoseni’s unspoken exchange. Or Elizabeth Morton’s narrator’s offer to help sell dildos. “And I said something like sure, if you let me buy you a drink later, only I didn’t say that but something more like yep. you got change for a twenty?”
Of course, not all fiction falls easily into either amusement or magic. Some might say the Harry Potter books are pure adventure, pure escapism. But others might say they’re magic, and not mean that as a pun. There are lessons to take from Harry Potter, and the number of times I’ve seen the new US president depicted as Voldemort on social media suggests plenty of people have taken them!
This month then, like all our months, I guess, is dedicated to Art as Magic.
Art by Katsushika Hokusai, taken from the public domain
Ryūjin was the Japanese dragon god, symbolizing the power of the ocean. Turtles, fish and jellyfish were his servants. One day Ryūjin wanted to eat some monkey’s liver, to cure an otherwise incurable rash. He sent the jellyfish to find him a monkey, but the monkey told the jellyfish he’d left his liver in a jar in the forest. The jellyfish couldn’t enter the forest, but the monkey very kindly offered to go fetch the liver for him. And then, of course, scarpered. When the jellyfish told Ryūjin what had happened, Ryūjin got so angry he beat the jellyfish until all its bones were destroyed. And this is the legend of how the jellyfish lost its bones.