This edition of the Brushfire was published in Spring 2022.

From Editor’s Note:

“It’s often under the most mundane and ordinary of circumstances out of which the most absurd and unforeseeable events arise. A bold statement to start off with, I know. But it’s true. Most times, we are just trundling along in our daily routines, working ourselves doggedly to cross items off of a never-ending to-do list when— all of a sudden— we feel our legs buckle under the weight of some reality seemingly too heavy to bear.

Maybe you were on your way to a job interview when you unwittingly stepped on the surprise dog turd some scoundrel left lying in wait for you on the sidewalk. Or maybe you were in a frenzy to finish up an important project that required count-less hours of love and labor when, without invitation, an overwhelming sensation of driftlessness promptly washed over you. Or perhaps you were humming along, peaceful and productive for once, when you crossed paths with something that you could not understand — say, you learned that a loved one just watched the sun rise and set for the very last, last time and no amount of logic could alleviate the pain.

Such moments can often feel isolating and unreal while we’re in them.

The good news? By some strange twist of fate, these moments also tend to be the ones which reveal that none of us are truly and totally alone in life like we think. For just by virtue of the intimate knowledge we gain by living through them, moments like these enter us into communities of human experience wherein we can feel seen and heard. They connect us more deeply to people around us in ways we could not have possibly imagined, whether we know it or not.

Ironically then, it can be said that the strange and heartbreaking moments of our lives not only help us to feel camaraderie and solidarity with one another, but also allow us to learn from and teach one another worthwhile outlooks and practices for living a good life, despite all its bizarre ups and downs. Through such moments, we cultivate a sense of humor to combat hopelessness; we learn to recognize the absurdity of our own fears; we participate in the giving and receiving of compassion in ways that strengthen us for the next time we fall flat on our faces.

This is what all the stories and artworks in this journal get at in one way or another. And in sharing them with you, we hope they not only bring you joy and laughter, but strength and companionship, whatever it is that awaits you—this next turn around the bend.”

—Nicholas True Huffman, Editor-in-Chief (2018–2022)