In 2019, Feathertale’s editorial family grew by two, as members of the masthead became parents for the first (and second) time. For them, it has been a feces-fuelled few months while putting this issue together. None of us, though, has become so accustomed to being covered in spittle and snot and mashed chicken/apple/avocado than our guest editor, who has spent the better part of our production run preoccupied with the early milestones of a gentle-looking creature who might still grow up to be a tyrant. Each day, between editing the poetry and prose that comprise the contents of this issue, this editor has found reason to pause and reflect on the overlooked things that make up a life. Like the first belch and the first reaction to the taste of broccoli. At some point along the way, she looked into the googly eyes of her spawn and began to wonder how many milestones in her own life she had inadvertently missed. And with that poignant thought, the theme of this issue was born.
It’s all in here: every milestone you may or may not have experienced in your own life, accentuated with a little help from our new favourite Pantone colour, no. 805. We begin in the womb, where a tenant is busy fighting eviction, then move onto a mid-twenties life crisis, and then to the classic retirement rite of passage: dancing naked around a bonfire. If only there were more pages and fewer diapers in this world, the milestones could have carried eternally. But just like a standard 120-volt plug, Feathertale generally works best when we don’t accidentally stuff something too weird into it.
This issue has been set up to reflect the theme, forgoing our usual feature well for three distinct sections instead. In the first, we explore the challenges of childhood, from that first violent eviction (“What to Expect When You’re Expected,” p. 10), to a boy’s struggle with Oedipal complexity in Pakistan (“Boys Are Hard to Wean,” p. 18), to the flowering (and subsequent wilting) of a girl’s first celebrity crush (“The Phone Call,” p. 26). Next, we enter adulthood’s monotonous, interminable working years, filled with annoying colleagues (“Andre,” p. 49) and questionable business practices (“The Chicago Team,” p. 72). The issue ends with frequent contributor Jonathan Danielson’s “Obituaries” (p. 90), which reflects on a decades-long game between a competitive mother and her son, and the game’s explosive last round. These are the moments — often sincere, oftener bleak, oftenest funny — that can make up a life. We hope you enjoy.
— The Editors