Alana I. Capria
A Letter from the Guest Editor
or Things Alana Thought About When Selecting the Stories in Gone Lawn Issue #6
A radiator* chased me into the living room the other day. Its scraping pipes sounded like a wolf's howl and no matter how many tables I dodged, the radiator remained right behind me, snapping steam until I ran into a wall. This is a normal occurrence. The clumsiness, not the personified radiator. I walk into walls on a regular basis, not because my mind is lacking, but because sometimes, I step too much to one side or am busy looking up at the ceiling or staring down at the floor or imagining something chasing me. There are exactly six radiators in my apartment. Every room gets a radiator, except for the kitchen, which gets an oven that hasn't worked in years but that I don't miss enough to have fixed. It would be fun if the oven was a chicken-headed Baba Yaga oven picking like Hansel and Gretel fruits out of an abandoned forest but I'm not that lucky. It is a standard black oven, a culinary replacement for a radiator. On the significance of the radiator in general: when I was four, I had a nightmare that a radiator was chasing me. I have remembered that dream ever since. Radiators are terrifying. Their lack of teeth makes them even worse. Maybe I just don't like metal. Too many impurities, too much rust. They are hungry bodies. I like bodies. Not my body, or another person's body. Just the idea of a body. Anatomical wonders arranged around four different bile shades. I went to the Bodies exhibition almost a year ago and was depressed for close to a week because I could not get over how the flayed meat fibers looked like beef jerky and the fanned arteries looked like gorgonian coral, which is a beautiful kind of coral even though it does not rest on the back of a radiator god or have a skin lining of thousands of hypodermic needles ready to inject lava poison into unprepared flesh. Beware the radiator gods because they look like sheets of paper torn into steaks and if you let them settle on your lap for too long, your bones will become bindings and the book spines will break across the center just by flipping a skin cover. I used to have an extensive collection of leather-bound journals imported from Italy. Then I became a vegetarian and gave the journals away when I could no longer stand the idea of recording my life in a book made from flesh. I would touch the cover and think, dead body, here. Dead body, there. It made me sick. Then all I could do was write cadaver cadaver cadaver cadaver cadaver cadaver cadaver cadaver cadaver across every page. Best to put the journal away before someone got hurt. Now, my journals are fabric-bound and the only bloody things are the pieces residing within. Sometimes, I feel like putting a disclaimer on my work: NO ONE WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS STORY. Writer excluded.
There was a radiator. But there was never a radiator at all.