A word of caution to this tale: this is my own reading on the piece, so I cannot speak definitively for the author or their intentions.
In our first meeting as the Wizards in Space team, there was nervousness and excitement, introductions passed around and goals discussed. We were going to build, word by word and piece by piece, a space to celebrate the original work and personal stories of those who devote so much of their time to celebrating the creativity of others. Week by week, we would work our way through 200 submissions, balance budgets and page counts and schedules, and end with a book that aims for the stars and contains pure magic.
Checking my email one night and finding the first round of submissions brought a poorly muffled squeak of excitement and the dawning realization that this was a real really happening for real thing that I was for real involved with. Really. Honestly, that feeling never faded all the way, and returned full force the first time I held a copy of Issue 1 in my hands. But our first meetings, figuring out a pattern and method to discuss and weigh the merits of our favorite pieces, were a level of surreal all their own.
The first piece in Wizards in Space, Marigrace Angelo’s “a confession,” was from that first batch of submissions, and was, in fact, one of the first pieces I even read. The speaker’s confession is simple and succinct, a reflection on their fall away from the church. The traditions and formulae of the church are distilled into three-line stanzas, muscle memory for prayer and song reflected in poetic rhythm, ending in that sacred image of the “you-pick-two” lunch combo, as important to the church experience as communion itself.
Capitalization is ignored throughout the piece with one exception: “I.” The personal identifier. Rules regarding proper nouns and new sentences are tossed aside, and perhaps this is a case of particularly insistent autocorrect disrupting an homage to e.e. cummings, but it seems more likely this poem is a celebration of the self. Sunday, the holy day, left with a lowercase “s,” as are “kingsolver” and “libba bray,” housed in their “books-a-million” temple. Outside philosophies, ones selected by the speaker and ones they are born into, notably left lower than that singular “I.” The confession, then, is not just one of departure or reminiscence, but of self-construction, of the path from there to here and the pieces cobbled together along the way.
Wizards in Space only exists with the support of our contributors, readers, and backers. “A confession” was a beginning, the first step in designing a book that all of us, not just the editorial team, but every single individual who offered encouragement and support, could be proud of. When you open Issue 01 to Marigrace Angelo’s poem, we invite you to take that first step with us, and every step that follows as we seek to knit together the incredible works you submitted into a single meaningful experience. Thank you.