by Anil Menon
Most literary magazines are labours of love, and as such, make no economic sense. That’s because it takes imagination to recognize that love matters, and for all of Economics’ many recognized faults, no one has ever accused it of having an imagination. This lack of imagination has had consequences in the real world. In Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time, there is a narrator who rejects the new Russia in which “…a hero is someone who buys something one place and sells it down the road for three kopecks more.” We might be tempted to believe this shift is true the world over, not just Russia. However, I believe uncommon sense is closer to the truth. It seems to me we are becoming more appreciative, not less, of activities whose utility is derived from perceived value, and not value from perceived utility.
In any event, The Bombay Literary Magazine‘s latest issue is a labour of love. Issue 51 marks a point of departure, an inauguration even. We have a new website, and it feels like we’ve moved into a much larger and stylish new house whose rooms we’ll have to inhabit for a while to make it our home. Starting with this issue, we will offer our contributors an honorarium. We have expanded our team, launched initiatives in new genres, and have a better idea of our audience. In this issue, we have twenty contributions— twelve poets, seven fiction writers, and one visual narrative, in the form of a photo-essay.
I should probably drop famous names at this point, humblebrag about this award-winning poet or that award-winning writer whose work graces these pages. We are indeed delighted that in this issue we have established writers and artists, whose work has been justly and amply celebrated. But at TBLM we cherish all our contributors, and are therefore content to leave it to you to rank and choose, browse and savour. I will simply add that it is our contributors’ works, also manifestations of uncommon sense, and the imaginations of readers like yourself, that makes our work worthwhile. Thank you and welcome to Issue 51.