From the Editor’s Desk

Stephen Vitiello: World Trade Center Recordings, 1999 Photo credit: Johnna MacArthur
Welcome to Mistake House!

Like its architectural namesake, the magazine brings together an assemblage of interesting components and offers their conjunction as a microcosm of hard work and play. The voices highlighted by the stories and poems in Issue 5 appear like individual rooms under a shared roof of human mess.

In her introduction to The Best American Short Stories 2018, Roxanne Gay refers to reading as a necessary grace, a reprieve not to avoid reality but to strengthen the ability to cope amid personal and political upheaval. At all times and in every context, the human voices around us, in all their intersectionality, are relevant and powerful, providing visibility for and necessary insight into the realities of now. The empathetic stories and poems of Issue 5 push creative boundaries and are sensitive to individual perspectives and to current world issues today; and, we are excited to share them with you.

In tandem with our student writers, Issue 5 features Soap Bubble Set creative professionals, Richmond, Virginia-based American sound artist Stephen Vitiello and Prague-based Czech writer Sylva Fischerová.

Interested in what is and what is not heard, Vitiello produces art from the vibrations and the tones of the mundane—the beauty, intrigue, and thoughtfulness in what humans perhaps don’t (or can’t) notice. His work reminds viewers/listeners/readers that it is always the perfect time to step back and consider who and what is not being heard.

Recently elected as the first City Poet of Prague, Fischerová writes poems that delve into the chaos of human systems and histories, poetry based in linguistic, literary, and historical scholarship. She enjoys poetry that surprises, that is informed by the unconscious. She reminds readers of the seriousness of play for our creative practice, something Mistake House Magazine holds in high regard since such inventive exploration of form and concept leads to vulnerability, as well as to insight.

Anna Daccache’s story, “Sound Proof,” narrated by a character who has lost their hearing, and Nazli Karabiyikoglu's mythic "Other Side of the Mountain" are both rich in imagery and characterization, showing human receptivity to care and illustrating the cost of negligence.

Jose Louis Lucero’s story, “Ten Things that May or May Not Have Happened,” simultaneously frames its content in ambivalence and utilizes footnotes of confessional honesty. Distanced slightly from their contexts, these footnotes encourage a metaphoric “double-take” of the anecdotes presented. Similarly, Lindsey Thäden’s triptych, “I Refuse to Sonnet, but Love,” Eric Fram’s trio of poems, “Egg,” “Rags,” and “Pretending,” and Valen Lim’s “Ode to Odes to Love" all reveal the sophisticated results of active play, most especially as that play results in empathy, ethical responsiveness, and focused attention.

Speaking of play as a serious practice, you may have noticed our new look! Our redesign is by Corey Fedde, Tamara Long, and Kyle Meserve. Corey and Tamara both served on the editorial staff for Mistake House Magazine’s inaugural issue in 2015 and helped to shaped the vision we strive to continue and expand. We’re grateful to these three dedicated Principia alumnae for the continuing support for Mistake House Magazine, and we hope that our readers will enjoy the redesign as much as we do.

Happy reading!

Samantha Frank, Editor in Chief