Saturday, March 19, 2011

What we're looking for

It is so hard for me, for all of us, to read your submissions. They are beautiful, they are poignant. They are heartfelt; we know how deeply you care. We read it in your words, as you try to make sense of this terrible thing that has happened and try to understand how the world did not end, how life can go on.

Last night I went to bed and cried.

We've been talking, as editors, about our vision for this book.

It's not a book that makes people go to bed and cry. It is too soon for that kind of tribute. We do not need to remember the tragedy; it's still happening.

This is not a book of mourning. This is a book of hope.

This book is of Japan.

It is about sushi and salarymen and samurai. It is about emperors and ASIMO. It is about gyaru and cherry blossoms and love hotels. It is about temples and tatami mats and tea ceremonies. It is about the past, and the future. It is about the present too, but not only The Disaster.

We aren't going to ignore the earthquake, the tsunami, the nuclear emergency. How could we? But there must be balance. It's going to be a very small part of the book. Just like it's a very small part of all the things that have made Japan Japan.

So send me poems about Chiba cyberpunks and armies of giant robots commanded by schoolgirls. Send me The Merchant of Venice set in Twenty-first century Tokyo. Send me a story about how a paper crane saves the world. Send me a story about how a boy and a girl fall in love. Send me J-horror and 50's sci-fi. Send me manga--we haven't seen any yet, and how can we have a book about Japan without?

We don't need stories about what's happening in Japan, we need stories about Japan.

(And, thank you.)