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Crystal Caverns, Purple Batwings

I spend a lot of my time in alternate parallel universes, gleaming crystal caverns inhabited by people with purple batwings. When my wife tugs my elbow, the look on my face is not irritation at her reminding me of a task I promised to do. Itís bewilderment as I try to find my way back to this world.

When I was young I suppose I thought everyone spent that much time in the caverns. As adult responsibilities began to pile on me, I learned to regard my time away as pathological, "dissociation," evidence of a "schizoid" personality. Friends thought it rude, women didnít believe I loved them. I spent years working hard to get out of the caverns and into this world.

Now I certainly have more ability to stay in this world for longer periods of time, under more stress. I guess thatís progress. Itís certainly better to be more able to decide where to be, rather than drifting at the mercy of the interstellar winds. Now that I can choose, though, I still think it is important to choose some time in the caverns.

In the spring of 2003, my country, drunk on the scent of empire, behaves with a belligerence that saddens and disgusts people of good will all around the world. Couldnít the resources used to publish this journal be better spent on leaflets?

Well, if its editor is dissociated, this journal is not. The print debut of Lassiter Williams in this issue is not about imagined events in alternate parallel universes. If we did switch to leaflets, Georgie Lee Blalockís poem is probably what we would print on the leaflets.

And weíve been out in the streets. When the actions of your government outrage you, itís immoral to be silent. But I for one have to declare my intention to continue spending time each day in spheres where gunpowder doesnít even exist and the creatures are so gentle that a harsh word would bring scholars.

The world calls to our active engagement. It needs us. But if we allow our lives to be subsumed by anti-fascist urgency, the fascists have won. In order to live responsibly in this world, perhaps we cannot use fantasy as our main canoe. But it makes a damned good outrigger. With it by our side we are that much harder to flip over.

So Iíll see you down at the big demonstration. Iíll be the one in the purple batwings.

L.A. Heberlein

April 2003



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