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Kiosk Magazine - UCIrvine Welcome

A Note from the Editor

The Single Effect

One theory of how to write a good story is to achieve what Edgar Allan Poe called a "single effect": a strong and lasting impression or mood that lingers over the reader long after she has cast her book aside.

The true stories collected in this issue vary widely in the impressions they convey. Bradley Beylik's sweeping tale of the history of Silverado Canyon as seen through the crucible of the 2007 wildfires leaves behind a lingering, evocative perfume of woodsmoke, pine forests, and dusty trails. Meanwhile, Emma Mishel's profile of a transgendered man packs an unexpectedly painful blow in its portrayal of a mother's struggle to accept her child's new identity. Likewise, Lauren Biron depicts the troubling irony of life for the men and women serving in a military that tells them they can either be gay or soldiers but not both, something their experience shows is a false dichotomy.

While varied in their subjects, perhaps the common theme of all the stories in this issue of KIOSK is this notion of lived irony, of thinking of oneself in one way while being defined in radically different terms by others. The writers whose works are collected here have achieved feats of factual imagination that attempt to describe a place, a time, or a person's history through an assemblage of fragments of real evidence. What these writers add to the facts is what is at stake in the dreams of their subjects, people who live in the space between who they think they are and what others believe them to be. These writers intervene in that debate.

I hope you enjoy these stories. Only time will tell what mark they may leave upon your own.

Patricia Pierson
December 2008

Italian Kiosk