The Ides of March

March 16, 2017

Though there is nothing particularly foreboding about the middle of the month of March, just about everybody is familiar with the Soothsayer’s warning from Julius Caesar, “Beware the ides of March.” Less remembered is these characters’ next encounter. As he strides towards the capital in the last moments of his life, Caesar spies the Soothsayer and calls out—with his characteristic hubris—“The ides of March are come.” To which the Soothsayer replies, “Aye, Caesar, but not gone.” My favorite renderings of the seer’s last line have never been portentous or snide but rather matter of fact. The soothsayer knows what’s coming next. Why guild the lily?

For writers of creative nonfiction our challenge is more often shaping the past than foretelling the future. For us, tragedy and disaster are matters of experience not speculation. In this issue, Tyrell Collins provides a first-hand account of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina through the eyes of a child, in his essay “If You Weathered My Storm.” And Margaret McMullen addresses her memoir of a writing life to Julia Gregg, a friend and fellow writer from the South. For these two women, growing up and growing older means mastering the craft of writing and the profession of teaching. The years bring the certain joys of family but also—inexorably—loss. For the author, it is her father and for Julia, her son. The occasion of the piece was a speaking series to celebrate the life of J. Zach Gregg, who was killed in a bicycle accident.

For photographer Lee Bey, the objective is to suspend a subject in time, such as a skateboarder mid-flight or a young singer at Chicago’s Jazz Fest on the threshold of stardom.

We also have reviews of the latest books by Sarah Gorham and Neil Gaiman and, on our blog, a reflection on naming names by Assistant Editor Andrew Krzak.

Ian Morris, Managing Editor

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