portion of the artwork for Patricia Q. Bidar's stories

Patricia Q. Bidar’s Comments

You know that saying, “Growing old ain’t for sissies”? Sure thing, and neither is launching into adulthood. These stories are set in the time just prior to Reagan. A few years after the iconoclastic late ’60s, Vietnam, Watergate, and the second wave of feminism—for those its benefits reached. I recall my fifth-grade teacher, eyes shining, relaying details of the Charles Manson murders, which took place just a few miles up the hill from the cul-du-sac where we played freeze tag and ding dong ditch. On the horizon: the Reagan administration, and its heartless response to the AIDS pandemic (among other things), which some feel paved the way for the cruel milieu in which I write this comment.

In short, this period was a rough time in which to attempt a launch into adulthood. In a Southern California Port town, leagues from the “L.A.” idyll people assume, and where misogyny and racism ruled the day. Now, seeing my own kids navigate their early 20s, I wish I could make it easier, even endure it for them. The world has become faster, crueler. Horrific true stories and imagery are a click away. Risk-taking behavior and paralyzing anxiety seem par for the course in this world of chaos.

Another theme you’ll see here is, Whose story is it to tell? In “P.O.V.,” the narrator visits a makeshift memorial and recalls stories related to her by others. “P.O.V.” was written at a time when ownership and perspective were on my mind. At what point and in what way does it make sense to write about the trials of others—from the vantage point of one’s own experience and perspective? I hope people read and like these stories. They are brought to you with the assistance of editor extraordinaire, Ellen Parker, who saw something in them and worked with me to make them what you see in this issue of FRiGG.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 56 | Fall/Winter 2020