Some things have changed, and some things have stayed the same. Issue 2 of smoke and mold published on March 15, 2020. A lot has happened since then, and even more that will only become clear when told from the future. I’ve tried many times to write an intro to issue 3, each time feeling intimidated by the task of summarizing and introducing 5 pieces and writers I am in awe of. Three of these pieces refuse linear modes of history, time, science, and colonial fictions of gender and race. Two more take familiar modes of storytelling—the fairytale, the nature documentary—and turn the lens back around on the narrative through sly humor and incisive commentary. Who is looking at who, here? Every time I publish an issue or solicit a writer I worry that the mission of this journal will be mistaken as one that tries to shoehorn the vast diversity of work written across genre, voice, identity, and theme under the label “nature writing”, and every time I look back on the submissions we receive I’m reminded that the work will not allow this to happen—that the double mission of smoke and mold is to remind us that nature writing is a non-category, one that’s serviceable only in indicating who it excludes. I always hope that each issue chips away a bit more of this facade; this one I feel deals a critical hit.
—Cal Angus, Editor
"Baba Yaga squats, legs spread, and focuses on relaxing every muscle in her body with Lamaze breaths."
"I can’t explain why I love my grandmother so much. I want to enter into a science fiction film and join to her variant time and be a cell of the negative that is her shadow."
"There will be someone looking outside of your love, trying to make it legible to their own."
essa may ranapiri
"The only why that I think we should care about is the why aren’t we allowed? The why can’t we have our land back? The why must things stay the same?"
"Wherever the men encounter life, they attempt to repel it. They never can."