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Vagabondage Press, LLC
New Directions in Art & Literature
Volume One - Issue Seven - December 2008
Letter from the Editor


We'll drink a cup of kindness yet...

A new year approaches -- a new beginning, a fresh start.  Funny, how at the dead end of the year, in the deepest dark of
winter, there's a sense of rebirth and renewal... the heady air of pure potential just waiting around the next bend in the
calendar.

During December, some of us celebrate Christmas -- the birth of the Saviour and the promise of a new life in the Kingdom of
Heaven.  Some celebrate Chanukah -- the promise of continuing light and blessings from the Lord of the Universe.  Some
celebrate the Winter Solstice -- the festival of the unconquered sun and the return to longer days and the promise of new life
as the world turns again to face it's warmth.  Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day, the anniversary of Prince Siddhartha's
enlightenment and his new life as bringer of hope and compassion to those who suffer.  Our Muslim brothers and sisters follow
a lunar calendar, but this year in December, they will be celebrating Eid al-Adha, in honor of Abraham's obedience to Allah when
he prepared to sacrifice his son and in honor of Allah's mercy when He replaced the boy with a lamb for sacrifice.  A life spared
-- and surely a whole new life for Abraham.  Some of us celebrate Kwanzaa -- a rededication to the principals that emphasize
unity and cooperation and foster stronger life bonds with family and friends.

The pace of life slows and the nights grow longer -- and somewhere within this peace and dark we can find our true selves --
that seed of kindness, that kernel of generosity, that flicker of optimism that tells us that we truly can be better people.  And
what more is humanity than a complicated ape, fired by some divine spark, in the unending struggle to become more like an
angel?

The wrapped packages of new clothes and cosmetics and appliances under our holiday trees bring promise of becoming better
people; better looking and certainly better-dressed people.  The dollars we tuck into kettles and cans show our new-found
generosity of spirit.  The gift basket we send to our ex-mother-in-law proves our willingness to forgive and forget and forge
stronger family bonds for the new year.  We even make long and detailed lists of exactly how we plan to become better people;
more forgiving, more ambitious, more tolerant, more pleasant, more present and, hopefully, somewhat thinner.

And then at midnight, on December 31st, when the cork is popped -- it's a whole new world.  Every year, a whole new world,
sparkling with promise.

If the darkness and bitter cold of December brings us anything, it's hope for yet another chance.  Through the breadth of
human history, we've practiced rituals of forgiveness and rededication to our God or gods, our families, our mates. The new
year, perhaps, is the one day we take to forgive ourselves -- and to remake ourselves anew.

In this issue of
The Battered Suitcase, we celebrate that spirit of rebirth and renewal, as we celebrate all of life's rituals,
through song and story.  Novelist and long-time sufferer of Cat-Feeding-Disorder, E.J. Knapp gives us a glimpse of a new life
when he unites two long-distance lovers for their first meeting.  Writer and teacher Mimi Rosen explores a new twist in rebirth
in
Extra-ordinary Man.   Ann Tinkham's circus aerialist defies gravity and authority when she finds her inner liberator and leads
herself and a very special friend into a new life.  Michelle Panik closes the door to the past and opens new doors in the heart in
Slight Chance of Showers.  Writer and HIV/AIDS activist Kerry Hudson honors the past by pledging courage in the name of
love for the future.

In Tracy Pitocchelli's
Music Outside, a young girl discovers new feelings to explore and define as she becomes a young woman.  
In Claire Trevien's
Chameleon, we see parted lovers reinvent themselves in order to face their new futures, but their story has
yet not completely unfolded.  Mystery writer Barbra Annino offers a new look at renewal as a dying woman gets her last wish
and writer and playwright Joel Willans offers a glimpse at a working girl who is offered her chance at a whole new life.  

Santa Claus himself makes an appearance in Kathryn Magendie's
Moonshine and Santy Clause and it's obvious he needs to
mend his ways, as well.  In
Lost and Found, Karen Vanuska finds new life, new family, where she least expected.

Poetry selections this month are kindly contributed by Miriam Nash, Davide Trame, Tera Wilson, Howie Good, Abigail Beaudelle,
Ry Kincaid, and Emma Sovich, with haiku by Ron Hayes.  Photographers Andrew To and Jason Ball grace our pages with their
images of familiar scenes presented from new perspectives.

And perhaps lyricist and poet Ingrid Andrew sums it up best in
Five O'Clock; in the darkest of winter, new life is just a breath
away.

The staff at
The Battered Suitcase would like to wish you a bright, loving and warm Holiday Season, whatever form your
celebrations take.  We look forward to a new year with new stories to share with you.

"The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul."                                          ~ G. K. Chesterton


Fawn M. Neun
Executive Chief Editor
The Battered Suitcase
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