What We Are, What I Am

I do  not want to discuss what a literary review is. I do  not want to define what it should be, or what it could be–one or the other neither the same. I am not going to delineate what this literary review has been.  A literary journal is; what it was is better left to the historian of literary enterprises. Publishing has its history as does automotive manufacturing and sales. No editor wants his journal to be has been; if it were has been, so much the worse for those working toward publishing this has-been-magazine There is a debate over the merits of, as well as the implications between, editorials addressing readers from the point-of-view of we and those that address readers from the point-of-view of I . . . can an editorial really be written from the pov of I? I relates to me, the actual person me and not only inter grammatical reference of one pronomial case to another; yes, this me that I am is the principal writer of texts within the confines of this review.

The ‘we’ you find herein is the conventional editorial we, the we of most social commentary, the we that sets before it, as a rhetorical strategy. all critique is not an attack but a corrective. What this says that the pronoun ‘I’ does not, cannot, we might understand as something inclusive, inviting, softening . . . When I criticize and say you or they instead of we, I set myself apart from the critique. I am not subject to the corrective I pronounce. This is simple enough to comprehend. I will not venture a discussion of the rhetoric of I and the rhetoric of we; the implications should be clear.  Yet, what we do here at The Falling Leaf Review is answered by the things I do. So, everything herein is I; anytime you hear we, it is a rhetorical strategy most of you have already used or have been exposed to: I am the Editor-in-Chief; I am also the chief author, that is, the only author of the texts herein included in its pages section. I have complete authority over them, perhaps more than other authors once their works have been published. I am the sole author of its blog too as well. I am everything and I am everyone inclusive of this review. Being is plurality; the Self is one of many selves. I steal from poets. I wish to make this review as literary as possible. I have not degraded my understanding of literacy by confusing it with what the French call alphabetisme; the later is a way of being able to negotiate the alphabet, that is, being able to spell one’s name correctly, being able to read the tabloid newspapers with efficiency, being able listen to and digest TV journalism with its sound bite reporting and commentary, being able to fill out the forms and applications supplied by the state and institutional bureaucracies. Yes, these abilities are the mark of being alphabetically correct, not having attained what could be called–should be reserved for naming–literacy.

What I wanted to do with this review, with its blog, its pages section now numbering nearly 200 essays–yes, 200 literary essays–I will not discuss, except to say that literary is the first and last considerations, that the muse of this review is Literaria. I understand that ‘literary’ comes from the Latin and refers to the alphabet, the letters of the alphabet and that this might circle back to what the French call alphabetics, but I am reserving a special connotation for literary, one that it has had for as long as referring to letters was a metonymic reference for writing, and had its advent at a time when writing was reserved for writing that was other than, for examples, warehouse catalogues or laundry lists; although writing could be used for, as it has been used for, popular or mass consumption, and I do not ascent to the prejudice that orality does not have what we could call literary value, or that oral folk tales when transcribed are not literature because they are, as they have shown themselves to be literary and/or literature.

It is not significant to go back and try to detail or delineate the bits of matter, or those of manner, that were initial in forming this review. I wanted to create a home where I could write essays in the tradition of the literary essay as employed by most of Western European civilization’s prose non-fiction practitioners since the time of Montaigne, and yes, Montaigne is the father of the form. Who has not thought of doing the like–writing an essay or two that would express something of the Self, that could give definition or as we like to say in our cliche factory of the mind, meaning. The Self only lives in articulation.

Does this tell you enough? It should tell you everything, but might tell you nothing. Many will still need more–we suffer an information tapeworm in our minds. I will not try to draw you the pictures you might need, no matter how desperately. I will though use words to illustrate, to illuminate, to elucidate, to explicate whenever, wherever possible–words you know, recognize, have heard or read before, perhaps, though, not quite in the way I will use them. You could be familiar with most of what I have said, do say and intend to say in the future; that is, if you step out of the received ideas you accept as the only ideas anyone can accept, understand, believe . . . not even seeing the ideas as received ideas. The ideas you have accepted without question, ideas entrenched in the culture, diffuse through every statement, every act, every response, every question, every assumption, political, social, general, interpersonal,or those inside the Self, everywhere. I am also referring to the received manners of reception most have accepted as the only or primary way of receiving ideas, of integrating ideas, of understanding ideas. Ideas do need an infrastructure, or some core of density for themselves to accrete around–the processes of stellar evolution and solar system formation are analogies appropriate to understanding how ideas are understood, or how they could disseminate.

I do at times skirt the borders of redundancy. I avoid this redundancy by making repetition become motif. I do at times get editorially insulting, which is not the same as getting personal in the way we mean when we refer to unacceptable insults. I suit action to word and word to action. I am also not going to debate the existence of Western Civilization, anymore than my French or Italian or Irish Catholic cousins in France, Italy or Ireland would do–no. The form of the essay I use  must be called literary even when employed in the cause of political and social critique, as well in the matters of philosophy, linguistics, history or historiography, theater, film, music, painting or sculpture . . . I am again becoming redundant. I have discussed this before in other essays, in these or other words. What else we have in the varieties of human expression through human media by beings all too human will only be revealed through successive examples of my writing. There is not much in the way of mainstream print media that is not Status Quo–even our so called dissent has become Status Quo. We will try to avoid this–no! We will avoid this. I will.


The Editor-in-Chief: Jay Ruvolo


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