Lakeside Plantation, Batchelor, Louisiana

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Far Away and Deep Within

Prefaces are rarely read or remembered unless they are manifestos, which this is not. The guiding editors of our “magazine” invited me to introduce the first issue, explaining something about the group from which it has grown.

Far Away and Deep Within is a title I gave to a symposium at a North Carolina literary festival which David Moltke Hansen and Rachel Davies organized in the nineties. While drawing several thousand participants, it lacked a global aspect, so I organized that symposium; three “foreign” authors who resided in the South read their works: Daphne Athas read from Entering Ephesus, which tells of her Greek father bringing his family to Carrboro, N.C.; Lilian Furst read from her autobiography of escaping from Nazis in Vienna to England to eventually the U.S. South (Home is Somewhere Else); Jun Wang read of coming from China to the South. Psychoanalyst David Freeman commented on how such “far away” connected to “deep withins,” regionally and psychically.

Four years ago, two centers at UNC, one focused regionally, the other globally, sought somehow to link the two, world and region, in ongoing discussion. So we created this group Far Away and Deep Within (though we usually just call it the “global south group”). I invited fiction writers and psychoanalysts, with the idea that the former would share works in progress and the latter would comment, and also others—those who explore regional experience with a nod to global connections, maybe but not necessarily explicit. Initially we looked at a book I wrote about the global/southern connection (Grounded Globalism: How the U.S. South Embraces the World), but that reference has dimmed into shadows as we have explored so much and added or lost participants. A glance at our roster of steady participants and occasional presenters evidences one result: their creations, including recent and forthcoming novels, essays, books, performances, readings, and institutions ranging from student movements to frameworks for projects of powerful contribution.

Photo by Jim Peacock

Photo by Jim Peacock

What next? Three-and-a-half-year-old Amelia tells me her favorite story is “the big bang and the final crunch.” Black holes come in between, she says, and “Abuelo, they can suck you up.” But “after the rain, the sun comes out, and I [she says smiling beautifully and eyes sparkling] am the sun!” This magazine continues our exploration to which we invite everyone.