Putting together Dream Catcher 41 in lockdown has been a multi-layered experience. Not only did the practicalities of adjusting to the new normal delay production, but the majority of the pieces were written before the pandemic, which descended on us with such unexpected haste. Only a few were written during it. But reading them through the lens of the new normal casts a different colour on the pieces and their themes – isolation, for example, masks, nature’s forces. They are preoccupied with thoughts we are slowly returning to, having been overwhelmed by the cultural, individual and tragic impacts of the pandemic, reminding us of the issues humanity still has to engage with, now alongside the added dimension of virus control. Global pollution, homelessness, xenophobia, race, political ideologies – all still need our attention.
The writers in this issue write movingly, cleverly, musically, and amusingly, about loneliness, memories of childhood, romance and disillusioned romance, quotidian life in urban contexts, borderlands between urban and rural, gardens, family relationships, in memoriam and in different worldwide locations. There are witty stories, reflective, interiorised poems, poems that ponder literature itself, and the spiritual and mythic archetypes that inform our consciousnesses. This is a collection, as always, full of voices.
We are privileged to feature some of the art of the late Jeffrey Spedding who over his lifetime painted the portraits of many of the twentieth century's major musical and literary figures.