A New Moment

“Of a new moment: This is my body and spirit,
Broken but never tamed, risen from the bloody sod,
Walking suddenly alive in a new morning.”

– Donald Davidson, “The Sod of Battlefields”

Karma, southern fried or not, is freedom, not fate. What we reap and what we sow is not determined by unavoidable fortune but by the choices we make in the moment. Considering that Donald Davidson and his fellow Fugitive scholars, critics, and poets were in their mid-seventies or eighties during the Summer of Love, it’s unlikely they dropped LSD and listened to John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” Nashville wasn’t Berkeley. They may have discussed prevenient grace but not the cosmic principle of rewards and punishments following us from one human incarnation to another. Yet, they made a clear choice at a critical moment during the early 20th century. Their ardent repudiation of southerner’s disproportionate faith in consumerism and their caution regarding excessive industrialization are still valid in the early 21st century.

The original Fugitives, the literary group centered around Vanderbilt University, believed in the importance of art and intellect. Their coalition toggled between a mystical and a pragmatic stance on the more substantial questions our society faced in the 1920’s and 30’s. Taken in today’s context, their views on slavery could be considered pitiful rationales, but at the time, their opinions on race, gender, privilege, and justice were contrary to The Lost Cause movement and the white overseers of capital—the new rich of post-Reconstruction but the old money of today. As citizens, we must question the establishment. That’s the mission of The New Southern Fugitives, our new weekly zine.

We intend to offer our subscribers fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual arts that provokes the reader. Each week, we’ll publish a variety of short stories, including flash fiction, personal essays, book reviews, poems, and photographs that challenge our comfortable perspective of the south.  By focusing on briefer works, we hope to offer more diversity, reach a broader audience, and accelerate our ability to cultivate the voice of the New Millennium. Also, by publishing in a Web-based format only, we’re utilizing interconnected electronic communications as tools that stir change rather than overwhelming chatter.  

A critical part of our success is our subscribers and authors. We are seeking writers. That’s why we’ve attended book festivals throughout the southeast and advertised in writing publications. That’s how we promote the growth of new voices. We don’t charge a reading fee, and unlike other zines, we pay upon publication. We couldn’t make the path to a broader audience any more amicable. Please send us your work and encourage your friends to do the same.  

Being part of the Southern Fried Karma family, we present ourselves with a similar appearance: red to mark a promising venture, yellow to activate the mind, blue the most common earth tone our Creator used to color the sky, the rivers, and the oceans. As in all our enterprises, Shiva’s trishula is present. The Hindu avatar is known as the destroyer who pierces our egos with his three-pronged spear. It is through the destruction of our conceited mindsets that we learn to relate to each other beyond physical form. Self-importance cannot love, but souls can. We aspire to create a means that allows us to glimpse each other as fellow souls, born in the same manner and traveling to the same destination. By promoting our diversity, we’re striving to illustrate our commonality. Join as a witness to the journey.