April 2014

An essential aspect of any great literary work is the place in the story where conflict and resolution meet. The angst, tension and sometimes comedic indecision that builds, leading up to the crossing over, are what make readers weep at the end of a favorite book or laugh out loud on the subway.

Our choices and the choices of our subjects are the makings of poignant essays and impossible-to-put-down fiction and narrative nonfiction. Without change, anticipated, unexpected, unappreciated or otherwise, life would be pretty boring, and regardless of which side of the page we’re on — as writers or readers — crossroads serve as connecting points. They highlight our vulnerabilities and teach us about our strengths, and their impact has the power to remap our lives.

In this, our second issue of Proximity, we present nine very different experiences of crossroads — stories filled with the freedom of decisions well-made, grief’s aftermath, the gift of well-timed coincidences, and the motivating nature of surprise.

Shasta Grant takes “The Long Way Home” in an essay about adoption, parenting, and the necessity of letting go, and in “(No) Satisfaction,” a song delivers Leslie Miller from a devastating choice.

Joel Prince captures crossroads quite literally with his provocative photo essay, “Right of Way,” while an unlikely champion joins Holly Allin at the beginning of an intense bike trip in Argentina, detailed in “A Single Step.”

Charles Finn celebrates the power of friendship in “Blood Brothers,” and a traumatic encounter on a pig farm changes Bill Vernon’s perspective in “Rings.”

In “Next Year,” Lise Menn’s husband crosses from life to death and she finds herself at a crossroads of her own.

In “Frametown, 2007,” Erin E. Tocknell’s faith in humanity is restored as she’s forced to ask for help from strangers, while “Why I Quit Facebook,” by Katie Hagen sheds light on the responsibility that comes with having too many “friends.”

We are honored to include these great storytellers and their transformative works in Proximity’s Crossroads issue, and we look forward to hearing your feedback in comments on our Facebook page.

Happy reading!

Towles Kintz & Traci J. Macnamara