ALL HANDS / News & reflections, Sep. 21, 2020

And we’re off. Welcome to Day One of The Necessary, a relentless, meandering, lurching, scampering, spiraling, backtracking, leaping, loping journey into that part of the human psyche that makes and responds to art. Like all important journeys, it begins in a state of sleep deprivation and last-minute panic. Earlier today, every article at the top of the homepage vanished. It was like getting up on the morning of your great adventure and realizing you’ve lost your passport. It seems a small piece of code had gotten kicked under the bed. Panic over. Much is left unfinished. You will encounter pleas for your ideas and entreaties to share what you know. And you may trip over loose wires or broken links — in which case I hope you will let me know right away, by comment or email. Meanwhile, look around. Be sure to Follow us. And tell your friends.

Acknowledgements. The Necessary could not have gotten off the ground without brilliant and generous friends — Bruce Beutler, Myra Durkin, Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, Catherine Grace, and Hume Vance — who contributed their talents to a then nonexistent publication. My wife, Kathleen Brittan, has earned a medal (her fifth this year) for putting up with a project that has been “two weeks from launch” for the past six months. My deepest thanks to all who had faith.

Upcoming. The aforementioned Hume Vance, conjurer with words, looks deep into the brain of another conjurer with words, Vladimir Nabokov. To Hume, the novelist’s word play reinforces a view of language as an active, almost athletic process. “Do you suppose,” Hume asks, “that composing sentences could have some analogy to snaking your hand over and behind cans and bottles to grasp and retrieve a little-used container at the back of the shelf?” Look for his story soon, in The Necessary.

“Although I do not care for the slogan ‘art for art’s sake,’ there can be no question that what makes a work of fiction safe from larvae and rust is not its social importance but its art, only its art.”


Headshot of Barbara Diehl Peirce


This magazine is launched in loving memory of Barbara “Beau” Diehl Peirce (1954-2020), artist, fiddle player, therapist, and creative soul.

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