There were four of us, and we sat together in a boat on Cass Lake, catching walleyes, Minnesota's state fish. Cass Lake is located in northern Minnesota, nestled amidst the pine trees of Chippewa National Forest, near the modest headwaters of the Mississippi River. We were having a good night. I landed a 26" walleye, a big fish but not a trophy, and my wife landed a 27" walleye shortly afterwards, both of which we photographed and released. As the sun dipped below the horizon and clouds gathered on the southwestern shore of the lake, we decided to call it a night. Unfortunately for us, the boat had different plans. The engine refused to start. The clouds drew nearer. Lightning flashed from across the lake. We hunkered in and braced ourselves for the impending storm.
As this issue of InTheFray reveals, Kyla Pasha and Sarah Suhail are bracing themselves for a storm of another variety. They are the founders of Chay Magazine, an online publication focusing on sex and sexuality in Pakistani society. Despite the inevitable criticism they expect for addressing such a controversial topic so directly, they've already received a host of encouraging responses. In Sex in Pakistan, Sarah Seltzer interviews Kyla Pasha about the magazine and what she’d like it to accomplish.
Argentina is no stranger to turmoil, either. In this month's travel narrative Buenos Aires, ITF contributing news editor Suan Pineda takes us to the Argentinian capital, where locals and tourists alike dance the tango together. As Argentina's economy booms and high-rise condominiums look out over slums, the clouds of social discord gather on the horizon as they have so many times before. And when the storm does strike, tango will carry Argentinians through the chaos.
In her short story The end of the song, Zdravka Evtimova considers chaos of a time gone by. The story tells the tale of Dono, the brutal chieftain of a clan of carters, and his wife, Vecka. Even as her husband beats her, Vecka draws strength from the song she sings, a song that even Dono is powerless to resist.
The birth and proliferation of the iPod has allowed the rest of us to use music to escape the tempests around us as well, even those of us who can't sing. In In Tune with the Ipod, Amy Brozio-Andrews reviews The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture, and Coolness. She tells how Steven Levy writes of the iPod and how, far from insulating individuals from culture, the device instead allows audiences to enjoy music, podcasts and blogs on their own terms.
The serene eye at the heart of this month's stormy issue is Fragments of Dreams, Lianne Milton's series of photographs shot with a small plastic Holga camera. The cheap construction, simple lens, and many light leaks produce natural vignettes and other unique effects that can't be duplicated with Photoshop. The result is a series of photos that is both peaceful and surreal.
Just as the gathering clouds or cultural upheaval in Argentina may not portend a disaster, the storm we saw moving across the lake didn't hold a disaster for us. A friend with a nearby boat towed us to shore, and the storm passed by to the south, sprinkling us with rain, but sparing us its more fearsome elements. Soon, we were seated around a campfire, trading fishing stories, talking and laughing. That is what's most excruciating about anticipation: one never knows what will happen. The storm clouds that gather on the horizon might wipe out a town, leave a country's economy in shambles and claim lives. Or they could just as easily pass by, leaving lives, homes, and countries intact. One never knows …
St. Paul, Minnesota