I knew that being the editor of Lunch Ticket would require filling some pretty big shoes, but it wasn’t until I was directing the journal that I fully understood the extent of what that implied: it wasn’t just a matter of successfully leading a staff of almost 40 volunteers, but of building upon what the editor before me had established. The goal of that structure, though, wasn’t just to stitch together various pieces of writing and art that we thought were good, and call it our latest issue. The goal of that structure was to curate a publication that mattered.
But who am I to say what matters? And who are we to say that our publication matters? Well, that’s a great question. But hear me out, and then decide for yourself—because that, I think, is the point.
As it is affiliated with Antioch University Los Angeles, Lunch Ticket has a social justice-oriented mission. Accordingly, we seek to publish work that pushes this agenda. But how does a piece do that?
Pieces that are social justice-minded show a capacity for the moral imagination. That doesn’t mean it has to be sugar and rainbows—in fact, it tends to be the opposite: they ask the hard questions; they look issues squarely in the eye that people generally shy away from; and they tell the reader that they now have to make a conscious choice. The reader, once the piece has been put down, has been made aware of things through a point of view not necessarily their own, and must take newfound responsibility for the way they act in relation to all others. These pieces are simply trying to make sense of the world, but they do so in a way that reveals something about the state of humanity that forces us to make a choice about it, whether personal or extra-personal, because we find that it isn’t necessarily the world itself that has to be made sense of but the people inhabiting it. And as such the effects of that choice ripple outwards. These pieces close the gap between what is you and what is not you; and in so doing, their purposes pass from simply invoking feeling to having true meaning.
Therefore, I think it matters what a piece of art, in general, has to say. The pieces in this issue, then, as with all others, aren’t just shouting into a void or adding to the noise: people are listening. And I think they listen more carefully than we give them credit for.