It is to keep one in, or it is to keep others out, or there is no difference.
We build walls, tangible and intangible; we always have.
For comfort and security. For boundaries and protection.
But can one build a wall sincerely? Will not the bricks and mortar and digital screens hinder well-intentioned compassion? Empathy transforms into a distant, dissociated, and ultimately, damning objectivity.
Self-protection and self-preservation (i.e. self-interest) becomes negligible when we hear the incessant cries of our people—7.4 billion and counting—beyond our walls. We can no longer turn a deaf ear because it keeps us awake at night: a deafening resonance and a screaming conscience.
In our fourth issue, writers have crafted fiction that examine their own experiences, as well as the implications for their lives when building and/or confronting walls.
We are delighted to interview the brilliant, award-winning Yiyun Li, whose stories and essays have been published in The New Yorker and The Paris Review. We also feature powerful voices, including a short story (‘Ater e Bai’) by Nyuol Lueth Tong, editor of There Is a Country: New Fiction from the New Nation of South Sudan (McSweeney’s, 2013); and three poems by Vera Chok, whose essay ‘Yellow’ can be found in the groundbreaking anthology, The Good Immigrant (Unbound, 2016).
Transect is all about “Fiction Across Borders”—across, ‘from one side to the other’ (dict.), by whatever means possible—whether that be going around, over or under, or just right through. Whichever way, we cut across; for no wall is big or strong enough to prevent the penetration and proliferation of words.