I want to speak a little about family.
To put it simply, family stories fascinate me. I always want to know about people and their pasts, how they spend time with their family, how their family sees them, and about what families can teach us. The memories I hold dearest are of boogie boards on beach holidays, of learning to cook the perfect Persian meal, of just the right audiobook on a long road trip — family is at the heart of all of them. My favourite moments in literature are of Salinger’s Zooey consoling his mother through a shower curtain, of Strout’s Lucy weeping in the passenger seat of her brother’s car, of Forster’s Schlegel sisters taking the wrong umbrella home from a concert. I love observing the complexities that make up a family unit, I love the little quirks that get passed on, and I love how family can show us how to be.
In many ways, Honi itself is a family.
First, we have the new generation: our reporters. This edition’s stories on family are some of the most beautiful I have ever read. Nicola Brayan wonders what surnames say about us, assessing the linguistic and cultural constraints that shape families over generations. We hear from Audhora Khalid, and how her identity has been shaped by the war-scarred heart of her Bangladeshi family. As we veer into the edition’s creative pieces, we learn about a family’s loss from Brendan Ryan, whose “oxygenated writing” (his words, not mine) cuts at the soul; when we read Anthony-James Kanaan’s poem and Zeina Khochaiche’s personal essay, we see how food is at the core of Middle Eastern families (my own included).
Second, we have the parents: the Editors. I spend so much time with my fellow Shakers, cloistered in our mouldy home, that they are my family too. When I giggle with my wife Misbah, whisper in French tutes with Kat, excitedly plan Lorde with Luke C, grab Mapo with Bip on a sunny afternoon, run away from Ethan as he films me, muse on Taylor Swift with Veronica, secretly laugh at Luke M’s jokes, share pretty songs and poems with Andy, and clink watches with Caitlin, I consider myself a lucky person indeed.
Third, and finally, we have our forebears. Thank you to Shania and Zara, not only for Shania’s beautiful cover art and Zara’s perfect book recommendations, but for how they brought me into Honi and were the best Editors I could have ever asked for. These past few weeks, CAKE and Bloom have been the sage grandparents we needed. Thank you to all of them. They know that family is at Honi’s core, and this is what our current detractors fail to understand — respect and loyalty to one’s family is essential.
I hope that you love this edition as much as I do.