Welcome to the inaugural issue of Tandeta, a journal of curated eclecticism and intentional randomness that embraces the adage, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.” As you’ll see, it contains varied voices, genres, and subjects, ranging from math to psychology, fiction to film, poetry to visual art. Taken together, the contributions show us that, as Hilary Sallick puts it in “Notes from January,” it is “such a wide sky we live in/ full of tints and lights.” If that diversity can at times be dizzying, it also shows us that, as Mary Buchinger writes in “Cynosure,” “centers proliferate,” even in these fluid and uncertain times.
This issue’s theme of epiphany has a personal timeliness for me, as one who’s recently been moved to change my location, occupation, and community. As I write below in “My Big Quit,” my epiphany may seem a bit trashy to some folks. They may objectively assess that I am living in a shed in a trailer park. But then again, I (equally objectively) assess that I now live in a quite-trendy tiny home in a community of original thinkers, niched between ranchlands and a metroplex. In some moments, I am experiencing the trash-like context of loss, of a tossing-aside, of a frank pitching-away with complete abandon. At other moments, I am reveling in elements that feel like treasure. Only time and perspective will tell the full, nuanced tale.
I realize my epiphany could be considered in light of my age—the middle fifties, a time of life when many people see a need for something more or different than what they have experienced up to that point. Or perhaps my epiphany could be viewed in light of the pandemic: my moment of enlightenment, a statistic of The Great Resignation.
But oh, how I hate that coinage!
I much prefer The Big Quit. I certainly do not believe that I have resigned a single thing, nor have I felt resigned for a single moment.
“Quit” is much better, bearing latent in its etymology the Latin and Old French meanings of “be still” and “set free.” Quit, then, corresponds with the feelings I experienced during my experience of epiphany, and it seems to jibe with the experiences of my fellow Workforce Quitters and Life Changers of these pandemic years. I’ve always thought of an epiphany as a private, personal event, but now I wonder. Does a moment’s presence as part of a larger historical movement nullify it as an epiphany, or is it precisely through the accumulation of many private epiphanies that historical movements grow?
I recently had a brief catching-up email exchange with a former student, in which I tried out the word “quit,” as in “I quit my job.” I thought to write that I had “resigned” (such a sad, flaccid word) or “moved on” (as if 23 years of a career were like stopping with a mule at a watering hole) or “transitioned” (I pictured myself as some shape-shifter, thinning out and twisting helix-like, then bulging in parts as I changed colors in waves of vomitous green and some alien-inspired magenta). I wanted to see what the word “quit” might do.
I was not displeased at her reply: “I hope it was a Good Quit.”
I hope the new year brings many of you an epiphany as productive and moving (whether literally or figuratively) as my own, and that 2022 becomes the Year of the Good Quit, whatever that may mean to you. (Or conversely, may you have a Good Stay.)
And welcome again to Tandeta, where anything is treasure, if that’s what you see.