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CITIZENS OF THE WORLD by Robert Wood

Illustration of a group of peopleAnd so, just like that, we have come to the end of JOURNAL. With more than sixty entries over twenty weeks, JOURNAL has been a welcoming and safe space for diverse people to share their creative non-fiction for a global audience. Edited from Boorloo, we are grounded in our local context, but know that good writing can travel across distances and oceans and times. We hope these entries have transported you to destinations known and unknown, that this has resonated and helped you grow during a difficult time as well. There have been pieces on loss, love, memory, grief, hope, sex, trauma, violence, food, and relationships. There has been so much more.

There have been pieces by men, women, non-binary people, bringing us into an intimate and imaginative embrace that captures the heart as much as the mind. There have been pieces by people from many cultural backgrounds be they First Nations, people of colour, or white. We welcome them all just as we welcome people with disabilities, different sexualities, classes, religions and, those who are marginalised in other ways. There have been pieces by experienced writers, and those published for the first time. JOURNAL has been an inclusive, open, generous, challenging, divergent, dissenting, collaborative, warm set of writing to represent our city itself. We continue to do that because of the guidance of traditional Whadjuk Elders, and, it has been our privilege to make space for First Nations writers most of all.

At an administrative level, JOURNAL has been generously funded by the Copyright Agency and Department of Local Government, Sport and Creative Industries. Their generosity was sparked by our artistic idea to reflect on Covid from many perspectives. Covid matters, but it does not define us. Covid informed JOURNAL, but it did not define it. Covid is still here, but our city moves on just like us. Like one valence of identity, we are more than the sum of those parts. We contain multitudes and complexity and are complicated individuals in how we experience and navigate the world. These stories are a testament to that. They suggest an opening in a conversation rather than a definitive end. They are a way to get to know us as people in a world that sees fact and fiction as twins from the same parents who are life itself.

And that reality, that awareness we come from life, underpins this collection of writing as a whole. The aim is to be a mirror, to hold up the truth for us to reflect on, to debate and question and change who we are when we look at life anew. That means focusing the attention, means returning to great challenges, means abiding by the hope that writing changes the world. It is a way for people to come together even when we are apart, to connect from our homes, to face down demons and lift up angels. It is a way for people to give thanks for simply being here, for being here simply, in times of trouble and woe.

JOURNAL then is about hope. The hope that sharing stories in the written form allows us to embrace who we are in a way that is deeper than before. It is about the awareness of going on when the world is beset by violence and wrong; that a careful practice of writing and sharing is full of care itself, for the self and the community, for each of us as citizens of the world. Thanks for being part of this journey, we are grateful and humbled that you came along.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Wood


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