Before I became a mother, I thought I’d take my child(ren) back to Malaysia for Deepavali every year. For various reasons, I haven’t made that particular trip with my daughter since she was born in 2009, although we’ve been to Malaysia three times as a family.
October’s the thick, sticky middle of my stuff season. I long to see the leaves flaming and falling on the Leelanau Peninsula; In the mornings I want sour cherry preserves on my toast and in the evening, after dinner and a walk in the brisk, fragrant airs, I want donuts from the Franklin Mill.
This issue is dominated by a symposium of some thirty writers from different fields responding to a question about the most memorable secret space of their own childhoods. Their mini-essays are not only descriptive but analytical, as they reflect on the state of childhood itself, in personal experiences, in texts, in modern culture. Ranging from a long paragraph to several pages, these commentaries provide an iconography of the state of childhood that will interest scholars of the field as well as general readers.
In this special issue, authors from a variety of fields explore the imaginative world of childhood, how children seek refuge from adult society in realms that paradoxically ease their way into adulthood, carrying with them the felt memories of transcendent and transgressive experience, sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrible.