Editorial: Resilience (& Wings)

The world is constantly in a state of flux. Sometimes our surroundings evolve slowly, generation after generation chipping away at a problem to achieve a longterm solution—or a lasting problem. But sometimes, the world as we know it seems to change almost overnight. Psychologists have studied how humans deal with change, but the vast majority of that research involves how we go about changing ourselves. That’s all well and good, but dealing with external changes beyond our control requires a different skillset.

Adapting to change requires resilience. As individuals, in order to survive change, we must be capable of recovering from difficulties. The ugly reality is that while humanity is resilient, not all of us humans come equipped with deep reserves of resilience. This month’s issue is about characters adapting to change—or not.

Our stories this month also feature winged creatures. At FFO, we definitely have a soft spot for birds (looking at you, Sabrina West).

In “The Flamingo Maximizer” by FFO alumnus Dafydd McKimm, the world is inexplicably tossed into a flamingo apocalypse. Emma summed it up nicely in her editorial note. “It’s a surreal look at the ways in which global catastrophes transform us, and how the tide of the world changing slowly drags us in against our will until we’re adapting/accepting without even knowing it.” (Available 11/4)

True story, I’m a terrible sleeper and I’ve recently developed the habit of scrolling Reddit in the wee hours of the morning. When I first read “Can Anyone Tell Me What Kind of Moth This Is?” by Susan Taitel, I could absolutely imagine this dilemma unfolding in real time. I mean, if you can’t ask internet strangers at 2 AM for advice on giant moths, where can you go? Exactly. The struggle is real. (Available 11/11)

We’ve all received gifts that weren’t quite our cup of tea. In Jennifer Popa’s “Make an X, Then Another,” a woman receives a pair of mated lovebirds from her partner. When the relationship falls apart, she’s left to manage the birds, a clutch of eggs, and her own emotional fallout. (Available 11/18)

Our reprint this month is P. H. Low’s “The Flock is Your Blood.” A young woman navigates the complicated upheaval of her changing body and the resulting emotions. Originally published in If There’s Anyone Left, November 2020. (Available 11/25)