Trigger Assignment Methodology
In mid-April, I sat down with the sixteen stories, poems, and pieces of visual art submitted by the contributors you’ll find in this edition of Trigger. It was my job to assign each of those initial pieces to a different artist. Each piece of visual art needed a writer. Each piece of writing needed an artist. I had a short turnaround – only a few days – and for the most part, I hadn’t looked extensively at any of the submissions. I approached the review process of those initial pieces in as haphazard a fashion as possible. That is to say, as I read through the stories and poems and took a detailed look at the visual art, I tried to avoid the sort of mannered approach that could force me to make selections based on silly things like logic and reason rather than on my gut.
The gut is the divining rod of art. In his fantastic story “How to Tell a True War Story,” Tim O’Brien instructs the reader that, “It comes down to gut instinct. A true war story, if truly told, makes the stomach believe.” We could easily substitute “art” for “war story.” We can think about, talk about, analyze and dissect every little subtextual meaning and every little societal importance in a work of art, but ultimately, it is the gut that leads us to significance, that shines a light on some glimmer of humanity and truth and beauty. And so it was with my gut that I started pairing off writers and artists. I didn’t pay much attention to subject matter or style. I just made the selections that felt right.