Annalemma Issue Six: Sacrifice officially ships today. Apologies for the delay, shipping software was being a fickle pickle. Click here to order. But first, please observe this primer:
A couple of homo sapiens are walking around in the forest, hunting for some wily beasts to fill the bellies of their women and children. They stumble upon a boar foraging for mushrooms, oblivious. They take aim with their bows and arrows shaped from twigs and tendons and kill it. They hoot and holler around the dead body of the boar. The hooting and hollering subsides and they stand above the boar, silent. They experience the emotion of guilt. Once back at the village, they proclaim to the women and children that they’ve murdered a living creature in order to live another day and that they must offer the creature up to the gods as a token of thanks, lest the gods think the villagers ungrateful and find reason smite them upside the head. And thus, the notion of taking a loss for the greater good, the notion of sacrifice itself, was born.
It’s hard to say that the human race has changed all that much since the concept was created. The last decade began with an act of martyrdom so primitive and barbarous that it couldn’t be mistaken for anything less than an offering of sentient life to an angry god. But the term has also taken on a new definition. Nowadays survival hinges not on the appeasement of deities, but on working an extra 20 hours a week without health insurance. Sacrifice pervades our lives, whether we’re the ones reaping the benefit or remitting the payment. Acts of selflessness and altruism evoke powerful feelings within us. We tend to raise up individuals with purpose beyond achieving personal gain. It’s with these thoughts that we put out the call for stories of sacrifice for our sixth issue.
Artists are a conflicted group when it comes to the theme of sacrifice. On the one hand they’re used to giving up comfort and happiness in the pursuit of a larger ideal. On the flipside, sitting alone in a room working on a story or a painting is one of the most self-indulgent activities one can engage in outside of downright masturbation. Contradictory as artists may seem, they’re experts on the subject.
Two questions kept surfacing in these stories: What are you willing to give up for your loved ones? What are you not willing to give up? We all like to think that we’d give up everything for our spouses, our siblings, our parents. But unless you’re forced to make that decision, you can’t ever really know. The answers to those questions offer quick insight to what a person’s really made of. It’s our hope that through these fictions you might find what your own answers to these questions could be and discover something about what makes you human.
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