Letter from the Editors (Issue 5)

By Mána Taylor

Fall 2021 / Winter 2022 Issue

I decided to change my name, reverting to the simpler one that appears on my birth certificate. When I was born, I was not able to formally inherit the Icelandic tradition of a patronymic last name. So, legally, I carry my mother’s British last name. I always found Taylor to be too traditional, even boring. After all, it is the fifth most common last name in the United States. When I started to publish my own writing, I used my patronymic last name Hjörleifsdóttir (meaning daughter of Hjörleifur) as a way to distinguish myself, enhancing this Icelandic identity that I carry. However, I have recently wondered if most people upon viewing my name, simply see it as a mouthful, a big mush of lengthy letters pronounced “jjorliftoottir” or something. 

While we were in the process of brainstorming this issue we were also in the process of making a big move, which we have now made. Telo took a step back from writing this letter because he not only contributed two wonderful pieces to this issue, but he also got a job in New York City! I am extremely proud of him and I am delighted to share his insightful article on cryptocurrencies. 

In this Fall/Winter issue, there is writing about a Zoom listening party reminiscent of teenage years, thoughts on softness, collecting wood chips, and more. The search for clarity within the in-between spaces seems to be a thread that connects these writers and artists. The photographs and illustrations included appear as duplicates or mirrors of themselves whereupon we can reflect on the space between them. Additionally, most of the photographs included such as Kioto Aoki’s and Alson Zhao’s are created via an analog process, and the ink relief prints by Ben Bajema contribute to the handmade, non-digital, tactile feeling this issue offers. 

As I omit half of my name, I learn to appreciate the empty space in-between my first and last names. The Documentarian is a place to reflect and to experiment, to change and be changed. This issue has exemplified our approach to experimentation perhaps more than others, and we are embracing its asymmetrical, incongruous elements. Thank you for continuing this journey with us.