Summum Bonum: The Highest Good

KalpnaHeadshots_ LANDL #3The third edition of Life and Legends marks the first anniversary of our journal and I’m thrilled to share it with all of you!

First of all, my very special thanks to our guest editor Melissa Studdard for her generous support in putting this issue together, and bringing a rich harvest of American literature by hand selecting the best of our writers and poets. Life and Legends is enriched by her contributions and their’s, whose works we are celebrating in this issue.

I also want to thank our contributing editor Margret Saine, for adding to our global perspective, and Rachel McCallum for giving us a hand with what goes behind the scene. Last but not least, I want to thank our associate editor Robbi Nester for joining us and lending her expertise in deciding what must go in this edition of Life and Legends, that is now before you.

At Life and Legends, we aim to bring an international community of writers, editors and translators to contribute and share literature from their parts of the world, written or translated into English and publishing them with their original versions in different languages. We aim to be a journal that is not only known for publishing international literature, but for also being a platform for cultural exchange and having meaningful dialogues through literature and other forms of art.

Efforts like this are normally made by diplomatic missions in many countries with the help of governmental and non-governmental organizations, in both public and private sectors. They are well organized and generously funded. As a journal, for us to have the same mission is not an ambition, but it is an initiative to do our part, and contribute by collaborating with individuals and institutions dedicated to cultural missions.

“Cultural Diplomacy” is a common term to describe such actions from an early age in history to strengthen relationships with other countries and promote national interests. However, our mission is not to acquire soft power by spending hard dollars to promote a national interest. Our mission is to promote the interest of the international community of writers and artists by exchanging ideas, values and sharing our cultural identities to have a proper understanding of each other through literature and art.

To take a step in this direction, we announce a special section dedicated to Cultural Diplomacy in our journal, a section that will share the ideas of formal and informal cultural ambassadors from the fields of art and literature worldwide. I thank Christopher Merrill for honoring my invitation, and accepting the call for writing a permanent column on cultural diplomacy in Life and Legends, to share his inspiring journey and wealth of knowledge as a cultural ambassador and educator, with all of us. This dialogue is intended to create an understanding about how to recognize our interdependence in a modern world, respect cultural diversity and heritage, open an intercultural dialogue through literature and art, and work together to support and empower each other. We invite our ambassadors to talk about the programs and resources available out there to help writers, poets and artists in different parts of the world, and facilitate learning opportunities for their growth and success.

The Cover Art of Life and Legends #3 entitled “Summum bonum” created by the brilliant Roxanne Brousseau Felio, beautifully captures the essence of what we wish for as a journal for “the highest good”.

I want to conclude with an observation of Thomas Jefferson to James Madison written and sent to him from Paris on September 20th 1785 – “You see I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts. But it is an enthusiasm of which I am not ashamed, as its object is to improve the taste of my countrymen, to increase their reputation, to reconcile to them the respect of the world, and procure them its praise.”

I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve in my position at Life and Legends and proud of our programs at the Silent River Film and Literary Society. Thank you all!

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

Editor-in-Chief – Life and Legends
June 29th, 2015