Stories, in many ways, exist as snapshots meant to capture the brevity and weight of specific moments in time that have the potential to impact someone reading them. Like it or not, there are no requirements for grandiose narratives or earth-shattering concepts in order to create great stories. In many ways, it is simplicity and honesty that are to be valued in storytellers, and a pure glimpse at reality that is to be gained from them.
NOON, a not-for-profit literary magazine founded in 2000, exists in order that these honest storytellers have a quality platform for anyone willing to pay attention. In its latest issue, available through their website and various retailers, NOON provides a stout list of succinct narratives that gives an honest and enjoyable voice to modern storytellers. By way of a small, annual collection of both art and story, NOON breaks through many of the stereotypes people hold for lit magazines, and provides stories with large and profound concepts rooted in small narratives.
Visually, the magazine appears flawless. Built around stories that stress neatness in both form and substance, NOON matches the quality of writing with a vivid quality of design. Containing various forms of artwork from multiple artists, the themes of writing are counterbalanced with themes of visual aesthetics that provide a well-rounded experience for the reader. The artists in NOON are not trying to pull any punches, and offer simplistically beautiful work that mimics the high quality of writing.
“A bald man buddied up to me in the elevator, but he was no buddy of mine. He was much older than me, yet more or less exactly as tall, not counting my hair. He was holding a brown paper bag over his crotch…” (excerpt from If It Were Anyone Else by Lincoln Michel)
Part of the beauty that exists within each brief narrative in NOON is that fact that they are not afraid to confront the mundane, ridiculous, and lonely aspects that are such a part of everyday human realities. They are abrasive in ways, much the same way human personalities are abrasive, but they are soft and delicate in ways that make you appreciate what they’re trying to say. The stories in NOON are snapshots desiring to honestly and accurately depict what life truly is like, and to capture many of the things that make the human experience unique.
The most admirable thing, however, about NOON is that it provides a variety of perspectives on a variety of topics, but keeps the reader interested by maintaining a steady pace of simple narratives throughout. Reading much like a literary flipbook, the stories delve deep enough to say something important, but remain enough on the surface as to not drown any of its readers. Balancing between being painfully heartbreaking and genuinely comical, each story delivers a clear and profound message that forms a cohesive collection overall.
In a time where literary magazines are a dime a dozen, it is nice to see editors and magazine staffs working hard to deliver quality work to readers. The folks at NOON have set a standard for work that speaks to true human circumstances, and works to communicate important thoughts in compact spaces. Where length seems to lack, NOON provides valuable writing that has the ability to reach a wide audience with stories that support the importance of the human experience.