Folyosó has been making its way out into the world. This issue features writing by secondary school students from five schools and four countries: the Varga Katalin Gimnázium in Szolnok, Hungary; the Árpád Vezér Gimnázium in Sárospatak, Hungary; Pinelands High School in Cape Town, South Africa; the Lycée Sainte Pulchérie in Istanbul, Turkey; and the 3 Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Agnieszki Osieckiej w Sopocie in Sopot, Poland. This is exciting, but the pieces themselves are the most exciting aspect of it all. By turns brilliant, surprising, disturbing, funny, logical, wry, thoughtful, dreamy, and down-to-earth, they remind me why Folyosó exists: for the sake of literature in the making.
One of today’s global anxieties revolves around AI: what will it replace, what will it do well, what will it botch? If an AI bot can generate a story, poem, or essay, why bother writing at all? How can editors be sure that what they receive was written by a human? Why does this matter?
Many of us conceive of writing as solitary: it requires concentration and integrity that cannot be found in a group. Editors want to be assured that what they receive is the submitter’s “own” work: original, not copied from elsewhere, not assisted with a second hand (except the light hand of a teacher or peer). All of this has a basis; the urge to write comes in part from a sense of difference, of having something to say that isn’t already being said, or that others wouldn’t say in the same way. At the same time, writing abounds with influence: not only that of one writer on another, but of editors on writers (and vice versa), musicians on writers, friends on friends. In this light, it is conceivable that writers will one day collaborate with AI (as some are already doing—consider, for instance, Sasha Stiles).
Short of such collaboration, AI writing falls woefully short of what a reasonably resourceful human can do; an AI-written essay plods so blandly along that you would think the point of writing was to say nothing at all, and to say it in the most banal way possible.
The writings in Folyosó leave such blandness far behind. They bristle, shudder, and cackle. Some come from seasoned writers, who write on their own, outside of school; some come from students who write only when they have to, but put thought and care into it. Some pieces are energetically long (this issue features our longest piece yet, an intricate, bracing essay by Szymon Kochański), some brief and breathless. I hope that each of the pieces will find readers.
Readers, after all, bring all of this to life. Some writers (maybe many, who knows?) understand their endeavor differently after receiving a letter from a reader, but even those readers who respond silently make their mark. Allotting time to reading—and then reading a lot, carefully—sustains both writer and reader; once it becomes a habit or a ritual, it can be great fun as well.
This issue includes the winners of our Fourth International Contest (on the topics of “freedom” and “mistakes”); responses to Tennessee Williams’ play The Glass Menagerie; various stories, essays, and poems; and cover art by Emese Kassai. Read away, and let us know what you particularly enjoy!
Founder and Editor of Folyosó