Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law are joining us today to talk about Seasons Between Us: Tales of Identities and Memories, an anthology they edited. Here’s the publisher’s description:
What is a life well-lived? How should life be lived? What kind of hopeful stories will you leave behind?
Travel with twenty-three speculative fiction authors through the seasons of life to capture the memories, identities, and moments of stepping through the portal of change, as they cope with their own journeys of growing older.
From the moment of birth, through each threshold of our lives, to the moment we take our last breath, we age.
Some of us leap into a hopeful future, some cling to the knowns of our former selves, some wander obliviously through the minefields and poppies of change. Something is lost, something is gained in each season. Things forgotten, things remembered.
A child redefines identity and belonging in post-Soviet Hungary. A girl blossoming to adult awareness exchanges life for death in rural Canada. A college student chooses between the magic of ancient spirits and the magic of daily happiness in modern Japan. In futuristic India, a mother finds joy in the balance between family and career. Under the Andalusian sun, a mathematician consults his older self in affairs of love. In alternate Tanzania, a husband and wife discover wisdom in memory loss. A robot eases an old man’s grief, and a grandmother opens her heart when she listens to her child.
And many more hopeful stories.
Featuring Original Stories by Maurice Broaddus, Vanessa Cardui, C.J. Cheung, Joyce Chng, Eric Choi, S.B. Divya, Alan Dean Foster, Bev Geddes, Maria Haskins, Tyler Keevil, Rich Larson, Karin Lowachee, Brent Nichols, Heather Osborne, Y.M. Pang, Karina Sumner-Smith, Amanda Sun, Patrick Swenson, Bogi Takács, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Jane Yolen, and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro.
With an Introduction by Candas Jane Dorsey
Edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law
What’s their favorite bit?
In my early thirties my life took a left turn when I became a single mother with two children to raise and no job, having given up my teaching position to become a full-time mother. After some searching, I found a position—teaching children with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties in a residential treatment center. The position required a specific skill set that I didn’t necessarily feel I had, but the principal took a chance on my ability to learn fast.
It was scary. But I had been at the school only three days when I experienced a moment that has stayed with me for my entire life. I was walking down one of the school’s corridors alone when I became aware I was flooded with happiness. I wondered why. The answer I came up with was: the job was hard, but someone had confidence in me. Confidence that I could do it.
By stepping into this school, this role, I had crossed a threshold in my life. I didn’t realize it then, but on one dimension at least, the act of crossing this boundary, taking up this challenge, transformed me into a different person. I refer to the five years I spent at this facility as the years I really became a teacher; a treasured highlight of my teaching career.
I am not the person I was as a shy child. Nor the person I was in my twenties, when I could not fathom any reason why I might want to stay home one night a week—a seven-day rehearsal schedule was fine with me. I am not the person I was yesterday, nor the one I will be tomorrow. Yet such metamorphoses are more often gradual and unrecognised, marked more by birthdays and clocks than by moments of awareness.
Often, it is not through personal introspection that we become aware of these moments, but through stories of how people face themselves with greater understanding. In Seasons Between Us: Tales of Identities and Memories, a young earthbound wife recognises her own underlying longings when her husband is the one to walk on the moon. An aging parent recognizes they can forge a new relationship with their daughter by finally accepting her as her own person. A daughter finds her own strengths when she recognises her mother is not the one holding her back. A young woman chooses the magic of happiness and freedom in the mundane world, even when the magic of an exotic world is possible. A teen recognises a fleeting friendship, though she knows she it can’t be possible for her. A man and his wife find value in their contributions to the world, even within the body and mind’s decline.
Because stories, the best ones, attempt to distill and clarify such moments of significance.
And my favorite bit? The process of working with the authors of Seasons Between Us to massage these tales of thresholds has given me the opportunity to become more aware, myself, of the myriad ways I have transformed throughout my life.
LUCAS K. LAW
While editing Seasons Between Us, my brother-in-law passed away. At his Celebration of Life, people would come up to the family and say, “He lived a good life.”
What is a life well-lived?
That thought stirred as I watched the gathering of crowds. And this question led to another: How should life be lived?
Then, to another: What kind of stories will each of us leave behind?
Each person—including myself—must write their own story, but it struck me that some experiences throughout a person’s life may be recurrent. Aging. Universal emotions. Relationships.
Aging is a journey from the moment of birth to the moment of death. A life’s journey of growing older. The changing of seasons.
In between arriving and leaving, each season is a series of waves, rising and falling between joy and sorrow, touching the range of human emotions—some named, some not, some indescribable. Though each experience is unique and individual, the stories feel familiar because they are the touchstones in our collective unconscious. We know these emotions—they are fundamental and universal to us. Do we accept and embrace these emotions? Or do we fear and run from them? How do we live a life of purpose?
Living with purpose is difficult when the complexities of our world go against us—some hurdles within our control, others not. But as the slideshow in my brother-in-law’s Celebration of Life demonstrated, moments of joy, moments of goodness, and moments of festivity are to be found in every season. We must live, and we must dream.
Not only do the slideshows of our lives have many stories to tell, they also impart truths if we care to look for them. One fundamental truth can be expressed as: it is not the quantity, but the quality of our relationships that matters. No matter our age, we are not alone, and life is a shared journey of moments to discover, explore, and rediscover in every season. Being independent does not preclude needing each other: to grow, to expand, and to flourish.
In Seasons Between Us, the authors leave us with probing questions: Who are we? What is the meaning of existence? Do we make a difference?
Somewhere in my travels, I saw this phrase: Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters most.
The time is now. This is the only life we get. Time is an enhanced appreciation of the little things in our lives.
So, go. Create memories; accept new identities; engage words for social good; connect with people, places, and things that make your life richer; savor the support and generosity given to you; acknowledge your good fortune; work on healthy aging. And also, apply the pay-it-forward principle. When your journey ends, you will then answer your own question: What is a life well-lived?
And my favorite bit falls at the end of each short fiction in Seasons Between Us: Tales of Identities and Memories, where the author provides a note: What would you tell your younger self?
Seasons Between Us Universal Book Link
Lucas K. Law
More Info on Seasons Between Us
Susan Forest is an award-winning author and editor of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Her novel, Bursts of Fire was released in 2019, followed by Flights of Marigold (2020) and Gathering of Ghosts (2022). She has published over 25 short stories, contributes to When Words Collide, and has appeared at many international writing conventions. With Lucas K. Law, she co-edited the award-winning anthology series from Laksa Media: Strangers Among Us, The Sum of Us, Shades Within Us, and Seasons Between Us. Susan loves travel and has been known to dictate novels from the back of her husband’s motorcycle. Visit her online at www.speculative-fiction.ca. Follow the Addicted to Heaven series online at www.addictedtoheaven.com.
Lucas K. Law is a Malaysian-born award-winning editor and author who divides his time and heart between Calgary and Qualicum Beach. With Susan Forest, he co-edited Strangers Among Us, The Sum of Us, Shades Within Us, and Seasons Between Us. Lucas is the co-editor of Where the Stars Rise with Derwin Mak. When he isn’t editing, writing, or reading, he is a corporate and non-profit organization consultant in business planning and development. Lucas is a life member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.