welcome to PAST TEN
Donald Quist - Creator / Chief Editor
This project began during a period of acute anxiety and existential crisis. Worried about the future and whether I had made enough progress towards my goals, I sat down and considered where I was in my life ten years earlier, and then I wrote about it. I realized I had experienced many things I could have never conceived a decade prior and nearly every aspect of my life had changed.
Change is constant and it can be hard to measure from day to day. I think there is value in taking a moment to look back a decade. There is value in reflecting on the differences between who you are and who you were.
Curious about the journeys of others, I started asking friends and family, "Where were you on this date ten years ago?"
Here, I will share some of these responses as a testament to the transformative power of time and the human capacity to turn the unpredictable into art. I hope these recollections inspire you to ponder your own existence, and how you have changed over the past ten years. I hope they encourage you to persevere another decade.
Kali White VanBaale - Managing Editor
Where were you on this day ten years ago? So often we’re told to “be present” and “live in the now,” but in reality we have to look to the past in order to understand and make sense of the present. What I love about Past-Ten is that it embraces this duality—that reflection of one’s past doesn’t have to be an act of regretful self-flagellation, but can instead be an act of self-discovery and hard-earned wisdom others can learn from. Perhaps “living in the now” isn’t a real thing, because now is inextricably tied to was, and both must be lived, and contemplated, simultaneously. Past-Ten aims to explore the beautiful and complex knots of personal histories.
Kali VanBaale is the author of the novels The Good Divide and The Space Between (MGPress).
She is the recipient of an American Book Award, an Eric Hoffer Book Award, an Independent Publisher’s silver medal for fiction, and a State of Iowa major artist grant. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Chaffey Review, Midwestern Gothic, Numéro Cinq, Nowhere Magazine, The Milo Review, Northwind Literary, Poets&Writers, The Writer and several anthologies. She’s represented by Julia Kenny at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency for a third novel. Kali holds an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a faculty member of the Lindenwood University MFA Creative Writing Program. She lives outside Des Moines with her family.
Bailey Gaylin Moore - Online Editor
I’ve always had a difficult time balancing a version of past and present selves - either being ashamed at who I was while feeling like I still am not doing enough for my present, my future. I’m attracted to the Past Ten project because it allows forgiveness and a sense of closure to the writer, even the readers who travel time with the author’s text. Instead of being trapped by the infinity of temporality, Past Ten hones in on two points in time, separated exactly by ten years. Between point A and point B, we can more clearly find pieces of ourselves that we may have forgotten, perhaps pieces that we tried to push down because the weight of some nostalgia can be more than all-encompassing.
Despite the heavier side of who we were, of what we’ve lost, it’s important not to forget. My present self is composed of layers of identities, pieces of being and time which are dependent on one another, which create my hopes, my fears — me in all my flaws and attributes. In less than a thousand words, Past Ten gave me a soft push towards reclaiming a former self without having to linger too long in nostalgia. As the Online Editor for the project, I’m excited to see how time and memory influences other narratives, and, if they’re lucky, perhaps we’ll seem some closure, a turned page.
Bailey Gaylin Moore is currently an MFA candidate studying creative nonfiction at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She studied philosophy during her undergrad and English for her MA at Missouri State University, where she also taught classes in fiction and composition rhetoric. She has served as an assistant editor for Moon City Review as well as a reader for Boulevard Magazine. Bailey's previous publications can be found in Willow Springs and Hayden's Ferry Review.