Editor’s Note: Having “Soul in the Game”

Dear Readers,

“Skin in the Game”, the title of this issue, turned out to be accurately reflective of the current state of the world. The term refers to the risks (on oneself and others) one takes on the way toward achieving a goal; ironically, this theme is now of significant relevance during this time of uncertainty (although the journal’s call for submissions had been made over six months before the start of the pandemic) and has sparked a diverse influx of artistic expressions of such symmetry between loss and gain, failure and success.

The idea of risk, along with its company of failure, resilience, perseverance, and success, is believed by many to be one of life’s most impactful teachers. The phrase “skin in the game” is usually used in the world of business and finance; however, as a term, how often has it been left out (or unknown) in the creative world such as literature and the visual arts? Hence, the importance of this issue of Indelible lies in that this major concept of life, coined as “skin in the game”, is expressed here by writers, photographers, and painters, who more than many, take this term up a notch as “Artisans have their soul in the game” (Taleb, Skin in the Game, 2018). While some of the contributors were familiar with the term, others encountered it for the first time. Yet, all of them found it inspiring and expressive of the very spirit of the world: this issue boasts of a beautiful collection of poetry, short stories, essays, columns, photography, and canvas art—a wide range of cultural expressions of our psyches in this time and space.

In this issue, there will be myths invoked, stories told, and different worlds manifested and juxtaposed visually: thematic inspirations include the image of Adonis (the risk of death for rebirth), chess tables depicting risk-taking and strategic outcomes, the dare within the daydreams of brushstrokes, surrealist juxtapositions on risk involved in creativity, impulsivity, and gambling on outcomes, tales of hidden adventures in foreign lands away from home,  reflections on successes as further challenges for progression, hidden mysteries in the palimpsest, stories about how rocky a road can be towards escape, safety, and even a pair of blue jeans!

Today, while there is an obvious risk in going out, for many, there is also a great risk involved in “staying in” for staying safe. Under lockdown, the energy we used for so many outdoor activities and routines, has now reversed from a more physical “outer” nature to a contemplative “inner” type, and our response to this change makes all the difference in harmonizing ourselves with this unusual new setting, with all its opportunities and challenges. While confinement and aloneness can cause depression, and tighter spaces can trigger rebellion, impatience, and cabin fever, this reversed energy can have a positive effect on us as well: it activates the unconscious, with all its capabilities for imagination and creativity. It is a time to use imagination in a way that we might not otherwise have done, a time to explore the inner world and be receptive to its images, allowing them to appear to us so we can paint them, draw them, write about them, superimpose them, or craft them into reality in any way our creativity allows us to.

It is the perfect time to contemplate and share artistic expressions of challenges, risks, and success, to shift paradigms and step outside any limited scopes of understanding and get a glimpse of the world from a different perspective. It is a time when our world is enlarged rather than diminished, when our worldview is altered and expanded by every poem, story, and image we encounter. It is the perfect time for art.

Stay in, stay safe, imagine, and most importantly, stay free…

Best wishes,

Roula-Maria Dib
Editor-in-Chief, Indelible

Some poetic notes by Omar Sabbagh (associate editor):

Notes In A Time Of Crisis

Early morning

and there’s this
good collapsing
spirit roaming making
all things one

again against any
doubling of
the mien a mien

loved like mine while

the real true money of
learning learns itself
through to learning through
itself to

its good its
true collapsing money.

And wealth is or
may be one thing
and two plus two make one
while nothing is


as this
learning to be and change
the hive grown
and reared
for a baby

mine so



Early morning then

and the first and only
true steel verb is to
change our darling
baby like a sonnet’s
fluid turn fluid turn
somehow strangely without

a single sweet enjambment.

Miracles are just as
reasonable as not
and here’s the paradox
of a father.

Early morning but
with a sky
darkening past
the dark night sky
the sky may lighten
the load and though
back and forth like this

is no
zero of pointlessness.


The arrow hits its
clout and then returns
back to the bow back
to the bowstring
which can be

might and the pillow

of a harp a lyre a
song’s sweet attack.

And while babies may
not get it the
knot at
the heart of
the sickness at the
heart of living today

and today is

no new sickness

we can transcend.

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