Guest-Editorial: Scott Thomas Outlar (Western Voices)

Scott Thomas Outlar

Invisible Hands in the Age of Churning

If an alien from Alpha Centauri were to drop anchor and set up shop for a weekend getaway here on earth (or suddenly materialize from some alternate dimension of reality’s simulation) just as the trees, bushes, and flowers were simultaneously exploding into full spring fruition, would the creature understand how lovely and beautiful such a scene truly was? Would it even notice the bright bursts of yellow, red, purple, orange, and green? Or, having never seen the bare branches and frozen tundra during a harsh, cold winter, would it simply assume that the current fortuitous conditions it’s observing upon arrival are how the world always appears?

Do we require an acquired perception of alternate angles of the equation in order to grok the absurdist implications of life and its ever changing rhythmic patterns? How can you understand the cycle if you’ve yet to complete an entire spin? I think someone called it a revolution, and, Good Lord, this one really got on top of us.

And so, too, if we were perpetually elevated in a state of utter happiness and contentment, would we even have an inkling of what feeling this great gift of bliss truly represented? Or, so that these peak states of enlightenment are not taken for granted, must we go through certain stages of suffering before truly being able to comprehend and appreciate the moments of peace and pleasure in all their magnitude? 

Art is the lens through which we can perceive the contrasting nature between these polar opposites while trying to make sense of both the exaltations and agonies associated with being sentient conscious beings sporting a conscience.

As Joseph Campbell was wont to advise, we can “participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.” It is the great affirmation of saying Yes to the process as it unfolds, despite the woes that will inevitably be encountered along the way.

As the birds sing and nest this season, as the vegetation flourishes in majestic wonder, as the heron stands stoically in the pond’s shallows waiting for a fish to swallow, as the turtles bathe in the sun, as the squirrels and chipmunks frolic, as the crickets come awake in a symphonic chorus, and even as the venomous cottonmouth makes an unexpected appearance in the middle of the park’s path under a starry sky in the midnight hour to send a shiver of adrenaline up and down the spine … well, as the shift commences, I am thankful.

I’d like to express my gratitude to Sunil Sharma and Anurag Sharma for allowing me to be a part of this Western Voices edition of Setu Mag again for the fourth year. My appreciation also goes out to the 32 poets who have shared their inspired work with us. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I have. 

April, 2022

Western Voices 2022
Featured Authors

Alan Britt
Alexis Rhone Fancher
Bill Cushing
Carol Welter
Catfish McDaris
Chani Zwibel
Dharmpal Mahendra Jain
Donna Snyder
Duane Vorhees
Dustin Pickering
gary lundy
Gloria Mindock
Heath Brougher
J.K. Winters
Kashiana Singh
Kathy Ellis
L.B. Sedlacek
Lauren Scharhag
Linda Imbler
Maria Castro Dominguez
Mela Blust
Michael Lee Johnson
Mihaela Melnic
Mini Babu
Robin Wyatt Dunn
Ryan Quinn Flanagan
Sabah Carrim
Sheikha A.
Strider Marcus Jones
Vatsala Radhakeesoon
Z.M. Wise
Z.T. Balian


  1. It is a beautiful foreword Scott with excellent poetry following that 🙏

  2. Scotts graceful voice is always practical and inviting whether in his forwards, his poems or interviews. His easy demeanor entices us to travel into the world of todays poetry, making today’s world and times, easier to endure.


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