Moloch, an Irish based e-journal of art and writing, was started in December 2006 by Ailbhe Darcy and Clodagh Moynan. Tying different art forms together in new and refreshing ways, Moloch aspires to allow artists and writers to find inspiration in each other and, in doing so, add new dimensions to each others work.
The title Moloch reflects the power of art and fiction. The god Moloch appeared in many forms, taking different names or demonic shapes, the most famous being a man with a bulls head. People believed that by sacrificing newborn children to him they would receive better harvests and financial gain. By placing a child in the statue of Moloch and lighting the flames you could win your family a better life. Moloch is a story that altered the world around him, a myth that became reality in peoples’ minds, yielding very real consequences.
Poetry, art and short stories, like Moloch, reside somewhere between myth and reality, they are distorted truths and fictions that often appear more real than reality itself with the power to make or break a society. Dictatorships and oppressive regimes often start their terms in power with book burnings, recognizing the power a fictional tale can have in inspiring a society or bringing it to a point of self reflection.
Fiction’s power is in mirroring and enhancing reality- it builds worlds in the imagination but takes its building blocks from things we know and have experienced - so we empathize with the characters, empathize with their causes and often times are inspired by their journeys to take action in our own lives. Your brief reality has allowed you to see the flip side of the coin, a different life, the same life, and it has altered you somehow.
In a workshop we once attended a writer described the process of writing as akin to being pregnant—it can take months (even years) to develop and write a story, it is a painful and emotional experience that takes a lot out of you, and when the labour is complete and the umbilical chord snaps it is often completely different to what you expected.
If you take the book, the poem, the short story to be a writer’s baby and return again to the figure of Moloch. We are not that different from people thousands of years ago; we stand there next to the desperate and the greedy burning children to better our harvests. We throw our stories onto the flames, we alter them, we scrap all but one line to produce a better piece, to become better writers.
And we do learn from our aborted attempts and discarded pieces and hope to God or Moloch or whoever it is we believe in that by killing a character here, a plot line there or changing the whole idea or moral of the piece- the end result will be better, the harvest will look a bit healthier than the rest.
Moloch is a story of sacrifice. It is a story that bridges the gap between mythos and logos, it is our fiction and our reality, it is the world of the writer and the reader.