A Letter from the Editor

December 21st 2014

Dear Reader,

For most of us walking is automatic. We rarely think about the mechanics of it all. Rising from the armchair to fetch a cup of tea, or having a stroll to the local post office to mail a letter is something we take for granted. We don’t often take notice of our breathing, we aren’t aware of a slight increase in heart rate,  we don’t observe the angle of our foot as it rolls across the pavement, it all simply happens. But next time you step out of your home, I’d like you to think of all of these things and begin to focus on how marvelous the walk really is. All manner of muscle groups are employed with each and every step, from quadriceps, hamstrings, buttocks and calves, to the stomach and the stabilizing muscles in the pelvis. Close your eyes briefly and focus on all of these muscles working in unison to propel you forward. Then focus on how your foot feels in your shoe, and then how the changing terrain beneath your foot feels through the sole. Think of the other sensations acting upon your body – the slight breeze on your cheek, the moisture in the air, the warmth of the sun.

I recently heard someone talk of ‘the boring walk to the office’. I’d argue that there is no such thing as a boring walk, simply a walk where the individual is not aware of what is happening internally or externally. Losing sight of this is all too easy in our hectic day-to-day lives, but it often helps to bring oneself to change pace and focus momentarily.

And of course no two walks, even those that follow the exact same route, are identical. Our bodies and the world surrounding us is in a constant state of flux. In the city, change occurs at every given moment at street level.  Each and every street corner yields an infinite number of situations and interactions, none of which will be identical to one another. Walk the exact same route to work every day, and you may see the same buildings, but the crowd that passes you by will always be different.

This is one of the true joys of walking in the city. It is also one of the reasons why I thoroughly enjoy editing StepAway Magazine. The walking narratives we publish can take place in any of the world’s thousands of cities, each from a unique poetic perspective, where the writer is free to train her or his camera eye on literally anything, from a flower growing from the asphalt to an altercation at a stoplight. The possibilities of recording and remembering the ever changing city coupled with the sensations of one individual body and mind passing through that cityspace are limitless.

Issue Fifteen is a real treat. Our cover art is provided by the talented Rikardo Reis, a photographer who describes the world as being “a perfect chaos and an eternal conundrum”. He is an artist who strives to function outside of his comfort zone. His angle on urban life is refreshingly unique capturing those fleeting moments that go unnoticed by most. His cover photograph with sizzling orange and smoky shadows lends heat to StepAway‘s winter issue.

Issue Fifteen’s walking narratives come courtesy of: Catherine Ayres, Robert Boucheron, Vincent J. Chiappetta, Michael Estabrook, Julie Hogg, Jefferson Navicky, Reed Stirling, Mark Pawlak, Benjamin Schmitt and Janet St. John.

Our writers will take from New York to Grey Street, Newcastle (the home of StepAway Magazine) and beyond. Sit back and allow them to transport you.

Wishing you a peaceful, prosperous and perambulatory 2015.

Happy holidays!

Darren Richard Carlaw