A Letter from the Editor

September 21st, 2015

Dear Reader,

Welcome to our eighteenth issue.

The art of observation is central to the work published in StepAway Magazine. The submissions that we receive approach this art from a myriad of refreshing new directions. Jared A. Carnie’s poem, ‘Street Eyes’, published in this issue, made me consider the mutuality of walking in the city. Whether we realise it or not, at street level our presence as a pedestrian presents a kind of performance.  By being in public, we offer ourselves to the view of the crowd by putting ourselves on ‘display’. In recompense for this display, we are in turn given the opportunity to witness others ‘displaying’ themselves. ‘Street Eyes’ highlights a discomfort with this mutuality. Here, the urban observer or watcher becomes the watched. This breeds a self-consciousness, which leads to a change in gait – the confident, instinctive, performance of walking in the street suddenly goes to hell.  The ‘street eyes’ described here are not those of the casual observer, they are predatory, heavily judgemental, threatening even, to the point that the act of looking becomes a visual violation. After reading this poem for the first time, I went walking in the city and felt myself involuntarily judging the weight of each shared glance, the level of comfort and discomfort which came with the proximity of each passerby.

These minute emotional and sensory changes are, of course, part and parcel of the thrill of walking in the city. Within moments we can jump from feeling safe to feeling exposed, and back again, all depending on the signals received from our surroundings. Part of the art of observation is a sensitivity to those signals. And, I must say that the writers published here in our eighteenth issue are excellent practitioners of this art. We have some thoroughly thought provoking work from: Stephen Bone, Caroline Boobis, Carl Boon, Miki Byrne, Jared A. Carnie, Philip Dacey, Gram Joel Davies, Julie Hogg, Gerard Sarnat, & Morelle Smith.

Our cover photography is courtesy of a great friend of StepAway Magazine, Rikardo Reis. Rikardo is a South American photographer and filmmaker, who is currently living in Portugal. Our cover shot, Rikardo tells me, was taken after hours on a wet night in Lisbon. His stunning portfolio can be found here.

I would also like to congratulate StepAway contributor, Antony Owen on the publication of his new book, Margaret Thatcher’s Museum by Hesterglock Press.

Now it is only fair that I let the work of our talented writers speak for itself. Enjoy reading.

Yours faithfully,

Darren Richard Carlaw