Perhaps in the distant future this period that we are now living through will be referred to as ‘The Great Lockdown’. This label has already been bandied about by the press. It is fitting in a way — the prefix ‘great’ describes the enormity of the event and aligns it with the horrors of what was once known as The Great War. Politicians too have described the pandemic as a war and have taken to delivering pseudo-Churchillian speeches with the primary function of carving their own names in history. For heroic frontline medical staff faced with triage decisions on a daily basis, this must feel like war. But for most of us, this could not be further from a combat situation. There is no need for us to fight. We sit on our sofas, read the news and wait.

The society that we forged prior to the pandemic encouraged us to battle for first place. Think of the streets of any major city – there was always someone pushing to get by, squeezing in, or chewing on the shoulder of any pedestrian who moved too slowly. Today, this form of close quarters aggression will serve only to perpetuate the spread of the virus. We’ve been asked to stay approximately 6 feet or 2 metres apart. But the greater implication of this request is that we need to care for the wellbeing of every passing stranger. We must realise that we have the same potential to infect them as they do us. With this in mind, it becomes clear that mutual respect and benevolence are key factors in beating this pandemic. Politicians may continue to tell us that we are fighting a war, but it is perhaps more important to find our peace with one another.

StepAway Magazine‘s lockdown issue is published with the intention of developing a shared understanding of what it feels like to be in lockdown. Our writers examine the peculiar gamut of emotions individuals from across the world are experiencing right now, ranging from fear to boredom; loneliness to hope. Our wish is to create a sense of unity at a time when we must be apart.

This issue will remain open to submissions throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, and when this difficult time comes to an end the names of all contributors will be added to our cover.

Thank you for your time. Stay safe.

Darren Richard Carlaw