Madness and Hope

by Carrie Bachler
I can’t hear the word illusion without smiling as I hear G.O.B.’s voice from the TV show Arrested Development running through my head.

Illusions, Michael.”

If you haven’t seen the show, I’d recommend reserving a few spare evenings and a sofa as soon as possible. If you have, then you know that G.O.B. is an illusionist who doesn’t like his brother using the terms magic or magic tricks to refer to his craft.

While the show is a comedy and G.O.B.’s career as an illusionist is in jest, there’s something to be said about his insistence upon the use of the term illusion versus magic or tricks. When I think of the word magic, I think of the magic set that my brothers had when I was a kid. I think of the magic shows that they would stage for my parents, charging them a dollar or two for admission to see card tricks at a card table set up in our living room. I think of wands and hats and bunnies and women in boxes getting sawed in half on television.

Once I put G.O.B. and his comedic illusions out of my mind, the word illusion actually takes me to much deeper places. Often times, these places are dark. The word speaks to me of madness, embarrassment, deception, and disappointment. I think of people who have been misunderstood and people who are misunderstanding the world around them. But at the same time, I think that there’s sometimes something very beautiful about the word, too – just a little glimmer of hope.

In this issue of Halfway Down the Stairs, I think that we’ve gathered a selection of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction that does a great job of exploring all of the different interpretations and facets of the word illusion. We hope that you enjoy the collection as much as we do.

Our next issue, with the theme of memory, will be published on December 1. If you are interested in submitting a piece, please note that our submission guidelines have changed. The deadline for submissions will now be November 1, one month before the publication date.
Carrie Bachler is an editor at Halfway Down the Stairs. For staff biographies, click here.

© 2013, Carrie Bachler