Strangers

by Alison Stedman
I’ve always been an introvert. I’m becoming more aware of it as I get older, I think, and particularly as I have more freedom to choose what kind of social rituals I will take part in. In the past, I was forced to deal with big groups of people all the time. It’s the curse of childhood – everyone seems to think they know what you need to do or be like to become a functioning adult, and you start believing it yourself, to some extent.

Now, I can make my own decisions. And when I think about going to a new place that will be full of people I don’t know, my throat gets tight and I think of all the things I would rather be doing.

The thing is, it doesn’t take much for strangers to become acquaintances. Sometimes it can be more dramatic – strangers can become friends or enemies in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it really is possible to recognize that deep chord of connection or that fundamental difference of soulishness within seconds – if you get that opportunity.

There’s so much possibility out there in the crowds of people. So many ideas and so much potential to enrich our experience of the world. I’m trying to remain open to that, despite all my instincts telling me that strangers are dangerous, that they are frightening, that they will bring out everything awkward about me. Maybe in fact they will be capable of great kindness, or will open a window into a different world.

This last quarter, we’ve been privileged to read submissions from many people who are strangers to us. These are submissions that focus on this very thought – the concept of strangers and unfamiliarity. We thank all of them for enriching our experience of the world and enabling this publication. We also hope you enjoy reading and thinking and maybe submitting to us for our next issue.

Speaking of our next issue, we have an exciting milestone coming up, with ten years of publication! We are quite proud of sustaining a quality publication through volunteer effort over ten years, and have themed the next issue 'Celebration' in honor of this special anniversary. We are all looking forward to pulling together this publication and sharing it with you.

We are delighted to announce that two new staff members are joining the Halfway Down the Stairs team. Milena Nigam and Sarah Wilkinson are our new nonfiction editors, and we are very excited to have them on board. Welcome, Sarah and Milena.

I would also like to take this opportunity to announce that Roxanna Bennett, one of our poetry editors, will be leaving Halfway Down the Stairs to take up a new opportunity from September 2015. We will miss her, and are very grateful for all her dedication and passion.

Due to the upcoming vacancy, we will soon be advertising an opportunity for a new poetry editor to join us. If you would like to apply, keep an eye out on the site, or our Facebook page.
Alison Stedman is a senior editor at Halfway Down the Stairs. For staff biographies, click here.

© 2015, Alison Stedman