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Wanderlust is dedicated to the memory of Mary Stedman.



Canada is an utterly gorgeous country.  In the west, the sun rosily sets beyond the horizon of the Pacific; nested between the peaks of the Rockies, the Columbia Icefield feeds eight major glaciers and three oceans; the Prairies stretch endlessly with rolling plains; vast boreal forests shelter the Canadian Shield; and on the east coast, the tides carve rocks like sculptors shape clay.  I live in a gorgeous country.  It is not, by any means, the only gorgeous country out there, but it’s the only one in which I have had the opportunity to travel and explore over the course of some years.

Discovering a country is not an instantaneous happenstance.  It’s an endless journey: with each new arrival at a destination, there are countless paths to be followed and explored at length, countless histories to investigate and study.  Even retracing the same path can be a new discovery.  There is never a destination where all paths end and none begin.  Given the chance, I wouldn’t hesitate to revisit places I’ve already seen, and discover new ones.

The very word wanderlust speaks of far-off places and distant lands, virgin worlds of magic just waiting to be discovered.  Beyond that is a need to travel, to explore, to know.  Ultimately, this is what literature is all about.  As readers and writers alike, we each know what it is like to discover the unknown.  In every novel is a world that the author has shaped to his own needs and preferences.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the fantastic, magic-riddled world of J.R.R. Tolkien; the peculiar, humorous world of Douglas Adams; or the nineteenth-century world of Jane Austen.  Whatever it is, it’s a world the author has taken pains to create, and through the power of literature, we are able to explore countless worlds without the hassles of packing, planning, or paying.

With “Wanderlust,” we would have our readers enriched through tales of exploratory discovery; and so I present, with pleasure, eight new pieces for the second issue of Halfway Down the Stairs.  We have two featured guest writers: Carol Corke with “On a Beach in Wales” and Elaina Turpin’s “On the road”.  Vicki Northern has written a poem entitled “Night Shift,” and the short fiction featured in this issue includes “Soundtrack of My Life” by Alison Stedman, “Make Believe” by Stacy Brazalovich, and my story of “Soldier Boy.”  Lastly, we have a nonfiction piece by Leah Wickman, entitled “With the Grace of God Go I.”

We hope you enjoy reading “Wanderlust” as much as we have enjoyed writing it.  We would appreciate any feedback you would care to offer, as well as any submissions you would like to send us on the colour theme of “Kaleidoscope.”  Click here for submission guidelines.

We would like to thank Julie of Scrivenshafts for hosting Halfway Down the Stairs, our guest writers, and of course, you, our readers.

We hope you will return in September.

— Francesca Leung, Senior Poetry Editor


© 2006, Francesca Leung

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