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When I think about the course of our human lives, it seems to me that persuasion is a key component right from the start. Whether good or bad, noble or sinister, it’s a part of our lives that is so commonplace that I think we sometimes don’t even realize that it’s there.

When we’re kids, our parents will do anything to persuade us about life’s less-than-exceptional moments. Going to the doctor is fun! You’ll get a lollipop when you’re all done – whatever flavor that you want! How neat is that?

As we begin to grow up, decisions and actions obviously become more important and complex, but persuasion still plays its role and is still the same creature or monster. Parents persuade us to join new clubs or to try out for new sports teams. Friends urge us to try alcohol, to steal candy bars, to cheat on tests, to succumb to all sorts of ugly peer pressures.

It’s ever there in our adult lives, too. Universities and employers convince us that their school or place of employment is the best place for our future. TV commercials and internet ads try their hardest to lure us into buying their products. Friends encourage us to try new and wonderful things that we might not have done if they hadn’t convinced us to step outside of our comfort zones.

And for me, personally, I find that persuasion in my own life doesn’t always come from external sources. I work hard every day to better my life from the inside out. I urge myself to work on projects that I’ve been meaning to get done, to stop procrastinating, to take some time to have fun when I need it. Like any form of persuasion, it doesn’t always work, but sometimes, every now and then, I listen to myself and am the better for it.

Here, now, I hope that I can encourage you to peruse and enjoy this month’s selection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, where we see persuasion in all of its beautiful and ugly forms.  In our selected poems and stories, there are those who persuade others that their lives are worthwhile, those who find whatever motivation that they can to keep themselves going, and those with much more threatening motives.

The next issue for Halfway Down the Stairs will be published in September 2012 with the theme of Chaos.  To contribute, please see our submissions guidelines. You can keep informed of all of our deadlines, publications, and other news by following us on Facebook.

— Carrie Bachler, Fiction Editor


© 2012, Carrie Bachler

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