Reading StepAway Magazine is taking a stroll down the streets of a city, though you’ll never know which city is next—it is all determined by the writers. StepAway Magazine is “hungry for literature that evokes the sensory experience of walking in specific neighborhoods, districts or zones of a city.” Each writer must do this in 1000 words or less.
In the first piece of the issue, “Muses over Manholes” by Murzban F. Shroff, the narrator—a disgruntled writer who cannot find a place to publish his work—wanders the streets of Mumbai and observes his surroundings:
Cars slow to maneuver through the downpour. There is water filling up at the sides of the road, below the pavement. Car wipers beat maddeningly against the windscreens. They remind the writer of middle-age women on treadmills, trying to work off their flab. Both face resistance from their own systems. Some wipers screech as they clean; some don’t function; some are conspicuous by their absence; they have been ripped off by urchins and traded in for a meal.
In a very short essay titled “Over Six Billion Served,” John M. Edwards makes a social commentary both on the way that people pass by a child asking for food, basically ignoring her, and about how the sign she holds up outside of McDonald’s reads, “DREAMING OF A BIG MAC . . .” He, too ends up turning and walking quickly away.
Donna Kaz’s poem makes seemingly comical commentary on yet another city. Although I have never lived in LA myself, Kaz claims that “To Walk in LA,”
is to curse the person
who urged you to move out here
you could always move back
but no one ever moves back
from the swirling vortex
where nothing happens
where no one has walked for months
Now addicted to mocha iced coffee drinks
and valet parking
the light of the sun so bright
you get away without reading glasses
five more years than you should
wear shorts 363 days
even though your bottom has spread
like an IHOP pancake
from sitting all the time
I like reading StepAway Magazine as a way to take a step in someone else’s world, someone else’s city. The scenery is different, the people are different, and, yet, the human emotions are still universal, allowing us to connect with the writing.