To wander—to depart one place and move without a clear destination—can be a strange but also wonderful action. We can become wanderers simply by meandering through a city park, or by journeying across the world. Regardless of the distances we span, wandering gives us the opportunity to explore a new place, or simply discover a new perspective on an already-familiar realm.
Since no destinations determine our paths, as wanderers, we feel free. Having no distinct destination, however, can also engender uneasiness, even terror. When we wander, we must have courage and accept the chance that we may lose our way. I will never forget the panic I felt when, first moving to Vancouver to explore a new direction in my life, I got lost trying to find my new apartment. I missed the correct highway exit and then kept taking wrong turns, continually driving in the wrong direction. Other times, emotional distress has pushed me into aimless motion, making me an involuntary wanderer. In such times, I feel not free, but forsaken (perhaps even by my own will). But I’m not sure such distressed wandering is entirely removed from the wandering that fosters discovery and freedom. When we are lost, our senses are quickened and we are forced to map out unfamiliar territory for ourselves.
Wandering implies both a beautiful unease and a precarious freedom, a complexity that many of the stories and poems in this issue of Room of One’s Own illuminate. Many of these works show how, as wanderers, we can create new paths to our own destinations; not only physical ones, but also emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Regardless of whether we wander physically or mentally, purposely or accidentally, we have the opportunity to create our destinations. We carve paths that haven’t been carved for us. In fact, wandering serves as a wonderful metaphor for writing itself—a path with an unknown destination inscribes a story and a message, one that calls especially to other wanderers.
COVER ARTIST’S STATEMENT
Painting the female body and its attitudes is the way I express feelings from within. To my own astonishment—sometimes without being aware of it—I always end up translating emotions of the moment. It might be the influence of my training in etching, but I often apply layers of paint, and then scratch its surfaces as I constantly crave to discover what lies beneath. I use warm earth colours, which are soothing to the eye. As my interests and concerns vary, so do my subjects, but the female body will always remain the focus of my self-expression.
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