Writing in the Margins

On any sheet of ruled paper in the average notebook, the line down the left-hand side of the page, often red like a stop sign, says that this area, the margin, is out of bounds. In the centre of the page, words form sentences, presenting opinions. Anything written here is open to criticism, scrutiny, and best of all, acclaim. Off to the left, beyond that red line, are scratches, doodles, and half-formed ideas that are out of range of the public eye. This is where it begins. Once these marginalia are given licence to spread themselves into the centre of the page, there is no stopping them.

This issue is dedicated to those pushed to the fringes, whether financially, socially, culturally, sexually, geographically, or even personally. The writing here reflects these sometimes wayward outlooks on life.

Planning to focus on those who are generally overlooked in society, I was delighted to open a manila submissions envelope to find Amber Dawn’s outstanding piece of creative non-fiction. Since this first piece, I found and acquired many pieces that wonderfully and poignantly depict life in the margins. From Eden Robinson’s tale of an elder living in subsidized housing who reflects on her old life in her village to tales of immigration, life on the streets, and struggles with anorexia, these stories and poems emphasize the dark and the light of life on the outskirts.

Just as the scrawls written in margins are often single words and incomplete sentences meant to remind the writer of a greater chain of ideas, the words and phrases typically associated with the marginalized are shadows of the very real lives ready to cross the line and share their stories. Welcome to the centre of the page.

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