FOREWORD

Rhiannon Wood - Editor in Chief

As the festive period looms, promising shorter days, longer evenings, fairy lights and Christmas trees, I always find myself filled with mixed emotions. There’s something slightly melancholic about this period but also hopeful and a little exciting. As you grow up, Christmas and festive periods become less about brightly wrapped parcels and more about taking stock of what’s around you. The new year, with its rushed and soon-forgotten resolutions of losing weight and spending more time with those you love, seems to swirl around us as bright as tinsel glinting on the branches of the tree in our living room. No matter what you celebrate (or even if you don’t), beginnings and endings are hard to avoid as the year draws to a close.

This issue, all our wonderful stories seem to be a glimpse into our inner worlds, our inner desires and our memories. Stories of how all the moments of our lives, big or small, make up who we are. How every moment is a potential beginning or a potential ending. It might be a new coat that is only new to you, its pockets containing a message that makes you wonder who gave away this treasure for you to find? Or perhaps you find yourself on a stage dancing to a memory of your childhood. The death, the ending, of someone you admired comes back to you as if it were yesterday, and you wonder if your heart was pierced in the same way as his. Or you overhear a conversation that makes a ghost’s ears prick up, and you imagine what they would have to say about all this, the past finding its way to your dinner table, memories meaning the dead never truly die. And then there are beginnings, passions swirling down a drain – wasted, perhaps, but not unnoticed. A mysterious knight in shining armour opening a door for you to run through, history trailing in your wake as bright as the braided ribbon in your hair when you first met.

The art for this month’s cover also feels as if it is searching for something new, following a path, a call, a passion, to a new beginning. It gleams with promise and makes me want to follow this beautiful stranger wherever he may lead me.

As the year draws to a close – a strange and unsettling year for many, if not all – and we think about the time which has passed, I wonder if it would help to think of beginnings and endings as a loop, a constant circle. So, as you sip your mulled wine, look for lips to kiss at midnight, linger under the mistletoe, or watch the snow fall on a year lived, think of the owls hooting their song through the snow-laden forest searching for each other, and follow the call in this issue which might just lead you to someone or something you never realised you needed...