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"Intimacy is not something that just happens between two people; it is a way of being alive. At every moment, we are choosing either to reveal ourselves or to protect ourselves, to value ourselves or to diminish ourselves, to tell the truth or to hide. To dive into life or to avoid it. Intimacy is making the choice to be connected to, rather than isolated from, our deepest truth at that moment."

— Geneen Roth

The foundations of our ‘intimacy’ issue were laid in the summer of 2020, at a time when we felt more distant than ever. Distant from our communities, whose faces had begun to fade. From our political institutions, which we had seen in their true light. From our dreams, when uncertainty seeped in and blocked the way. One thing that stayed constant at this time was ourselves. In the absence of others, talking to ourselves became an intimate practice. A confrontation that for years we’d been able to avoid. In times of grief or turmoil, we meet the urge to run away from our pain. To banish it, lock the doors, and find comfort elsewhere. When this cover dissipates, it becomes harder to reject. With time, we learn to welcome the unwanted guest in. Invite them to sit down, put on the kettle, open up, and let their words soak in. Anger, denial, reflection – all stages in the most intimate confrontation of them all. The self against itself.

This process runs through every word and shape of our Michaelmas issue. In the form of literature and art, our contributors have challenged what it means to be intimate. From reflecting on what it means to suffer loss, to coming to terms with the way we operate, this issue has been one of introspection. For many, it meant redefining their relationship with others; family, lovers, strangers. Here, the times we live in are a stubborn force. Surrounded by themes of isolation, unrest and mourning, the pieces have become all the more poignant for it. As others show, intimacy isn’t always something bitter. The growth and joy we can all experience in intimacy are things to be celebrated. As we present our intimacy issue, I hope there’ll be something in there for you, too.

Rhydian Rolant Cleaver

Editor-in-chief

featuring

Sean Chou, Angbeen Abbas, Cece Briscoe, Leah Montebello, Sarah Doyel, Lily Shield-Polyzoides, Mrinmoyee Roy, Quido Haskovec, Audrey Berder, Elizabeth Redko, Jack Bissett, Alki Giavridis, Cecilia V. Weng Song, Audrey Berder, Maria Hadjicosta, Vibhuti Vijay, Sangeeta Santha, Aveline Shek, Kimberley Chia, Vaishnavi Radhakrishnan, Zoya Zia, Zofia Wilk, Quido Haskovec, Sewon Hwang, Francesca Di Fazio, Michael Shapland, Luke Gregorio, Karen Chen