Do you use something powerful and dangerous, like drugs or firearms? Or do you prefer something a bit more mundane, like television or food? Perhaps you prefer the sweet bliss of a good novel or a fine sonnet, or maybe you’re a runner or a biker. Maybe it’s the pure joy of a melody, or the sublime ecstasy of harmony. Or maybe, for you, it’s simply the sweet freedom of sleep, the ultimate escape.

Whatever your mechanism of choice, the need for escape is essential to the human experience. In fact, during traumatic events such as war or abuse, your brain will dissociate from your body, escaping with your consciousness while the rest of you suffers. It is how our body protects our mind from the most extreme circumstances.

In this month’s issue, we explore the different techniques people employ to escape, and what they wish to escape from. Our journey starts with Matthew Kongo, a Sudanese refugee who is building a new life in Maine. Kyle Boelte tells Kongo’s story in To a home unknown. Next, Alexis Wolff tells us how her work in a treatment center for adolescent girls helped her escape a bit of her own past in Youth behind walls. In A soul with nothing up its sleeves, poet Larry Jaffe escapes his body and shares his venture with us.

America’s meth addiction is a problem that is rooted in the escapism of a large swath of the rural parts of the country. In Matthew Heller’s review of Nick Reding’s book Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town, he explores Reding’s chronicle of how one town in Iowa is trying to fight back against the drug. In Nature’s waltz, artist Maureen Shaughnessy shares with us a selection of digital collages. Finally, Rachael Jackson gets off the beaten path in Costa Rica, in her story Hidden Costa Rica.

So, what about you? What do you need to escape from? How do you get away? Tell us your story below, in our comments section.

I am a writer/editor turned web developer. I’ve served as both Editor-in-chief and Technical Developer of In The Fray Magazine over the past 5 years. I am gainfully employed, writing, editing and developing on the web for a small private college in Duluth, MN. I enjoy both silence and heavy metal, John Milton and Stephen King, sunrise and sunset. Like all of us, I contain multitudes.

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