Letter from the Editor - Intimacy

Dear Readers,


Welcome to the Intimacy issue. Before you read any further, let me recommend some options for suitably intimate conditions under which to enjoy this trove of heady, goofy and insightful articles: 

- In a bathtub with a lover and a steamed-over bottle 

of wine.

- In a broken elevator on the 14th story of a high rise 

with a bunch of strangers.

- In front of a dimly lit mirror, read in a whisper.

- In a living room with all your friends after having 

prepared and eaten too much ratatouille.

- In a deciduous forest, alone, right after it rains.

- In any other intimate circumstance of your  


Ok, as soon as you’re properly situated, we’ll begin. 

This is the first issue of volume XVIII of Cipher magazine and, to be perfectly frank, we’re pretty fucking stoked about it. In these pages—unless they’re stuck together from being submerged in that bathtub—you can find writing by the best and brightest at CC, sure to satisfy your every intellectual and literary desire. If you’re lazy and need a few suggestions, try:

Page 8, where you can read a raw account of what happens when the intimacy between a mother and daughter is severed, written by sophomore Eboni Song. 

Page 10, if you dare venture into the seductive, complicated and uniquely intimate world of BDSM/kink with junior Alta Viscomi. 

Page 47, for a quick read of senior Grace Hunter’s innocently inquisitive “Dear Abby” letter about her budding relationship with the NSA, whose overprotective and secretive tendencies are starting to make the whole affair feel a little too intimate …  

But it’s not just what fills these pages that make it the Intimacy issue—it’s also the process by which they came to be filled. Bringing people together to produce a magazine over the course of two weeks is always a crazy, creative and collaborative process, but this time was especially so: Collaboration can be found on just about every page of this issue. 

Senior Brooks Fleet knew that he couldn’t speak for all gay men on campus, so he solicited input from that community to lend his article a more collective voice. See the effect on page 27. 

Our art spread, which is usually drawn by an individual artist, this time was done by many. With the support of the Collaborative for Community Engagement’s Arts for Social Change, Cipher hosted a marathon illustrating session in the ID house, along with other student groups that deal with intimacy in some capacity, including SOSS, QCC and OrgasmiCC. The result is printed on page 24-25, is an expression of all the myriad facets of intimacy within our community. 

I’m also proud and nervous and excited to announce that Cipher is making its first foray outside the analog world of flesh and paper. Along with CC Productions, we’re venturing into that sprawling land of opportunity known as The Internet. Specifically, The YouTube. There, we’ve uploaded a Cipher Blockumentary called “Knock Before Entering”—our first stab at what we hope turns into an ongoing series of short films that tell stories in ways that static words on paper just can’t. (Because a picture paints a thousand words, or something.)

Video! Internet! The Future! 

Produced by seniors Laila Mahan, Atticus Moorman and yours truly, “Knock Before Entering” is about that special kind of intimacy that only arises from being forced into a small cinder block room with a total stranger as you try to figure out life, love and the right amount of time to microwave popcorn that doesn’t set off the fire alarm at 3 a.m. In other words, we sat down with a whole assortment of folks to figure out what the deal is with freshmen dorm life. The result—as you can see for yourself at or—is intimate, awkward and endearing. 

Anyway, it’s a total experiment and we hope you like it. There’s more to come. Please give feedback and come to our meetings the first Monday of the block at 7 p.m. if you want to get involved. 

By now, hopefully your elevator is sufficiently stuck or you’ve finished all the ratatouille and you’re ready to delve into the rest of the Intimacy issue. 

So without further ado, I’ll shut up and leave you to it. 


Intimately yours, 

Nat Stein and the Cipher editors

June Sassnat steinComment