When I was younger, I would follow my older sisters around all day, copying everything they did. Part of this was watching all the same shows they did, reading their books, listening to the music they listened to. In many ways, this formed my taste in media. Shows and books where the main characters worked at magazines or dedicated their entire lives to writing books or were starting their careers as journalists— those were my favourite stories to watch or read. They kept diaries so I did, too. I started writing stories in them, usually horror for some reason. My best ones would have crazy twist endings like the protagonist waking up from a nightmare. Of course, I thought I was a genius.
Then, in middle school, I joined a club where one of the perks was getting free magazines and reading stacks of them during our lunch breaks. My friends and I would often argue over the free posters that came out of them. Years later, my oldest sister would give me a giant pile of magazines to throw away for her before we moved out of our childhood home. I would spend hours scouring each one before I finally threw them away, ripping my favourite pages out of them to make collages with one day. I still have some of those pages saved today, waiting to be cut up and stuck somewhere.
In high school, I started to art journal and write poetry. I made friends who loved all the nerdy, artsy things I did. We went through all the same phases together, hung out after school to make collages out of those old magazine pages, shared and read books together like an informal book club. I edited everybody’s English essays and creative writing pieces. I thought it was fun and it made me happy. It sounds totally lame but I still enjoy it now. What does that say about me?
In the summer after my first year of university, I felt deprived of art and the freedom to creatively express myself. I didn’t get to see my friends as much anymore, so we had less time to create things together. I was also fed up with the lack of mainstream representation that artists from marginalized identities received. When I want to consume art that speaks to my experiences, why do I have to dig so deep for a morsel of relatable or accurate content? I thought that there needed to be more platforms dedicated to uplifting marginalized artists, to foster a safe space that allows them to create content with other artists from similar backgrounds. I thought, why not do it myself?
So, I started Kiwi Collective Magazine, a digital arts publication for marginalized creators of all mediums. I was able to combine my passion for writing, art, and editing to give something back to the creative communities I love. It wasn’t until I started the magazine that I looked back at my childhood and noticed everything that led me to this point. I realized that I have always wanted to be an editor, I just didn’t always know it. Now, I am lucky enough to be with Sundress Publications, expanding my horizons and honing my skills so I can continue to give back to underrepresented creators in the art and literary scenes.
Iqra Abid (she/her) is a young, Pakistani, Muslim writer based in Canada. She is currently a student at McMaster University studying Psychology Neuroscience, and Behaviour. She is also the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Kiwi Collective Magazine. Her work can be found in various publications such as Stone Fruit Magazine, Tiny Spoon Lit Magazine, Scorpion Magazine, and more. You can find her on Instagram at @iqraabidpoetry.