Square 95 Magazine | Fall 2021

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Editor’s Letter

Written by Perrin Smith, Editor-in-Chief Illustrated by Adrienne Krozack


It’s true for everyone though, ain’t it? How y Paw, the Southern way to say grandpa, used to tell great stories. we end up as ourselves is a bit of a mystery. We Before he passed away, he told one come into the world with certain facets of our of his favorites like this: He was a little boy, outside person predefined. We are who we are in so running circles around his childhood home. It many ways. From childhood to adulthood, we was high summer. Hot, humid, miserable. His uncover even more about ourselves which we Mama was tired of all his clodhopping. “Stop know must have always been there. Still, the time it there!” she yelled across the yard. Paw didn’t we spend clomping around the earth develops our listen—he never did—and kept on running. personalities, too, ever so steadily. Our actions shape us. So do the actions of Seconds later, his foot snagged a tree root that others. And the actions of people we may never had twisted its way up through the ground. meet impact us daily. It all forms us, little by little, Wham. Thud. into who we are. Our favorite movies, shows, He fell flat on his chest. When he told me this story for the first books, games, paintings, songs—they all play a time, he was leaned back in his favorite recliner. role in it. No matter the medium, stories have He chuckled. The lesson I should learn from power. The characters we love are, in a way, just his bruised toe, he said, is to listen. “You got-to a reflection of ourselves or who we’d like to be. pay attention when someone knows a thing or The stories they inhabit offer comfort and provide two you don’t.” safe places to explore the world and who we are. For some reason, that story is synonymous to There’s no clear answer as to which moments me with identity, our theme for this issue. Maybe define us the most. To chart it is messy, and it’s because Paw was always telling (and repeating) complex, and seemingly impossible. But we try. stories. That was his personality—a part of his When our team set out to create the second identity. When I thought of Paw, I thought of tall issue of Square 95, we knew that the theme tales. Yet now that he’s gone, I think of myself. “identity” would be open to interpretation. We That maybe my infatuation with storytelling grew knew that this topic is so vast, so varied, so from his stories. Perhaps the interest so central intricate, that we would only ever scratch the to how I view myself developed because of him. surface of what makes us, well, us. Even so, while But inspiration and identity aren’t easy we awaited submissions, we could have hardly things to trace back to their sources. dreamed of what it would blossom into. Dozens of writers, artists, and designers came together to create this beautiful, diverse magazine that you hold in your hands now. n her debut novel A Place for Us, Fatima Together, they interpreted our theme in ways Farheen Mirza wrote the following: “How were they to know the moments that they were specially positioned to—from profiles would define them?” These were the thoughts of about local eccentricities to reporting on how Hadia, the eldest daughter in a fractured family, language can influence personality, from the as she considered the ways people could hurt intricate pattern-work that makes up our cover one another across years, decades, and never to detailed paintings and designs from artists’ know which actions wounded the deepest—the imaginations found further within. They created smallest, most intimate failures or the largest, a mosaic, pieced of their unique views on identity and held together by their ingenuity. most cataclysmic?

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SQUARE 95 • FALL 2021


he stories Paw told me from his recliner were the first ones that stayed with me. Even today, I can remember the inflection of his voice as he spoke—which words he enunciated more clearly, which ones he emphasized. That’s the funny thing about stories; they stick with us. Whether we want them to or not, certain ones adhere like they’ve been glued onto our bodies and others fall away. We can’t control it, only pay attention to when it happens. So, as you dive into the articles and artwork your peers have dedicated their summers to crafting, I have one question: Which of these stories will stick with you?