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I’m writing this the night before our fall issue goes to print — I know, risky Tom Cruise business — and the ADHD is kicking my ass.

Fool that he is, BP editor Jonathan Valelly entrusted me with the editor’s letter for this, the 10th issue we’ve worked on together (no coincidence, I’m sure. I see you, JV, with your romantic gestures; happy anniversary, boo).

But my opening ramblings aren’t the only thing that makes this issue unique.

As a quarterly arts magazine, Broken Pencil isn’t exactly in the business of breaking news — though we’re no strangers to flying by the seat of our pants. But the times we live in, filled with painful growth and instability, require we act with urgency. Urgency in our responses. Urgency in giving support. Urgency in action.

So this issue, perhaps more than most, takes on immediate social issues. Our cover story by Tiffany Lam digs into the zines emerging from the ongoing protests in Hong Kong. In true countercultural form, a Siberian creator penned a piece about carving out an underground space for diverse comics, despite an authoritarian and prejudiced state. And in a moving feature, Declan Keogh talks to activists who’ve armed themselves with art to fight for their survival and healing on the front lines of the opioid crisis (though the term “crisis” has become a pitiful understatement).

Put together, these pieces form a seemingly bleak picture. But look more closely, and you’ll find people hard at work, overcoming and dismantling the institutions of power that would rather they don’t exist.

This is our busiest time of year. We’ve got Canzine and the Zine Awards afoot, and we’re in the lab revamping Deathmatch for later on We’ve got a lot of plates spinning, and I’m glad we managed to keep just one more suspended: this issue, hot off the presses as we travel around Canada hosting zine fairs. After all, so many tables at Canzine are a reflection of the larger resistance that you can see within these pages and across arts communities.

It’s been two summers since I started as Associate Editor at Broken Pencil. I wasn’t expecting to feel the gratitude I’m swathed in now. Gratitude for the authenticity, willingness and hard work of this community, and to be a part of it. Thank you for your openness and care. I hope we can continue to serve you.

Anisa Rawhani

PS. I do have one bone to pick with BP readers. My bio’s been the same since I started at Broken Pencil: “Anisa Rawhani … blah blah blah … she would like nothing more than for you to send her wholesome photos of your pets.”

It’s been two years and only one person has done as I’ve asked. Perhaps I’ve somehow been unclear. So, since I have you here, let me reiterate: my inbox is always open: [email protected]