For the Fall 2022 Issue of The Turquoise Iris Journal, we chose the focus word Listen because it just so happened to be our very first printed edition of the magazine. Our subscribers begged us, so we decided to listen. In honor of the first printed issue and its theme, we thought we’d tell the story of how to launch a magazine and how each issue gets made.
The idea for The Turquoise Iris Journal popped up the day that I first spoke to Dionne. At that time I was still finding work with independent publishing houses as a ghostwriter; helping CEOs and investors write books that could launch new revenue streams like podcasts and speaking circuits. It was a completely different world than the one Dionne inhabited; black and white compared to technicolor. I didn’t know that she was a successful pioneer in her industry but it only took a few minutes of speaking with her to figure it out. She has an energy that draws you in and makes you feel like you’re the only person in the world she’s interested in talking to at that very moment. When we hung up, I told my husband that I could see her with a creative empire sooner than later.
It wasn’t until Spring of 2020 that I brought the idea of a magazine to her. I’d mentioned it before, but that spring I really saw the concept laid out in front of us. And when she asked if I knew how to make a magazine, I told her that I would figure it out. Like most people, I was quarantined at home alone and suddenly forced to homeschool my kindergartener and preschooler while also growing a small business. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and (more than anything) lonely. We all were. Deprived of the ability to truly connect with others, people suffered. I longed for some sort of connection that wasn’t just half-hearted hope you’re doing ok texts from friends and family who were also suffering. The Turquoise Iris Journal was our answer to that pain; a way to be vulnerable and witness vulnerability, a way to express our emotions through creativity and be rewarded with support, and a way to see and be seen by each other.
For two years, we created digital versions of the magazine until our subscribers begged us for a print option. That meant I had two years of practice, 8 issues, before our magazine went to print for the first time. It was a terrifying learning experience but more amazing than words can describe. Because, yes, I was afraid that I’d make a terrible magazine no one wanted to read and let Dionne down, but I was more afraid that we wouldn’t have a magazine that celebrates all artists in their uniqueness.
We call ourselves cultivators of timeless creativity; The Turquoise Iris Journal is a place where we collect creative works for the greater good. We imagine our pages being saved and reused for years — stories and tutorials and page after beautiful page shared between generations — as a way to connect through creativity. Our goal is to honor the artists of our community but, more importantly, to throw our gates wide open so that all creatives know they have a place in The Turquoise Iris Journal. We want our pages to inspire our readers and empower them to create something or connect with someone or simply close their eyes and know they are not alone.
When I put together each issue, I try to imagine that each contributor is sitting next to me as I create their pages. I read their stories, again and again, as I place them on the page, and try to recreate their story with the images I place, the colors I use, and the pacing of the text. I also imagine the person reading the issue, propped on the couch under a pile of blankets or, if they’re like me, folding laundry. I want the magazine to feel like a treasured family heirloom; a collaborative scrapbook of creative wisdom passed between loved ones.
I’ve learned a lot about making a magazine over the past two years. I’ve learned all the shortcuts in the software, I’ve learned about image resolution and color balance, I’ve learned how to place articles so that the emotional connections flow seamlessly from one article to the next.
But the greatest thing I’ve learned is that nothing connects us more than creating something beautiful together. Whether that’s a magazine with fellow creatives or, as in the Fall 2022 issue, a new dining set with your whole family, coming together to make something is what builds a strong foundation for a brighter future.
Our greatest hope is that you take each issue and share it with someone that you love. Attempt to recreate a painting, plant a garden, decorate a room, host a party… Whatever you do, savor those moments until, one day, you’re ready to share them as an article in The Turquoise Iris Journal.
Thank you for everything,
Editor, The Turquoise Iris Journal
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