“But what is tougher is the waiting — waiting for someone to ask, for someone who gets it.”KB Meniado
OK to BE is a monthly zine project featuring everyday adventures by creators for creators. The project is headed/edited/curated by the amazing KB Meniado of heykebe, a Filipina creative and editor. She has shared that her main reason for starting the project is to give herself and others a space to express and share their art. “…To let other creators know that I am asking. I am listening and watching and following and cheering and supporting in my own way,” KB states in her opening letter for OK to BE Issue 5.
Every issue is filled with colors and creativity from various local artists and creators with a different theme for each new month. You get poems, short stories, essays, interactive art, and more. I have 3 issues in my collection so far: Issue 1 carries art and stories that are all about FOOD 🍲🥞🥫🥨🥗🥝 Issue 2 is a double-cover-56-pager that holds art and stories about PLANTS and ANIMALS 🌵🪴🐞🦖🐼🐰 Issue 3 is all about HEALTH. For the third issue, content warnings include blood, surgery, illnesses, death, poaching, skulls, and ghouls, among others. Please read with caution 🏥💉
My dream to contribute my own work has finally come true on the latest installment of this awesome series: OK to BE A Work in Progress. The fifth issue is more creator focused than themed. It features never-before-released work by Filipino creators, plus their thoughts about their creative processes. For the first time it also carries works from younger creators: all under 18 and already overflowing with creativity. My very first attempt at poetry, entitled Postpartum can be read in page 16, along with a short interview with the editor. I talked a bit about my creative process, and what writing means to me especially during this pandemic. Postpartum can be taken as literally how I felt like after giving birth, but I hope readers can also connect to the poem’s portrayal of anxiety and disorientation, and how even in our weakest moments, acceptance of one’s vulnerabilities can also be a show of power.
I have read over a hundred books this year, but this zine series holds a special place in my heart — not just because of all the wonderful art and literature that it offers, but also because of how it serves as a haven for all kinds of creativity. You can tell in every issue how KB really poured her heart and soul into every collection. Not only did she inspire me to pursue my writing aspirations but she also stayed with me through editing and polishing my piece. I believe Postpartum would not have been born if not for her, and I am sure my thoughts are shared by other creatives that she has helped (pushed!) towards the finish line. It is such an honor to be a part of this line-up of talented Filipino artists, and definitely a major highlight of my 2021. It is evident in my inactivity here for the past couple of months that I have been finding it harder and harder to show up, and every posted blog draft and finished writing piece is a win for me. These are my small but well-earned victories against lethargy and apathy.
So yes, I highly recommend this series not only to art and literature enthusiasts, but also to aspiring writers and artists that are looking for inspiration and motivation to create. As Cris Santos, one of the artists featured in Issue 5 stated in her interview: “Collaboration helps me see what I can’t.” I believe this zine series is ultimately a collaboration not only between the artists involved but also with the readers that will be touched by every piece in each collection. It is a delightful cycle of learning and giving, of consuming and creating.
KB Meniado is a reader, creator, and editor from the Philippines. She loves finding and telling good stories, making journals and zines, and building creative communities.
You can get your copy of OK to BE: A Work in Progress here.
KB is also hosting a zine sale up to 50% until December 11! You can buy Issues 1 to 4 at only $3 each. Simply use ‘kbzineholidaze‘ for every digital checkout. Visit her Gumroad page here.