Thankful For My Sobriety On A Saturday Morning

Saturday morning, and I feel especially thankful for my sobriety on days like today. In spite of a late night, I was awake at nine o’clock this morning, feeling well-rested and content, snuggling with my cat. I got out of bed and put on the kettle, made a cup of green tea, tidied up my bedroom and sat down to read. I read the letters that I’d gotten in the mail yesterday, and then a zine – Spirits: Relationships With Alcohol & Drugs.

I was at a house show in Verdun last night, tabling with Fight Boredom Distro and doing a zine reading alongside a couple of bands (Critical Convictions from Ottawa and Facials from Montréal). I had been really nervous beforehand, the kind of nervous that makes my guts all queasy and I kept making jokes about vomiting on everyone and then, no, if I vomit anywhere it’ll be on the windows of the yuppie bar on Wellington! A friend had asked if there was anything they could do to help calm my nerves, and I thought about the past, how I would’ve asked for a beer (and then had another and another), and really there was nothing. All I can do now is push myself through it, experience it fully. We had pizza and soda instead. The house slowly filled up with people, many of them friends of mine, and I set up my distro on the kitchen table. Maxx read first, from a zine called The Reverse Cougar Years, a piece about being a sound technician in a field typically dominated by men, then Steve read a hilarious story from Broke Ass #4 documenting his adventures cleaning up and dressing nice and seeing what he could get away with when people were no longer paying attention to the weirdo punk. I read two pieces – an excerpt from The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #1, and something that I’d started writing last summer called This Is A Punk Show, Not A War, which will surely make its way into one of my zines in the future. There is something scary about these things, about standing alone in front of a group of people, any group of people, but especially a crowd who came to drink and party and see a bunch of bands. But everyone sat on the floor quietly and listened to our stories, and of course my tummyache faded away, because I am always nervous for nothing. When the reading is over, suddenly I want more. I walked away from the stage (I use this term loosely, it was someone’s living room) thinking of all sorts of things I could’ve added. Well, next time.

It wasn’t until later in the night that an acquaintance approached me and asked if I’d like to trade zines. I said yes enthusiastically without even looking at it, and you can imagine how happy I then was to see that it was a compilation on relationships with alcohol and drugs. I read the first couple of pages of Spirits at the show, then finished it today. Numerous contributors had noted this new world of mornings, this time and place that doesn’t really exist when one has gotten wasted the night before. Sleeping in ’til noon and waking up with a hangover was the usual, but now it’s tea and writing and bike rides and sunshine, and it felt so good to be reading this as soon as I’d gotten out of bed, to be nodding along in agreement.

The dreamy Saturday continues, because as I’m writing this, Stefanie has just prepared fresh juice with the Champion juicer that now lives in our kitchen, and I’m about to make a nice breakfast of toast with avocado and hotsauce, and alfalfa sprouts that I grew myself in a mason jar (thanks for showin’ me the ropes, Dave Cave). Then I’ll put on my hoodie and my scarf and ride my bike up to the Mile-End to see a friend’s art installation, and back downhill to Verdun to hang with my bestie. It’s the first of December and we agreed to get together on this day to make plans for the season ahead, our winter survival to-do list.

Fight Boredom Distro News: I’ve just added Telegram #26, Everybody Moon Jump #8, Rot #4, Six Ans De Pouce: L’ordinaire & L’extraordinaire, XXV, SCAM #9, and the SCAM anthology of the first four issues to the catalogue. I’ve also got copies of Well Of Loneliness, a cassette tape by Providence, RI-based queercore crust band Groke, but get ‘em while you can ‘coz I sold half of them at the show last night. I also added a Books section to this website, which will hopefully make it a little easier to find your favourite zine anthologies.

Wanna read more about people’s experiences and struggles with addiction and sobriety? Check out Alex #3-#4, Breakfast For Dinner #1, Filling The Void: Interviews About Quitting Drinking & Using, Sub Rosa #7, and The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #1, all available via Fight Boredom Distro. And if you’ve written on the topic, please send a copy of your zine for distro consideration, I’d love to read it.

The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #2 / Cheaptoys #10

The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes #2 / Cheaptoys #10 / $2.00

Giz and I made a split zine! In the second issue of The Triumph Of Our Tired Eyes, I’ve written about hitchhiking from Montréal to Halifax and the three weeks that I spent on Canada’s East Coast during the summer. Almost entirely handwritten (I have really neat printing, I swear) with simple illustrations throughout. If you ever wondered what a zine residency looks like, this is it. I stayed in the shed at the Roberts Street Social Centre for two weeks, then spent a few days in Sackville, New Brunswick for Sappyfest. Read along as I work through my syndrome de la page blanche and punch a dude in the face. / I’d call Cheaptoys something of a punk-perzine, always full of tour stories and photos from various travels and shows. Giz begins by writing of his experiences in the suburbs of Monaco and Paris, and his desire to leave France for library school. Also documented are his adventures from presenting at an academic conference in Utrecht, Netherlands, to playing Plan-It-X Fest in Bloomington, Indiana (up the scholar punx!), plus an interview with an anonymous graffiti artist, and more. Il faut remarquer que ce split-zine est écrit en français-anglais, un mélange de langues comme on s’écrit dans nos lettres. (It should be noted that this zine is written in a mixture of French and English, just like we write to each other in letters).

It is currently available for $2.00 + postage via Fight Boredom Distro, and is in stock at Bus Stop Press (France), Portland Button Works (US), and Vampire Sushi (UK), and will soon be available at Stranger Danger (US). I accept Paypal and well-concealed cash (just click How To Order).

Fight Boredom Distro Updates: Other zines I’ve recently added to the catalogue include Hungry: A (Re)collection of Memorable Meals & Disordered Eating, Radio Antarctica #1, Skinned Heart #3 – #4, Pinch Kid #2 – #3, and the Shotgun Seamstress anthology – and yes, I’ve finally written descriptions! I’ve also just added Well Of Loneliness, a cassette tape by Providence, RI-based queercore crust band Groke. The tapes are baby pink for goodness’ sake!

If yr in Montréal, please come see me this Friday! I’ll be tabling with the distro and doing a zine reading at a house show in Verdun, featuring Critical Convictions, Facials, and Vile Intent. Facebook event here.

Fight Boredom & Stay Cozy

Family time with Maranda Elizabeth and Mommie Dearest.

Here I sit at my kitchen table, which is pretty much my favourite place to be. Just got home from a bike ride… a bike ride in the snow. It was the perfect snow, the kind where there are flurries in the air, but they’re not yet ready to stay on the ground. I brought some zines to a friend and he said, “You’re having your magical winter moment.” That I am. I like the first snow, I like the beginnings of a new season in general, but like I said to the postal clerk that I bought my stamps from this afternoon, « Après quelques semaines là je suis tannée de la neige. » Still, I am looking forward to this winter, oddly enough, and here is my game plan: eat well, read lots, stay cozy.

I just spent three weeks in my home province, more time than I’ve spent there since I moved to Québec nearly four years ago. I alternated between my mom’s home in Fenelon Falls, Dave Cave’s new house in Lindsay, and Maranda’s place in Guelph. I had literally zero obligations while I was there, and spent most of my time reading books, writing in my journal, and practicing making comics. There were good thrift scores to be found, tasty food to be eaten, and many conversations to be had. (I know what you’re thinking: But weren’t you supposed to be in England?! Well yes, but there was a slight change in plans and I’M GONNA MAKE A ZINE ABOUT IT OKAY).

Dave Cave took care of me while I was in Lindsay. He greeted me in the mornings with lemon water and vitamins, then we’d make a to-do list for the day. When he came home from work, I’d say, “How was your day, dear?” and we were basically a married couple for the week. His dining room became my favourite place in Lindsay, more of a writing nook than anything else.

When I came home, Stefanie (my roommate-soulmate!) had hung a banner in my bedroom… actually she hadn’t quite finished it yet. I walked into the house carrying a backpack full of zines, another one full of books and clothes, and a bag of cat ornaments and junk from various thrift stores and she said, “You can’t be home yet!” So I waited outside the door and played with Sebastian and Thunder. Finally, she invited me in, and there it was: a handmade sharpie’d banner! Stefanie is seriously the most considerate and thoughtful person that I know. She’s in the kitchen right now too, preparing vegan gluten-free pizza for our guests tonight. Tulip Farm dream life.

I’m still riding on the posi vibes that I picked up while visiting friends and family in Ontario. I’m spending my time doing the things that I always do: reading zines, writing letters, riding my bike. I feel optimistic about the upcoming winter.

Fight Boredom Distro News: 1) I’ll be updating the distro with a whole bunch of new stock soon, including Skinned Heart #4, Pinch Kid #2 – #3, Rot #4, Live To Win, Everybody Moon Jump #8, Hungry, Radio Antarctica, SCAM #9, 6 Ans De Pouce: L’ordinaire & L’extraordinaire and a few books – Telegram: A Collection Of 27 Issues, a zine anthology by Maranda Elizabeth, the Shotgun Seamstress anthology, and the SCAM anthology of the first four issues.

2) Last month, I was interviewed by The Link about the Fight Boredom Zine Residency. Can’t wait to have new residents next spring!

3) I’m tabling with the distro at a house show in Verdun next weekend, please stop by! The Facials and Vile Intent are so fucking good. Facebook event here.

Reasons To Order Zines From Fight Boredom Distro – Right Now!

1. The website will be on hiatus from October 16th until the New Year – so this is your last chance!
2. Every order placed this week will come with a free copy of Teacups & Typewriters, the Tulip Farm newsletter.
3. I’ve just added a whole bunch of zines to the catalogue – check out the news here!
4. I’m about to go travelin’ and every little bit helps.
5. It’s my birthday and it’ll make me happy.

Say Hello To September’s Fight Boredom Zine Resident!

Khristina Acosta is a mental health worker and caretaker living in central New Jersey. A co-organizer of C.L.I.T. Fest New Brunswick, she is interested in making people of color (POC) more visible in the punk and DIY scenes. Her zine will be about how a string of disappointing romantic situations have convinced her to be non-sexual with anyone until January of 2013. Although these disappointments were the catalyst, it will also deal with issues of consent, boundaries, mental health, family history, failed polyamory, and both internalized misogyny and white suprematism. Overall, what it means to be a sex-positive feminist while figuring out how to unlearn your oppressive and unhealthy habits. An avid reader of zines, this will be her first zine coming to fruition and not just floundering in Google Docs.

An update on the Fight Boredom Zine Residency: Bri, the first-ever participant, completed her zine in June and information can be found here. Teresa, the August resident and Lacy, the September resident (whose projects are outlined here) both had to cancel due to having found jobs. If and when Teresa’s zine is finished, it’ll be in stock at Fight Boredom Distro, and we’re hoping to have Lacy here next spring / summer. We weren’t able to find a replacement August resident on such short notice, however, we talked to our second-choices for the residency and are so happy to have Khristina coming to stay with us at the Tulip Farm for two weeks! She’ll be here from September 26th – October 10th. Subscribe to this blog and ‘like’ Fight Boredom on Facebook to keep up with all the latest scoop.

Send Me Your Zines For Distro Consideration!

I’m on a distro-stocking frenzy at the moment and I want YOUR zines at Fight Boredom Distro. As you may know, I’m visiting the UK for six weeks in the fall and winter (itinerary-in-progress here), and part of my trip involves tabling at some zinefests (like the Leeds Zine Fair and Queer Zine Fest London, among others). I’ll have a backpack overstuffed with zines, and I wanna bring a whole lot more with me.

So, here’s the deal. I want my website to be entirely up-to-date in early-October. If you want your zine to be listed online and available during my travels overseas, you need to mail me a consideration copy RIGHT NOW. Y’all know that I’m into perzines written by queers, anarchists, feminists (and remember: my feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit). I like diary comics and thoughtful accounts of things like small towns, community-building, livin’ on the cheap. I’d also like to stock more zines on sex work, sobriety, and general hopeful tales of creating yr dream life. Also, more zines from Canada and Québec please! If you’ve got a zine that you think fits well with the distro catalogue, please send a consideration copy my way, along with yr contact info and wholesale/retail prices (wholesale is generally 50% of retail, ie: I will buy ten copies of your zine at $1.00 each and sell them for $2.00 each, with all money going straight back into the distro).

Amber Dearest / 344 rue St-Ferdinand / Montréal, Québec / H4C 2S8 Canada.

My feet, reading/writing materials. Halifax, July 2012.

I’m seriously really excited right now. I just ordered a bunch of new stock this afternoon and I can’t wait to share it with everyone.

And please tell me in the comments: What have you been reading lately? What would you like to see at Fight Boredom Distro?