In the third installment of Fight Boredom Video Zine Reviews, I talk about Big Zine, Little Zine a zine that Milo (of the Queer Zine Archive Project) decided to make after having read this awful Time magazine article. This zine is all kindsa cute.
In the second installation of Fight Boredom Video Zine Reviews, Maranda Elizabeth joins me for a discussion of The Twin Survey by Amber Gayle. She and twin sister Stacey make zines under the Evil Twin Publications name. If you know of any other twins who make zines (or if you are one!), please get in touch ‘coz we sure do love reading about these things.
I’ve decided to start doing video zine reviews from time to time. You may have noticed that I haven’t been updating my blog as frequently as I used to. It’s mostly because I just haven’t had the time to do so, and partly because I’d rather be talking than writing these days. I figured this was a fun way to get things going again.
So this is my very first one! In this video, I talk about Filling The Void: Interviews About Quitting Drinking & Using, a comp zine by Cindy Crabb of Doris and her sister Caty. I quit drinking recently, and I have to say that this zine means a lot to me. It’s really great to see people talking about their own experiences with quitting, especially people that are involved in “punk” “communities” and as such, have been able to romanticize a lifestyle that often revolves around getting drunk and fucking shit up. You can get the zine through Fight Boredom Distro, just click on the Zines A-G tab above.
My birthday was last week, and my roommates gifted me with beer. I wasn’t sure how to react, until Brad suggested that I bake beer bread. Smart thinkin’!
Let me just say a quick thank you to everyone who purchased zines during my birthday sale, and who came to see me at Canzine. Y’all are the best! I’ll be adding a lot of new zines to the catalogue over the coming weeks. I’ll also be tabling at the 3rd annual Kingston Zine Fair this Saturday, October 29th at the Artel. Please drop by!
I’m celebrating my birthday all week long, and part of the celebration includes having a distro sale. For every FIVE zines that you order, you will receive ONE FREE ZINE of your choice (ten zines = two free zines, etc). Just make note of your preference with your payment, otherwise I’ll surprise you. Ends Saturday morning, so get on it. Just click on the categories above. Don’t forget to check out the patches and stickers, too – postage on them is free with ANY order.
If you’re in Toronto, please come check out my table at Canzine this Sunday, October 23rd.
A few nights ago, I attended a reading by Jeff Miller of Ghost Pine and Cindy Crabb of Doris. They had the Cagibi packed, and I sat up front with an attentive ear and a cup of green tea, surrounded by some of my favourite people. Cindy’s new book, The Encyclopedia of Doris has just been released and she’s currently promoting it on tour – this was apparently her first time in Canada. She began by reading a piece on why she started making zines in the first place, then went into discussions of topics that make frequent appearances in her zines – love, anarchy, healing… The book contains issues #19 – #27 of Doris, as well as interviews, columns and newly-published content. Over three-hundred pages of sweet perzine writing. I have a few copies available through Fight Boredom Distro, just click on the ‘Zines A-G’ tab above. Check out the rest of her tour dates here.
I just made a list of lists that I wanna make.
At the beginning of September, I’d told myself to make a list of goals for the month and work hard toward accomplishing them. It didn’t happen. I don’t know what happened. September is a bit of a scary month for me. I love autumn, but I feel that I am never truly able to enjoy it, simply because I know that the winter is coming. The fear has been instilled in me. I’ve been a bit of homebody these days, doing things like working on my zine, learning to play the ukulele (and sewing sequins onto the case), making big pots of vegan rice pudding, organizing and re-organizing my belongings, and writing letters (as always). I’ve still made it out to a few shows and tabled at a craft fair, plus I’ve been going to a pro-choice support demo near-daily. If you’re in Montréal, you should consider stopping by and showing your support. It’s happening from 5-7pm on weekdays and noon-5pm on weekends, at the corner of St-Laurent and St-Joseph. But mostly I’ve stayed indoors, inviting friends over for tea now and then. I’m broke and so is my bike.
I woke up this morning to grey skies and rain, yet somehow couldn’t have been happier. I’d stayed up ’til five in the morning simply writing writing writing and have continued today. The weather comforts me when it calls for cuffed jeans and a hoodie (or wool tights and a cardigan).
October is not such a scary time. It’s my birthday month! I was born on October 16th and share my birthday with Oscar Wilde, Nico and of course, my twin. Let me tell you something: I’ve decided to celebrate my birthday all month long. I’m determined to stay happy and motivated and focused. I’ve got a lotta projects to work on, mostly of the zine variety. But get this – Maranda just completed their very first novel, and I’m spending the next couple of weeks proofreading and editing it. I’m really proud of them, and totally looking forward to digging in with the red pen that they sent along. How amazing to be reading a novel written by someone that I know and love.
I was going to give this a slightly more polite title, but I like the way Clara worded it. She came to visit me back in August and we had a few days of adventures together. We’ve been pen pals for the past year or so, since she sent me a letter after reading my zines. She includes adorable illustrations on envelopes and in her perzine, Paper Doll.
It must’ve been a bit of a whirlwind visit for her, as I kept her up ’til three in the morning in spite of the fact that she’d just flown in from Edinburgh, Scotland, making it eight o’clock in the morning her time. We went dancing at a show at Casa Del Popolo, then had a long walk home after missing the last metro. I love having houseguests, but I’m not always the most responsible hostess. Let’s be honest.
On Saturday morning, I snuck out of the house and let her sleep in while I spent the day hosting open studio at the Ste-Émilie Skillshare. We met up later on for letter-writing and tea. The better part of the evening was spent wandering through the Marché Atwater and lying in the grass by the Lachine Canal.
We were so exhausted that night, I think we just read zines in my bed until we fell asleep. I find it really nice to be around people who are content to sit down and read together all evening, rather than have a need to be constantly entertained. There’s just something quaint and relaxing about it. It was also nice to have someone around to talk to about the things I was reading, instead of keeping it to myself.
The next day, Montreal was seeing its small share of Hurricane Irene. We threw a small tea party and were joined by Brad and Susan for an afternoon of chatting and zine-reading, with a soundtrack of Jolie Holland and Leadbelly. Quite lovely, indeed. Thrift-shopping the next morning, and then Clara was back on a bus to her home in New Hampshire.
Two weeks before that, Chelsea of Nothing Rhymes had come to Montreal for a short visit as well – mostly we drank tall cans in various parks and talked for hours. It was great. Though I can’t believe we didn’t take any pictures, or even stop by a photobooth.
Meeting up with pen pals is one of my favourite things. It can be strange to go from writing to suddenly speaking face-to-face, but I’ve generally felt closer to my pen pals than anyone else (it’s easier to write down my secrets than to say them out loud), so finally getting a chance to meet them is always exciting. And speaking of… There’s a seat sale currently happening at Megabus.com! Trips between Buffalo, Toronto, Kingston and Montreal from now until December 14th are only $10 if you enter in the coupon code FALL10. So I’ll remind you that Expozine is happening on November 26th – 27th, and I may be organizing a zine reading for the evening of the 25th – why not come see me in this beautiful city?
It’s been eleven days now. I’ve written this many times, only to backspace my words and move on to another project. But I need to say it now, need to get it out of my system and put it behind me for good.
It was a Wednesday afternoon and I’d just gotten out of the shower. I had my Bettie Page towel wrapped around my body and was walking through the hallway toward my bedroom. The doorbell rang, but we weren’t expecting anyone, so I went out to the balcony to see who it was. There was my ex, standing at the door below. I wonder if he heard me gasp “Oh my god!” from three floors above. I dashed back into the house, shocked and shaking, asking my roommates, “What do I do? What do I do?” I knew that I couldn’t answer the door wearing just my towel (only because it would be too fitting – the first time we met, I had answered the door to him and his band in the very same towel), so I paced back and forth, thinking aloud, “I don’t want to see him. I feel sick. I have nothing to say.” But I figured he must have shown up for a reason, so I went to my room to throw on some clothes and told my roommates to buzz him in. Well, by the time I’d made up my mind, he was already gone.
I stared below from the balcony again, and spotted a package leaning up against the door. One of my roommates went downstairs to pick it up for me. Just as I’d thought, it was full of film, all of the film that he’d stolen from me several months earlier. Remember? I wrote about it here. He’d actually emailed me two weeks prior about returning my film and said that it was “taking up space”. As if I had left it behind in order to inconvenience him. As if I hadn’t spent months begging him to return my belongings. I told him to either mail it to me, or pass it along to a mutual friend. The fact that he showed up at my door when I’d made it very clear that I didn’t want to see him was a total violation of my boundaries. I can’t imagine why he held onto my belongings for so long, aside from exerting what little power he had left over me, so this act was something similar. (What was he thinking?)
After he disappeared, I begun to wonder if I’d made a mistake by not having opened the door right away. What if he had something to say to me? Maybe even an apology? Scratch that, because shortly afterward, another one of his stickers was found down the street. He slapped his band’s sticker right up over mine, and I peeled it down just like I do with all the others. And I thought to myself, if he is still behaving this way, then I am awfully glad I didn’t speak to him in person. It couldn’t possibly have been productive.
I’ve told you about this, right? The way he follows me around the city and leaves a trail of stickers everywhere we go? It started on the day I moved into this apartment, when he put up stickers all along Ste-Catherine and through the streets of Hochelaga, making sure my building was surrounded. Then he put a sticker on every streetlight, telephone pole and postbox between metro Mont-Royal and my best friend’s house (actually, he did that twice). Everywhere I go, there he is, always reminding me of his presence. Like he cannot stand the fact that I might not be thinking about him for just a moment, he needs to tell me he’s been here too, make sure that I am reminded of him. He is a dog marking his territory, but he does it with stickers in lieu of piss. Nearly five months since we broke up, and he still can’t leave me alone.
I will do what I always do, which is to look for the positive in all of this. The stickers have become a joke among my friends, who also tear them down from around the city (sometimes I wish I’d saved them all so we could turn them into confetti). And now that I’ve got my film back, I’m free to take pictures and begin new projects. It wasn’t one hour after he’d left that I was outside with my camera in hand, taking pictures of graffiti and vintage signs – two of my favourite things. The photos belong to an unfinished series titled Les ruelles de Hochelaga. I spend so much time at friends’ places that I’ve barely explored my own neighbourhood, so it’s always an adventure to me. At one point, a man stopped me in the street to tell me about a secret garden that had been planted at an abandoned fast food restaurant; there I found eggplants and cherry tomatoes. I am telling you, this city is magical.
Let me tell you about magical. Memorizing the words to Karkwa’s songs and feeling so proud of myself to be learning how to sing in French. Going to see them play to a hundred thousand people on Thursday night, knowing that they’d played to a crowd of less than a hundred people in my twin’s home city of Guelph, Ontario only a few nights before. Reading Anaïs Nin’s journals on the metro ride home and being moved by her words in a way that I rarely feel. Spending the next day sat in various parks with nothing but my thoughts and a spiral notebook, and at one point finding myself in the middle of an outdoor lecture publique, where literature students read aloud pieces that they’d written about their favourite authors. Wandering through streets that I’ve yet to explore, admiring their unique gardens and painted balconies. Spending an evening with my best friends, then walking all the way home from the Plateau because autumn may be setting in, but the weather is still quite lovely at night. Yes, it is a magical city indeed.