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.