Zine Review: Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual

Pieces #13 on being a romantic asexual
Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/collectingwords
IG: @corridorgirl

Pieces #13 is a black and white quarter-sized perzine “on being a romantic asexual” that also serves as an introduction to asexuality and the asexuality spectrum.

I hardly know where to start with Pieces #13. It’s one of those zines that I absolutely devoured and that left me with so, so much to think about. I like perzines, and I like learning things. This zine happened to be an intense combination of both.

Aesthetically, Nichole’s zines have always been appealing to me (as mentioned in reviews of previous Pieces reviews). I do so love a thick quarter-sized zine, and I like how the cut and paste style is fun but not overly distracting from the writing.

Oh, the writing.

Nichole manages to be frustrated, informative, vulnerable, and many other things, all within one zine. While the pieces do cut from one to another – the intro being distinctly perzine, the laments being vulnerable, and the FAQ/comments responses being a mixture of many things. Nichole doesn’t need to say the obvious because feelings come through so clearly in the writing.

There is a section in the back where Nichole responds to questions and comments regarding asexuality. I felt so, so frustrated that people could say and ask those things. At the same time, I have to respect Nichole for addressing them anyway.

I found the spectrum of asexuality absolutely fascinating. Like many (I imagine), I was part of the problem in that I only ever saw it as the ‘you don’t’ side of ‘you do or you don’t’ when it comes to sex. I had no idea that there’s not only a spectrum but that there are other names as well. Thanks to this zine, I’ve not only learned things about asexual people but may have clarified a thing or two for myself as well.

I think this is a great resource not only for people who are still figuring out the facets of their asexuality but also for anyone who has even a little open mindedness in learning more about asexuality. It’s a zine I want everyone to know about because I know it’ll be valuable to those who are looking for zines on the subject (and more beyond them).

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Zine Review: Pieces #11 On Connecting Through Friendships, Letters & Zines

Pieces 11 Zine

I’m not sure what’s going on with my colouring in this pic because the cover of this zine is definitely yellow, not cream/tan/whatever.

Pieces #11 On Connecting Through Friendships, Letters & Zines
Nichole
http://wemakezines.ning.com/profile/Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/fictionandnot

I’m usually so utterly focused on reviewing things in order, but when you have a zine series you love, you make exceptions…

In a way, jumping from Pieces #5 to Pieces #11 has been interesting in that Nichole’s writing ‘voice’ has changed so much. There seems to be this level of inner acceptance in this zine that I didn’t pick up in previous zines. That’s one of the reasons I love being able to ‘stay with’ a zine series over time – people change and grow.

That being said, I was very happy to see that Nichole’s cut and paste style that I have loved over the course of this series is still going strong in #11.

Nichole talks about taking a new approach to interactions with people, the beauty of letters, and meeting penpals in person in the setting of Chicago Zine Fest 2014. The inner acceptance that I mentioned earlier really shows in the beginning pages,the very first starting with the words “hello, hello” and the second pages displaying her mailing address with an open invitation to connect.

The funny thing is that I felt this shyness come over me at such an invitation. Not unpleasantly so, though.
The zine wraps up with beautiful thoughts about cultivating ‘second homes’ – those spaces where we feel safe to stop in and comfortable enough to stay. I loved the imagery and loved being reminded of little things that I can do to make my own life a happier one.

For me, the Pieces series continues to be everything I want in a perzine in both aesthetic and content. Nichole makes me think but doesn’t lecture, and I always feel welcomed in rather than forced to watch from the outside.
Definitely grab a copy.

Zine Review: Pieces #5 On Change

Pieces 5

Pieces #5 On Change
Nichole
http://wemakezines.ning.com/profile/Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/fictionandnot

I’ve reviewed Pieces 1-4, so if you’d like to check them out, you can find the links in my recently updated *cough*it’sabouttime*cough* Zine Review Index.

When I first get a zine, I have a quick scan to get a sense of the layout and what kind of zine I’m about to get into. The Pieces series never fails to be a pleasurable scan. I am a huge fan of the A5/regular page half-fold zine, but there’s something about the A6(ish for US friend paper) size that makes it feel a tiny bit more like a zine. A fun little treasure just for me. Pieces #5 is a smidge smaller than A6, and I love it.

Plus, I love how she continues to use white text on black for the change to more stream-of-consciousness type writing. The visual change to go along with the writing style change is a nice touch.

Now enough about paper, Nyx. Not everyone has teh lurve for the stationery like you do.

Pieces 5 is all about, you guessed it: Change. Looking to go back into regular work, contemplating a move and facing fears are topics that we can all identify with. As with previous issues, Nichole does so with that hint of vulnerability that makes you feel like you’re having a conversation with a close friend.

It’s strange to read something that was written in the past (2011) and yet have it apply so well to things I’m dealing with now. This zine is all about change, and Nichole’s writer-ly background along with a keen craving for the creative sits her well with what 2015 Nyx is sorting through. Maybe I have a severe case of narcissism, but even when the situations are different, her questions and thoughts ring true.

The beautiful thing about a perzine is that it’s like getting to know a person. You can read all sorts of things, but they can still surprise you. Nichole’s foray into S&M was a surprise but a pleasant one. I admire her bravery in a number of ways: admitting her wants and needs to herself, pursuing them with another person, and writing about the whole lot. As I contemplate what to write in my second perzine, I read what Nichole has shared and think deeply about what I could share with the world.

Another win for Nichole in the Pieces series. I’m very happy to see that she is continuing on with Pieces and is on Pieces #12. Looks like I’ll have to catch up.

Zine Review: Pieces #4 On Lucid Dreaming

Pieces 4

Pieces #4 On Lucid Dreaming
Nichole
http://wemakezines.ning.com/profile/Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/fictionandnot

Lucid dreaming! I love lucid dreaming. I’ve only done it a few times, but each time has been amazing. But, moving on, because this is not a review of my lucid dreams.

The beauty of having so many issues of a zine is that I get to see it grow and change. In Pieces #4, I feel like we’ve gone from life musings in a general sense to something ‘outside’ Nichole that she’s passionate about. This zine is packed full not only with her experiences but also with information on lucid dreaming – like techniques to use to help you achieve lucid dreaming.

I really enjoyed that. I feel like it’s a lucid dreaming handbook that I can refer back to when I feel the need. There’s even a list of resources for further reading, which I always appreciate.

About half of the zine is dedicated to her dream diary. Dreams are like sports to me, though: I’d rather be in the action than watching (or reading, in this case) it all happen. Even so, this zine is a keeper.

Zine Review: Pieces #3 On Writing, Drinking & Demons

Pieces 3

Pieces #3 On Writing, Drinking & Demons
Nichole
http://wemakezines.ning.com/profile/Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/fictionandnot

I understand now what drives a lot of people to do this and, more importantly, the vague reasons why.

Pieces #3 is one of those zines where I want to quote everything because I identify with this, and with this, and with this…

You get the picture.

From the beginning, Nichole had me with this zine for a number of reasons. Perhaps because I’ve been so desperate to write – to actually finish something. Or perhaps because I’ve been exactly where she was when she made this zine: longing for the possibilities an altered state of mind might provide. I, too, used to look down my nose at people who did such things, but I also now understand why they do it…

As Nichole states on the first page, this zine was written over two days in a flow-of-consciousness style while she swims to the bottom of a bottle of Captain Morgan. It’s an interesting transition as the first strip of black is put on the page partway through the journey and ends with white text on a page of black – plus a photocopied, handwritten page almost as if to prove it had happened.

Even in the literally darkest part of the zine, she seems unsure to the point of needing ‘proof’. Or I could just be reading into it too much. Either way, I still feel the urge to take her out for an ice cream and tell her that I really like her zines.

The next morning in the zine dawns bright once again with black-bordered type on white pages. Attempts to write disappear completely in the wake of ice creams and conversations. While the whole thing left Nichole feeling like she wasn’t sure whether it was a success or not, I see it as the former. After all, I think producing words requires ‘getting out and living a bit’.

For the anxious and shy, sometimes that requires alcohol.

Drinking never seems to accomplish what I initially set out to do…

I hear you.

Somethin’ somethin’.Read More »

Zine Review: Pieces #2 On Girls & Wondering

Pieces 2

Pieces #2 On Girls & Wondering
Nichole
http://wemakezines.ning.com/profile/Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/fictionandnot

This zine is about the handful of girls in my life that really made an impact on me.

I think there is a true, deep value in being able to look at past relationships and feel the feelings without getting lost in them. In this zine, I think Nichole makes a beautiful tribute to women she has met. From her first kiss to realisations of unrequited love, we get to view the women that influenced her life as she views them.

Nichole shares her awkward moments in ways that are endearing and yet ‘are what they are’. She doesn’t indulge in fantasies of what could have been or should have been. When you’re reading, you get a real sense of how she appreciates them even though, in her own words:

…things didn’t work out the way I wanted with any of them…

What was especially gorgeous for me is that there are a couple of women who don’t have names. Why is this gorgeous? Because it reminds me that you never really know whose life you’re influencing. You might think that everybody thinks your [X], but it just so happens someone out there is too nervous to ask you out. Or even to say hello.

Love it.

Zine Review: Pieces #1 On Writing, Reading & Growing Up

Pieces 1

Pieces #1 On Writing, Reading & Growing Up
Nichole
http://wemakezines.ning.com/profile/Nichole
https://www.etsy.com/shop/fictionandnot

This zine (and #2-#5) came through a trade I made a few years ago thanks to the We Make Zines site. Nichole prefers trades to outright sales, so my financially-challenged self was quite happy.

I had a good feeling that I would like this first one because I am an author (and was back when I made the trade, too) and love a lot of things that are writing-related. This zine did not disappoint.

Pieces takes a ‘snippets of life’ approach to her zine with, well, snippets of her life. Bits and pieces that surround reading, writing, authors and what it means to grow up as a creative person. She does skip around in time – jumping forward and back – but chronology doesn’t matter as much as the feelings of the scenes involved. While my glitchy self would have loved chronology, my free love hippie self was happy to go with the flow.

What was even better is how many experiences Nichole and I had in common. For instance, I also wrote for Young Authors when I was in school. I also started using British spellings in school only to be told a resounding no. (Yay for moving to Australia and putting extra letters in all sorts of words! Colour!) While she was not allowed to read at the table, I was not allowed to write. But we were both convinced (if only a little bit) that the characters would get up to something while we were away.

We’ve even both met Garth Nix.

I won’t give it away, but the zine ends on an exhilarating (especially if you’ve done it yourself) note that leaves you wanting to know what happened next.

Zine Review: Submerging

Submerging
Edited by Brian Cogan, Brett Essler, Mike Faloon, & Brendan Kiernan
submergingwriters@gmail.com
https://submergingzine.wordpress.com

Submerging is a full colour half-fold literature zine that also features photographs.

“Euphoria is a trail of exclamations points that you follow off a cliff.”

Despite what I imagine was a typo pluralisation of ‘exclamations’, there is something darkly amusing about that quote.

Submerging is a zine that contains four stories that I am assuming are all nonfiction. They read as non-fiction, but there’s no indication or introduction in the zine that makes that clear. (Though the website does mention that the zine includes personal essays.)

We start off with an interesting diary-style piece that starts with anti-anxiety medication, wanders into the realm of analysing politics in the United States, and ends on a sad note in the Philippines. The pieces that follow cover a heart attack, a slightly stranger (in structure) piece about memory and health heartbreak (no spoilers here, zine friends), and a piece about aging.

I finished the first story a little confused and feeling like perhaps there was something in it that I just wasn’t understanding fully. However, I settled right in with the pieces that followed. The heart attack fascinated me (as strange as that is to type. The structurally stranger piece was still intriguing, and the piece on aging? It felt a little sad because of the inevitability of everything (and because of the age I’m at), but it ended on an unexpectedly cheery note that left me feeling good.

While writing exploring health – both mental and physical – may not sound appealing to you on the surface (it’s definitely an interesting topic to me, so win there), the personal element to these pieces draw you in.

Submerging is a nice zine to look at and touch. It’s made with smooth, glossy paper, and everything looks very clean and crisp. The typography choices are nice, and little things like the drop cap at the beginning of pieces adds to the overall package. I like the inclusion of photos as well. They break up the text, but there aren’t so many that it would confuse this being primarily a literature zine. (I can’t decide whether the cover photo or ‘En Route’ is my favourite picture.)

The writing voices in this zine worked well together, and I can see myself going back to read some of the stories again. If you’re looking for a literature zine with a taste of photography to check out – or maybe even submit to – then this is a zine to have a look at.

Zine Review: The Brokedown Pamphlet: war some of the time

The Brokedown Pamphlet: war some of the time
Mark Renney & Christine Renney

The Brokedown Pamphlet is an A5 colour zine collection of writing, drawings, and other images.

Well, pickles, zine friends. I’m not sure how to get started with this zine. I’ve been paging back and forth, lingering on the images and words, but is it flying over my head?

The written pieces in this zine are like poetry to me in that they use interesting language and create strong images in my mind. I can think about them for ages… but ultimately, I’ll always wonder if I understood what the person who wrote the pieces really meant. One piece actually is a poem, but it is no more or less mysterious.

The images are a curious collection of drawings and photos. They leave me feeling like the writing – somewhat intense, but do I really understand what I’m looking at?

The artistry of this zine extends to its physical aspects as well with a nice cardstock cover and slightly textured paper for the interior. I’m coming to really appreciate lightly textured paper. Running my hands over it while I’m reading a zine helps calm and focus my otherwise somewhat scattered mind.

In the end, I’m not entirely sure what to make of this zine. It’s definitely a curious one, but the world is better for things that make us think.

Upcoming Zine Projects

Hello, zine friends!

I really love this picture. I could have taken it at a better angle or done something ‘better’ photographically, but it still inspires me when I’m ready to start taking on the world. I’d like to put it into a photo zine one day, but I’m terribly nervous that my photos aren’t ‘good enough’.

Ah, the common doubts in all of us.

As much as I find it useful to keep my mouth shut on projects and just get them done – too many projects lost to talk in my past – but it can be good to write or talk things out to get your thoughts in order. Writing a task down can be a step toward making it a reality.

With that in mind, here’s what I’m working on now:

Dream Zine

A zine idea borne of an excited conversation on the Zines & Zinesters Discord channel. We were chatting about zines, and I mentioned how I’ve wanted to make a dream zine but thought people weren’t interested in them.

Well, I was wrong. Haha.

I haven’t picked out a title just yet, but I’m excited to be working on a zine about my somewhat strange dreams and some dream journeys I’ve taken.

Paper Currency 2

I’ve been wanting to work on this since the first one came out, as I am eager to get this series really rolling. A few people have been sending in fliers, and I’m so excited about what’s to come in the future of this zine.

In the first one, zinemakers wrote about their first zines (whether the ones they made or the first they discovered). In this one, I’m thinking more along the lines of pieces about how zinemaking has changed you as a person or helped you.

If you think you have around 500 words (very flexible on this, though) to say on the subject, let me know!

I should note that I don’t know if I can send out contributor copies because they cost me $9 a pop to send. It hurts to say that, but I’m going to have to accept certain things about my life currently and act accordingly. So if you don’t mind the possibility of not getting a contributor copy but still want to write, please let me know.

I’m honestly not sure if I’m ready to go back to my perzine series Don’t Call Me Cupcake. The last issue and mini-issue I wrote were so good for me therapeutically but also took a lot out of me. I’m not sure if I’m ready to write about my life again in that way just yet. But it has been playing on my mind.

What else has been playing on my mind is my next novel. I’m still at a loss of how to balance all my time, but technically it’s a current project…

That’s it for today, zine friends. Are you working on something? Care to share? Let me know about it in the comments (even if it’s not a zine!).