Mini Zine Series Review: Sensitive Adult

Sensitive Adult
Darcy Rock
FB & IG: @sensitiveadultdaily

Sensitive Adult is a free, A6, black and white zine series about emotional sensitivity and being a sensitive adult.

There is a strange sort of comraderie to be found in mutual unease with the world. I’ve always considered myself to be a bit too sensitive for the world, so this series was immediately appealing.

Through this series, Darcy touches on different subjects in a sort of ‘thoughts of the moment’ style rather than necessarily something that follows one to the next or needs to be read in any particular order. Medication, unemployment, unhealthy coping skills – Darcy covers many subjects with a writing style that is contemplative while also not getting lost within the subject at hand.

I identified a lot with what Darcy wrote on everything, marking bits here and there that resonated with me in every single issue.

What started off as (and still, in many ways, is) as a smiling, nodding along ‘that’s so me’ series of zine reads became very serious for me with the last one I read “On Death: How I imagine the end of my life”. I once again had to tip my hat to the realisations that perzines can bring in how it changed my perspective on what I thought was a good way to live my life.

If you see these zines, pick them up. It’s always a good thing to take in different perspectives, and you might just find out a thing or two that you didn’t know before.


Zine Review: Small Potatoes #2

Small Potatoes 2
IG: @k.huolohan

Have I mentioned lately that I love layered meanings in zine titles?

Small Potatoes Issue 2 is a black and white A6-sized perzine continuation from Small Potatoes Issue 1. Inside, Keira shares thoughts on zines and writing, turning 28, fiction, poetry, death, and more. (And a couple random drawings as well.)

As with Small Potatoes 1, I liked all the variety in this zine. With most pieces being one to two pages, I bopped right along, taking it all in and enjoying the illustrations to go with each piece. I enjoy long pieces as well, of course, but I appreciate being able to pick up/put down a zine as needed. (In reality, I sat down and read this straight through. It’s the thought that counts.)

It’s lovely to ‘be there’ with a zinester as they write about their own little discoveries about how therapeutic and important writing can be. In the first one, I was so happy to discover that Keira was coming back to zines after a break. In this, when Keira rights that they are ‘glad to be writing the second one’, I’m here cheering and happy to be reading the second one.

I did have a bit of a giggle at Keira’s – albeit fleeting – though about turning 28 and wondering if they were too old to make zines. I certainly hope not! Haha.

In the aesthetics department, I immediately had the impression that this zine had more cut and paste going on than the first one – to the point that I grabbed the first issue to compare. As it turns out, it’s not so much more cut and paste as it includes more handdrawn bits and pieces from Keira. I love it. Not only does it add even more personality to the mix, I see it as a step forward in confidence that Keira’s ready and willing to share more of themself with the audience.

(I could be off. I never did finish that psychology degree.)

I feel like I’m cheating on my zine love for not saying the piece about the importance of zines was my favourite, but The Chip Problem… Oh, my gosh. Two little pages of short story, but I think it’s fantastic. Everything turned on a single sentence. Absolutely fantastic.

It’s still a little different to find poetry and fiction alongside the more “traditional” perzine parts, but I think it’s a good thing to shake things up and keep shaking them up. I’m actually understanding the poetry, too, which is a big plus for me.

I think Small Potatoes 2 is a great follow up to the first one, and the series is a great place to start if you want to read some perzines before diving in yourself.

200th Zine Review Celebration Awards: I Read a Zine, And I Liked It

Wonderful, beloved zine friends. I’m so happy to be creating this post.

It’s that time again – a time that probably isn’t familiar to a lot of you. When I reached my 100th review in May 2016, I felt inspired by the Golden Stapler Awards and celebrated by awarding zines with titles like ‘best binding’ and ‘funniest zine’.

(100th Zine Review Celebration Awards: All You Need is Zine Love)

I hit my 200th zine reviewed a few months ago, but with everything that was going on, I wasn’t able to get to things until now. I still wasn’t sure whether I would do this, but I do love sharing my zine enthusiasm and celebrating fun and cool zines.

Things to remember:

1. My apologies for any less than stellar photos.
2. This is only meant to be a bit of fun.
3. Zines often fit into more than one category. How they were sorted is all on me.
4. Keep in mind these are limited to the second lot of 100 zines I’ve reviewed – roughly from May 2016 to July 2017. You can find the whole list: Zine Review Index
5. Picking out the ‘best’ stinks. I love them all!

Let’s do this.

(I’m putting everything after a more tag because there are a lot of images.)

Read More »

#ZineWriMo Day 20 – Try a New Genre

Hello, zine friends, and happy start to the coming week (if Monday is your Monday, which it’s likely not, so I don’t know where to end this mid-sentence sidenote…). Today for ZineWriMo, we have the challenge of trying out a new genre.

Genres in zinedom are a little looser, a little less defined than in the literary world – but that’s what makes it fun, right? In general, though, there are a few (listed in no particular order):

*Your usual literary genres for fiction writing: fantasy, sci-fi, etc
*Poetry zine
*Collab zines – zines containing pieces from multiple people
*Info/Educational zines
*Perzine – a personal, memoir or biography style zine
*Fanzine – a zine all about that thing/person/band/movie/game/etc you love
*Politizine – a politically oriented zine
*Music Scene Zine

So on and so forth. There are heaps of different takes, mixing and matching, and the like.

I was a bit stumped for this one for a while. I make a perzine, and collab zine, and have made info zines. Poetry, any sort of artistry, politics, and music all fall under this hazy veil for me, so I didn’t know what to make that was outside familiar territory.

Then it occurred to me…

Fanzine! I’ve never made a fanzine before, and I just so happened to make the cover for this one just yesterday. Haha. Go figure.

I’m a planner, so I’ve been scribbling down various notes and things for how I want to structure my fanzine and what information I would like to include in it. I’m very excited all over again to tear apart and examine a show I really love.

How did you go with today’s task? Did you try a new genre? Let me know about it in the comments!

Zine Review: Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health

Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health
Queer Marshmallow
IG: @queermarshmallow

Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health is a black and white… I feel like it falls under the category of perzine, but I really want to call it a ‘contemplation zine’.

In Radical Vulnerability and Mental Health, Queer Marshmallow explores thoughts on the meaning of ‘radical vulnerability’ and how it applies within the context of mental illness. More specifically within the realms of anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder.

I started reading this zine knowing that I liked the way ‘radical vulnerability’ sounded but also knowing that I wasn’t actually sure what it was all about. With recent events leaving me feeling particularly vulnerable, I decided it was about time to look into it.

As much as I wanted a solid, ‘official’ definition, I like how QM started from a place of what radical vulnerability meant to them and then took it from there. At no point was there a feeling of being told what is, only personal interpretations. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think the writing could have demonstrated any more perfectly exactly what it was talking about.

I didn’t expect to identify so strongly with this zine, but I truly did. Perhaps it’s simply from the common mental diagnoses, but I have many times asked myself the same questions QM asks. Where is the line between expressing what is going on and becoming a burden? When does honest become too honest?

This zine isn’t a guide or a how to, but it is a beautifully vulnerable – excited but shy – exploration of feelings when it comes to opening your true self up to the world. If that sounds like something you would enjoy, pick up this zine.

Zine Review: Mythologising Me #10

Mythologising Me #10

Apologies right up front for the not-so-great image. Looking forward to a house with natural lighting…

Mythologising Me #10 is a black and white perzine about moving, money, and self-care.

It never ceases to make me giggle when I pick up a zine and the contents inside speak to what I’m experiencing in my life at that time. I totally identified with the joys to be found in moving into one’s own place and no longer needing to do things like hide from the landlady during inspections. I found myself wanting to read more on that subject alone.

In the zine, Ingrid contemplates work and whether the ‘dream job’ is worth the stressful commute and doing what one needs instead of racing after the almighty dollar. The theme of self-care continues in a piece about writing mail and making new penpals until the point where it all became overwhelming rather than a pleasurable experience. How doing something you love so much too much can make you stop enjoying the process in the first place.

There was one point that was a little jarring for me as the reader and that was the use of ‘we’ without explaining who else made up the ‘we’ being talked about. It made me want to pick up earlier zines in the series, which is good for the zinemaker, but it did throw me out of the reading for a little bit, which is perhaps not so good for the zinemaker.

I do love it when a zine gets me interested in new concepts and gives options for further reading should the reader be interested. With MM 10, this came with Ingrid’s thoughts on the ‘treat yo’self” mindset within self care and how that can be a bad thing. This is the first time I’ve read about the possible negative impacts of doing things that way, and I’m eager to check out the recommended reading on the subject.

Aesthetically, MM 10 has made me realised what a structured person I am when it comes to making zines. Don’t take that as a negative thing. I found this zine to be really refreshing and different with no titles, switches of fonts to show switches of topic, so on and so forth. I like the mix of shorter thoughts as well as longer pieces of writing.

There were a few spots where the words were difficult to make out, but I think I got the gist of everything.

There’s also plenty to look at with cats, Snoopy stickers (<3), and more. It reminds me that, while computers can certainly help things along and make things easier, there is a free-spirited sort of whimsy when it comes to making things more by hand than by machine.

Mythologising Me #10 is a perzine I enjoyed and inspired me to check out the rest of the series.

Zine Review: The Reverse Cougar Years #3

The Reverse Cougar Years #3

I confess – I picked this up because of the title. Do you blame me? I did a quick look through enough to guess it was a perzine, but “Reverse Cougar”? That’s a name I wish I’d thought of. The funny thing is that I wrote that note << before I read anything, so I laughed out loud when the zine started off with an explanation of the title.

Along with the explanation of the title, Maxx also starts off by writing about, well, not writing.

“I stopped writing zines because I was told it was selfish to want to share my thoughts, for no other reason than the fact I enjoyed telling stories.”

The Reverse Cougar is a zine that hooked me in straight away with emotion. I laughed because of the title, and then I felt so incredibly frustrated reading the quote above. All the time Maxx had lost due to idiots saying idiotic things! But on that same note, I felt happy and celebrated this zine as Maxx’s return to creating.

Plenty of feels to feel here!

The first parts are about Maxx's career as a female sound technician, something I can honestly say I knew absolutely nothing about. That's what made it doubly interesting for me because not only did I not know about the job but I thus didn't know about the difficulties that came with being a female in the world of sound technicians, either.

In the second half, Maxx writes about anxiety, and the feels were strong for me in this one, too. I identify so much with being on the floor crying uncontrollably. I really loved how Maxx handled the 'then' and 'now' views of things. Maxx does a good job of summing up with enough info but not lingering too long. Everything keeps moving along.

Even more, I loved how Maxx’s writing on anxiety expanded out into a sad but beautiful examination of the end of a relationship as well as different responses to mental illness.

The Reverse Cougar took me to a lot of different, interesting places. It ends on such a sad note, but it's a strong note as well. I’m looking forward to reading other issues.