sick life happens

The plan was to blog like a demon during the initiative known as ‘dry July’ (where people abstain from drinking alcohol to raise money, as well as for personal health reasons), and I was doing it to keep my main squeeze company.

I thought it’d be great and I’d reap health benefits immediately…but after having bronchitis for all of June, most of July was getting first one ear infected, only to have it move to the other.

It’s now August, and after a week and a half of physical wellness, I now have another ear infection in the ear where it all started. You can imagine I’m pretty pissed off, and joked to my psychiatrist that at least I was miserable about being physically ill rather than due to the usual psychological ailments!

I’ve been saving a special zine specifically to match up with tea, and now that I’m home sick and trying to keep warm and drink lots of hot drinks, it seems like a good time to read and review the following.

zine: Life Happening by dangerlam (Kim Lam, 2019)

drink: organic golden latte blend by Zee Tea 

(a super-cool Patreon-only photo appears here of my three-colour cat teapot next to the zine mentioned above)

So…my turmeric latte mix technically has gone past its best before date, which is one reason I’m trying to finish up the packet. I’m also hoping the turmeric will help with some excruciating, stabbing pain I occasionally experience in my left index finger thanks to my fluting past. Recently, the fingertip has started to go numb and the part where the pain stabs happen have become…less stabby and more lingering.

Given that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, I’ve been remembering to try and drink more of it. The ingredients are pretty yummy. The packet says it’s:

organic turmeric powder blended with ginger, cinnamon, liquorice and coconut

and also recommends that you make it with coconut milk, mmm! I’ve just been using a mix of half a cup of hot water, the rest full cream milk. 

Being a liquorice fiend (as gorging on it after one summer trip to Portsmouth can attest…I threw up a river of liquorice after sitting bolt upright in bed just as me and my brother were retiring for the day after being told not to eat it all or eat it too quickly!), I’m pretty partial to this particular mix, it’s slightly sweet and subtly spicy, though I flavour it with honey (again: using more of for its antibacterial properties) anyway.

The comic zine is dreamy. I’m a fan of Kim’s work, ever since she left me speechless after drawing my 2018 Emerging Writers Festival panel – I really love her linework, and enjoyed her sparse usage of colour in ‘Life Happening’. 

Scroll through my favourite panels in the comic in the IG embed above, for pretty obvious, biased reasons (hint: involves cats, and tea!). One of them, minus me having a dishwasher and kitty litter is SPOT ON.

You can view this in IG as embedded above but I’m posting it because I totally let my hipster turmeric latte get cold whilst writing this blog post, classic me shiz.

The creator invites us to contemplate what makes up ‘living’ or ‘existing’ and how fulfilling or meaningful these rituals and patterns to us. I loved it because it’s a beautiful, artful, melancholy way of expressing these preoccupations; I don’t often feel my mind dwells on these topics in a healthy manner (regular readers would by now know why that is).

It does make me fall in love with the simple little rituals that do define our life. Waking up, being able to get out of bed and make myself tea and breakfast isn’t something I take for granted, and recently it’s been easier, more natural. It sounds like such a mundane thing, but I enjoy that I can do it, that at the moment it doesn’t feel like such a trial. 

Spending time with my cat (who is purring and huddled on half of my lap as I write this post) is another one of those everyday things that grounds me, makes me feel like living isn’t too bad, or that it’s okay to take time to rest. We’re both anxious sorts, and by being physically close to each other, we kind of cancel out our mutual anxiety! For real: adopt, don’t shop.

If I had to sum up why you should get a copy of Life Happening, it’d be because it’s a limited edition print run (mine is 21/100!), it’s a gorgeously plaintive reflection that considers what’s meaningful to us as individuals in a world that tries to get us all to do the same, sometimes harmful things (work, earn money, spend that money, not consider the consequences of that spending), the illustrations are lovely, and you’d be supporting a Melbourne-based creative.

Again, and as always, I pay for the zines and beverages I review, which is why I especially love and appreciate my fantastic Patreon supporters!

My tea collection did grow substantially during Dry July so I’ll try to match up more tea to zines, and throw in an occasional tinnie to clear my fridge shelf of shame!

Will do my best to post sooner rather than later. Hope the Melb winter is not battering you as hard as it has me! Stay warm and dry!

inhabiting pubs with an in-house catfish

zine: Inhabit Journal, issue 2 (Nov 2016), curated by Kiara Lindsay

drink: The Doctor (6.5% ABV, half-pint, draft) brewed by Sawmill Brewery (Auckland, NZ)

venue: The Catfish, Fitzroy, Melbourne

So for the Emerging Writers’ Festival this year, I’m involved in a couple of events and totally not panicking at all, noooo, not me! I know it’s really uncool to admit it, but it’s always going to mean something to me to be programmed in things because…I’m uncool and grateful that way, and part of me doesn’t ever think the working my overachieving Asian arse off will ever translate into actual success.

For research, I ordered Inhabit Journal’s zines, given I’ll be writing (most likely a poem) an ekphrastic response to an exhibition as commissioned by this year’s EWF. Today, I’m working with a poet friend at the Catfish (which I might add, I have a very soft spot for, because the staff NEVER mansplain my beer choices to me, and the Sparrows Philly cheesesteaks are also fucking amazing).

Anyway, the beer: why the hell are there still so many sours around when it’s winter proper in Melbourne? Please (white cishet)mansplain this to me! I went for a dark beer first up. Given how many bloody (quite literally, given the whole premenstrual dysphoric disorder goregrind show) doctor and health specialist appointments I’ve had in the last three months, I guess it’s kind of fitting to drink a beer called ‘The Doctor’?. It tastes like subtly roasted coffee, and isn’t too alcoholic (or hides its ABV well?), and kind of feel I should’ve ordered a pint of it instead. Trying to be a responsible adult is so boring.

Now is probably not the right time to admit that ekphrastic poetry absolutely fucking terrifies me. Perhaps it’s the direct involvement with a videogame that means it’s less terrifying writing a tribute (ie. videogame ekphrastic poetry) to it, but srs visual art? Gulp.

(Patreon beer notes photo appearing here)

Anyway, about the zine. All poems that appear in this zine are inspired by or mention at least one visual artwork by Fergus Binns. Some of the poets do mention more than one of the artworks (‘Erotic Fibers’ by Pauline Rotsaert, and ‘Rescued for Friendly & Honeybird’ by Shona McCarthy).

I feel it fair to mention that the following works I’m quoting from are not necessarily the ones I thought were the ‘best’ because kind of mindset is shit when it comes to art – these are examples of the ones that moved me and made me all excited about being a poet.

Natalie Briggs’ ‘Gigantic Blue’ had some lines that stole my heart:

and we rearranged the furniture, and I’m so careful with my words now.

Hot water asking my skin to give up / what my doesn’t dare to. The hot water knows / I never fought for you.

Or Natalie Gilmartin’s ‘paint gives the appearance of being fixed’:

a clearing is not a landscape, it becomes one


from something more fluid / with a steady hand and repetition

as if it doesn’t move or change or wilt or die / or carry the scars of colonisation


to the right music, a subject can confuse / a convention

Kern Mangan-Walker’s ‘being sunburnt but that’s okay i guess’ has lots going on. You should read the whole thing if you have the chance (I liked it as someone who isn’t white who appallingly burns in Australia…where are the benefits of my extra melanin?)

everything has its freckles, scars and blotches / history, geography, institutions, nature, among others / someone once said that these make our world beautiful


I live in greyscale


when I wake up next Spring / I won’t have to colour my own drawings.

I really hope I don’t let down EWF or Inhabit Journal, or the visual artists.