Tim Tams and when people are missing to you

zine: Concrete Queers 10: Milestones by various authors (more info here)

drink: Timothy Tamothy Slam-othy chocolate biscuit milk stout (5.6%, 440mL can) by Moon Dog Craft Brewery (Abbotsford, VIC)

music: before: a lot of late-night Radiohead (Kid A and Amnesiac, and Jonny Greenwood’s Bodysong soundtrack (I’m giving away some serious sleep music playlist secrets here)

It’s 3am and I can’t sleep because I haven’t taken my prazosin. I’m terrified of missing a really important appointment tomorrow (well, technically today), so thought maybe I’d just hope diazepam would knock me out for a few hours. As is common with folks with PTSD symptoms, I’m exhausted, but not tired to sleep without the bloody prazosin. Lesson learnt. It’s also felt like forever since I had one of these late night writing sessions…I miss ’em, but I love my mental health more after sleeping semi-wellish on the newish meds.

There were three zines I could’ve chosen to review as you’ll see below, but they felt too male-dominated. Paper & Ink 13: Tales From The Bar actually has a lot of female contributors but sometimes there’s this drunk Bukowski aesthetic (tautological, perhaps, to mention?) that in P&I that doesn’t always feel inclusive. Yes, I know who Bukowski is, but I don’t always want to read writing inspired by him. Soz.

I was selfish and chose a zine that I do have a poem in, but because it very obliquely relates to Tim Tams: bear with me.

It’s also finally starting to act like dark beer weather, drooooool. Or maybe that’s just 3am loneliness talking. Lately, Melbourne has me a bit down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to going to shitloads of events by myself (it’s actually quite weird that when I go to writing events, I often bump into colleagues and friends. Like mega-weird. Haven’t really experienced anything like that since maybe The Con(servatory at Melb Uni)?

Anyway, Melbourne seems to do this thing where people only really become good friends when they spend a lot of time together, in a fairly enclosed space. I’m thinking mainly sharehouses where you can get along with some people in the loveliest way possible, and then as soon as you’re no longer in their proximity, you’re off their radar. No one gets in touch to catch up with you, which makes you look like an epic loser when you get in touch with them to say “hey, it’s been a while, let’s catch up?” I think it’s a Melbourne thing because there’s something about this city that makes you feel like people want to be your friend, but it’s easy to confuse that with them wanting something from you.

That used to get me down enough to have me drink a lot more than I used to. That isn’t an easy thing to admit. I had one ex-housemate who I felt I got along really with really well. We used to talk heaps after work, he taught me I wasn’t completely clueless around plants and gardening, and he actually cared or could tell if I’d had a bad day. Most of my sharehouse time now is spent joking about badly I’m doing, or people not caring enough to notice (that’s actually a good thing). The resentment is noticing stuff about others, and yes, those you live with that you don’t want to see. It doesn’t seem fair that it can’t be shut off.

Anyway, this particular ex-housie fucking loved Tim-Tams. So much so, that I even occasionally bought those limited edition black forest ones (they were pretty bloody amazing). The poem in the zine mentioned above is about my time in that sharehouse (some of my happiest, most prolific writing months too). It was pretty fucking wholesome.

To the beer? Um, it’s scrumptious. I already feel better about being awake at this silly hour, and not so guilty about not taking prazosin because I wanted to be awake in case someone paid me a visit. That was silly of me. It is chocolatey, slightly bitter in the way flavoursome black coffee (of course, the single origin wank, like duh, this is Melb, bitchez) and not one you want to slam down, but gulp and savour those gulps every so often.

Here, there would be pics of my beer tasting notes for Patreons in the appropriate Field Notes notebook which doesn’t have many pages left!

The first contrib in CQ Milestones is ‘Save the Date: Legalise Queer International Poly Marriage’ by Lauren E Mitchell. One part slays me, because it’s all too familiar:

Hot nights, poor sleep. Meds acting up, poor sleep. Worrying about you, poor sleep.

The next two pieces are a poem about being a bipolar bisexual (by Alex Creece), and ‘You’re Smart for a Chick’ by Joni Nelson, a narrative about transitioning, bad 7-Eleven coffee, and the implications of being given tampons and using female toilets. (I never hate my body as much as I do when it menstruates, but I have premenstrual dysphoric disorder, so it tends to fuck me up hardcore whenever I’m bleeding. I can’t wait for the meds I’m on for it to start working, which could take still take months 🙁 )

The next piece is my poem ‘stationary objects’ which I’m obviously not going to review or talk about but will mention that it’s about that wonderful sublet/sharehouse I mentioned earlier, and about knives, pill cutters, and Officeworks no longer being threatening places. Maybe don’t read it unless you’re really sure about being mentally strong. It is a positive poem, but it’s about a practice I still miss in my life very, very much. It reminds me I’m still alive. Without it, there is just numbness.

Daniel Hayek’s piece is about being gay and suffering the various microaggressions that anyone who is not cishet and white has to deal with. My favourite line is the following, towards the end:

…it’s naive and dangerous to think you can love the flaw out of a person. Unless of course that person is you.


‘Ding! Level Thirty’ by Wolfram-J VK is everything I wish I could have thought about my thirties! My thirties weren’t overly horrible, but I was really, really sick and don’t much remember anything about them other than learning about craft beer, and hospitals. A lot of time in hospitals. It wasn’t all bad though…I fell in love with someone who I think might have loved me in a similar way. That had never ever happened before in my life. I still think about her a lot. The one thing I do love about queerness is that you don’t have to be with someone anymore to still want the best for them. I’m sure there are straight people who do this, but it always sounds tinged with regret and failure (FYI, if anyone ever tries to hurt my exgf who has been through a lot of hard stuff in her life, I will fucking do my best to end you…somehow. Our shared boyfriend at the time turned out to be a mega-stalky creep, so this is mainly aimed at him).

My thirties were awful. I hope my forties will be better, though to be honest, they still seem terrifying too. I think my only true ally in any of it will be my beloved cat, who is sleeping next to me as I type, on my phone. She’s finally used to guarding or staying with me when I have nightmares.

Oh yeah, and the title: I’ve said this many times before, but I really like it how in French, “I miss you” would literally translate to us in English as “you are missing to me” (tu me manques), thus privileging the person you miss. As it should be. It sounds less selfish, even though it’s just grammar: direct and indirect objects. There are times when I get really, really anxious, and my brain’s way of dealing with it is to come up with the French of what I’d usually think or say in English. The mind has some really weird-arse ways of protecting itself.

There are people missing to me, and some of them really like Tim Tams. Some drink Melbourne Bitter <3

Compass Points – Parramatta Road snippet

This ‘Parramatta Road’ snippet will eventually be integrated into the bigger beast that is Compass Points.

For ‘Twine Hang’ with Imogen Baker, myself (Gemma Mahadeo) & Tegan Elizabeth Webb, for Freeplay 2019

Because I used Sugarcube 2.28.2 for Parramatta Road, and Harlowe 2.1 when I started Compass Points (which is still a work-in-progress by the way!), it’ll be a while before I integrate them, as well as finish ‘reviewing’ Vanessa Berry’s Mirror Sydney: An Atlas of Reflections (which I highly recommend reading!).

define ‘mission’

zine: Plant Witch (666 Apartment on Lygon St / The Altona Oil Refinery Warehouse) by Alison Evans and Tegan Webb

drink: Mission Gose (4% ABV, 12 fl. oz.) brewed by Westbrook Brewing Co (Mount Pleasant, SC) for Evil Twin Brewing (Brooklyn, NY), USA

music: Late Night Tales: Franz Ferdinand compilation

I’m still in the process of having to wait a few months for various treatments for various chronic illnesses to start working, so I haven’t been doing much writing, because ‘existing’ has been taking up most of my time.

I did recently start trying to read Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal in its original French, and learnt the word ‘le jumeau‘, which kind of translates to ‘twin’ or ‘double’ depending on context. I’m going to finish the bloody book or I’ll die first, dammit!

A few weeks ago, I also watched a film about Serge Gainsbourg called Gainsbourg: La vie héroïque where as a child, he imagines he has this grotesque, enlarged, exaggerated version of himself (no doubt fuelled by the time’s anti-Semitism post-WWII; he was originally a visual artist and later became a singer-songwriter). That’s why I chose the beer I’m drinking now…evil twin, it’s freaking hot for autumn, so thought a refreshing gose would go well with a zine about plants…

(Patreon-only photo here…)

What the heck is a gose (go-suh)? Briefly, it’s a salty-sour beer style, usually pretty low in alcohol content, and very thirst-quenching when the weather is disgustingly hot. It’s the kind of beer you have more than 3 cans of and not too feel too shabby after a session, even if they are some weird boozy version of electrolyte-laden beverages! This one is very sour at first, then coats your mouth in salt, and has a hint of coriander in its taste (don’t worry, none of that soapy business, it’s suuuuuuuper subtle, promise), and smells more of promised eucalyptus than tastes of it.

(Patreons get my awful handwritten not-so-eloquent this time around beer tasting notes here)

Though there’s eucalyptus in the States, I often associate it as a very Australian thing. I guess I didn’t really know about eucalypts existing till my family moved here. It’s got a pretty distinctive smell, no? Lots of native Australian flora does. It’s taken me a long time to appreciate that, but there’s also probably a lot of not-great reasons for that too.

(Patreons get my better handwritten notes copied straight off the beer can here)

I should probably also disclose that I do know Alison and Tegan in real life, and consider them both friends and writing colleagues. That’s why I bought the zine in the first place: to support their work.

How fitting that the narrative should start with a description of wattle flowers (the true enemy of anyone with hayfever!). Each section has two distinct narratives or seems to be told from different points of view, which conveniently is typed up in differing fonts.

The first narrative seems to describe a walking figure and the flora around them. The second narrative is at the apartment, and its resident seems to be preparing to ‘cleanse’ it. There’s lots of talk about plants, suburbs in Melbourne, and alien/ation.

Reading the zine reminds me of an old housemate I miss very much who was really good with plants, and gardening. Before meeting him, I’d always thought I was pretty shit with plants, but he taught me that you only really have to care, and observe, perhaps similarly to the way you can read your cat familiar, if you’re lucky enough to have one. My cat is next to me right now, as I read, as I type. She follows me out to the tiny backyard in the house I’m in now, where today I’ve got my hands filthy from pulling out tenacious ivy growing between concrete and slate cobblestones delineating where the garden beds technically start. It feels good to have hands filthy, not from blood, or from fountain pens’ inks gone rogue (like what happened on the weekend!), but from a plant, an intrusive one.

I know it’ll survive and start sprouting up from somewhere else. Winding plants are stubborn that way. Another good friend today told me I had my first non-PTSD dream, and I wouldn’t have known otherwise if they hadn’t pointed it out. The living can be really, really resilient, and good at being stubborn and surviving: alone, or with help.

(Patreons get a bonus photo of me, zine & kitty here! look, she’s my mascot, okay?)