Tag Archives: Concrete Queers

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

Please follow and like us:

gigi works their arse off

My post office box has been a source of joy over the last few weeks, due to what kinds of reading material I’ve received, and because this last week, I was musing on how I used to be the person that bought lots of cool zines but didn’t think I’d ever have work appear in them! Two copies of Concrete Queers – the ‘horror’ and ‘milestones’ issues. CQ accepted two poems of mine.

‘Bra’ is a musing on the unfairness of typically straight males wanting women to be fat in certain places (that’s what boobs are! fat!) with some of the Doctor Who ‘Adipose’ race in mind re. being made of fat molecules. Fitting for the ‘horror’ issue, albeit oddly?

For ‘milestones’, I submitted a poem (which I read far too nervously at early Feb Girls on Key event as sacrificial poet) called ‘stationary objects’ about not knowing how to celebrate a major, micro-event – cessation of self-injury. Content warning: it’s an autobiographical poem.

When G mailed out a copy of a perzine entitled ‘OH WELL’, it felt like cheating to choose it as my zine of the week because it’s short but sometimes media that can be consumed fairly quickly leaves a lasting impression. My designated book for Mar 2018 Froth felt the same way, so naturally I’ve taken a photo of two amazing bad-arse Asian women’s creative works for this review post, and am mourning the death of my ‘Cucumber Hippy Berliner’ by 8 Wired Brewing, which tried to break my father’s toe, and spumed froth all over the place. I didn’t even bother trying to drink what was left in the can (yeah, am totally annoyed, but can at least afford to replace it, which makes a nice change!).

In the spirit of the aforementioned short, sharp, fierce, creative ladies, this post is a short one too. I’ve been doing a tad too much lately – nothing major, just a little bit too much out of my comfort zone (good), but the kind that means I need more rest to recover, or to just stay home and write. I totally snuck in another poetry submission – am working on a sequence that I’m super-excited about because it’s personal, but hopefully funny and a tribute to fellow mental illness sufferers that can and do make wry observations about treatment and management in this ol’ Western neoliberal model that probs has Lenin melting further, chortle. He’s supposedly melting. Anyway, go contemplate that.

P.S. Oh! Gigi is not in ref to the lovely Viet-Aus writer Giselle Nguyen, but in reference to this video because my mind is twisted and I was thinking about how my head is still trying to make me feel guilty for not reading enough this week, and joke-chant to myself “Gigi works his ass off!”. I also wanted to acknowledge that my arse’s gender denomination is unknown but I don’t think it minds if I use ‘they’ pronouns <3 I’m so so sorry I keep boring my friends with this video!

Please follow and like us:

screaming white into the void

This post does discuss mental health/illness in detail that folks may find distressing (regarding self-injury in particular), and reader discretion is advised.

Despite the nihilist-sounding post title, it’s been a good, though exhausting week. I managed to visit Preston Market when it was…not quite fast-and-furious-bargains-shouted-from-all-corners, but may as well have been. I went to get myself a chicken quesadilla (one of my fave ‘treat’ lunches) after picking up PO box mail but had forgotten my key (theatrical groan!), and also had to get to Brunswick to review Bent Bollywood on a very nearly empty petrol tank…

I thought I’d have more time to generally read and write, and have found myself not making regular appointments with my psychiatrist – this is not good. I’m doing pretty well lately (it’s officially over a year now since last ECT sesh, squee!) and that has meant more energy for work-related activities, but emotional labour (yeah yeah, go on, laugh about how wanky it sounds till you realise you’re the one being drained by it) is taking up more of my time than it should…some of my anxieties have even made it into my dreams (again, not a good sign).

Anyway, it was fab to see my friend Maria and have an epic cackle session about modern romance and its…’challenges’, and you’ll soon be able to read my review on BB for Peril. Liminal sent me a copy of their zine because I couldn’t make it to their do, and it’s gorgeous! That PO box key was worth the extra trek!

Oh! Absolutely decimated the aubergine/courgette / eggplant/zucchini stash from my dad’s garden…

Almost nearly forgot to wish my eldest nephew a happy birthday, but thankfully his new bike and hanging out with his mates mean that he’s not thinking too much of his daggy aunt (it’s true, I can’t deny it)! Happy birthday Leon, me and Fance love you!

***

Last year, I went to a zine thing and spent all my spare change (nice one noob!). One of the zines I went home with was called ‘white whine’ by illustrator Sarah Catherine Firth. As the name suggests, a bunch of very first-world whines from first-world women are drawn and coloured in. Given my booze consumption yesterday (went to a beer tasting at Bar SK, then drank a Korean beverage that reminded me of dry sake afterwards at a dumpling-smashing dinner), I decided to stick to brewing up pints of white tea, with elderflower and apricot. I guess if the British are going to do white tea, they have to Englishfy it somehow. The dried apricot pieces are also quite yummy. Such a classy tea-totaller!

Seriously, one of my fave deadline-smashing/writing hardcore things to do is brew mugs of tea, or brew white or green tea weaker than its suggested strength, then let cool down, and add more cold water. Not bad for a $4 organic Brit tea – you stretch out that four buckaroonies! Freelancers/creatives, I see you nodding.

It’s hard to pick a fave panel from the zine, but I’d have to go with the lady saying “My brie is too hard.” because when you’re craving soft cheese and waiting for it to reach that magical temperature, it does feel like forever! Readers of this blog may recall I looooooove cheese, too. Seriously, I chose voluntary electroconvulsive therapy over lithium and refused to take any of the tricyclic antidepressants based on their anti-cheese thang. My life was depressing enough with cheese, how much worse would it be after?! That was a horror I did NOT want to contemplate.

In case you were wondering that my opinion was biased, it turns out that Sarah has been nominated for the Good Stuff people’s choice award over at Frankie, if you want to check out more of Sarah’s work and vote etc., then click on here.

I’ve had a couple of litmag triumphs too – Concrete Queers continue to like the poetry I lovingly fling at them, and accepted a poem of mine called ‘stationary objects’. I’ve been submitting regularly to CQ, and they’ve helped me develop a habit where I write from an emotionally and mentally healthy space, and can edit and rewrite and it doesn’t have to mean my health deteriorating (though please do note that when the poem does appear in their ‘milestones’ issue, it does discuss self-injury – a practice I can honestly say is now in the distant past).

A particular right-wing smegma stain was extremely mean to one of the CQ founders, grrrrr, probably because they won People’s Choice at Vic Premier’s Literary Awards for 2018 – how awesome is that?! Ida was one of the few books I saved for fun reading before bedtime last year, and I remember once finished that it could’ve kept going! Young adult lit is kicking mega-arse these days, and you can still read it as an older adult! No, really – do.

The second triumph is that Rabbit Poetry Journal accepted a poem that genuinely began as a joke-romantic conversation to former lover – it’s now called ‘Coimetrophilia’ and it will appear in the Queer issue 25. Chuffed doesn’t begin to cover how I feel! I hugged my cat/coworker a LOT. A lot of its acceptance is thanks to the Quippings crew who again helped me develop more confidence about being a performer and a writer.

I recently read and discussed Rabbit’s ‘Indigenous’ issue here, for last week’s post. It’s been great to read older issues of litmags lately. When I was really unwell, the sheer amount of talent of the people getting published used to make me feel guilty for not trying harder to write more, submit more, and not be producing better work. I know – it’s not a useful mindset…but depression and anxiety don’t listen to reason? It’s been great that this they have been listening more to me when I say, “no, hang on, it’s bedtime now” or “hey, if you’re feeling crap, drinking booze is not going to help – go cuddle Fance or something.” It’s also been ace that those strategies have been working too.

 

Please follow and like us: