Tag Archives: Concrete Queers

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!

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.

 

one zine, one drink, one DJ set…

I have an embarrassing stockpile of media to consume, and limited time available at my good friend’s place where I’ve just had to break up two cats in a very hairy, very loud fight.

The scent of possum piss sets them both on edge, regardless of how hot or cold the night becomes. I’m trying to listen to this DJ set (which started off pretty dreamily…tinkling of some sort of hard-cast bell), and one of my feline charges is missing a chunk of fur. I’ve got them cordoned off in separate parts of my friend’s apartment, after brewing a fuck-off sized mug of tea.

 

zine: Concrete Queers issue 5

drink: Madame Flavour rooibos mint & choc (as a treat, when grocery shopping!)

Coincidentally, this issue opens with liz duck-chong’s ‘tectonic girl’ which has some awesome  crème brûlée images (they didn’t include the accents, but I can hear my high school teacher cheerily chanting ‘accent grave, acc-cent cir-con-flex-uh!‘ and damn, now I fancy burnt cream for dessert and it’s far too early in the week for such indulgences!) – yeah, this was once a food blog and didn’t I say something about speed-reviewing a zine with a tinnie in hand?

Yeah, well, given how much I drank over New Year’s Eve, it didn’t seem sensible to drink more booze, and I did want to give the teetotallers nice options.

The cats have both calmed down, and it’s on to ‘imperfect’ by Liam Gabriel York. Their finishing line in their poem (promise it’s not a spoiler) ‘Change is the tool that shapes my soul.’ seems especially pertinent to me right now, for my immediate future, my less nearer future. It feels incredibly comforting to read that line, right now.

An anime-style character is represented in illustration, fragmented, by Brigit Macfarlane. It’s called ‘Sleep Paralysis’. One can’t quite tell if the character’s clothes are empty, though what limbs show are solid. It’s probably the most poetic rendering I’ve seen of something so horrific. Night terrors, and sleep paralysis less so, used to be part of a lot of my sleeping life.

I still think it’s pretty funny that I freaked out a goregrind musician ex, once, with my blood curdling scream. A plane could be about to run (him) down and (he’d) still look barely affected, so it was…surprising, to say the least.

The sole prose contribution is by the zine’s poetry editor Tilly Houghton – in ‘On Poetry’, she voices some of her thoughts and motivations on why and how she writes, edits, refines, arranges. Again, it’s comforting to know someone else out there moves and saves versions of works in different folders…when are the damn things ever really…’finished’?!

I’ll pause here, both this ethereal DJ set, and reading – it’s time for another cuppa, and to cordon off the kitties.

It’s just before the halfway mark of the zine, I’m stretching out my choc mint rooibos pyramid teabag for another delicious, divine-smelling mug, and realising my dot-to-dot skills aren’t that great – the zine centrefold is interactive!

Just before that is a cool piece by Hamish McIntyre called ‘Unstuck’ and is somewhat about poetry in motions, and repetition (which old-school poetry does, as do song lyrics – which classify as…poetry! yup). As a former flautist, I’ve never really found repetition of technical work (scales, and similar exercises designed to make you sound flawless when jumping from high and low registers, or just all-out trilling/ornamentation* overly poetic, but bodies in motion, performing repetitive actions in some sort of sync, looks incredibly fluid and elastic. That’s what I got out of reading that piece.

The second half has a poem each by the aforementioned contributors liz duck-chong, Liam Gabriel York, and poetry ed Tilly Houghton, then two photographs by Laura Knott, a gorgeous longer work by clara johanna called ’20/20′ with musings on growing up, feminism, and what it means to start to want. The final piece is an illustration of someone look at themselves in a mirror – I’ve always liked Frank Candiloro’s artwork because xyr linework reminds me of the sturdy thickness of lino cuts. It’s like my friend Chloe once told me – everyone draws lines differently, unique to themselves – it’s so true. I’m personally an appalling visual artist – the lines I seek solace in are the ones made up of letters and words.

That DJ set and tea were really fucking good. Definitely getting another box of these amazeballs pyramid whatsits.

*my first ever personal blog eons ago was called ‘Grace Notes @ Snarkattack’ because of the fluting thing, and how ‘grace notes’ (e.g. acciaccatura, and similar-but-diffs appoggiatura) are fleeting, but there. Also, not sure if this is actually true, but apparently my mother briefly considered naming me Grace, so it’s funny on several levels. I…don’t get out much, huh.