Tag Archives: zine review

why be happy when you could just practise

A few weeks ago, I spent money I should be saving on book-and-tea subscription thing called Bookishly for three months. So far two of the packages have arrived (from England!) with everything sealed within a millimetre of its not-customs-breaking life with unusual older book imprints.

I’ve been saving the two teas for something special, and after an admittedly rough week (by which I mean, I’m glad my antidepressants are working because if they didn’t, I’d probably be crying everyday, but now am too numb and stressed to have the time to).

Just managed to sneak in a tea-and-zine review post…I feel like I should be more prepared for weekly blogging but it’s harder to make time for doing it when not feeling chirpy so a lot of the posts this year have been written when feeling pretty deflated, but isn’t this part of the problem with ‘high-functioning’ when you have a chronic mood disorder? Functioning highly in what? At sadness? Anxiety cooking bolognaise sauce from scratch, mid-week?*** This week’s tea and zine of choice…read below: http://eatdrinkstagger.com/why-be-happy-when-you-could-just-practise/ (short review: both were excellent) ***I anxiety cook and clean a lot! if you’re going to make bolognaise sauce from scratch, use a bottle of good red and simmer for eons.

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I still can’t find my most recent passport (it’s not lost, it’s just packed away out of my reach at the moment), which means I can’t get a full police check, and hair started growing over my bald spot. While looking through my phone’s camera roll for Bloody Mary/Virgin Mary cocktail photos for one project I have to finish this year, I came across a photo of me with long, slightly wavy brown hair down to my waist. I’d like it to get that thick and wavy again but it’s weird…I feel like looking so…’regular’ would delete all evidence of how difficult the last three years have been mood-wise. It’s so much easier to hide how you feel with a thick curtain of hair, on both sides of your face. In three more months, it will have been a year since my last hospitalisation.

Anyway, this weekend, the sads meant drinking tea, impulse buying a (neon grass green?!) book (Carmen Maria Machado’s The Body and Other Parties) on my wishlist, and reading a very, very cute zine to end the week and squeeze in a review post.

zine: the adventures of Ruby & Mags II by Lilly Piri

drink: Jenier grenadine vanilla black tea

OH WOW. The loose leaf tea comes in those mesh pyramid teabag things which means you can compost them, and the tea is heavenly! Really subtle and smooth. You keep sipping, thinking the flavour will intensify, and then your mug is empty. It’s glorious.

Ruby & Mags II has come in a plastic sleeve with holographic gold heart and iridescent pink star confetti. Ruby and Mags seem to be a pink fawn and an tawny orange-brown cat who are besties? They’re illustrated enjoying painting, doughnuts, tea, pancakes, strawberries, and Pocky. There’s an unrelated centrefold with four-leaf clovers, a puppy, and unicorns with rainbow-coloured manes and tails. I don’t know if this is because Ruby and Mags hallucinated this after eating hash-baked goods? Dropping acid tabs? It might’ve been their Pocky? I feel like this is what drug-taking acquaintances would tell me, but I’m too sad-straight to have any personal experiences to confirm this. Naïve me thinks it’s probably just their other cute and colourful pals? I’m not debating the above to be funny – the zine is ridiculously adorable. It’s like someone just dropped the zine equivalent of a gorgeously decorated cupcake in my lap! What was R&M I like? Are there more?

Anyway, they cavort playfully with the two unicorns, and then the last panel is the fluffy kitty with strawberry Pocky. A brief online search has pulled up this website – you can see the unicorns! They remind me a bit of this one windowsill where I grew up in London, where a girl – clearly a few years older than me, judging by the size and display of her My Little Pony collection on her bedroom sill made me wish that one day, if I were patient, I’d get ones with wings, and horns! I didn’t treat mine as well as she did hers and also liked playing with my brother’s Masters of the Universe figures too. Mantenna’s pop-out eyes were pretty cool! My bro loved those toys, so it was pretty nice of him to let me play with them too.

Hopefully the coming week will be a bit better…I think my mood funk will finish up once I’ve finished reading this very underwhelming novel I’ve struggled with for a week…initially, I wanted to read it because it’s about a young Englishman who ends up growing up in Holland, and becomes a luthier, but starts to believe he’s a werewolf (he isn’t: he gets into a violent brawl and acquired head injury sets off frontal lobe epilepsy). I’m not starting to read any new novels till finishing it – it’s called Quicksilver by Christie Dickason. It’s like a very, very bad version of the very, very wonderful Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. How does anyone make a historical novel about werewolves, the Netherlands, lutes, and early modern medicine boring?! That should teach me to stay away from remaindered books for…the rest of my life.

what are the days like?

I went to bed early, took my nighttime antidepressant before 10.30pm, and still couldn’t wake up early as planned. Last week, I pulled a neck muscle, and the pain wouldn’t bother me except that it’s not going away despite stretching, exercising and correcting body posture. It’s because I’m not able to sleep on my lovely futon mattress in a house with double beds aplenty, but none of the ones that are actually good for one’s back and overuse injuries.

It reminds me why I kept moving so much, last year. I never really mind when my mood disorder is chronic, because at least it isn’t like the physical pain that accompanies overuse injuries. In one shit sharehouse, my room pretty much only had space for my bed. My bad shoulder rarely complained.

At present, every morning, is pain. My bad dreams are slowly returning, and my head is struggling more now to block out noise, of others living, and self-hatred generally. That’s what life is like with a chronic mood disorder. It’s late afternoon now, and my (non-injured) left shoulder is still complaining, but I’ve read one zine while chugging down a beetroot latte.

‘a list of (some) things that trigger my PTSD’ doesn’t have a specific creator named, but on the back, it says ‘Nope Club ’16. The last page also says words that although are hard to reconcile, are comforting to those of us who have ever suffered any kind of trauma:

‘Sometimes your monsters look exraordinarily ordinary.’ (I’m not correcting the spelling error).

It’s hard to talk about or even admit PTSD-type triggers because they do often seem so silly, but terrifying to a particular person. I went a few years of not being able to watch Breaking Bad and still can’t watch Game of Thrones because my mind will bomb me with nightmares and guilt for months. When I first started watching Gilmore Girls, I had to stop because it upset me so much that I didn’t have anyone in my life, the way Rory has her mum Lorelai.

It took, and takes, more than a few years to develop opposite habits of consumption that end up acting as antidotes to PTSD triggers. As someone who has struggled with sleep for as long as I can remember, I find even now that thinking of my old cat Wolfie, or my current gorgeous rescue Fance as ‘guards’ on my bed helps me feel safer, warmer, happier, then eventually, safe enough to fall asleep.

Mel Stringer’s zine ‘Every Morning’ has a person looking happily asleep, while a cat sleeps nearby on the quilt, on its cover. A joyous image, squee! A lot of the folks profiled in the zine about their morning routines did indeed involve loving cats, and loving humans/partners, negotiating bathroom time and makeup/outfits. The zine is from 2015, and I totally just realised that in limiting computer use last week, I have also not reviewed any zines just before Festival of the Photocopier, sigh. Anyway, I’m trying not to beat myself up about these things!

My beetroot latte is finished and now it’s officially early evening, so off I jetset into another hot drink, and more reading material.

(PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder – normies, please stop using it as joke to say you’re wounded by shit, btw)

if failure were a colour

I’m pretty mad at myself today (well, technically it’s no longer ‘today’ but Friday just after midnight). I was supposed to be in the city for Midsumma to play Bartók folk songs on my melodica as a ‘temptation’ for a performance/reading I’ll be doing later in the month.

The problem with afflictions like heatstroke, is they can’t be reasoned or argued with. I’d driven down from outside Castlemaine, and thought it was air pressure changes that caused me to momentarily get dizzy. I’d deliberately not practised too much on the melodica so that I wouldn’t be puffed out. I’m physically fit enough for that to not happen. Halfway into the city from my parents’ place, I turned back, told my father what happened and went to bed for a few hours. We’re both migraine-prone, so I rested on his advice, had dinner, and I feel oddly naked without any of the books I’m in the midst of reading.

Zine reading time. Tonight’s zine is ‘Tenderness Journal’, a largely visual art-based project from 2015 that Clara Bradley curated. It turned out we had a friend in common – I didn’t know this till attending the exhibition/launch at Grey Gardens Project that year. I submitted a sonnet – imaginings on longing and grieving the loss of love, both offline and online. It’s weird to think that that has become something to define, document, experience, in my lifetime.

The post title – I was thinking about how much of a failure I felt at not making it into the city to play my instrument, and how if failure were a colour, it would definitely not be a pastel anything! I love pastel colours, and was also reminding myself of how slow I was to pick that the cover of ‘Tenderness’ has bare breasts. It wasn’t till quite some after that I noticed that?!

What am I drinking? I’m deliberately avoiding alcohol because at the beginning of my week, my mood dipped a bit, and it’s usually not a good idea to console oneself with central nervous system depressant anything, so I’ve just been gulping down strong yet milky mugs of T2 French Earl Grey, which is…okay. The leaves are far too dry, and the supermarket spoils me by having a fresher British organic one which I do plough through.

It’s not a pleasant reminder to read ‘Tenderness’ because I was unwell, but functional, and everything felt stained with the ache of surviving. At times, I remember looking okay – fine, even, but struggling desperately to stay mentally afloat. It was probably harder because I wasn’t doing it for my sole benefit. An ex-housemate knew that occasionally I muffled my bawling to sleep with my pillow. My partner at the time knew I drank too much to help me sleep, but didn’t realise that his default belief in entitlement to existing made it near-impossible to contemplate getting well. Living for him…it was automatic, easy, it happened so effortlessly. I had disparate areas of life that were all so spectacular in how awful I was in them. I tried so hard too, and barely did anything well.

Perhaps that’s not how it seemed, or was, but that was how it was experienced. At outsider ‘presenting’ an inauthentic life but somehow not being caught out. ‘Tenderness’ seems to encroach in these spaces, where the vulnerabilities of honesty and adoration exist, admit themselves to exist, and – if tenderness were music, it would be a cadence that threatens to resolve its dissonance, but doesn’t. It just – leaves you hanging, longing for its resolution.

The visual art captures this in its recording of textures – cotton long johns, where the shape of male genitalia is discernible and alluring because it is not able to be seen, we only get hints. Writings on what falling in love is like and how it differs from loving – it only ever seems clear that we’ve fallen in love once it is not reflected back at us.

My cat has come back and is now sleeping on my bed. When I think of tenderness and its sort of love, I think a lot about my cat – how when I first met her, she belonged to someone else. We were both emotional orphans of a sort! She touches her paw to my hand, often. I brush the tip of my nose against the velvet of her ears. I feel loved in a way I no longer expect from another human. Perhaps true tenderness is safety and sanctuary.