November 2016 Zine Reviews

 

exscind

Exscind
by Adel Souto

Adel Souto is self-described as a writer, artist and musician and Exscind is his foray back into the world of zines since, well a long time. This is the first edition and it features writing, poetry, art and photography. It feels like a lot of attention went into the layout and appearance of the zine which includes an acetate sleeve as well as a full color cover.

But what about the writing you say? Some of the topics covered in this zine: Taking a month long vow of silence, or witnessing a man in mid-air in front of a subway train. Then there’s the story of Anne Hutchinson, known as the American Jezebel who was at the forefront of a religious movement that believed God has no interest in what we do here on Earth so long as we accept him and are saved.

My personal favorite is a story about finding a dead body when he was an exterminator for apartment buildings. There are a few more stories as well. Overall it’s an interesting mixture and an introduction to the world of Adel Souto’s mind, not only about what he thinks and finds interesting but also how his mind operates.

You can read more about Adel’s zines here.

i-dont-know-how-to-help-you

I Don’t Know How To Help You
Edited by Jessie Duke

As with the previous zine there was a lot for me to think about with this one. Basically it’s a compilation of writings discussing supporting loved ones who have depression. The letters and essays were written by Jessie Duke, Adam Gnade, Jonas, Trace Ramsey, Elizabeth Thompson, Alyssa Bicoy and Kelly Bastow.

I’m sure you can guess from what I wrote before that this one was also difficult for me to get through due to the subject matter. It’s hard to face our own fears or worst thoughts about ourselves but I managed to not only read it but to also glean some useful information from it. My philosophy in life has mostly been to keep my head down and keep going no matter what is thrown my way.

I just give myself a little freakout “why me?” time and then I commence to getting over it and moving forward. At least I try to. Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this zine is that there are more people out there who care about you and want to support you more than you can ever realize. To paraphrase something Adam wrote, happiness is not a choice, it’s a series of battles and sometimes luck. It’s work for better or worse. That’s what I’ve gathered from reading this. Knowledge is one thing, using it is something altogether different but no matter how down you get, remember that people do care. This zine is available through Pioneer’s Press.

gnade

Simple Steps to a Life Less Shitty
by Adam Gnade

This zine was a little bit hard for me to get into, not because I found it lacking in any way, but more so because of the subject matter. Basically this is a series of peptalks and how-to’s on dealing with the overwhelming bullshit of modern life. Okay, so I took that directly from the back of the zine but it perfectly describes what it’s about and who am I to mess with perfection?

Part of the writing deals with depression and that is what made it hard for me to get into it. There was a point in my life when there were days that I barely had the energy to get out of bed. I was unemployed and was having great difficulty in finding a position anywhere. I couldn’t even get fast food places or convenience stores to interview me. The constant rejection I was facing, not to mention the worries about paying for rent, utilities and food left me spiraling downward. Why go out and submit another application just so I could be rejected again? Luckily, I fought my way through that period of time, but as I read this zine, I began to question my definition as to what depression is and ponder if instead of simply dismissing things as “that’s just the way I am wired” I could acknowledge that perhaps I’ve had some sort of moderate depression for a good part of my life. Like I said, I’ve been thinking about it. Sometimes it’s good to question societies or even our own narrow view about the way we think about or define things. Understanding is the key and for me that comes through a lot of thinking.

It could be easy to gloss over and only concentrate on the problems described in this zine but there is actually a lot of love and positivity contained in these pages. Plus some all-around good advice. In the end I was glad to have read it and thankful for the thoughts it led me to. This zine is available through Pioneer’s Press.

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Uten Ord #3

I had some time to kill so I sat on a park bench enjoying the breeze as I delved into this zine. Uten Ord is a zine designed to give emerging authors a place to work on their craft anonymously. What that means is that you cannot find out who the author was for each story until the next issue. This way there can be no bias and each story is judged on its own merits. The zine itself is plain, just black text on white paper with nothing to dress up the presentation, no drawings, photographs and so forth. I tend to believe this is also on purpose to put the focus where it should be, on the writing itself.

I was barely into the second paragraph of the first story when I was inspired with an idea for a story simply from a name that was used. By the third paragraph another idea followed. A third story came while reading the next selection. For me that’s the mark of good writing, creativity breeds creativity. Having a spark develop simply from what another person created is a doorway to an exciting world. I’m not talking about spinning or rewording what another person has done, mind you. No, I mean being inspired by the tone or their use of language or even a particular word. That’s what this issue did to me.

The four stories contained here share the loose theme of “cold”. All are very well written and “cold” features differently in each of them. I really don’t wish to name a favorite story, they all focus on different topics yet each on their own stand out. Instead I judged them separately on their own merits. I look forward to reading other issues of Uten Ord which I did purchase online after reading this stellar issue. That’s how impressed I was with the writing in this zine. I highly recommend Uten Ord. If issue three is any indication, I’ve found myself a new zine to follow and enjoy. You can order copies of this zine here.

This month’s zine reviews were written by Don Leach. You can read more about his zines and other projects here

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