Tag Archives: courage

A Homo Healed

Kieran
fear.gaia (at) gmail.com
bukkake-bouquet.tumblr.com
I got my copy at Sticky for $AUS 4 &
you can get it online through Take Care.

So, that’s a bit alarming: You discover the book ‘Can Homosexuality be healed?’ on your Catholic parent’s bookcase.

What are my options?
To someone struggling with homosexuality, churches can present a confusing message. Some insist that a repentant homosexual renounce all ties to the homosexual lifestyle and live out his or her days in celibacy. Others believe that since no one chooses to be homosexual, the only compassionate solution is complete acceptance. Neither viewpoint takes into account all aspects of the issue. Is there another option that incorporates not only the traditional position that homosexual acts are sinful but also the fundamental reality of every person’s need for love and acceptance?

Actually, there’s another option altogether: Check this zine out. Yes, it’s a bit pricey for what it is. File under ‘concept zine’.

So, that’s a bit marvellous: Zinemaker takes book, appropriates and reworks the text by act of selective subtraction, and ends up with A Homo Healed; proclaiming ‘I say that homosexuality/actually means/relevant/Change’ – and that ‘homosexuals/condemn/Hate/and/unjust discrimination/homosexuals/are/free’

Nothing is more liberating than: Taking words and making the awesome.

This will make you: Smile and want to plunder all good Catholic parents bookshelves.

After all: the/courage/of homosexual persons is very needed/

OCD and the GED

anon
bioproject (at) gmail.com
I got my copy through the zinemaker cause I’m special, pester them for a trade or purchase!

A personal account of the zinemaker’s triumph in successfully managing their O.C.D. in a professional capacity as well as a story of his own student’s ability to rise against their underprivileged backgrounds and societal expectations that they are ‘non achievers’. NB: the GED is a high school equivalent certificate in America and Canada.

Don’t be put off by: The initial footnotes. Because the zine assumes an academic tone to begin with.

How this is not academic:  Well, for starters, the zinemaker wants to demonstrate how educational and therapeutic techniques which they have experienced as both patient and teacher-in-training can (and need to be) applied to the field of psychiatry. So yeah, a little ambitious.

There are several aspects that annoy me when grasping with such vast subject matter: Some key concepts go undefined (there is a lot of talk about ‘risking love’, but no explanation of what that means). And some of the arguments assumed in the zine are a little flawed, or dependent on generalisations.

Case in point: The zinemaker is pissed with how everyone takes Monk (the tv detective) to be a stereotypical O.C.D. personality – one fictional detective does not represent a highly complex and variable disorder – but then the zinemaker goes and cites a single individual (Ellyn R Saks) as her proving her psychiatric professionals wrong – as if all schitzophrenics suffer her experiences and are capable of overcoming their condition and can get genius grants and become law professors etc. So in a diadactic sense, Ellyn ends up as a flat-packed ‘type’ to prove a point as much as Monk.

Whats really being argued here is that: We are all unique individuals, capable of exceeding expectations placed on us  by ourselves, generic figures of authority, and society at large. The sentiment is a powerful one. It’s the stuff of universal myths and legends and the key to understanding amazing people throughout history. It is also what makes this zine cool, because this simple truth is amply demonstrated through the zinemaker’s experiences personally, as well as with his students. This alone is more powerful than bullet points and Foucault references.

What makes this zine worthwhile: If you haven’t guessed, it was not the academic tone for me. It is the zinemaker’s personal writing, the tangible passion that comes through the pages and the stories he relays about life in the classroom – the personal challenges the environment presents, as much as the learning challenges for his students.

His experiences span teacher training, working with middle school students and working with adults studying to get their high school qualification equivilent after an interrupted education. Not only are the teaching experiences varied, but the zinemaker also talks about being a young white teacher amongst a black adult student population and how he (and his students) reconcile this culturally.

Goddamn, this zine is engaging on so many levels – the perspective of someone with O.C.D, the insights of teaching, those of learning; the broader power dynamics of teachers and students race relations, and developing one’s teaching style (…and identity). Even without being interested in education (or reforming psychiatry) these remain amazing and genuinely inspiring stories that make you want to hug the guy.

Further reading: The zinemaker mentions the ideas of Douglas Kutach, Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, bell hooks, Carter G. Woodson and Jack Mezirow.

And if you’re interested in this zine, also check out: OCD Thows Bows, and Mo Bows – both zines describing personal experiences with OCD.

-EP

All My Fathers

DJ Frederick aka Frederick Moe
singinggrove (at) conknet.com
36 West Main Street Warner NH 03278 USA
I got mine for US $1.50 through Antiquated Future 

A micro memoir of the men in the zinemaker’s life who successfully demonstrated how masculinity can be expressed in a loving, healthy fashion.

You think you’re reading a family history when: The opening sentence of the zine reads ‘My biological father was Herman Frederick Moe, born almost a century ago on January 31, 1919″.

I have to admit: I wasn’t sure how personally invested I was going to be reading about the life history of Herman Frederick Moe, (as per reviewing Coral Coogan) but the hook with this zine for me was in the title – ‘fathers’ – as in plural. For some reason I imagined the zine would be about someone’s dad suffering Dissociative Identity Disorder.

It’s not exactly what I imagined: Instead of promising some tabloid tell-all, it’s not some creepy story of a psychopath dad with voices in his head. And it’s not about a kid who grows up with a series of stepfathers in some horrifying unstable childhood or a kid with multiple non biological ‘daddies’ in some freaky cult. No, it’s none of that.

What it is: Actually a cool tribute to various men who served defacto fatherly roles to the zinemaker as he grows up, providing a sense of security, respect, leadership and guidance his own father is incapable of giving.

There is something really touching about: A man now in his fifties speaking of an ongoing need for a father figure in his life – and making sense of that positively. And acknowledging the men in his life who inspired him in significant ways. This is so insightful, and a unique perspective shared so openly.

Less is more: this is not a lengthy zine – it’s only twelve pages – but you feel like you’re closer to the zinemaker by the end page. He even includes a regret that would have been easier to omit than include. Writing about regrets in a professional or personal capacity is *such* a strong and courageous thing to do.

Sideline: The zinemaker’s working life is interesting in itself, working in the mental health and disability sector.

This zine makes you think about: authority figures in general, people in leadership positions in your own life, and what kind of fathering you experienced in comparison. It’s also part of a larger discourse on society and gender norms too of course.

It’s interesting that the zinemaker doesn’t explore his mother’s relationship to his father in these pages, and it’s unfortunate the women who do feature in the zine in positions of power across his working life appear intimidating and just…draconian.

Don’t be put off by: The cover art. There, I said it. It does make the zine look like a family history booklet as per the opening sentence, featuring a photo of the father holding a cat which is half adorable and half ominous. (Does he love the cat? Is the cat about to be the victim of some kind of hate crime?). In addition the inked heading is actually weirder and more inconsistant the more you look at it: also making this zine potentially spooky (if your brain is like mine).  Either way, the cover art doesn’t indicate the awesomeness inside. Because it’s a really cool, brave personal zine to be read, and shared, and talked about.

DJ Frederick is: a busy man. Not only does he write many zines, he also reviews them at One Minute Zine Reviews too.

-EP

Kenneth


Anon
feeunke (at) gmail.com
PO Box 41 Flinders Lane VIC 8009
I got mine for AU $1.70 as a cost price reissue available here

I ordered this zine because:  I was keen to read another person’s story of their relationship with their eating disorder and in what way the monstrosity shows its hideous face having experienced an eating disorder myself.

Before I read the zine I thought: “God, I hope this is a healthy thing to do.” I discovered that it was healthy reading because the zinemaker’s perspective is a healthy one: she manages to portray both sides of Anorexia including what the illness takes away from the host and what it has to offer (I use the term ‘host’ here to convey the leeching nature of Anorexia).

It may seem ridiculous but an eating disorder not only destroys, it delivers. It delivers to the person, in a simple little solve-all package, a sense of control. It equates not eating with control of a life that seems out of control. Anorexia will find its power through a person’s vulnerabilities, their hardships, trauma and much more. The illness has no remorse in enslaving a person’s mind and body and locking the ‘real’ them behind thick frosted glass, incapable of protest.

This zine is gruelling:  Really, bloody take-a-few-days-to-read kind of gruelling. I’m not sure if this is because my personal experiences bare an uncanny resemblance to that of the zinemaker’s. But it is a frustrating, depressing and crushingly accurate representation of mental illness as a whole.

The best (and worst) thing about this zine is: The author takes you through each aspect of her journey with ‘Kenneth’ – the name she eventually gives her negative mind that I quickly felt an undying hatred towards. As the reader, it’s like watching a sad film where you know the main character is in trouble but you can’t do anything about it. Instead, you continue reading because you become attached to their story and need to see them get out alive.

Don’t read this if it’s likely you’d find the subject matter triggering: It’s acknowledged in the zine as containing triggering materials. This is done in light of the disordered mind always being ‘on’. It will happily take anything, related or otherwise, and twist it into something negative that nourishes unhealthy thoughts. As such, the zinemaker promptly warns vulnerable readers to put down the zine and walk away. The zinemaker also includes handwritten entries from her diary: the voice of Kenneth, counterattacked with her voice of reason. For me, this conveys the two sides of the mind: the side that is ill and seeks death and the side that is healthy and promotes life. It is frustrating at times to see such awareness of reason and yet Kenneth is still considered a legitimate way of thinking.

I recommend this zine to: Those who seek insight into the world of an eating disorder. Such reasons may originate from knowing someone who lives with one or simply because education is key to recognising and preventing an eating disorder – in others and in oneself.

The zine contains large bodies of text and randomly placed “dialoging” as the zinemaker calls it. While it is all text and no pictorial content, it remains captivating because as you read, you begin to appreciate it as a hugely personal, honest and gracious story. Having written and published ‘Kenneth’, the zinemaker is taking ownership of her recovery and placing a huge fuck-off roadblock in front of Anorexia and Kenneth.

What I found irritating about the zine is:  The overly optimistic ending where ambition is warranted but the possibility of relapse is not acknowledged. I think that it may have been premature to claim to be “free of Kenneth and Anorexia” while still technically being in treatment, albeit 2.5 years in, and one appointment away from discharge. It is difficult to ignore, given the persistent nature of eating disorders, the very real possibility of a trigger occurring in the future. However, one can only be aware of this possibility – and the zinemaker’s positivity towards nurturing herself and her future is the only method I’ve found beneficial for myself.

-JN

& an open response from the zinemaker:

In all honesty I haven’t read it in ages and it brought up so many memories reading your review. It was interesting to read a review from someone who can identify with the content and looking back at the ending now, I can see that it might seem overly optimistic.

That is really how I felt, I felt so free and hadn’t ever felt that way before because, as you can probably relate, that voice is always there, even before you get diagnosed with anorexia. So for the first time, I was facing a life with Kenneth in control and I did feel optimistic.

I loved the way you described anorexia as “a simple little solve-all package” in terms of control because that’s so exactly correct. It is isn’t it? It presents itself as the best solution, the best option for you as a ‘host’ (again, perfect terminology), like there will be no other option as good as having the control that anorexia presents. And I loved that you described it as ‘having no remorse’ because it’s such an utter bitch of an illness, like really, if you met anorexia as a person it would just be the embodiment of horrible-ness.

Yes, I have relapsed, which comes with the whole recovery deal, but I got through it and kept going. The last time I relapsed was in 2012 when I was in Eastern Europe in the middle of winter by myself staying in hostels with people I didn’t know in countries where I didn’t speak the language and really missing home. That sucked but one of my counselors told me that when you leave treatment, you put on a backpack that’s empty. The first time you relapse, you put what you learnt from that into your backpack and keep walking forward. Next time it happens you can unzip your backpack, take the lessons from last time and put them to use, then do the same thing over again if it happens again. That metaphor has gotten me through those relapses as well as writing. Writing always helps.