September 10, 2011
ugh. earlier this week someone i don’t know very well but think is a decent human being (as i try to think most human beings are) made some comments about passing. it really bothered me at the time but i was not in an emotional or mental space where i could mention that their words were hurtful and harmful. i think i made a joke about their words being transphobic and they joked back about it. but overall, the interaction has made me feel … ever since. i can’t really do anything about it now apart from think about how i want to handle this type of situation in the future.
we (and by that, i mean my friends and the people i discuss such things with) talk about power all the time. having it, not having it, dealing with power imbalances. my stance on power, or how i want to deal with power, having power, sharing power, being empowered often becomes a discussion of how power is not a zero sum game. just because you have power doesn’t mean i am powerless. that we can have equal power in any given situation and that i can have power (or become powerful) even in situations that make me feel powerless.
the power i have had in situations in which i feel powerless is usually connected to the way i react to feeling powerless. i have control over my reaction in this situation, any given situation.
right now my reaction to events and situations in my life is to detach from them. not in a “live the moment, live in the present, experience this moment and move on” type of buddhist detachment. no, more in a “this is something happening to someone else” type detachment. in many ways that is how this feels. i am an outsider. recent events have made me feel unimportant, invisible, small, inconsequential, an afterthought. so i react as such and am treating myself as such.
i was asked by a friend how i was feeling. we don’t ask these things as a courtesy. i heard myself telling my friend in this dead, flat voice how i felt and laughing at it despite the fact that the things i was talking about were very painful for me. my friend joked with me and then told me their friend had just been suddenly killed in an accident. we sat there for a moment and my friend looked up and said “why am i telling you like this?” and i said “because it is the only way you can right now.” there was a lot of unspoken understanding there and if we were that type of friend i would have taken their hand. but we aren’t and i don’t want us to be. i don’t want anyone to be right now because the idea of someone touching me makes me want to throw up (and i am not saying that in a “gag me with a spoon” type way)
i can deal with a lot of things through humor despite the fact that i lack a sense of one. it is the way i phrase things and maybe the look on my face that makes things seem so funny at times. its that i can say this awful horrible thing in this dead voice that makes us all night dance party instead of lay on the ground sobbing.
i can’t process this right now because there is too much i need to do. actual physical things with real time constraints. for now i can take someone’s (sorry, unjustified) anger. right now i can wear a small cloak of shame and self-hatred and be okay with that. it isn’t very heavy and the temperatures outside are getting colder. i know i did not create this situation but i did play into it. play fantasy, play house, play drama, play play. yes, everyone (EVERYone) warned me. but i wanted to believe. because i am a believer. in words and actions and other things too personal and intimate to reveal here (believe it or not!)
because for once, despite the voice inside that tells me no, i said yes. and okay, it was a risk that did not pan out, a gamble i lost, a wager gone bad. but it was and – despite my detachment and threats given in defense and silence (which will be making the rounds) – it did feel powerful and someday, i will feel that way again.
wake up to a text from kisha in the next room “erasmus is having a seizure and pooping on my bed” jump out of bed, tangled in dirty clothes, clean clothes, books, zines, and bed clothes. they are both outside. erasmus seems fine but kisha is crying and shaking.
it is true erasmus has been acting weird. he shit in my room last week but i thought it was because of the storms. that and dave locking him in my room all day. then he shit in the basement twice. i thought this was because he doesn’t like dave. he generally hates cis-men – a dog raised primarily around queer individuals. the only lady person he has every not liked was my emotionally vague ex girlfriend, but even then there was an excuse. he doesn’t like when other people sleep in our bed.
the last pet i had that had a seizure i had to put down or asleep or whatever euphemism makes me feel not-too-terrible on any given day. it was sebastard the cat. i tell kisha this in a flat voice. this is one of those times i am going numb numb numb.
the flat voice sounds like my mother’s.
i had to call my parents. this is like getting in bed with the devil. when erasmus got an ear infection carrie loaned me the money to take him to the vet. these are the moments that my parents cherish. this is one for the record. when they scream “you are not an adult” because i am doing something they don’t like. something like selling my house and moving to detroit, like moving to the south side, like being queer, like being fat, like writing. you know, everything i just AM and love. it is those screaming moments (oh and you know, everything in between) when i imagine living in a cardboard box anything to never have to ask or take money from them again.
“you can’t even take care of yourself!” i can already hear them shouting some fight down the road. i can take care of myself, but it isn’t just me. it’s erasmus, too. they will change their attack plan. “you can’t even take care of a dog!”
i am going to sit outside with erasmus until i have to go to work. i can hear his extra long toenails clicking on the pavement as he races back-and-forth in the alley between fort mortgage and the three flat next door. he seems okay. pissing on every upright piece of grass (as well as some that aren’t so upright). kisha is going to hang with him until the vet appointment.
yes, i could start some online “please give me money” campaign. andrea owly is always stomping her foot when she complains about those things but honestly, people like erasmus more than they like me. i may be the brains, but he is the beauty in the relationship.
when we are living in that cardbox, i always imagine us healthy.
I have been having a lot of “I thought you were my friend” moments lately.
I have also been starting a lot of fights.
These are the worst.
July 29, 2011
I would like to title this “The Summer of the Flake” as I have been flaking out of responsibilities left and right. Unfortunately, I will not be in DC this weekend due to work obligations and financial woes. Boo! Hiss! You can read over here about how a perzine is different from a music zine, with Your Secretary as the example. I tend not to agree with the writers assertions, but (if you know me, you know) I tend to not agree with anyone about anything. I am learning how to disagree in a kinder, gentler fashion though.
Have no fear! Heather will be in DC with Stranger Danger. You can pick up copies of various issues of Your Secretary as well as handfuls of awesome zineage from her. She really likes Bud Lite Lime if you are so inclined.
Also, in the press leading up to the DC Zine Fest Jenna Brager answers the burning question, “What is the worst zine ever?”
July 26, 2011
I confess that this survey posted by the organizers of the Portland Zine Symposium to help with the 2nd Annual Zinester Feud is an awful lot of fun to fill out.
John Stevens, Debbie Rassuman, Jenna Freedman, and Celia Perez (not pictured) were the core participants in the tour. It was great getting to know them on the dates I could attend. Here they pose in Milwaukee’s finest erotic boutique The Tool Shed which hosted the final stop of the tour.
I handed over the zine grab box to Debbie for the Fly Away Zine mobile. I had been using the grab box as a promotional and fundraising tool for the tour. Thanks to Edie Fake for designing the box. I owe him about a hundred bubble teas for being so rad.
Here are all the amazing readers from the Milwaukee date: Nico, Christopher from QZAP, Jami Sailor, Jessica Bublitz of Bottles on the Sill, John Stevens, Debbie Rassuman, and Jenna Freedman. I am so sorry girl to the far right. I do not know your name.
Most importantly, I read with my fly down.
July 24, 2011
sometimes mckinley park feels like home. not only is it the furthest south in chicago i have lived, it is also (by one street!) the furthest east. today i was driving home from a hellish round of errands which included getting stuck in manchester united v. fire traffic both coming and going as well as a jaunt down to confusing-as-fuck hyde park. it was one of those “i already feel like shit” kind of days that makes you think fast food could possibly be a good idea. i snaked my way home through my neighborhood, a section of stand alone homes that sits east of the actual park and north of the stockyards. on this expedition i saw the most decrepit and forlorn bounce house/jumpy castle ever to grace the hot chicago asphalt. this thing looked like it should be condemned and was a part of the usual lemonade-and-hot dog cake walk that constitutes an urban block party. after i came to my street i was greeted by water. lots of water. copious amounts. noah proportions and not from the storm my birthday party encountered last night. no, someone had reopened our block’s fire hydrant and it was going full blast onto the east side of the street, creating a sheet of water for cars to drive through and a foot and a half of water at the curbs. a man was trying to close the hydrant with a wrench he must have borrowed from super mario brothers. a woman was berating him in spanish and little kids were gazing longingly at the spray. on our side of the street the regulars were out. the drunks drinking negro modelo in the shade, the old lady with her broom and pissy one-eyed dog trying in vain to stop the water from encroaching on her hand cut tree lawn, and the dudes who live next store whispering “is that the one who changes in front of the window?” as i passed by them.
sometimes the southside reminds me of home because it is so fucked up and i come from a fucked up place where people are out actively fucking up and actively trying to stop each other from fucking up.
and, of course, sometimes people feel like home, something about them that you feel you could crawl up inside and sit down for a while. like a house. like a neighborhood. well-worn roads and secret passageways you did not expect. the kind of casual comfort that makes the above scene so humorous. you are laughing because you are on the same page, the same side of the street, wading knee-deep in chicago river sewer run off, what the fuck.
i did not expect to find a home right now. everything is up in the air – where i am going to work, where i am going to live, when any of this is going to happen, who my friends are and who i can trust, even who i am at times. i did not expect to find something i wanted to stick with because i never find things i want to stick with.
i am so sad right now, forcing myself to look away.
right now, i wish this house could float away on a salt river for all i care.
July 23, 2011
This was the second split zine I ever made and much like the first split zine I made with Shaun it had a size and shape that made it difficult to copy. I remember Ellie one day saying, “Have you ever seen a circular zine? That would be cool.”
I am so excited to be posting scans from Ellie’s zine This is Invisible #0 as well. I think Ellie did all the copying and cutting for this zine. I remember pasting them together on the 2 day car ride from Detroit to Portland for the 2004 Portland Zine Symposium.
Text: “At some point, someone stopped urging you to be creative. Someone told you that you couldn’t play all day, that you couldn’t have imaginary friends. They washed the paint of your fingers. They told you the things y umade weren’t good enough. They donated your toys or sold them in a garage sale. They told you that you couldn’t sleep when you felt tired, eat when you felt hungry, laugh when something was funny, or cry when you were hurt. They told you that you had to pay attention even when it was boring. They told you that you couldn’t be an individual. At some point, someone told you that you had to grow up. Andy you believed them.”
July 19, 2011
i am still trying to process what happened today. patrons have been really sedate and i think the heat has been keeping the library rather calm. toward the end of the day whoever was supposed to be running reference had left the desk and a man at computer #25 started convulsing and keeled over onto the teenage boy using computer #26. despite the teenage boy frantically waving me over, it took me awhile to figure out what was going on. this is the moment i realized (or it was reaffirmed) that i am not responsible or more accurately, that i do not want to be responsible. that like that boy, i was looking around thinking “who is going to take care of this?!” i ran behind circulation to get someone to help while the man started to foam at the mouth onto our newly cleaned carpeting. at first the circulation manager ignored me. “someone is convulsing on the floor” i kept repeating. finally she rolled her eyes at me and said “call 911.” i still just stood there. she called instead.
at the library, i have no power. when i got hired i was given a worksheet which was insensitively titled “the totem pole.” it listed all the positions at the library and i was instructed to place them in hierarchial order. “where do you think you are on this totem pole?” my boss asked me. “the bottom?” i quandried. “no. you are not even on the totem pole”
whenever something happens at the library like a patron ODing or someone yelling at me for ten minutes because i cannot give them tax advice or a patron asking me what color my pubic hair is and i have a minor freak out, i am told that i will get used to it.
guess what? i am not going to get used to it. this behavior is always going to upset me. call me overly sensitive but things like a 6’7″ man towering over me and calling me a little bitch is always going to bring me to the verge of tears.
when i was talking about this with carrie and dave roche after work, dave said “that is okay. i don’t think you should get used to behavior like that” or something equally dave roche-esque, amazing and affirming.
i remember the first time my brother had a seizure i crawled under my mom’s desk, the same one from my childhood but in a different room. i remember rocking back and forth, patting my hair the way i do when i am trying to calm myself down. “please don’t die please don’t die don’t leave me here alone with them.”
it is hard enough being the youngest child, i thought at my brother in that moment. please don’t make me be the only child.
please don’t leave me here, the only surviving child.
after the emts came and it was explained that this patron has seizures at the library every once in awhile, i was lucky enough to be sharing the reference desk with the children’s librarian. she looked away politely as i cried onto steve’s old laptop.
the people who care about me (and i include my co-workers in this category) know me as someone who is always telling jokes and laughing, but are also aware that at any moment i could collapse into a nervous wreck. i am going to be thirty two this friday and it is unlikely this will change as i get older. i have changed a lot, but slamming doors and raised voices are probably always going to make me nervous.
i am trying to be okay with that.
The Orderly Disorder Zinester Librarians in Circulation Tour is on its way. You can read its progress here. I will be reading at the Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee dates. Other participants are Jenna Freedman (Lower East Side Librarian), Celia Perez (I Dreamed I Was Assertive), Debbie Rassmussen (Fly Away Zine Mobile), and John Stevens (Dilettantes & heartless manipulators)
Here is more info:
- Cleveland JULY 3 at Barking Spider Tavern, 6:30 pm (here)
- Detroit JULY 5 at Cass Cafe, 10 pm (with David Geer, Madision Lynn Glyttr, Andrea Perez, and J Rae Warren) (here)
- Chicago JULY 6 at Quimby’s, 7 pm (here)(here)
- Milwaukee JULY 7 at the Tool Shed, 8 pm (with Jessica Bublitz and Christopher Wilde) (here)
- Weed This! – this was made for Collection Development and functioned as an outline for a class presentation.
- RATS and MICE: Vision and Revision in the Adult Playground – this goes along with the Times Square bibliography you can find on this site. It was made as an outline for a presentation for Archives and Collective Memory (one the favorite classes of my library school career) The copying on this thing is shit, but beggars be not chosers.