By Julia Lipscomb
I very almost didn’t read this zine. Or rather, I almost didn’t bother to finish reading it.
The opening piece of writing is presented in huge blocks of text lacking in capitals and looks like
datta. dayadhvam. damyatta. to give. to sympathize. to control. you lost control of who you are, so you try to control me, so i am trying to control you but i know that i can never control you because you can never control me you can’t assume that i will automatically adapt to your empathy.
and so forth. I put down the zine and dreaded reading more. Did I really want to read more than thirty pages of this stuff?
The second piece was fiction. This time it had capitals, and was considerably clearer to read, though it still featured passages such as
...he stared down, a definite integral is computed by any of its infinitely many antideriviatives: zeroes, no zeroes, there are always the non-zeros. But what is in the non-computable, and why is she still looking at him? It was longer than infinitesimal.
What. The. Fuck. This is a story about a boy liking a girl or something.
(And what is the proper way to pluralize “zero”?)
The zine continues, with page after page of text written in this strange, verbose, detail oriented, repetitive, stream of consciousness, conversational style. Some pieces seem to be fiction, some seem to be reminiscences, and I can’t really tell which is which. However as the zine progressed they become more readable, or my brain became attuned to their style.
A piece on the impossibility of reading Achebe in the sun by a pool became almost self referential as it stated how I felt when it said that the “maddening theoretical analysis ... became synonymous with a deafening insanity.” I felt like I was reading the words, but not absorbing anything.
And then things clicked as I read the final two pieces of the zine (which I read as one long piece because they seemed to meld into each other).
The first of these pieces is written by a narrator who is drunk, and becoming drunker. She repeats what she says, she goes off on tangents, she defines things, and she tries to think ideas through to their ends. It reads like a drunken arts student who has read too much theory, and suddenly I had a point of reference because that drunken arts student had been me. I had done the same things, I had rambled and talked about things nobody else cared about or understood, I had done things I later regretted doing, I had remembered half forgotten memories unconnected to everything that came before, I had vocalized my fears and dreams. It was all there.
If the piece was written while drunk it was either edited afterwards to make everything comprehensible or the author is the best drunk speller I have ever encountered, either of which is commendable.
In the end I came out of the zine thinking. I had felt a connection with the author that I hadn’t expected, and was glad that I’d persevered to the end.