Saturday, February 6, 2010

Guide to Timefighting

Guide to Timefighting

Well this certainly isn’t what I expected.

What did I expect? Some sort of bizarre, rambling, nonsensical guide on how to organize your life and stop wasting time maybe. Or possibly some sort of bizarre, rambling, nonsensical narrative about travelling through time and fighting against agents of order/chaos and oh no the government is out to get me and you have to know the truth before I am killed and they’re coming for me you have to get out of the house right now.

(Why did I think this? I have no idea. I got the zine from some nice kids at the Portland Zine Symposium last year, and, while I didn’t talk to them much, they didn’t seem insane.)

Instead, this zine is the product of a collective that strives to create stories, media, and projects that hope to help create a sense of community amongst those who experience them.

It starts up with an introduction to what timefighting is, and what a timefighter does. It seems that timefighting is all about documenting what’s going on around you, so that others can learn from your experiences. Or maybe it’s something to do with sub-atomic particles, magick feathers, and time machines (yes, it does mention those things, which, combined with a page entitled “What to do when you find yourself stuck in a past life,” makes me wonder if maybe my second guess about what this zine was about wasn’t that far off the mark).

After the introduction, the zine goes on to give a number of examples of how you too can become a timefighter (!). The first is possibly the most interesting/inspiring. “Become a news source,” it says, “one of the best ways to get the news you want is to investigate it yourself.” In today’s world where the news we are presented with is frequently sensationalist garbage chosen by corporations in order to sell ad space, while the stories that you care about probably aren’t covered at all, this, unfortunately, rings incredibly true.

The rest of the writing projects are less revolutionary, though not necessarily less fun: revisit a place you’d discovered and see how it’s changed, write a story as both true and false, investigate the mundane.

The example given for writing a story as both true and false features possibly the most typically “zine-like” part of this publication. The true story tells of someone wanting to find out what is on the other side of some portholes that are installed in the bathroom of a restaurant. I’d totally want to know too if I’d seen them, and someone exploring things like that is the kind of thing I like reading about, so I’m glad someone went and found out. However, I won’t tell you what was discovered on the other side of the port holes, as that helps fulfil the goal of the final project.

That final project is creating mystery for the person reading what you’ve written. It features a story about someone building something. What is that something? I have no idea, as that’s blacked out every time it’s mentioned. I feel like I can almost see what it says, and that perhaps with a scanner, and some time spent with image programs I could figure it out. But do I really want to? Part of the appeal is trying to figure out what’s been created from the context, though I have to say I have no idea what it actually was (or if the story was even real).

There’s also a comic that is half how-to guide for timefighting, half battle with a giant clock. And really, what more do you want from a zine?

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