The 24-Hour Nothing Thing

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This is like the fifth blog post I’ve been trying to write. The other four drafts have all ended up in the trash section of my admin page. For some reason, my writing has turned stale and my level of inspiration is so low, I’m tasting dirt. Another piece of paper gets ripped out of the typewriter, crumpled and tossed.

Anyway, I read a few of my posts from a few years ago (because they’re always so much better than the recent ones) and came across a post I wrote when I first signed up to the 24-Hour Zine Thing challenge. It was my very first time and I was excited at the prospect of staying up all day and all night and doing nothing besides working on a zine.

Since then, I have participated in this challenge three times and produced three motherfucking AMAZING issues of my zine.

But since 2016, I’ve done shitall. Throughout July, as International Zine Month was in full swing, I tried doing something zine-related. I came across posts from other zinesters who were taking part in it and also reread my older posts from my past experiences with IZM. I couldn’t believe how inspired, creative and driven I was, and how I’m the exact opposite of it these days. Even if I manage to create a zine or something here and there, I still don’t feel that enormous sense of accomplishment I felt in the past. Inspiration is still super difficult to come by, and my writing still sucks ass.

There is no way I could participate in the 24-Hour Zine Thing ever again. I know that. But as I was reading that old post I thought “Why not do it anyway? Not in the conventional no-sleep-no-shower kind of way, but in increments. Keep the spontaneous no-prior-planning aspect of it, but take the necessary “breaks” that come with the territory of taking care of a toddler.”

But then I think, how is that any different from making a regular zine? The point of a 24-hour zine is to make it in the space of 24 consecutive hours, start to finish. As it stands, the only way I could make a 24-hour zine is by leaving my baby in my husband’s care, temporarily move to a remote location, with no reception or internet connection, and switch off the maternal part of my brain that is on constant worry-mode.

No way that is happening.

Inspiration is still miles away. I am absolutely disgusted by how stale and moldy my writing has become. And the only thing that could potentially turn any miserable spark of inspiration I have left into an all-consuming blaze (i.e. the 24-Hour Zine Thing) is desperately out of reach.

Fuck this. If I can’t write, I might as well read. Thank Goddess for my constant flow of books.

Peace, love and this is what the end of words feels like.

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Kiss My Art!

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I’ve been saving most of my zine-production mostly for my art meetings with friends. And they’ve been fun. They’ve been super fun. But then, this week, my work schedule was all over the place. On Sunday, I had the whole day off. And on Monday I worked a full day, which I haven’t done in ages. So on Sunday, I had a couple of friends over and had quite a pleasant crafternoon. And on Monday, I used any downtime in the office to continue working on my zine. I continued it on the following days and just now put the finishing touches on it.

I honestly can’t believe I managed to finish it. When I worked on the cover, I marked the release date as “April 2018” because I found it hard to believe that I’ll have it out any time before then. But the end of March is 10 days away, and I finished this zine that I’ve been planning for the past couple of years and never got around to producing because I’ve been too busy pushing a human being out of my gina and then raising her.

Also, this particular issue was extremely difficult for me. It is the Silent Issue. That is, it includes a fuckload of artwork, visual art, and little to no text. Whereas all my other zines are rather text-heavy because I consider myself more of a writer than an artist, and I focus most of my work on the written word. Also, expressing myself with the visual rather than the written element was always hard for me. I would get headaches every time I attempted to draw something half-decent. I would get frustrated whenever I saw something in my head and could never reproduce it on paper. All the people I draw would always have the same blank look on their faces, their gaze pointing down, their faces would be too long, and their noses too small, and their heads would be immense compared to their scrawny bodies.

But for this zine, I forced myself to avoid the written art as much as possible. As a result, I found myself doing most of my talking through the visual one. The photos I shot across Jerusalem came out pretty fucking rad. The collages I made, simple but powerful in their message. The drawings still came with a certain degree of difficulty (and my people still came out the same as I described them) but I don’t particularly hate it. In fact, some of them are some of my best work, especially because I added color – something that is lacking in all my previous attempts at drawing.

Aside from that, I added four pieces that were not made by me. One is a drawing of me by my friend. And the other three (get ready for this one) are by my daughter.

Yes, you read that right. My one-year-and-four-month-old daughter made three drawings and I used them in my zine! Of course, they’re nothing more than scribbles and squiggly lines, but artists throughout the ages have made big bucks with less, so there. I call these squiggly scribbles total fucking art.

I feel so totally accomplished. I am the mother of a toddler and have managed to bang out a 32-page visual zine. And I love the shit out of it! I had such a blast with all of it and hope to start on another new zine pretty soon.

The Silent Issue will be printed and stapled and posted on Etsy at some point next week or so. Until then, here is the bitching cover, still marked as April, but whatever. Kickfuckingass!

Peace, love and ART4EVER

cover

As I Was

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Yesterday, I made a few lists in my journal to see how my habits and hobbies have changed from my pre-maternity to my post-partum time. I wanted to see if I would be able to reclaim some semblance of my pre-pregnancy life.

Things I regularly did before pregnancy and motherhood include:
– Zines
– Tai Chi
– Baking/cooking
– Reading books
– Writing letters
– Power walks
– Playing guitar

Things I do now:
– Laundry
– Raising my kid
– Sleep

Despite that enormous shift, I have managed to engage in some of my earlier activities. I made a zine and am working on another one, I baked cookies, I read two books and am ordering a few more, and I wrote some letters. This is not bad at all considering parenting is a full-time occupation. And yes, I did most of these while neglecting laundry and sleep.

Now, I am not stupid. I know that all these activities will never take a front row seat in my life ever again. I’m under no illusions about that. My life right now is all about my daughter and everything I do is for her, and I love and cherish every minute of my life as a mother. So these other activities that define me in every other aspect of my life will not be regular activities as they have been before.

But since they are important as part of my self-care, I will still try to find/make time to do them. I think it’s also important for my daughter to see her mother engaging in self-care and doing things that she likes. I want to lead by example and teach her that she too should take care of herself and do things that she enjoys and that are important to her, whatever it may be. If she grows up to love art just like her mother, that’s great! I will be thrilled to make art with her. If she grows up to love playing basketball like her father, that’s amazing! I’ll sign her up for lessons or encourage her to play with her father in the backyard or the park.

I think it’s especially important with activities that promote good health, such as Tai Chi and power walks. I want my daughter to lead a healthy active lifestyle and make exercise a regular part of her weekly routine.

SO! The next item on my list of things to reclaim is my Tai Chi exercises. I seriously need to get my ass back in shape, dammit. Not to mention my back, my legs, my arms, my neck, my abs… I feel completely wrecked. Integral Tai Chi should do the trick. I am attempting to make it a weekly thing as it was once before. But instead of Friday mornings (during which I am too busy with my daughter) I will set it on Thursday mornings.

Fuck sleep. Sleep is for the weak. The Dragon will devour any shred of my drowsiness and The Phoenix will team up with The Tiger to make me own the day and fuck shit up.

Peace, love and Corpse is for the Living

chakras

 

Zinesteritis

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Zinesteritis. Definitely a virus worth spreading!

I planned to have an art night or whatever crafty event with a couple of friends on Tu Bishvat. The friends invited are all mothers (all but one) and living on opposite sides of the country, so finding a time and place for the art event, plus an arrangement for the kids that would work for everyone was tricky, which is why only one friend showed up.

However, it didn’t take away from the awesomeness of the time I had and only served to encourage both me and my friend to try and set a future date where more people would show up. That’s for later. But for now, I was just happy to be creating again.

After spending a rather frustrating night where I couldn’t fall asleep because of my on-and-off problems with insomnia for one thing, and my daughter’s inability to sleep due to intense teething for another, I was sure that this morning’s art endeavor would go down the drain and I would simply fall asleep on my pile of papers and art supplies.

But no. Quite the opposite. I had such a blast, I totally forgot my sleepiness. And in the spirit of zinestering the winter blues away, I even forgot it was winter and just how much I hate it. Not only did I manage to produce several collages for my upcoming silent issue of PMS Perzine, but I also taught my friend how to make a mini zine! It was her first time making a zine and I gave her my copy of Overthrow the Status Quo zine by my friend (which I already wrote about here) for inspiration and to show her that anybody can make a zine. ANYBODY! And she did, and it came out even more amazing than I expected. For a newbie zinester, she wrote one biching zine! She packed so much power into such a small zine, I was totally blown away that this was actually her first shot at zine-production.

Not to mention that she also felt rather proud of herself and proved to herself that yes, she too can make a zine. I totally know what that feels like. I remember the pride I felt when I first held my first zine in my hands. There is no other feeling like it.

“Not only can we make human beings, we can also make zines,” she stated in a coincidental rhyme.

So yes, indeed an awesome, productive and satisfying morning. I can’t wait for the next time I get to engage in badass zinestering, and hopefully have some more people to share it with.

Next up for my silent issue, hand drawings. I’ll try to use color crayons this time.

Peace, love and yes, laundry basket, overthrown.

Decompose It!

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Diary 1The other day I suddenly got inspired to resume journal writing. I’ve been keeping diaries all my life (see this post) but as it is with zine-production, it’s kind of hard to find time to write when you’re a full-time mom. I tried keeping a pregnancy journal, and I have, but all the entries were actually saved as unpublished posts on this blog. At that time, I didn’t really feel like writing by hand. I don’t know why.

But anyway, the diary I’m writing in now is one that my friend from Salem bought for me when I was there for the Boston Zine Fest. It’s a rather large one, with the front and back covers decorated with black-and-white drawings of guitars, microphones, amps, keyboards, and drums. On the front cover, it says “Decomposition Book – 100% post-consumer-waste recycled pages – Printed with Soy Ink”. Whether any of that is true or not is irrelevant. But I LOVE the “decomposition” part. Really jives with the death metalhead within.

I added the title “Fertile Myrtle” with the H logo when I tried to keep it as a pregnancyDiary 2 journal. Some of the first entries were in fact written when I was going through the IVF treatments and when I found out I was pregnant. Then a few entries when I tried to get back to journal writing again and failed. Again.

So the other day, when I got inspired, I wrote yet another entry about trying to get back to keeping a diary, and I really hope it’ll work this time. Keeping with the inspiration, I added a few stickers that I received from zinesters and penpals I traded with. Cool stickers and decorations really do encourage me to keep writing. So far, I only wrote two entries and they’re short. But I had a great time writing them.

I should really practice my handwriting. I’ve been typing shit for too long, and all of it was on the computer. I mean, if I were typing on my manual typewriter (which requires quite a bit of finger strength and may cause broken nails, bruises, and blisters) I wouldn’t be so hard on myself for not doing much writing by hand. But as it stands, the only time I write by hand is when I write letters to penpals (awesome) and notes for clients (meh).

It might be because of my condition that I get kinda lazy and opt for blogging. But fuck it. I’m done making excuses. Myotonic Dystrophy be damned. I love writing by hand. Diaries and letter-writing shall prevail!

Peace, love and wouldn’t it be so cool if my typewriter could accommodate diaries?

In My Heart of Arts

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61574_430831122470_2287989_nMy mind tends to wander quite a bit when I have my morning tea. If it wanders far enough, it also makes me lose track of time and I end up being late for work. This morning was one of those long and wide mind-wanderings.

Back when I lived with roommates and had no living beings depending on me for survival, we used to have art nights. I just realized I didn’t write much about these affairs in my past blogs, but damn, these were some fucking awesome nights.

We came up with the idea when my roommates and I took a road trip up north and visited the Dada museum in Ein Hod. There was a section of it dedicated solely to what they called “Garbage Art”. Basically, art made with recycled things and discarded objects left in the trash. Random shit that anybody can make. Like a discarded toilet bowl with a boot stuck on the rim.

So we were like, “Hey, we can make that too!”

And so, every once in a while, we invited over some friends, laid out all our art supplies and made whatever we felt like. If it was drawing, painting, writing, poetry, playing guitar, jewelry making, zine making, fimo molding, knitting, crocheting, absolutely anything goes.

Sometimes, we also tried to set art nights with a theme. We had an art night on Purim once, where we painted masks and noisemakers, some people showed up with costumes, we served Hamantashen and a bunch of sweets. It was so rad! We also had an art night on Lag Baomer and made Smores on our stove top. An art night on Tu Bishvat (the tree-hugging holiday) with a special lecture by one of my friends about all-natural body products. Of course, an art night involving a small zine workshop led by me for anybody who was interested in zine production.

I loved how most of the art nights that we had were attended only by women. Sure, we had some men coming every now and then. I even invited my husband (who was still my boyfriend back then) once, who refused at first because he felt he had no artistic talent.

“You play guitar,” I replied. “That’s an art. Come and play guitar for us!” So he did.

But most of the time, we were all women. There is something special in being in the company of a bunch of women, making art, talking about art, living breathing art, even if just for a few hours. There is no tension, no competition, no animosity, no need to justify or prove oneself for one reason or another. As we saw it, we were all equal, and we were all friends.

These were the thoughts that were going through my mind as herbal tea was rushing through my system in the morning. I started longing for these art nights which do not happen anymore because the roommate clan has disbanded. We each went our separate ways, mostly to the married life and subsequent motherhood. Of course, I regret nothing. I love being a wife and mother. But I certainly wish that “artist” was still included in the list of things that define me.

Peace, love and maybe I could have an art night with my kid and her friends when she grows up.

Overthrow the Laundry Basket

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OTTSQ

I really miss being crafty. I miss writing and making zines. I miss drawing and making collages. I miss trying out new crafts I’ve never tried before. But mostly, zine-production is my most missed activity. Especially after reading my friend’s zine about zines, Overthrow the Status Quo (which everyone should get, and I would link this to her Etsy page if the issue was being sold there, but it’s not. Here’s the link to ZinesByNyxia anyway because all her zines are awesome).

Good zines inspire me to create zines. Great zines inspire me to go crazy with more inspiration and create more zines. And zines that tell me that I should put off mopping the floor and make a zine instead make me feel silly for doing house chores when the time could be better spent with zine production.

I have free mornings on days when I work the afternoon shift, and I have a couple of free hours in the afternoon on days when I work morning. But then, I have my laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. And then I have dishes. And then I have my daughter’s laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. And then I have more dishes. And if I have any leftover time, I try to sleep (and fail), and then it’s time to go to work or go pick up my daughter, depending on my shift, and any hope for zine production dies.

This is why I write blogs. Because seriously, if I didn’t have that, I would go mad. Writing is important to me. Whether my writing is being read or not is completely irrelevant. Writing is the end in and of itself. But at the same time, deep down, I feel that these blog posts are a temporary treatment until I find time for the ultimate cure (i.e. zines).

So that’s why I miss it. And that’s why it’s not just mopping the floor that needs to be put off but everything else. And my house would need to be a mess, I would need to run out of dishes and my daughter would need to run out of clothes, and then maybe I would actually be able to get cracking on paper cuts and sticky fingers.

Peace, love and thank the goddess that at least my husband does his own laundry and sometimes does the dishes too.