Zooted Zinester

0

I just read some of the really old posts I wrote (like from 2005) and I thought “Hmm, maybe I should write something like that again.” And then I remembered, I’m not 22, I’m not living with my parents, I’m not single, I’m not a student, I’m no longer a pothead, I don’t live in Canada, I’m not a journalist, and I’m not childless. I’m a completely different person and whatever words I put down on paper will be lightyears away from the ones I did all those years ago.”

I do have fun with the zine I’m making for International Zine Month, though. And that’s good. Again, the stuff I wrote so far is by no means brilliant, but the mere fact of creating and zine-producing is totally exciting as it’s always been.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had discovered zines earlier. Back when I lived in Canada, I could have attended some zine fests, which I never get a chance to do now that I live halfway across the planet (the Boston Zine Fest in 2015 notwithstanding).

What would I have called my zine? At 12, probably something Michael Jackson related. At 16, something Marilyn Manson related. At 18, undoubtedly something riot grrrl related. At 22, more like something weed related, as Buddah was at the center of my universe back then. In fact, I remember an assignment I had to do for my computer applications class was a newsletter I designed with a bunch of made-up articles about Mary Jane. I called it The Daily H (hence the logo I put on all my zines reading “Daily H Publications”).

A newsletter about drugs called the Daily H could be misinterpreted as a newsletter about heroin. But no. I used the letter H to stand for my name, as Hadass is also a plant and the newsletter was about a plant. The tagline of the newletter was “Get your daily dose of vitamin H!” Have some weed, and have some hadass while you’re at it.

Journalism school was fun, so I bet I could have totally dug being a zinester back then. Maybe smoke a doobie right before, to make the writing sound like the ramblings of a stone-cold stoner.

Reading my old diaries and high school agendas today is fun. But I bet a stoner’s zine would have been hilarious.

Peace, love and H is for High

Advertisements

Keep It Unreal

0

I read something upsetting and then I get upset. I don’t know when I became so goddamn sensitive. And why. I try to keep a positive mindset but it’s becoming harder and harder to do because I’m surrounded with so much negativity, mainly brought about via social media. Sometimes I consider the option of suspending my Facebook account for a little while so that I can avoid the barrage of negative feed I’m crushed by every day. Maybe I should do that…

Fuck the “if it bleeds, it leads” journalistic standard. I wish it would stop bleeding so much. I wanna read something positive for a change. Something that doesn’t make me want to shut off the world. I wanna read children’s books. Not the ones about a grandmother being devoured by a wolf, and not about a couple of kids shoving a witch into a furnace. Maybe about a baby throwing her toys and playing guitar. Or about a cat befriending a mouse.

Also, I’ve noticed that confusing books do not jive so well with me anymore. I recently got the book Kissing Dead Girls, which I’ve read a few years ago and remembered it being amazing and inspiring. In fact, after the first time I read the book, I was so inspired that I wrote two short poem-style stories using the same style and confusing sentence structure as Daphne Gottlieb uses in her book.

So I finally bought the book and have spent the past two weeks trying to read it. Some of the stories are just as wonderful as I remembered them. But most are just plain confusing. Fragmented sentences, beginning and ending nowhere, the lack of capital letters where they should be, a tone and voice which sound like the ramblings of senility itself, incoherence galore, boring nonsensical bullshit, all served to make me tired and restless at once and eventually I either skipped to the next chapter or just put the book down. Every time I think about resuming reading it, I get tired. Just thinking about it, I get bored out of my fucking mind.

I came up with a theory. The reason I enjoyed this book so much all these years ago was probably because it reflected the confusion I lived on a daily basis. Back then, my life was a mess. Nothing made sense. My life was as fragmented as the sentences in that book, and somehow those fragments seemed to complete me. The fragments fell right into the places where my essence was lacking. But now, my life is complete. I feel so right and organized. Even if my sleep is fragmented, because being the mother of a toddler, it kinda comes with the territory, that is part of my predictable routine. Everything has its rightful place. I’m married to a super awesome guy, I have a brilliant kid, I have a sweet dog, I have a decent job, I have a decent house, I have peace of mind, and I simply don’t want any bloody news piece or any fucking confusing book ruining it for me.

Another theory I came up with was that the first time I read Kissing Dead Girls was before I became exposed to Stephen King. Yes, eventually it all comes down to that. Once I read Duma Key, my whole view of literature drastically changed. I have immense trouble reading books that are not written by King. I think it’s also because I love fiction more than anything because as bloody as it gets, I know it’s not real. Even if Stephen King is such a master storyteller that it seems as if his fiction IS in fact reality, deep down I still know it isn’t. So for me, keeping a positive mindset is totally possible with fiction books.

clarity

And so, being bored to tears and utterly frustrated by Kissing Dead Girls, I ordered another fiction book, The Clarity by Keith Thomas. I just got a text message from the post office notifying me that this book I ordered from Germany just arrived. I’m excited by the prospect of escaping into fiction, and even more excited that come May 22, I will score me a brand new Stephen King novel, The Outsider.

You know what? I’ll just go ahead and reclaim “If it bleeds it leads” but add “in fiction” at the end, because in reality it just serves to fuck me up.

Peace, love and fiction forever

Zines = DIY Gold

1

Today I want to write about zines. I mean, I write a lot about zines and my last post was also zine-related, but I still want to write about zines. It’s either writing a zine or writing about zines. And since I am just finishing up my part of a split-zine, writing ABOUT zines it is.

I first got into zines back in 2007. Come to think of it, I don’t exactly remember how or why. All I remember is that I was heavily into the riot grrrl scene (and still am). I was browsing some riot grrrl literature on eBay and ordered the book A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World. At that time, I’ve been in Israel for a year, working random translating jobs that had nothing to do with the field I really wanted to work in – Journalism. I’ve submitted a few articles here and there to the Jerusalem Post, and saw my work butchered by the editors, and I still didn’t make a rusty Agora for it. It was only after I read A Girl’s Guide that it occurred to me.

“Hey! I can make my own zine, publish my own work the way I wrote it, and fuck mainstream media!” It also occurred to me that I might not get paid for it either, but who cares? Using my journalistic skills and self-publishing was the end in itself.

People have sometimes asked me what does it take to make a zine. What tools do you need? What skills must you have? What stories, topics or themes should you explore?

I always gave the same answer: DIY. Do it yourself. Get your own tools, learn your own skills, tell your own stories. There are no rules, there are no limits. Best of all, there is no censorship. This is free speech and freedom of the press the way it was intended.

The only mandatory thing in zine culture is inspiration. I think that with inspiration, everything comes right along – patience, persistence, and an unyielding love for the craft. The zines you create with inspiration are the best zines you will ever make.

Of course, there are certain guidelines for zinesters if they want their readers to enjoy the full experience of zine-reading. The layout should be easy on the eyes, the script should be legible, the binding should be stable… I’ve also read suggestions from other zinesters who said that the pages must be numbered, you should have a table of contents, and somewhere in your zine there should be your name and contact information. But I don’t think these things are entirely necessary. Maybe there are some zinesters out there who do not wish to be contacted. I can sometimes relate to that. Zinesters are artists, and many of the ones I know (including myself) are introverts and loners. We find comfort in solitude. We find our inspiration and do our best work when we are left alone in silence, preferably in a sound-proof shelter room with a blasted heater.

Despite that, I still put my contact information on the back of my zines because I like to hear from others in the zine-scene. But that’s my own choice and may not apply to everyone.

After the split-zine I am currently finishing up is all printed, stapled and ready for distribution, I will write another issue which I’ve already started (probably after my wedding on March 11). It will be a zine about the wonderful and magical world of metaphors. Y’all should be on the lookout for it.

Also, I am jonesing for International Zine Month. I’m pretty sure my honeymoon will be in June, so I hope to be back home a bit before July so that I can prepare for that month and also do the 24-Hour Zine Thing again. So psyched for it!!

Keep up with any zine-related progress on my PMS zine blog (now featuring a sneak-peek into the upcoming split-zine) and don’t forget to Facebook Like it!

Peace, love and I do like it PMS, and I got it PMS.

Marching On

1

The following is an unpublished article I wrote about the March of the Living I joined exactly five years ago. Since Israel’s Independence Day is coming up in less than a month and this year is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, it is only appropriate for me to include the article here:

         Many of the areas we visited in Poland as part of the March of the Living were practically deserted. Two of the concentration camps had green grass growing all around. Polish children were riding their bicycles across the camp, seemingly unaware that they were riding on thousands of decomposed corpses. I had hoped there was more to Poland than its recent shameful history, but while the tour guides kept reminding us that Poles were as much victims of the Holocaust as were the Jews, the freshly spray-painted swastikas on bus stations we walked by came as a harsh reminder that anti-Semitism is alive and well. 

         On Yom Hashoah, the yearly Holocaust Memorial Day (early May), we saw the familiar fences with the barbed wire, the rusted train tracks and the front gate with the sign “Arbeit macht frei” (Work sets you free). But unlike all the films I’ve seen, these images were in color. We were in Auschwitz and we were Jews but we were in no danger. We left Auschwitz alive and well, just as we had entered it.

         The actual march took place that same day. It was a three-kilometer walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau, as a stark contrast to the Nazi Death Marches that took the Jews from Birkenau to Auschwitz. Our Partnership 2000 contingent of approximately 40 students joined others from around the world. We were 7,000 Jewish students, paying tribute to the victims, as well as to the survivors who joined us.

         As we walked, I looked ahead and saw a sea of people wearing the official MOL blue jackets with the Star of David on the back, carrying Israeli flags. I looked behind me and saw the same scene – lines of people walking hand in hand in absolute silence, stretching back to the vanishing point. I was overwhelmed to witness and expose such pride and solidarity in a land where our grandparents once bore those same symbols, the Stars of David, as signs of shame.

         Despite this emotionally-charged walk, the shock was yet to come. The next day, we visited the Belzec death camp that operated from 1942-1943. Its front gate was black and rusted. The camp seemed small because of the various trees and bushes that had grown up around it in the last 60 years. A monument depicting two people with no faces, tall, thin and as dark as the front gate, stood in the middle. There were flies everywhere so that we had to cover our faces with our jackets. But when we left the camp, we were still not rid of them. Our bus driver left the bus door open and all the flies joined the ride. The flies, the terrifying figures of the monument, and the charcoal-colored gates created a morbid atmosphere that was only made worse by the tour guide’s historical account of the events inside the camp.

         “In this camp, you didn’t have selection,” explained Tali Nates, the South African tour guide. “If you came here, you came to die. There were nine gas chambers. In one, they could have killed 1,000 people. Six hundred thousand people died here. Five survived. Out of them, three did not survive the war, one was killed after the war. One survivor from this camp. One.”

         Later that day, we visited Majdanek, an enormous camp that stretched out as far as the eye could see and that had been left mostly intact. The tour guides said it would take only 24 hours to get it working again. The crematoriums were still there. A huge pile of ashes was collected in a dome in the middle of the camp. The ditches that served as mass graves were still visible. There were countless barracks; a few bore a sign that read “Bat und Desinfektion.”

         “What is this sign saying?” asked Nates. “Bath and disinfection. What do you think? Do you trust this sign? So in our language, what we know and what you already learned so much before, this is not an innocent sign.” Majdanek was the first camp where we visited an actual gas chamber. The shower heads in the gas chamber were old and corroded; in a display window sat empty cans of Cyclone B. The walls were discolored and, in some areas, there were vertical lines that seemed to have been carved into the wall. Rumor goes, said the tour guides, that these were scratches made by the victims as they were being gassed. Time seemed to stand as we held our breath for fear that the shower heads would go off again. 

         “I got a chance to walk into that gas chamber today, and I got a chance to walk out,” said Matthew Abramsky, one of the participants, in a meeting following the visit.

         The March of the Living has been held since 1988, except for a couple of years when it was cancelled due to security reasons. This year marks 60 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and the program will once again unite young Jews from across the world to show that “Am Israel chai,” “The people of Israel live on.”

*The photo below is a picture of what the Star of David in the back of the blue jackets look like. It is the MOL logo. To learn more about the MOL, visit http://www.motl.org/