Sunday, January 24, 2010

Printing New Covers for the First Issue

I got 384 done in one day! I also found this great darker turquoise paper under my bed and decided to print on that too. Now comes the stapling. . .

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Issue 2 so far. . .

Here are the first 6 formatted submissions--21 pages and more on the way!

2009 was a difficult year for me for many reasons, and for most of the year, The Worst was lying dormant on my hard drive and in my imagination. I thought I would write a little bit here about the sustainability of projects like this. While my deadline for submissions was flexible, I have far surpassed the time by which I had hoped to have the zine printed and distributed, and I have felt tremendous (albeit self-inflicted) pressure to get it out quickly. I felt a responsibility to the contributors as well as to others who have reached out to me since Issue 1 came out and started amazing dialogues about loss and how we can heal from it.

There has been an incredible amount of discussion in radical and activist communities recently about burnout and the sustainability of movements and projects (e.g. Counterbalance zine, Aftershock), and the idea that people within movements that challenge mainstream capitalist culture must themselves be cared for and replenished if the movements are to survive. The idea of self-care within sustainable movements also critiques the mode of activism practiced by those more privileged activists (usually white college students) who become imbued with the crisis of social change, create amazing energy in the struggles in which they choose to engage, and then are forced to withdraw or take extended breaks to preserve their mental health. As I have grown and gained perspective on my own "white college activist burnout syndrome," I have learned that I must explore the nuances of the situations in which I hold privilege and those in which I am powerless. I have learned that I must listen to those for whom struggles are not chosen, but violently imposed. From those for whom survival is necessarily a way of life, I have learned that I have a lot to learn.

I think that sustainable social change takes time, whole lifetimes, and that we lose power when we lose/exclude members because of illness, (dis)ability, grief, mental health issues, abuse, and all of the heartbreak and violence of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. We lose power when the pace and style of our movements are such that certain people are excluded from participation on their own terms.

I have had an incredibly hard time treating myself with patience and care as I put off the zine in order to heal from this past year. I think that grief (and often trauma) are experiences which touch nearly everyone sooner or later, and I have taken a lot of strength from the gathering of different voices in response to my and other grief zines' calls for submissions. Of course the importance of learning to take care of myself has been staring up at me in black and white all of this time, in a submission to the second issue by Morrigan Phillips. She writes:

"There is time to breathe and there is time to grieve and time enough to sing songs with friends and make pie and grow a garden. There is even time enough to stop and say to your friends, “My heart is too heavy for this work right now. I need to care for myself and be cared for.” And to not walk away, but just begin to work on a different part of that ship we are all building."

So in more eloquent words, my heart has been too heavy to carry The Worst, but I am proceeding at the pace I need to in order to ensure that the project survives, (hence my excitement at sharing all of my recent cutting and pasting!). Im wondering if other people have similar experiences or thoughts on keeping this balance.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Physical Illness Zine second issue in the works!!!!

Hey everyone, this is a zine made by my good friend Ben. Obviously the topics of illness and grief and often strongly related, and a lot of folks who have been though loss have often had experiences coping with illness as well. Perhaps the strongest link between the two is that they are both difficult for us to speak about and know how to respond to well in radical communities. This zine does a great job of exploring how we can learn more and support each other! check it out if you haven't already, and submit to the second issue!

Sick: A Compilation Zine on Physical Illness collects peoples' experiences with illness to help establish a collective voice of those impacted by illness within radical/left/diy communities. The zine is meant to be a resource for those who are living with illness as well as those who have not directly experienced it themselves. We're doing a second issue of Sick now and are looking for submissions.

Submissions should be 750-2500 words or less. Somewhat longer pieces may be considered, or may be hosted on the Sick zine website. We are open to submissions in other media, such as comics, drawings, photography, or collage. Please be in touch with questions and submission ideas: For more information on the previous edition and the ongoing project, see our website: To get a copy of the first edition, go to

Potential topics:

Personal narratives of living with illness • Illness and support within left/ radical / DIY scenes • Current or historic examples of community-based groups that focus on the politics of illness or support of community members • Intersections of race / gender / sexuality / class / culture and illness • Experiences with doctors, hospitals and treatments • Body image / identity and illness • Bridging the space between disability and illness • Disempowerment / empowerment of illness • Mental health and physical illness • Suggestions for navigating the world of being a ‘patient’ • The experiences of being a caregiver • How life changes after a diagnosis • Living with multiple diagnoses • Illness as taboo • Insurance • The financial burden of illness • Sex and illness • Illness and creativity • Illness and isolation • The invisibility of illness • Providing support to someone living with illness • Creating and sustaining community support networks

In addition to pieces by individuals, we'd like to include a few pieces about the work that community-based groups have done to address the politics of illness and to support those dealing with illness. If you are a member of such a group, please feel free to write!


Please forward this message on, and spread the word!

Additionally, if you know anyone who would like to donate funds of any amount to support the printing of this issue, please have them contact