Zine Review: Cultural Appropriation in Spirituality

Cultural Appropriation in Spirituality

Theory zine, various authors, 62 pages, , 7$ or free online


culturalWith a 20-some word subtitle and 62 pages including Acknowledgements, Introduction, Writer Bios, Definitions, a Glossary, and Resources, readers will be immediately aware that this is no joke.

Another thing that is no joke is douchebag hippie cultural appropriation. The creators of this zine know it intimately as residents of the west coast of North America who are active in witch-related cultural/spiritual practices. This publication is a direct response to this type of behaviour, and as such I can appreciate it to be important for its milieu.

For people interested in a brutal take-down of hippie bullcrap, or an in-depth analysis of said bullcrap, this is not for you. Rather, a reader will find something more akin to a workshop outline with questions for group discussions, instructions for magical experimentation, supplemented by short prose pieces touching on different aspects of the problems being addressed.

To be completely honest, I skimmed all the questions and magic stuff; that’s not my bag in the slightest. So if you’re like me, and you engage with questions of cultural appropriation, decolonization, settler-colonialism, race, and so on, that’s maybe not enough to carry you through this zine. It’s not really for you and me. This is for the serious witch who needs to process whiteness and cultural appropriation specifically from within that context. I know there’s tons of you out there, get in touch with these fine folks! (Stephane Doucet)

Perzine Review: Exscind


Perzine, Adel Souto (author), 32 pages,

excsindUnique packaging gets noticed. This statement can also apply to zines, like the brand new zine by Adel Souto called Exscind.  Exscind features something approaching a book sleeve and is filled with high gloss paper, which gives the zine a sense of stature and artistry. This is important when it is mainly prose mixed with some full color visuals. If you like firsthand perspectives and POV, you should pick this up. Veteran zinester Adel Souto goes deep with a few topics, with some drawn from experience and some drawn from opinion. It’s a good blend of both. There are several passages, all of which are worth checking out for one reason or another. Yeah, some of the religious stuff gets a bit muddy at times. If that’s not your speed, there are some other words about suicides in the NYC subway that are pretty compelling (they include some first person accounts with Adel as the witness). There’s also a quasi review of the crime reality program The First 48 that is damn good too. In general, most of the pieces are fairly dark but also darkly poetic, as Adel spins a singular lens on the outside world. It’s not pretty, but good art obviously doesn’t have to be. What art is, is consistent and after reading through Exscind and re-upping on certain pages, one is totally left with a fairly lucid impression of who the author is. It was generous of him to share. (Cam Gordon)

Zine Review: Come Close To Me

Come Close To Me

Zine, Devon Marinac,

comeAs hard as I tried, I’m not sure I quite “got” Come Close To Me, yet something seems to suggest that maybe it is just up to the reader to let these images percolate for a while, and not being able to “get” it right away actually works in its favour. Devon Marinac collects a series of drawings in this zine, which look as though they were at first a very basic renderings of different people, and then drawn over to create eccentric, elaborate pieces. Looking at this zine, there is no doubt that Marinac’s work is interesting – these pages have an inherent frenzy to them that is very compelling to look at because there’s often so much going on on one page. With little to no text apart from certain seemingly unrelated words or phrases pasted into the imagery, Come Close To Me is a bit of a mind- boggler, but it is certainly worth a look. (Richelle Charkot)

Editor’s Pick: dadfeelings Podcast



In addition to being a groundbreaking game designer/developer, writer and probably my favorite person on Twitter, merritt kopas (our Issue 66 cover subject) also makes podcasts. You may already be familiar with her interview podcast Woodland Secrets, but she’s just started a second podcast called dadfeelings that dropped right around Father’s Day. dadfeelings is about fictional dads and their resultant complications, with the first episode centering around the grandaddy of evil dads, Darth Vader. Kopas brings multiple insights on Vader’s inherent shittiness as a father and points out details that will amuse fans and non-fans alike. kopas also details a video game called The Force Unleashed from the early 2000s that expanded the Star Wars universe by giving players the chance to game as Vader’s secret child apprentice, putting you directly in the position of being Vader’s kid. kopas is a funny, charming and insightful host, discussing both the piteous fragility that’s ultimately revealed by a helmet-less Vader (“It’s analogous to the final reveal of a dad – they’re just an old frail guy in the end”) and the Disney-esque and potentially harmful Redeemable Dad Fantasy that the original Star Wars trilogy provides. It’s a great (and short) listen, and we can’t wait for future installments, including the inevitable Hans Solo episode. (Alison Lang)

Alison Lang is the editor of Broken Pencil.

Girls – Fresh Fiction by our Newest Fiction Editor

GIRLS illustration

Natalie Wee is Broken Pencil’s newest Associate Fiction Editor. Sample her taste with the Girls, an innocent look at the fluidity of attraction and the loneliness of youth. To have your fiction scrutinized by Natalie, submit through BP’s online portal.

Illustration by Ben O’Neil

You tell her you love her the day she graduates.

It’s a carefree spring morning, the perfect kind for the endurance training you sometimes did— to build up stamina, because stage work was tougher than it looked. The past week you’d all done laps with last season’s frost nipping at your heels, and the grass was still so damp with dew that Sophie had slipped and fell mid-run.

“Gosh, old age sets in really fast,” she’d joked.

Her laugh sent dandelion puffs into the cool air. You pulled her up and thought that it wasn’t old age: it was distance. Distance had set in so much faster than you could seize your courage and Sophie was on the train bound for Juilliard, going, going, gone.

And now your courage had finally caught up.

“I’ve loved you,” you say, “For years, now.”

The echo of your voice reverberates through your bones, into the ground, and up into Sophie’s spine like a tidal wave. It’s in the way Sophie takes a step back, her palms open, doe eyes wide like shutters in a storm.

“What?” Sophie breathes.

You have to force yourself not to look away. You know her, you remind yourself— thoughts of shared strawberry lip-gloss, deft fingers braiding your hair— and square your shoulders.

“I just wanted you to know,” you manage. “I know you heard me the first time.”

See, you do know her. You’re not waiting for the fluttering lashes, the trembling mouth, the soft intake of breath like the mouth closing over fruit. You’re waiting for yes, me too. You’re hoping for the ring of her laugh like your first pinky promise.

But instead:

“I— Alexa,” Sophie says, her eyes shocked, “Alexa, I never— I’m so sorry, I—”

You are seventeen going on eighteen, and your best friend doesn’t love you back.

This week only! Subscribe to BP Weekly and win big!

This week only!! Subscribe to BP Weekly before Tuesday, June 28th, and win a Broken Pencil Prize Pack!

bpweekly logo

You’ll automatically be entered into our contest if you subscribe here!

The winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of The Program by Hal Niedzviecki
  • 4 free issues of Broken Pencil Magazine (both print and digital, that’s a whole year of Broken Pencil!)
  • Can’tlit, Broken Pencil’s original collection of fiction writings
  • Broken pencil exclusive buttons
  • A Broken Pencil bag to pack it all away!

You might just be our new winner! Contest closes a week from today, so hurry up and subscribe!