Zine Review: Things I Do When I Feel Blue

ZINES_Things I Do copyThings I Do When I Feel Blue
Perzine, Erin Klassen & Alex Begin, 38 pgs, With/Out Pretend, etsy.com/shop/WithoutPretend, $12

This self-care zine written by Toronto-based zinester Erin Klassen is presented sweetly, printed on recycled cardstock paper with a cute blue-and-grey colour motif. Etsy-readiness aside, the thing that really grabbed me about Things I Do When I Feel Blue was its epigraph by Virginia Woolf: “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” Taken from Woolf ’s legendary feminist text A Room of One’s Own, it sets an appropriate tone for a zine that argues for the joys of a certain type of solitude: eating peanut butter by the spoonful, soaking in a scalding-hot tub, picking off your nail polish because “this charade has gone on long enough.” Augmented by lovely minimalist blue-and-white illustrations by Alex Begin, this zine is definitely cute, but there’s a hint of realism beneath its surface that I also liked. Some self-care zines will tell you to drink water and exercise when you’re feeling shitty: Things I Do advises you to make a list of healthy food you might buy later, and schedule a month of gym dates that you may or may not keep. In short, this zine acknowledges moments of pure pleasure (singing along with the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and comforting self-delusion (pulling your breasts up to their “28-year-old” level in the bathroom mirror) and that’s what a lot of people’s self-care looks like, including mine. Like Woolf ’s adage, Things I Do knows that healing comes from adhering to your own expectations and realities, and doing the best you can with the energy you’ve got. (Alison Lang)

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