Check out my reviews of all previous issues of By the Skin of My Teeth in the Zine Review Index
I went back and forth on whether I should review two zines in one review. I want to state that I don’t mean any disrespect nor do I want to come off dismissive of either zine by putting them together. I made the decision because the zines were made in rapid succession, and even the zine maker calls issue 4 a part two of sorts.
By the Skin of My Teeth issues three and four follow Sarah’s journey through depression and mania within a private health care facility. I was curious on two fronts with these zines because I’d never used inpatient mental health facilities (I’ve always been too scared to), and I definitely haven’t done so in the private sector. I liked that she talked a bit about the differences between private and public.
I identified a lot with some of the depressive aspects Sarah went through but moreso the mania. The lack of being able to concentrate. I hate that, too! Three and four were like two sides of a coin with three being about moving past depression and four focusing more on managing the mania that followed.
While I did identify a lot with things, these are definitely zines that are more on the diary side of things. She does talk to you, the reader, but there are more rambling thoughts, repetitive mentions, and fewer breaks that can make for slightly jolting reading when the next paragraph happens hours later. That being said, it’s still a slower read than most zines. The fact that both of these are 64 page zines make these things stand out all the more.
If you like ‘stories from the ward’ then it might be right for you. Otherwise, you might find it lacking the variety that would otherwise keep you reading.
My review of By the Skin of My Teeth Issue One is here if you’d like to have a peek.
On behalf of my friend Wing Nut, I have to say thank you for the big, easy-to-read typing. Hehe. I like all sorts, but it’s always nice to have something that’s easy on the eyes.
On to the good stuff! This zine continues on Sarah’s journey regarding mental health, but in this zine she shifts her focus to self-help and self-soothing. I always appreciate information about self-soothing because it’s something that I struggle with. Beyond that I like to see zine series that grow and expand organically from their original content.
She starts off talking about what has happened and is happening in her life, but then she moves into the big techniques for calming. I say big mostly because they are the ‘popular’ ones that weren’t new to me. But then she gets into more personal things like her favourite television shows and the different stuffed animals she uses on different occasions. It was at that point that I felt the ‘per’ part of ‘perzine’ really shined.
In and of itself, it didn’t grab me as very intense or informative (keeping in mind that I’ve been working on this sort of stuff for years), but as part of the series, it works. I’m curious to see where she goes in the next zine.
I love all sorts of zines, but perzines are definitely my favourite category. I have a fascination with people and how they live their lives.
This perzine focuses on mental health – living with various disorders, experiences in the psych ward, and more. Sarah starts with talking about her great love – her cat, Sabby (Sabastian). I loved reading about him not only because I have a kitty I love in my life but also because it goes to show how much animal companions can mean as to people with mental health issues.
The zine does feel a little less cut and past and a little more typed pages on the computer. But she does get into a bit of drawing, photos, and handwriting, so it starts to get a bit of personality in an aesthetic sense.
While this is a perzine, it’s not strictly bits of memories. There is a book review as well as an interview with herself. I’ve only seen self-interviews a couple times, but I really like them. I think it’s a fun way to get a glimpse into someone’s head. Plus, I appreciate the variety. Heavy stuff needs to be broken up.
All up, this zine felt more like a blog on paper than a zine (I hope that’s a distinction that’s clear), but I enjoyed reading it and will be checking out the next editions.
Last October (HOW DID TIME GO SO FAST?! WHERE HAVE I BEEN?!) I took an anxiety-filled dive into the world of making my first perzine. Up until then, my zines always had the focus of other people in some way, shape or form. I never really took a stance and talked about how I felt.
Mostly because I’m a chronic fence-sitter, and expressing my opinion on anything opens me up to criticism. And criticism makes me cry.
I wish I was joking.
Anyway, the whole thing was liberating. Wonderful. Yeah, I made some statements that are no longer true for me, but that’s life. People change. However, it’s been way too long between zines.
Before 2015 is out, I really want to create DCMC 2. The first zine was about introductions. Why I chose the name Nyx, an intro to my world of bipolar, an intro to my art therapy, etc. I have finally decided on the ‘theme’ for the next issue:
I do have some non-fear-related pieces to put in there to lighten up the mood a bit, but the main focus will be fear/s. I do deal with anxiety as well as decision-making phobia and so on. However, while I’m still in the planning stages…
Do you have any suggestions about a fear related topic you’d be interested in reading about? (Or another topic you would like me to write about.) Anything. A response to thoughts, a question, anything really… I am open to suggestions within reason, so if you have any, please let me know.