Pieces #13 is a black and white quarter-sized perzine “on being a romantic asexual” that also serves as an introduction to asexuality and the asexuality spectrum.
I hardly know where to start with Pieces #13. It’s one of those zines that I absolutely devoured and that left me with so, so much to think about. I like perzines, and I like learning things. This zine happened to be an intense combination of both.
Aesthetically, Nichole’s zines have always been appealing to me (as mentioned in reviews of previous Pieces reviews). I do so love a thick quarter-sized zine, and I like how the cut and paste style is fun but not overly distracting from the writing.
Oh, the writing.
Nichole manages to be frustrated, informative, vulnerable, and many other things, all within one zine. While the pieces do cut from one to another – the intro being distinctly perzine, the laments being vulnerable, and the FAQ/comments responses being a mixture of many things. Nichole doesn’t need to say the obvious because feelings come through so clearly in the writing.
There is a section in the back where Nichole responds to questions and comments regarding asexuality. I felt so, so frustrated that people could say and ask those things. At the same time, I have to respect Nichole for addressing them anyway.
I found the spectrum of asexuality absolutely fascinating. Like many (I imagine), I was part of the problem in that I only ever saw it as the ‘you don’t’ side of ‘you do or you don’t’ when it comes to sex. I had no idea that there’s not only a spectrum but that there are other names as well. Thanks to this zine, I’ve not only learned things about asexual people but may have clarified a thing or two for myself as well.
I think this is a great resource not only for people who are still figuring out the facets of their asexuality but also for anyone who has even a little open mindedness in learning more about asexuality. It’s a zine I want everyone to know about because I know it’ll be valuable to those who are looking for zines on the subject (and more beyond them).
I hope you all have had a good weekend independent of celebratory or familial status. I spent most of the weekend having a great time with planning for a bigger, better, even more organised 2017. (Yep, organising is a good time for me.) Plus, this is the year when, pending everything going well, SeaGreenZines will be moving base! I’m looking forward to having a ‘forever’ base of operations.
Anyway, enough about that. Time for the mail!
Forgive the camera lens cover. No, Billy didn’t send me one. (Though I could use a spare.) When the ‘cover’ of your zine is also part of your zine, I get a little bit nervous about showing all the goods. Haha. 😉
Billy has been going through a bit of a rough time of late, so if you can, give him a bit of extra support in whatever way speaks to you. That he’s sent me this from all the way in the States makes me feel very, very lucky.
Sweet surprise mail – with zines! Squee! Emma from Puddle Side Musings took me completely by surprise with this unexpected letter and ziiiines! Pieces just so happens to be one of my favourite zine series, so I’m extra extra thankful for the lovely surprise. (That’s not to say that Ker-Bloom isn’t awesome too, of course!)
Sneaky last minute local mail! Wolfram-J VK of Queer Content fame snuck in on the last day the post office is open for four days. I wasn’t expecting anything, really, but there it was! It’s my very first issue of Queer Content, so I’m very, very excited. Plus, Victoria and Queensland seem to have this weird delay with mail (seriously, I’ve had things from the States arrive faster), so it’s a relief as well to see this safe and sound.
That’s all the happy mail for this week. Sending you all wonderous, happy vibes for the silly season and the new year to come!
- I’m not sure what’s going on with my colouring in this pic because the cover of this zine is definitely yellow, not cream/tan/whatever.
I’m usually so utterly focused on reviewing things in order, but when you have a zine series you love, you make exceptions…
In a way, jumping from Pieces #5 to Pieces #11 has been interesting in that Nichole’s writing ‘voice’ has changed so much. There seems to be this level of inner acceptance in this zine that I didn’t pick up in previous zines. That’s one of the reasons I love being able to ‘stay with’ a zine series over time – people change and grow.
That being said, I was very happy to see that Nichole’s cut and paste style that I have loved over the course of this series is still going strong in #11.
Nichole talks about taking a new approach to interactions with people, the beauty of letters, and meeting penpals in person in the setting of Chicago Zine Fest 2014. The inner acceptance that I mentioned earlier really shows in the beginning pages,the very first starting with the words “hello, hello” and the second pages displaying her mailing address with an open invitation to connect.
The funny thing is that I felt this shyness come over me at such an invitation. Not unpleasantly so, though.
The zine wraps up with beautiful thoughts about cultivating ‘second homes’ – those spaces where we feel safe to stop in and comfortable enough to stay. I loved the imagery and loved being reminded of little things that I can do to make my own life a happier one.
For me, the Pieces series continues to be everything I want in a perzine in both aesthetic and content. Nichole makes me think but doesn’t lecture, and I always feel welcomed in rather than forced to watch from the outside.
Definitely grab a copy.
“I know what I can do,” I thought. “How about a zine awards thingy?”
This may or may not have been fuelled by Australia’s Logies and the zine world’s Golden Stapler Awards.
As it turns out, the fun part was dumping out all of my zines onto my bed and sifting through them, remembering all the goodness. The hard part was organising them and trying to sort out which one is best in any given category. You know how much I adore zines, and I hadn’t thought of that before I started. Still, I thought it would be nice to highlight zines and their makers because recognition and acknowledgement are beautiful things.
Things to remember:
1. My apologies for the less than stellar photos. Some are old, some are new. I am looking at trying to get some sort of set up so I can take consistently good photos.
2. All this is completely out of my own head and on the fly. It’s meant to be a bit of fun.
3. Obviously various zines fit into more than one category. How they were sorted is all on me.
4. Keep in mind these are limited to the 100 zines I’ve reviewed. You can find the whole list: Zine Review Index
5. Picking out the ‘best’ stinks. I love them all!
Here we go!
Best Binding: Beer and Longing
I went back and forth on including this as a category, but it’s all a part of the art. Zines aren’t just about one thing, so it’s fair to point out things like amazing binding.
Best Zine With No Words: Plague
This is one of my earliest reviews, hence the less than awesome picture. A screenwriting class years later would help me to appreciate this zine and telling a story without words even more.
Best Mini-Zine: Shakespeare’s Lovers (All of them. I refuse to choose just one.)
Best Comic: You Don’t Know Me, Bus Driver Blues
I know what you’re thinking, but I couldn’t pick just one. You Don’t Know Me has such power behind the words, and Bus Driver Blues has a message I think we all need reminding of.
Plus, of course, they both have fantastic art!
Best Series: Pieces
No big surprise here, I imagine. There is a lot to be said for writing with an open heart and letting yourself show vulnerability.
Best Mental Health Zine: SAD
This was SUCH a hard category. Wow. In the end, I chose SAD/Sensitive Adult Daily because it accomplished so much in so little space in a way that was fun and memorable.
Best Mail Zine: Photocopy Press #2
I had more mail zines than I realised! Happy discovery. In the end, Photocopy Press won out because of the energy, ideas, and variety behind it. I really wish the series would have continued.
Best Fiction Zine: Mini-Moss Log/Dognapped
This is another category that was a tough one with a lot of great examples. I must say, though, that the way these stories tied together when I wasn’t expecting it whatsoever. Love it.
Best Perzine: The Third Biannual Mildly Informative Booklet Depicting Graphical Representations of General Occurrences and Observations
What can I say? An expression of life using graphs and charts? All the love.
Do I need to explain this one? Other than, ‘it gets even better on the inside’?
Best Anonymous/Secret/Confessions Zine: Zine Crush 3
There was so much to this zine, a variety I didn’t expect in the content, and it reminded me of why I love ‘confessionals’ and the like.
Best List Zine: Summer Goals List
From the paper to the printing to the fact that it’s a zine of lists…
Best Tongue-in-Cheek Zine: How to Talk to Your Cat About Abstinence
Another one I’m not sure I need to explain beyond the review itself. This zine lived up to all the hype.
Best Overall: Every Morning
I was so-so about picking a ‘best overall’ and giving the wrong impression, but there is a zine I keep coming back to when it comes to making me all kinds of happy on multiple levels. You can check out the review if you’d like to know exactly why. For this, I will say that time has not diminished my love for this zine.
Congratulations to all the fun zine people, for whatever these celebratory awards are worth. ^_^
Thank you to everyone who has sent me zines, responded to my reviews of zines, and who has otherwise supported me. This site makes me happy, but having people actually read it is fantastic. I hope that I’ve introduced you all to new/different zines and that I will be able to continue to do so.
Best wishes always,
I’ve reviewed Pieces 1-4, so if you’d like to check them out, you can find the links in my recently updated *cough*it’sabouttime*cough* Zine Review Index.
When I first get a zine, I have a quick scan to get a sense of the layout and what kind of zine I’m about to get into. The Pieces series never fails to be a pleasurable scan. I am a huge fan of the A5/regular page half-fold zine, but there’s something about the A6(ish for US friend paper) size that makes it feel a tiny bit more like a zine. A fun little treasure just for me. Pieces #5 is a smidge smaller than A6, and I love it.
Plus, I love how she continues to use white text on black for the change to more stream-of-consciousness type writing. The visual change to go along with the writing style change is a nice touch.
Now enough about paper, Nyx. Not everyone has teh lurve for the stationery like you do.
Pieces 5 is all about, you guessed it: Change. Looking to go back into regular work, contemplating a move and facing fears are topics that we can all identify with. As with previous issues, Nichole does so with that hint of vulnerability that makes you feel like you’re having a conversation with a close friend.
It’s strange to read something that was written in the past (2011) and yet have it apply so well to things I’m dealing with now. This zine is all about change, and Nichole’s writer-ly background along with a keen craving for the creative sits her well with what 2015 Nyx is sorting through. Maybe I have a severe case of narcissism, but even when the situations are different, her questions and thoughts ring true.
The beautiful thing about a perzine is that it’s like getting to know a person. You can read all sorts of things, but they can still surprise you. Nichole’s foray into S&M was a surprise but a pleasant one. I admire her bravery in a number of ways: admitting her wants and needs to herself, pursuing them with another person, and writing about the whole lot. As I contemplate what to write in my second perzine, I read what Nichole has shared and think deeply about what I could share with the world.
Another win for Nichole in the Pieces series. I’m very happy to see that she is continuing on with Pieces and is on Pieces #12. Looks like I’ll have to catch up.
Lucid dreaming! I love lucid dreaming. I’ve only done it a few times, but each time has been amazing. But, moving on, because this is not a review of my lucid dreams.
The beauty of having so many issues of a zine is that I get to see it grow and change. In Pieces #4, I feel like we’ve gone from life musings in a general sense to something ‘outside’ Nichole that she’s passionate about. This zine is packed full not only with her experiences but also with information on lucid dreaming – like techniques to use to help you achieve lucid dreaming.
I really enjoyed that. I feel like it’s a lucid dreaming handbook that I can refer back to when I feel the need. There’s even a list of resources for further reading, which I always appreciate.
About half of the zine is dedicated to her dream diary. Dreams are like sports to me, though: I’d rather be in the action than watching (or reading, in this case) it all happen. Even so, this zine is a keeper.
I understand now what drives a lot of people to do this and, more importantly, the vague reasons why.
Pieces #3 is one of those zines where I want to quote everything because I identify with this, and with this, and with this…
You get the picture.
From the beginning, Nichole had me with this zine for a number of reasons. Perhaps because I’ve been so desperate to write – to actually finish something. Or perhaps because I’ve been exactly where she was when she made this zine: longing for the possibilities an altered state of mind might provide. I, too, used to look down my nose at people who did such things, but I also now understand why they do it…
As Nichole states on the first page, this zine was written over two days in a flow-of-consciousness style while she swims to the bottom of a bottle of Captain Morgan. It’s an interesting transition as the first strip of black is put on the page partway through the journey and ends with white text on a page of black – plus a photocopied, handwritten page almost as if to prove it had happened.
Even in the literally darkest part of the zine, she seems unsure to the point of needing ‘proof’. Or I could just be reading into it too much. Either way, I still feel the urge to take her out for an ice cream and tell her that I really like her zines.
The next morning in the zine dawns bright once again with black-bordered type on white pages. Attempts to write disappear completely in the wake of ice creams and conversations. While the whole thing left Nichole feeling like she wasn’t sure whether it was a success or not, I see it as the former. After all, I think producing words requires ‘getting out and living a bit’.
For the anxious and shy, sometimes that requires alcohol.
Drinking never seems to accomplish what I initially set out to do…
I hear you.
This zine is about the handful of girls in my life that really made an impact on me.
I think there is a true, deep value in being able to look at past relationships and feel the feelings without getting lost in them. In this zine, I think Nichole makes a beautiful tribute to women she has met. From her first kiss to realisations of unrequited love, we get to view the women that influenced her life as she views them.
Nichole shares her awkward moments in ways that are endearing and yet ‘are what they are’. She doesn’t indulge in fantasies of what could have been or should have been. When you’re reading, you get a real sense of how she appreciates them even though, in her own words:
…things didn’t work out the way I wanted with any of them…
What was especially gorgeous for me is that there are a couple of women who don’t have names. Why is this gorgeous? Because it reminds me that you never really know whose life you’re influencing. You might think that everybody thinks your [X], but it just so happens someone out there is too nervous to ask you out. Or even to say hello.
This zine (and #2-#5) came through a trade I made a few years ago thanks to the We Make Zines site. Nichole prefers trades to outright sales, so my financially-challenged self was quite happy.
I had a good feeling that I would like this first one because I am an author (and was back when I made the trade, too) and love a lot of things that are writing-related. This zine did not disappoint.
Pieces takes a ‘snippets of life’ approach to her zine with, well, snippets of her life. Bits and pieces that surround reading, writing, authors and what it means to grow up as a creative person. She does skip around in time – jumping forward and back – but chronology doesn’t matter as much as the feelings of the scenes involved. While my glitchy self would have loved chronology, my free love hippie self was happy to go with the flow.
What was even better is how many experiences Nichole and I had in common. For instance, I also wrote for Young Authors when I was in school. I also started using British spellings in school only to be told a resounding no. (Yay for moving to Australia and putting extra letters in all sorts of words! Colour!) While she was not allowed to read at the table, I was not allowed to write. But we were both convinced (if only a little bit) that the characters would get up to something while we were away.
We’ve even both met Garth Nix.
I won’t give it away, but the zine ends on an exhilarating (especially if you’ve done it yourself) note that leaves you wanting to know what happened next.