The child inside you is older than yourself, so who better to get advice regarding where you are going, where you have fucked up and where you are headed than you. Conversations With The Children We Once Were by Agnes Chew, sings out this little reminder as we trundle off to work with our ‘countenances so overtly pained’. We lose ourselves daily, falling for the lies of how we should live, following a mindset of misery, our rebellion is dead. It is an encouraging start to this special ‘Childhood’ issue of Paper And Ink Zine – that tap on the shoulder to ‘snap out of it’ that we all so desperately need.  Kate Tattersfield‘s Fiction sits like a crayon tattooed truth, four lines each time you read has a new meaning.

How We Made The Weird Thing sucks me back to great times when we were outdoor kids. Delving into the evolution of our imaginations, covering up our instincts, Jason Jackson slips us into a melancholy of humour, setting the scene, perfectly immersed in the mud of smiles betwixt new secrets. Writer and daily blogger extraordinaire Ford Dagenham  ponders on three days of English Literature, where you get the feeling something has been swept aside as the class is given something to distract them. Understanding by Jared A Carnie is beautifully smirk filled with his Ralph Wiggin-esque student that just melts your heart. Ksenia Anske‘s piece is folkloric sewn. She speaks of childhood with breath and blood that twists life lessons, knowledge jewels passed down to us for generations. We change scenarios, the heroes remain the same. Ilka is beautifully written. Page sharers Tom Buron and Lance Nizami excellent thoughts connect with the same drive, same insecurities. This is truly an International Zine. Editor Martin Appleby seems to be covering every longitude and latitude on the planet. Inevitably we fly back to England. Newcastle in fact with regular Ian Cusack. Out come the smelling salts as he whaps us with his noteable realism CSIuDbJUwAAyHwtand panache for violence, grit, scuffs and great storytelling. In Milk Teeth To Dust we meet the adorable wise little head of a young Gwil James Thomas, (who still seems to be writing that elusive novella and poetry collection) and John Dorsey’s Rodney Got A Robot, who’s sad tale of domestic violence skims the hurt and legacy it leaves behind. Murder Slim Press head honcho Steve Hussy wins the ‘least romanticised childhood retrospective’ prize with Dickless. Actually admitting ‘what a little cunt’ he was. Manipulative and cruel, this is more confession and forgiveness, an amazing piece of story telling. Murder Slim Press has a few of my personal ‘most wanted’ like U.V Ray and Mark SaFranko  , they are writers you should look into. A couple of short and sharp ones join forces. Kurt Nimmo and Kevin Ridgeway seek revenge with words, their pens healing wounds. Thomas McColl‘s taste and dredgery of working in a job you hate, using his frustration for good, planting seeds for his future writing. Zohar Teshartok hides in Tamara’s imagination, you experience a seamless entrance to her safe place and I just wanted to stay inside there with her. Low Aesthetic Standards Yay by Carl Bettis almost wins best title, he and his sister become what they see, Lee Marvin branded their brains. I adore the silence and night search that Annette C Boehm conjured in Shortwave Sleeper, so gentle and familiar. Awake In Southall by Paul Hawkins moved me so much. Savour every line of this and you become the boy, entering his “edge of a world too big for my head“. The warning song of Susan Lelliott’s The Wolf was another favourite, with it’s dark fairy tale lilt. Princeless by TJ Heffers made me cheer. A father teaching his daughter about the strength inside her, choosing your heroes and knowledge on how to ‘rescue yourself’. No title made me smile more than Adventures of #Chongobunny, Hairstylist. Now, that’s what I call an interview. I’ve not read any of Jose Arroyo’s books, if he has any, but from what I get exposed to of his secret life via zines and such, he is turning into one of my favourite storytellers. His talent with woodcut is now synonymous with another bloody brilliant writer, cult author and master of cosmic realism Joseph Ridgwell. His latest, Burrito Deluxe, is a call-in-to-work-sick addictive read, (don’t tell me a book’s never done that to you) that I just couldn’t put down. He also makes a guest appearance with his piece A Skateboard Keyring. Again, Joe Ridgwell just tells it as he sees it, no preaching, no mind editing, no consequences for telling all our twisted truths. If you haven’t discovered the delightful Holly Watson yet you are in for a treat. I smile even when I just think of her piece A Visit From Grandad, and like her other posts on her wonderful site it is told with humour and originality. Her shades on life are just the right colour and I hope she spends more time writing these great vignettes. As always Dean Lilleyman‘s penwork leaves me gobsmacked and breathless. Realistic strokes of letters paint a gritty panorama, as I’ve said before his novel Billy And The Devil is extraordinary work. It’s Sydney’s turn in this international ink party. Brenton Booth‘s thought filled ride Prelude has a powerful ending and Trevor Crowe‘s Postman Pat takes a fruitloopian look at kids television. There are all the usual great illustrations, the irony and harsh darkness of Janne Karlsson‘s Poem For Mom, Maggie Negrete‘s vision of Ilka. I actually have a pristine print of this issue’s cover art by Marie Enger to frame and you’ll find me on the back cover, well, broken parts of me. This picture I took on one of my urban safaris, with my time travel lens… never stop imagining *smiles*. So the bookend is in place when MT Duggan shares his Notes On Meeting His Younger Self,

“I saw smudged swans drift in a river

with familiar figures I’d almost forgot

wanting to question them before time withers

and this faded memory of youth stops”.

 

Paper & Ink Zine can be purchased here, I connect with Editor Martin Appleby via twitter or his website

Issue #7 ‘HANGOVERS’ is coming soon. Submissions are now underway.

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