I made a book for anyone who's feeling overwhelmed by or afraid of the violence and divisiveness that is (for now) gathering strength and power, anyone despairing at their ability to make change or feel joy, and anyone who wants or tends to run from uncomfortable or uncertain situations. I guess you can call it a self-help zine. I performed it last Saturday at the one year anniversary of Zine Not Dead.
[See above photo by Mary Beth Higgens. Documentation of this performance will be available soon.]
This book contains writing, drawings, suggestions, and exercises to strengthen your spiritual and emotional fortitude. These are exercises I use frequently, across personal, educational, performative, and ritual practices. They work.
Like many people I know, in particular many artists and creative people I know, my faith in the worth of my efforts, indeed, in the worth of humanity, has at times been deeply shaken, even absent. This is not one of those times. My favorite thing about growing older is lengthening perspective. I have lived long enough to see, over and over, the resolution of pain through process and time. Trauma heals; worth is found; sense of stability grows again - if the issue is addressed. Often, we are more frightened by the fallout from a problem than the problem itself. We must stop, turn, and face this difficult work.
I know that many of the scariest possibilities are imposed from outside and above in the hierarchy of power. I know that those with greater privilege must leverage it as a resource and be the front line of resistance. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read this, this, and this.) I also know that every single living human being has baggage that hampers their efforts to make positive change.
So often, the smallest insecurities cause the largest efforts to crumble. When it comes to working and organizing together - which is essential to combatting systematic oppression and creating social safety nets - it is imperative that each individual in the collective takes responsibility for their personal well-being and moral growth. Nobody is perfect, but everyone can improve. Working on yourself is not frivolous. It's not lazy, because if you're really working, it's not easy. It is not narcissistic, because it requires humility. Evolution is spurred by diversity: of ideas, experience, and ability. That's why the exercises in this book are flexible and can be practiced by oneself, with a partner, or in a group.
You can read Do Not Fear The Darkness in full online by clicking here, or by paging through like this:
You are also more than welcome to hard copies for yourself (and others!) Click here to download the pdf with instructions for print and assembly. If you run a comic shop, book store, event space or whatever, you have my blessing to distribute Do Not Fear The Darkness to all who pass through. Do not sell this book, it is free.
May the new year illuminate further tools for transformation. Wishing you love and power.