Today’s Holiday in Cambodia day here at Annalemma and we’re hoping to get you more psyched on this zine of ours that you have ever been on any other zine in your life. Thus, excerpts:
From Greyhound Christmas by Al Burian
I had been curious to see what sort of person takes an overnight Greyhound ride on Christmas eve. Would there be exciting, sinister motivations for needing to leave town at such an odd time? But the answer, depressingly and obviously, is that it’s mostly born again Christians. This became clear within a few minutes of departure from downtown Chicago, when the first person, an elderly gentleman in a crinkled suit, whipped out a bulky, well-thumbed and thoroughly hi-lighted jumbo print Bible and began shouting praises across the aisles. I looked around for someone to receive my exasperated eye roll, but found no one. The entire bus was enraptured. Soon, Bible quotations and hallelujahs were flying back and forth between the aisles.
My instinctual reaction to loud displays of fervent proselytizing, of course, is to want to jump up and begin yelling counter-arguments in a louder voice. Fuck religion, as the song says, but in this case I immediately recognized that as an inhumane, culturally insensitive attitude, and also that I was hopelessly outnumbered. So, rather than yelling out Crass-style lyrics, I restrained myself and listened.
From Jumping Rope with Satan by Cassandra Lewis
My mother is mentally ill but refuses to undergo treatment. The first time she was hospitalized she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. However, another psychologist who met with her and later became my therapist said she believed my mother was misdiagnosed and should have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia since my mother fails to return to reality, entrenched in delusions. She’s been hospitalized, arrested, and incarcerated, blaming everyone but herself, refusing to accept responsibility. It’s all a big conspiracy, of course. She believes everyone is against her and either works for the mafia, the CIA, or Satan.
From A Christmas Fax from Dad’s Lawyer by Ryan W. Bradley
The clearest Christmas memory I have is waking up, my sister and I beginning to sift through our stockings while our stepdad prepared breakfast in the kitchen. We’d only started celebrating Christmas since our parents had both remarried.
We heard the fax machine downstairs whirr to life. It was from our dad’s lawyer, passing on a court order that my sister and I were to spend Christmas day with our father. We got dressed, hurried through opening our presents, and fumed by the window waiting for our dad’s Isuzu Rodeo to arrive on our street.
From Survival Recipe by Liz Grover
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I went to Cambodia. I only knew that it was going to be difficult. My goal was to document what local activists were doing to protect street children from child sex tourists, indigenous tribes fighting to protect their dwindling rainforests, and women landmine survivors learning how to make a proud living through weaving, a tradition that was nearly erased during the dark days of the genocidal Khmer Rouge, Cambodia’s totalitarian ruling Communist Party of Kampuchia. Oh, and by the way, it was my first time visiting a country where massive genocide took place.
From My Justice for All by Todd Dills
“I’ve seen the frayed ends of sanity,” Edwin said, finally, pretentiously, as he marched off to the Silver Dollar’s bathroom.
“Me too,” I called after him. “Wasn’t that a Metallica song?” though I knew it was, from the classic …And Justice for All. Metallica was about insanity, after all, and more explicitly death. In their 1980s heyday they sought, however confusedly, to encapsulate living organisms’, man’s, inexorable and punishing route toward death in their hectic, unyieldingly pounding riffs. Death via war, via insanity and bad choices, via addiction, via chance in the chaos of human experience: the unfinished business of the bell, which on their second album they left up in the air, incomplete, but if you got the reference to Donne — and you’d have to be a Neanderthal not to — the implied finale was clear. Luck be damned. Time marches on. The shortest straw is pulled. That bell tolls for thee.
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