Art & Intimacy

An article by, Tara Rule

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in·ti·ma·cy ˈin(t)əməsē/

noun: intimacy :

1. close familiarity or friendship; closeness.

2. an intimate act, especially sexual intercourse.

3. closeness of observation or knowledge of a subject

My first affair with the world of zines was a serendipitous one. I would get my hands on any self published work I could, and the magic of reading the right thing at the right time was the motif that got me hooked. Somewhere along the line, although I still appreciated the art form, the magic faded. I recently have made an effort to explore media that I may not directly relate to, as I grew tired of screaming down an echo chamber. Approaching content in this manner has expanded my horizons in ways that have healed me in ways I never thought possible. When I initially stumbled upon this zine, the title gave me the impression that I would be exploring a world I was foreign to – an opportunity to learn from the perspective of a person I thought I had nothing in common with. I was right about one thing – that I had something to learn.

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“The Adventures of a mis/identified queer crip,” is a short yet compelling account of the author’s life. The author, who goes only by Ashley, explains that the zine was a collection of important moments in their life, specifically with regard to “coming to terms with disability and sexuality.” This publication was completed with the help of Ashley’s friend, Daniela, who helped bring the authors vision to life. The author was born with cerebral palsy. Learning that a friend of the author assisted them in the creative process was a touching thing to read at first, but complimented the entire motif of the publication. Much like those stories where everything comes together at the end, this zine is one that should be thoroughly digested and contemplated.

I was instantly intrigued by the set up of the publication. Page 3 was labeled page 10, and by the time I got a few more pages in, I was on page 25, or so I thought. This zine is so incredibly moving that I considered perhaps I had lost my sense of time. The personal photos of (presumably) Ashley and other humans they have experienced life with are scattered throughout. Much like looking back on our own lives, which seem to come and go with a blink of an eye, I felt that maybe the way the author expresses themselves on such a vulnerable level sucked me in. I thought perhaps it was written à la, “House of Leaves,” but there were no footnotes. In going back to the first page, Ashley explains how each “page number” is actually representative of the age in which they wrote certain excerpts in their journal. Even if the reader finds this format to be one that is difficult to follow, I think there is something to be said about the beauty of originality.

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This zine, regardless of your own personal upbringing, gender identity, social class, heritage, or any other factor that can make one feel separated and alone; is a reminder of the importance of exploring the concept of intimacy. Outside of the struggles we all go through regarding our own intimacy, this zine sheds light on the personal obstacles those with disabilities face.

Coming from my personal perspective, I have struggled with my own physical disabilities and illness. I can honestly say that this publication bravely outlines the ways that disability effects social interactions with others, as well as the relationship one has with themselves. It touches on denial, ableism, separation from the self and society, and the process of acceptance – regardless of circumstance.

This zine also touches on the concept of “access intimacy,” a term coined by Mia Mingus. Saying any more may be a bit of a spoiler for the reader, but it is important to comment on nonetheless. A moving piece is truly one that makes one reassess concepts that were once felt to be fool proof.

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Between the way the author personifies the piece with honest emotion, and their focus on the lesser discussed challenges facing those with disabilities (outside the realm of physical limitation), this publication is one that any reader can utilize to gain perspective on themselves, their loved ones, and the world around them.

You can read this zine here.

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