Perzine, Darian Steelman, Voices of Resilience Presents, rayinc.ca
Darian Steelman: chronic underachiever, or perpetually unlucky people person? It depends on how you look at it. Steelman takes us on the rocky road from his teenage years to his early 20s in this zine, the result of a youth zine workshop in Winnipeg. Along the way, his income and living situation are in flux. Even though the zine ends with him in a stable place, you get the impression that “stability” in his life is only a short break amidst a life of otherwise consistent instability.
A strong motif throughout this memoir is the people that Darian meets along the way. To point, the cover of the zine is made up of a collage of all the people mentioned in the zine. His favourite type of person is, pretty clearly, single girls his age. By no means is this zine a Tucker Max-esque sex romp, but time is measured by young women in this narrative, giving Darian his sense of meaning and belonging.
I’ve spent a fair amount of my life afraid of becoming poorer than I’ve always been, so I appreciate Darian’s narrative. He couch surfs, lives in a homeless shelter, or is a recipient of social housing for much of this story. Not only does this make for entertaining reading, he clearly shows that as unstable as his life might be, it is still essentially good and worthwhile. It’s a life full of people, laughter, nerd culture, friends and — did I mention? — women. (dustan j. hlady)