Perzine, Synthia Nicole, Issue 6, facebook.com/pages/Damaged-Mentality-Zine, $2.50
Memory, the lack thereof, and its impact on daily living inform Synthia Nicole’s dialogue in the 6th installation of Damaged Mentality. The mental health perzine discusses the author’s experiences adjusting to life post-injury as she navigates new relationships with the people and systems in her life and the thoughts in her head. In this issue she discusses a humiliating experience in seeking a doctor’s signature and offers up a recipe for “Gado Gado”: vegetables and tempeh with peanut sauce and coconut milk.
The current issue is consistent with the theme of the series; the language is at times disjointed, offering us an honest portrait of a life with cognitive difficulties and a memory deficit. Nicole presents the zine with a patterned background and chunks of dialogue broken at unnatural sentence spaces, making the narrator’s voice real and raw. By forcing us to adopt a way of reading that feels unfamiliar, we share the sense of discomfort that Nicole often experiences.
We see strong moments (Nicole uses subversive strategies to convince employers they should keep her on the payroll) and we see hard moments (she has to convince a healthcare provider of her knowledge of her own abilities). In Damaged Mentality Nicole offers the reader a hand that is both welcoming and a slap to the face. Pick it up and take a walk through Nicole’s experiences, both surreal and mundane. Take along some Gado Gado for lunch. (CJ Blennerhassett)