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I love it when the author of a perzine doesn’t just write a stream of consciousness diary, but rather uses it to work out some part of their life. With Loose Lips Sink Ships, Sarah May decided that, growing up with Christian guilt around “lust” and the desire to kiss some of the boys at her school, it was time to clear that guilt by creating a list of all the guys she kissed. This is dangerous territory for a zine that may not just be handed over to the author’s best friends. This subject matter can easily enter into too-much-information territory in a way that is self-indulgent rather than useful or informative. However, Sarah May’s analysis of each event is not about bragging rights (though she does have an impressive 69 entries, a number I feel must have been chosen on purpose), instead it’s full of love, longing, fun, mourning and a touch of regret.

The entries start out with details of what it’s like to be a teenager, when “it feels as though every moment matters the most and sometimes they actually do” and move on to stories of barroom, bathroom and parking lot passion as the years add up and settings change. Each moment carries weight, from the first kisses with a boy she climbed out the window with — “Lost tongues, lips and teeth made it nothing like the movies and everything like being sixteen and scared of the possibilities” — to guys like Dan who was more of an obligation than a passion, and men with lots of drunken stories and gusto but none of the follow through. Sarah May almost always makes the first move, and this is what she is trying to come to terms with against the will of her Christian guilt.

Those of us who are long past high school, college or dating and don’t have the will (or desire) to remember any of it may not have any use for this little zine. But, even though my dating and drinking years all ended at the age of 18 — and I know nothing of Sarah May’s “recipe of bar, whiskey and boys” — I enjoyed this zine in part because the librarian in me appreciates it as an organized archive of this aspect of her life and the writer in me envies her insight into each encounter. (Lindsay Gibb)

Perzine, Sarah May,, $2 (includes postage)

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