‘Pep Talks for Broke(n) People’ highlights how zines are a form of self-care


Pep Talks for Broke(n) People
Comix Poetry Zine, Caits Meissner, 80 pgs, caitsmeissner.com, $10

While awareness of the needs surrounding mental health and wellness has expanded, the requisite care services have not. Developing our own ways of coping is often one of our few options.

Cait Meissner offers the broken masses her own tool of survival and beauty in the face of difficulty, explaining simply that, “here’s the truth: I made this zine because I was feeling depressed.” The ensuing 80 pages are teeming with poetry and illustrations that deliver on the cover’s assertion of comix and poetry. Fans of Meissner’s art style may appreciate the stylistic nods to comix heavy- weights such as Aline Kominsky-Crumb and Diane Noomin.

Pep Talks includes six of Meissner’s previously published works. A personal favourite is “So, am I a Writer Yet?”, originally published in Cobblestone Creative and showing an earlier stylistic edginess. In this section, Meissner explores the tendency of creatives to link their feelings about their work to the approval of others. She states: “maybe you, like me, then learned somewhere along the line that your art could also make you feel good when someone else enjoyed it. And the value attached to your creativity increased.” Meissner urges that there are many ways to be a writer, that creativity is endless, and that motivation for writing comes from within.

Meissner uses various media for her illustrations with very clean handwritten text. Typed pages use a typewriter font and, considering she has “only been making [comix] for more than 20 years,” I would hazard a guess that they were composed on an actual typewriter.

Meissner explores the possibilities of zines as a form of self-care. The poetry is soothing, ranging from joyful to shyly introspective. If your heart is heavy, take some time to read this zine.