Travel zine, Heather Joan Tam, 19 pg, sheatherjoantam.com
For Heather Joan Tam’s honeymoon (or perhaps, that of her protagonist, if this is fiction), she travelled to England where her new in-laws live, since they were unable to make their son’s wedding. I expected the zine to be more personal, given the nature of the trip, and the fact that travel stories do tend to focus on the person telling it. Honeymoon is anything but personal.
In every moment or place, Tam makes herself the most insignificant factor in the space. While washing dishes at her new in-law’s home, you might think she’d mention her thoughts about getting married, or the personal ramifications of having your in-laws along for your honeymoon. Instead, she talks about the tap’s water pressure, and then for three pages describes the history of flood management structures in the area. She continually makes herself smaller in the zine’s pages to make room for the weight of history and infrastructure.
This type of writing is a welcome aberration from the highly personal, perhaps self-indulgent projects that make up a good slice of zine culture. Maybe Tam is onto something. Maybe when we are washing dishes, visiting caves, or embarking on life-changing unions, we as individuals are still not the most significant aspect of everything we are experiencing.
The next time you take a bath, think about where the water comes from, where it goes, where your towel was made, who lived in that house before you and who walked through that area before a house was there. Then think about the last stupid argument you had or the last piece of gossip you passed along. If you do, you might have the same experience astronauts have when looking down on Earth and maybe, just maybe you will be able to tap into the mindful perspective that Tam has cultivated in this zine.
Read another review of Honeymoon.