Reckless Chants #18
by Jessie Lynn, fall 2012
64 pg. at half-letter size
$3-5 sliding scale from the author
I’m pretty excited, guys. I spend a lot of time diligently creeping the “zine” tag here on Tumblr, and clicking through people’s links, “can I be friends with your cool friends too?”. Anyways, it’s gotten that I am now finding out about lots of great zines through Tumblr, justifying all the looking and the clicking. One zine I am delighted to have discovered through Tumblr is Jessie Lynn’s Reckless Chants.
Five copies of this just came in the mail this week, one for me and four for my zine rack. I’m excited to share this chunky, text-heavy (my favourite) zine, full of heartfelt stories of love and hard times and punk rock.
The zine opens with a piece on Jessie Lynn’s stick and pokes, and the people who gave them to her. I love giving and receiving stick and pokes, and agree wholeheartedly that they are a fine way to make visible the ties that bind, or bound, even for a minute:
“Everyone I’ve known has changed me; all the friends I’ve shared pots of coffee with and the lovers I’ve shared beds with have left marks on my soul. Is it corny to say that? Yeah, but it’s true, so fuck it. When it comes to lovers, friends, lover-friends wanting to tattoo or brand me, I thought “Why not? They’re gonna leave a mark anyway, and this way I’ll have something tangible to point to, to say - ‘This is how they’ve changed me, this is where they’ve touched me”.
With the leaves coming down and the wind blowing up, and times being a little hard, generally, I was absolutely in the mood to read something sincere and full of feeling.
Full of scrappy writing about being tuff and witchy and finding beauty in grimy places, this zine reminded me of the Francesca Lia Block books I loved as a kid. I mean that as praise, one hundred percent, and I hope it is taken as such. It takes fortitude to be this earnest.
If there’s a form that defines this zine, it would seem to be love letters to places and things and lovers and friends and the ones who span those categories:
“There were funny stories exchanged, too, stories that made us high-five each other and say ‘sweet, bro’ (Like all the best love affairs, we were closer than lovers; we were as close as brothers)”
Jessie Lynn’s writing is candid and earnest and evocative. That makes it hard, when she writes about things like rape, drinking hard, STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Reckless Chants can be rough going, with all those feelings, a little heartbreaking— but ultimately, in a good, uplifting way, like the punk anthems Jessie Lynn writes about.
Reading Reckless Chants, I found myself wishing I could send a copy to my teen or pre-teen self, when I was lonesome and bitter and pining intently for a sign or signal of some kind or any bit of magic the world could throw my way. I would have loved this zine as a kid, and as it stands, I love it now as an adult.
- Lily Pepper