October 2, 2013

Zine: Shabby Doll House 'The Fall Edition'

Spiral into Fall with writing that'll keep you guessing.

Oftentimes, days go by at the same pace. Finding a routine can be relaxing, but sometimes it can be a total bore, and it's the unexpected that swoops in to keep each day worth experiencing (admittedly, amongst other things). This can come in many forms: meeting someone extraordinary, trying something unthought of, or even reading something that makes your stomach lurch. Scrolling through the pages of Shabby Doll House's Fall issue, it is the unexpected, the spontaneous, the erratic, that keeps this zine churning forward. Just when you think you've nailed down the opening of another piece of poetry or prose, the author wedges in a twist so far out of left field yet so fluid, you often wonder how you didn't anticipate something sooner. But you're just fine with it.

Shabby Doll House has a longstanding relationship with the Internet and producing zines that really yank at the veins of your heart. Brainchild of LK Shaw and Sarah Jean Alexander, SDH became a quarterly publication this year, with editions in March, June, September and December. Oftentimes, the prose and poetry is accompanied by art of all mediums, even embroidery (seriously, it's great), that work to bring the associated prose to life. We've covered Shabby Doll House before, and it might be easy to wonder how Shaw and Alexander differentiate between issues when there isn't technically a theme. But is any fall, summer, or spring like the last? Maybe you've said yes (are you still in school?), but with SDH, the answer is certainly no.  

The short piece "Witch" begins in an offbeat way (stay with me, here); the kind that makes you squirm and you aren't sure why. The discussion of weight insecurity seems normal enough until you're winding quickly, quickly through Claire Pacquet's (is it nonfiction? do we need to know?) mind, and before you know it, it's revealed the narrator has grappled with suicide. Where did that come from? You aren't sure, but what's simple to see is how content you are with the direction the piece moves in. Or the poem "winter morning (in bed)," which begins with the line "in the bathroom taking a shit." Somehow I can't imagine Emily Dickinson starting any of her poetry this way and that's fine, it's great even, because this isn't Emily Dickinson and we're reminded right from the beginning as our eyeballs bug from our heads at the audacity, the shock of honesty in the admittance of this everyday occurrence. From the moment you begin reading Fall and you spiral quickly into something you can sense is out of the ordinary but you aren't entirely sure why, you're on your toes. The excitement of reading--something many would argue is nonexistent--is instantly injected into your veins, except this is the good kind. The kind that won't kill you. 

Read the full Fall issue of Shabby Doll House here.

Written by Molly Morris