July 23, 2014

Zine: An Introduction to Eating Your Heart Out

Laura Chow Reeve brings the magic back into our lives.

Have you heard of Fun-A-Day yet? If not, get into it! Fun-A-Day starts on January 1st of every year in which you pick a project (write a song, draw a comic, take a picture) and do it every day in January. Some cities host art shows at the end of the month to showcase work, and then some people like Laura Chow Reeve create a zine out of it.

An Introduction to Eating Your Heart Out: 31 Stories in 31 Days contains 31 stories of 310 words or less that Laura wrote this past January. Her stories, often within the magical realism genre, contain unusual elements in an otherwise mundane and realistic world.

The title piece of the zine is a how-to on eating your own heart. While this is something we could never (or shouldn't) literally do, I think it's something we've all done somewhere inside of ourselves, in the depths of our own desires and pain:

What most people don’t know is that you don’t have to eat your heart out right away; you can wait a few weeks before it becomes absolutely necessary, before the tissue and muscle start rotting inside your chest. It is recorded that one man out in California waited two whole months before devouring his heart in one bite because he could not stand it any longer. That, let me assure you, was showy on his part. You don’t have to eat it in one piece. You can start slowly; you can eat one ventricle at a time.

The stories also include people who can talk to ghosts, a man who raises octopuses and teaches them to sing, a couple that exists only on the page of a story being written, people with insides made of salt, and the end of the world. My favorite story might be Day 13: Glass Jars, in which a mother hides her memories in jars and under couch cushions. When I think about my own memories, I divide them into three categories: the good ones, the bad ones and the ones I've yet to remember. Haven't we all wished we could hide or lose a bad memory, or even a good one that's soured? Laura brings these kinds of dreams to life.

I’m in love with the girl who lives in my stomach. I send her messages by eating alphabet soup. I spend hours sorting out the letters to say, “HELLO HOW IS YOUR DAY GOING I’M SORRY ABOUT ALL THE INDIGESTION.” There is no punctuation and every letter is capitalized. Sometimes I wonder if she thinks I’m always yelling.

I’ve written complaint letters to Campbell’s and apparently I’m not the only person out there requesting question marks and commas: 
Dear Ms. Johnson, their letters read. Please see a therapist. It is not normal to fall in love with the people in our stomachs.

In between all the enchantment there are some very real, glaring truths, which is what I love so much about these stories. Aside from being engaging and beautiful, Laura's writing cracks open new worlds that shed light on the human experience. She takes average moments and creates haunting stories that stick. Sometimes, maybe, an escape from reality is just what we need. 

See more work by the artist here

For your own copy of Introduction to Eating Your Heart Out please send an email to the artist.

Written by Cynthia Schemmer