a zine project
combatingÂ censorship a zine project Creator/editor
evelyn barger timothy tolbert zachary wasczcak suzie lockhart
about The first issue of this zine was the product of an applied ethics project for the GWU Graduate Publishing Program. It's purpose was advocacy in regards to "Making the Place Better" within the publishing industry and it focused on combating publishing censorship. Issue two is no longer affiliated with GWU; it simply exists as a platform for writers to share their creativity. The current theme, again, focuses on censorship, but this time, on the societal effect that follows withholding control over any aspect integral for human expression.
Layout and Design by Jacqueline Kunkel
note from the editor I was inspired by a prompt in the same vein as the themes found in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:
"Write a short story or poem in which a totalitarian government has enforced a ban on some aspect or invention of society that has long been considered integral for human expression. How does the government justify its stance and exercise control? Are the people both victims of suppression and somehow complicit in its enforcement? What type of characters might reside in the liminal gray area between hero and villain?" This issue of the zine exists simply to pick the brains of writers I've worked with, and see what darkness comes to light.
All of these works are wonderfully dystopian - I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
- J. Kunkel, Editor/Creator
the last cobbler Evelyn Barger Dedicated to Ray Bradbury. Father of Sharp Tongues. Master of Wit. Give em’ Hell in Heaven. May you never hold that sharp tongue of yours or humble your astute mind. Your loyal students, disciples, and followers are safeguarding the precious, fragile pages that Firemen would look to douse in kerosene. Be proud of our valiant struggle, it has not been an easy war. The book-burners, which Beatty once mentioned to us, are now the majority. I fear our struggle against censorship is a losing battle. Even so, we remember your words: “I will not go gently onto a shelf, degutted, to become a non-book”. *
“My dearest Clarisse,
If you are reading this, then I am most certainly dead. They have killed my body but not my soul. I live on in the letters that I formed into words, the words that I strung together to form sentences, the sentences I structured into paragraphs, and the paragraphs I configured into books. Although you can no longer love my body, continue to love my thoughts. They are the sum of me. I may have loved you with my body, but I loved you immeasurably with my thoughts.
It is only now when I realize I may not live long enough to see you again that I yearn to hear your voice at least once. My deafness never bothered me. I was born into a quiet world, and I found solace in silence. I never desired sound as a means to form connections. Our connection, Clarisse, is one that I know to be strong and fathomless. I’ve gotten to know you, understand you, experience you, and love you through every way I know imaginable. And although I don’t need to hear your voice to complete our human connection, I desire it nonetheless.
As I sit in this lonely room and wait to learn the verdict of my life, I ponder how I got here.
* Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Del Rey Books, 1979. Print.
It occurs to me that the Silencers only allowed me to wield my pen for this long because I hid amongst the heavily safeguarded “invalids” that society deems a precious charity case. How would it have looked to the public if the Silencers had sought and snuffed me out? Quiet the quiet. Hush the hushed. Silence the silent. No, that would have made a martyr out of me.
I was a precious pet and a coveted commodity to the elite socialites of the political arena. It gave me front row seats to witness the vile truth through the fragile veneer we paint our world in. I am ashamed, Clarisse, to say that I once subscribed to the neoteric world-views that I soon discovered to be no more than a means to censor our way of words, life, and art. I believed our leaders of today were on a path of righteous reform and innovative inclusivity. But I was woefully wrong, sweet Clarisse. It wasn’t a progressive path the world was set upon, but a path that led us to dire dependency. Hand holding. Captive coddling. We surmised ourselves safe. Words were blunted. Beliefs were dulled. Art bled of color. We thought we had created a world where our children could be safe from distinction. Make it all the same, nothing different. No obstacles to overcome. No trade needing mastered. Just Jacks of all trades.
Because there’s no need to try. The world is simply handed to us on a silver platter. And we forgot how to live and survive through our own hands. Through our own blood. Through our own sweat. Through our own tears. The world, as we know it, can no longer live by the strength of their own hands because their thick calluses have been exfoliated. The world was once a prickly playground, Clarisse. It consisted of bullies and crybabies, observers and commentators.
It was a jungle out there, waiting to chew you up and spit you out. But not before you got to drink from the free flowing rush of the rivers. Not before you got to taste the ripe fruit of the tree of Life and Knowledge. Not before you got to lie in soft blades of grass and bathe and lather in sunlight.
Inevitably, Clarisse, the old world maimed and scarred each and every one of us. But that scar tissue soon wound itself around taught muscles. Hardened, wise, and sure-footed we learned to navigate the world with skill and in style. But now, society has forgotten the sensation of pain, and with it our calluses faded. No longer can we grip life without the skin on our hands burning, flesh stripped, and bone ground.
Censorship, my Clarisse, can be exquisitely illustrated by Chogyam Trungpa when he said, ‘It’s easier to put on a pair of shoes than to wrap the earth in leather.’* We’ve forgotten the trade of shoemaking. Cobblers are now a dying breed. We wrap this new world in leather as a way to keep everyone and everything safe. What a waste of energy and resources when we could be resilient craftsmen. Now, anything infused with bright colors, vibrating with loud sound, and beautifully sharpened is layered with thick, grey, ugly leather.
A life censored is a life not worth living… and that’s why I suspect I won’t live for much longer. Whatever the Silencers subject me to, whether it be character assassination or physical dismemberment or both at the same time, Clarisse, remember me as I once was. Whole and heroic. My pen was my sword and my essays were my victorious battles. I fought a good fight, but my noble campaign has come to an end. A normal man in love would encourage you to run, hide, and forget the cause that tore us a part. But I cannot urge you to give up. Pick up my pen, Clarisse.
I love you always,
*Good Reads. Good Reads, Inc., 2019. Web. 29 Jan. 2019. www.goodreads.com/quotes/34282-it-s-easier-to-put-on-a-pair-of-shoes-than
About Evelyn Growing up both homeschooled and a military brat, becoming a social butterfly proved difficult for Evelyn Barger. At 11 years old, she found companionship out of the fictional characters she wrote in her stories. Now 23 years old, Evelyn hopes to one day publish her fictional series and see others find friendship in her characters as she did.
maestro Tim Tolbert What kind of love songs Can I (de)compose Orchestrations of marrow A somber string quartet
What kinds of paintings Can be splattered Up to dry Oil eyes smeared, staringâ€” Accusatory but My secret superstar
What kinds of plays Performed in a theatre bedroom Fixtures Your every pore Your every bowel A ghostlight Haunting after the show
What kinds of books can be written With a happy ending Written on you?
About Tim Tim Tolbert is a writer and actor, staying sane through the arts. Based out of Pittsburgh, he is finishing his BA in English Literature from The Pennsylvania State University. His poetry can be found in ABSENCE Literary & Visual Art Review Magazine and more recently, Junto Magazine. If you meet Mr. Tolbert, ask him on a date, for he often has no plans.
food freedom Zachary Waszczak Times were lean after the Second Climate Shift. The new weather patterns dried up rice, rotted corn, swamped wheat, and frosted apples. It took some time, but once the starvation deaths started hitting the hierarchy of the World Government, bureaucracy snapped into action. Top scientists and engineers deployed bleeding edge technology in every corner of the world. Clouds were seeded in Africa, oceans were cooled in the arctic, water tables were raised and lowered in the bread basket, and plant genes were adjusted worldwide. Everyone dreamed of the day our bellies would be full again.
But it was too much. An over-correction.
The adjustments changed too much too fast. The few tricks that we developed during the First Shift were no longer applicable and the hunger got worse. The death toll climbed by the day and people grew desperate.
Enter: Cheryl Galae, a “logistic analyst” and supply chain manager. As the world crumbled around her, she crunched numbers. She was calculating precisely how much food there was in her local county. What she found surprised her and the city board. There was more than enough food in the area. Between the normal stores and an estimated amount of foraging, the remaining citizens of the county could eat well for months, until the next set of rations came in from the World Government.
The real reason people were starving was because of the management of food, not the amount. Everyone was in charge of their own supply of food and they were not utilizing it efficiently. The cooking methods were leaving scraps or putting too many calories into one meal. Every meal needed to be prepared efficiently, leaving no waste of edible material, and providing the exact amount of nutrition necessary. For Galae's plan to work, everyone would have to turn over their food stores to a central body for processing.
In that county hall was the exact moment that cooking censorship began. As is common with the first act of censorship, the masses applauded it. Everyone in the county handed over their foodstuffs. It was a small and agreeable population. The perfect place for the first seeds of censorship to be sown. The plan was solid, the math worked, and the chore of cooking was gone. How could this be a bad choice?
To their credit, the plan worked. The meals were plain, crude porridge and thin stews mostly. But it was effective as promised. This operation, which was quickly deemed the Galae Meal Plan, spread like wild fire. It was not long before the World Government took notice and began to implement the GMP on a massive scale.
The World Government supplied more efficient processing methods and a sturdier supply chain. Food was sent to extensive cooking factories where nutrients were extracted and compressed into bars that the World Government deemed “cakes”. Supply was further increased by the passage of the World Hunger Act. The possession of food outside of the sanctioned cakes was outlawed. Being caught with illegal food carried a sentence of mandatory work at the cooking factories.
As the World Hunger Act became codified and applied to a larger population, dissenters cropped up. Some survivalists had stocked up enough food to last them years and now they were being forced to hand it all over. Chefs also began to speak out. Cooking was their livelihood and it was stripped from them almost overnight. It was not realized at the time, but these were the first people to speak out for Food Freedom. Humans had a right to consume the food they wanted to consume and to prepare it as they saw fit.
Their outraged cries fell on deaf ears. The World Government had a massive campaign of ads explaining why the World Hunger Act was the best move for humanity. It was pure propaganda showing starving children as vultures circled, parent's starving themselves so their children could eat, and a gaunt elderly person chewing a handful of grass. The power of those images was decisive. The mob ruled that the loss of cooking was a fair trade for the loss of hunger. Dissenters be damned.
Those that believed the World Hunger Act would be a temporary measure were the most delusional. They truly believed that once the crisis was over, the World Government would repeal the act and let everything return to the way it was. Of course that didn't happen. The hungry times are a distant memory to most people now, but the World Government still whispers about it like a boogeyman to children. Any attempt to resurrect the art of cooking is shouted down instantly with a slew of reasons.
“We've invested too much in the infrastructure.”
“Would you undue all of humanity's progress?”
“You want children to starve so you can practice an “art”?”
“Can't you see it’s for the Greater Good?”
How do you fight that? Youâ€™d sound like a raving lunatic asking to have art when all people want is safety. Safety in exchange for freedom. Food in exchange for nutrients. Censorship didn't arrive as an enemy; it came as a savior. We welcomed it with open arms and failed to realize what we were sacrificing until it was too late. Some never even realized what was lost. The oldest human art was forgotten in our most desperate moment. Citrus chicken, grilled steak, steamed vegetables, and fresh rice are no longer flavors to taste but words to be read in a history book.Â
About Zachary Zachary Waszczak is an author when peer pressured by friends. If you enjoyed this piece you cannot find more online because they do not exist yet.
the chains of silence Suzie lockhart Your presence constantly lingers near, penetrating my thoughts perpetuating fearâ€” Reminding me, remain silent protect the painted veneer; A facade you have created carefully constructed to conceal the malevolent darkness but, I see it in your eyes. Perversion is your demise. Soon all will know Who you truly are Because I will be silenced NO. MORE. No other will experience Your depravity Your delirium Finding courage, I become An unseen warrior. Publicly now exposed For all the world to see. The chains become yours I finally fly free...
about suzie Suzie Lockhart began writing chilling tales several years ago. She often works with her son, Bruce, and together their efforts have yielded over 50 short story publications and several poems, in dozens of paperbacks and eZines. The pair have also edited eight anthologies, including four top ten Preditors & Editors™ Readers' Poll Awards. She is thrilled to have her story, Mastery, in the highly anticipated ‘Ghost On Drugs’ anthology, slated for release later this year. https://ghostondrugs.com/
thanks & acknowledgements I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the following individuals for their generous support. Without them, the creation of "Combating Censorship: A Zine Project" would not be possible:
to the contributors: without them, this project would not have been possible to the social media writing communities that harbor so much love and creativity, and help bring writers together to zach, for always being there to create order out of chaos
About the Creator Jacqueline Kunkel is a writer and editor based in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She holds a Master’s degree in Publishing from the George Washington University. She is the co-founder of travel blog, Postcard Press, and horror community, Real Horrorshow. She is also the creator and editor of the zine, Combating Censorship. She is a writer of poetry and fiction under the pseudonym, Stormy Skies.
Zines are a different kind of publication, where anything can be written, photographed, or created without anxiety that it will not get pub...
Published on Feb 25, 2019
Zines are a different kind of publication, where anything can be written, photographed, or created without anxiety that it will not get pub...