i s s u e THE LOVE ISSUE
cover image by donny barth below illustration and image by joel schreyer
A LETTER FROM FROOT â€” Issue 02 was devised from thoughts of doubt and fear. Pain that ruled my past surfaced as I delved deeper and deeper into the true meaning of love. So much so that I lost myself in the process. My perception of love and the convoluted projection that something of such beauty could be so vile. My view of love was tainted with the idea that it no longer exists, that how could something so precious thrive in a world that is saturated with hatred and grief? What do you do when your motivation to wake up each morning is replaced with the thought of the inevitable fear of having your heart broken? As Kylie and I cultivated this issue, these questions still loomed in my mind. After seeing this all come together and visually experiencing the various portrayals of love showcased in this issue, after gutting my insides of the toxins that once ran through my veins, I have clarity. Issue 02 is not the typical "When Harry Met Sally." It showcases the neuroses that come with modern love such as: intimacy, vulnerability, fear and anxiety.
J + K
Donny Barth’s work so brilliantly captures love — love of self, love of another, love of a moment, finding love and beyond. The Florida-based film photographer recently released a limited edition book called HOMESICK,
a visual testament of South Florida Love/Hate. This issue’s cover and the following six images were shot by Donny, some of which were featured in HOMESICK. Keep up with his work by following @donnybarf.
words by jeremiah corley
I KNOW THIS FEELING ALL TOO WELL. IT’S SO FA M I L I A R T H AT I C AT C H MYSELF EXPERIENCING IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN E V E N A F T E R Y E A R S H AV E PA S S E D . I F E E L I T I N M Y CORE, IN THE DEPTHS OF SPINE. WATCHING THE PERSON WHO IS SUPPOSED TO HOLD YOU, LOVE YOU AND BUILD Y O U , FA D E AWA Y A N D LEAVE YOU ALONE FOR DEAD. THIS IDEA THAT I T ’ S A L L Y O U R FA U LT A N D T H AT M O M M Y C A N ’ T HANDLE IT BECAUSE IT’S ALL TOO MUCH FOR MOMMY. MOMMY NEEDS TO REST SWEETIE. THE W O R L D FA L L S O N Y O U R SHOULDERS AND YOU M O V E F O R WA R D W I T H A W E I G H T T H AT F O R C E S YOU TO HIDE YOUR TEARS. IT’S A WEIGHT T H AT I ’ V E C A R R I E D M Y ENTIRE LIFE. IT HAS C ATA LY Z E D T H I S PAT T E R N
OF S T R AT E G I C A L LY HOLDING IT ALL IN B E C A U S E T H AT ’ S A L L YOU ALLOW YOURSELF T O D O . M A N I P U L AT I O N BECOMES ENGRAVED ON YOUR FOREHEAD. PEOPLE CAN SMELL THE VULNERABILITY AND INSECURITY EMITTING OFF OF YOU. THEY CAN SEE T H E E M PAT H Y P U M P I N G W I T H I N Y O U . Y O U H AV E NO CONTROL AND YOU A L L O W T H E M I N , O N LY TO BE BURNED, SCARRED AND LEFT ALONE ONCE T H E I R E N E R G Y S U P P LY O F J U S T I F I C AT I O N I S RESTORED. IT’S SUCH A TOXIC MENTALITY AND ABUSIVE THOUGHT PROCESS, BUT WHEN IT HAPPENS SO YOUNG IT S I T S P E R F E C T LY I N Y O U R MIND FOREVER, UNABLE TO SHIFT OR CHANGE IN A N Y WAY B E C A U S E T H I S THOUGHT PROCESS IS ALL YOU’VE KNOWN.
Conditional Love: a Duffle of Trolls — K AT H L E E N C U N N I N G H A M I S A B R O O K LY N BASED ART DIRECTOR AND DESIGNER WHO R E C E N T LY L A U N C H E D L O S S L E T T E R S — A W E E K LY E - M A I L S E R I E S A B O U T G R I E F , C O M M U N I T Y A N D WAY - F I N D I N G . T O R E C E I V E T H E I N C R E D I B L E S T O R I E S , S U B S C R I B E AT WWW.LOSSLETTERS.COM
words by kathleen cunningham illustration by celeste burns
After Dad and then Mom died, I knew there would be a lot to take care of. Each time my sister, C, and I met at our childhood home — now just a husk of a house — I felt overwhelmed. The house was threatening to turn to an avalanche of belongings. Cleaning out a house, even a small house, that has been Lived In for 33 years is an enormous emotional and physical chore. The assault of memories: painful, funny, loving, or those that are not my own, is exhausting. It is the enormity of this task that exhumes the past so solidly the only option is to face it and keep facing it. Greeting the trolls of my personal history and being gentle as I can. As a little girl I had a collection of troll dolls. Trolls, if you don’t recall are little magical creatures who resemble humans in some twisted curious way. Trolls most notably have neon-colored hair that sticks up and is made of some exceedingly flammable polyester material and a matching plastic jewel in place of a navel (proof that these are un-wombed demons). As a kid, I was a collector of Things. I had quarter-sized wooden turtles, translucent plastic tiny figurines affectionately called "glass animals," hard-plastic jungle animals, small shiny porcelain dogs glued to a square white card that told their breed and price, spongey foam dinosaurs that came from capsules soaked in a sink-full of warm water. Each collection had a home: cigar boxes Dad brought home, old metal coin banks, cookie tins recycled, red cage-like shoe-bins. The troll dolls were housed in an American Gladiators navy blue duffle bag. The duffle was stashed under the foot of the bed against the wall — out of sight, but within reach. The curious thing about the Trolls was not that I collected them, but that a part of me was terrified and disgusted by them and tried desperately to prove my love to them.
The origin of trolls goes back to Norse Mythology. The tales of a grotesque human-like creatures living in small family systems, pairs of father/daughter, mother/son dwelling in caves or isolated mountains. In Anthony Faulkes’ translation of Icelandic Old Norse literature, a troll woman describes her desire to taunt and hound humans in her role as guardian of the corpse-fiord. A mythological being whose job it is to steal from humans, protect graves, and eat the sun — the source of life for all humans. What an unfriendly being to invite into one’s home and devote oneself to caring for. Perhaps that is why I kept mine. I tended toward toys or stuffedanimals that looked desperate, lonely or unlovable. I wanted to house and protect the ones that were unlikely to be picked by any other child. The orphans. Trolls were a special kind of orphan. They were not cuddly and therefore could not return my favor by keeping me cozy in bed. Nor were they cute, to offer me a sweet look from a shelf watching over. They were also immovable – each troll had the exact same body posture: arms outstretched by its sides, gnarly feet planted wide, face staring dead-eyed directly ahead with ears like little knives east and west. Somewhere deep inside I feared that if I upset the troll dolls, they would seek revenge. They would use their evil magic powers to destroy me in my sleep or put curses on me to ruin my days. I entered into a mystical contract. I would keep them safe and loved and they would spare me the spells and evils they were clearly capable of unleashing. Simple enough. C and I spent an entire day sorting through one tightly packed closet connecting our kid-sized bedroom to the den. This closet held one half of a college correspondence between our mother and her’s. It had every board game used and unused stacked to crush the Milton-Bradley cardboard. Childhood collections, and fancy wedding silverware, and someone’s high school diploma, alongside a doll bed mysteriously stained, and a Rubbermaid of Department 56 houses. When we were exhausted and hungry enough to see stars in our field of vision, we got ready to leave. That’s when we saw high up on a shelf that connected the den closet to our childhood bedroom a small navy duffle bag.
"It’s the Troll Bag..." C said. "Oh my god, it’s the Troll Bag. No...maybe it’s not." I didn’t want the disappointment if we were wrong. We got a step ladder out and pulled the canvas strap down along with two decades of dust. I unzipped the bag and there was a cotton candy explosion of neon hair. Trolls wearing wedding dresses, trolls in pumpkin costumes, trolls in Hawaiian shorts, trolls in pajamas, naked troll ass cracks, sparkling teal triangles and hot pink hearts and orange circles glimmered from inside. It was the Troll Bag. A duffle of conditional love staring up at me, not resentful in the least that I’d abandoned them for years and years. Instead they smiled their creepy open mouths. C and I lined them up on the floor, examining and remembering. Laughing at how ugly and frightening these guys are. We took some pictures as a keepsake and boxed them with the rest of the donation toys: glass animals, stuffed guys, cotton puff yellow baby chicks, googley eyes for crafting... On the drive back to New York I thought about the troll dolls and the contract that existed so solidly in my imagination: I’ll keep you safe if you keep me safe. I wondered what objects I house now that I have the same imagined contract with. A box of love letters from a long-ago ex: I’ll keep you safe in envelops tucked away and in turn you keep my current relationship safe from the fate of that old one. A wooden daughter figure my mother gave me for Christmas before she was sick: it doesn’t go with anything in our home, but I’ll tuck you in this bookcase to protect the sentiment Mom told me as I was opening her — I’ll keep her love alive. It’s clear that objects hold power, it’s not always clear what to do with that power or that object. C and I have been sorting through that feeling over and over in a houseful of things and of Things. We are learning slowly how to untangle these object-contracts into new agreements we can live freely with, but also filling a room — our old childhood bedroom — full of Keepers.
On Love and Intimacy Ââ€”
photography by jeremiah corley
Love and intimacy have become disregarded and devalued, so much so that we have become accustomed to fleeting, mechanical moments of intimacy in order to satisfy our id cravings. Only to find ourselves left isolated and infatuated with
delusional concepts of love. Dating has evolved and transformed itself into a commodity with the mentality that thereâ€™s always something better out there. That if we settle down, we may miss our chance at something greater and more satisfying.
special thank yous to our generous models
7 Ways To Fall In Love Despite Staggering Despair And Looming Clouds Of Fury words and illustration by zoĂŤ sessums
— ZOË SESSUMS IS A WRITER, ARTIST AND ALL-AROUND COOL GIRL LIVING AND WORKING IN GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA. FIND HER WORK, FOLLOW HER BLOG AND SEE WHICH GIVEAWAYS S H E W O N T H I S W E E K AT WWW.ZOESESSUMS.COM
1. FIND SOMEONE YOU S E E D A I LY in your commute to work or session at the gym or evening walk with your dog (or all scenarios, for increased lovability.) Start to change little things about yourself so they will notice. Wear that plumping lip gloss. Carry large, eye-catching coffee table books that could prompt discussion. Sneeze suddenly and explosively every time you pass this someone. Reroute your entire schedule so you might have a few moments a day to be near them. Daydream, night dream, plan future conversations and activities to do together. Repeat actions and intensify gaze until fruition.
2. GO TO AN ANIMAL S H E LT E R and surround yourself with kittens. Let them mew in both your ears. Let their tiny claws scratch your skin (blood can be drawn or not). Nuzzle the belly of at least five. Brainstorm ways you could bring them all home. You should probably get a set of brothers and/or sisters. Start naming them based on their color, fur patterns, meows, or with names you have always had enthusiasm for (Ex. Grey, Big Brown Spot On Face, Squeakers, Sebastian). When you finally pick one or two or three, contain the feeling of a tear in your heart, fill out the paperwork and bring your babies home. Discover emotions deep and dusty inside your heart and let them dictate the remainder of your life. (Note: kittens can be substituted with puppies, bunnies or lemurs.)
3. VISIT A LIBRARY OR B O O K S T O R E (or bookshelf). Pick out a really good book (youâ€™ll know within minutes or pages). Get so excited you want to do nothing else but read. Take your book everywhere you go. Squeeze your book tightly to your chest. Smile, laugh and cry your way through the pages. Feel it all as if the characters are real. Let your life be forever changed and imprinted with those words.
4. SEEK OUT A CAFE at the intersection of two streets (specifically one with many windows and plenty of natural light). Breathe in deeply, as the scent of fresh croissants and ground coffee beans will make you glow. Try something different each time you visit. Smile and make direct eye contact with as many patrons, baristas, babies and bakers as you can. Flirt with as much butter, sugar, cream and chocolate as you want. Feel your softness and happiness grow.
5 . M O VE TO AN I S L AND for a short period of time. Bicycle to the same beach every afternoon (3 p.m. is best). Prop your rusty, old bike against the sea wall (you won’t need a lock) and take the wooden stairs down to the sand. Find a spot near the jetty to put your towel and dry clothes. Even if there are a lot of shells and rocks and thick clumps of seaweed in the shallowest part of the water, don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. Hurry up and get in, the water will feel great almost instantly. It’s cold and invigorating, but it is also life-changing. You can laugh into the sea, you can cry into the sea, you can even pee into it. There’s a warm spot at the end of the jetty that will make your heart ache, but it will also keep you going. You’ll never forget this and you’ll hardly be able to explain it.
6. SEE SNOW FOR THE F I R S T T I M E . When it really starts coming down, run out into it and open your mouth. Spin beneath the falling flakes. Study the moment so hard you’ll be able to see it from memory — precisely — in 10 years.
7. LOOK INTO A MIRROR. Smile. Frown. Stick out your tongue. Trace the bumps and lines with appreciation and wonder. Wiggle your eyebrows up and down. Laugh. Puff out your cheeks and then pop them with your palms. You are so good-looking. You are in love.
you can also find peepholes into zoë’s world on social media @zoesessums
â€” W E F O U N D T H AT W E L O V E S O M E T H I N G S
"Lovefool" by The Cardigans listening to "Cosoco" by Juana Molina (on repeat) "Failed It!: How to Turn Mistakes Into Ideas and Other Advise for Successfully Screwing Up" by Erik Kessels
Who does have a love life anymore? These days people have sex lives, not love lives. Lots of them are even giving up on sex. I don’t have a love life because I’ve never met a man who knew how to have a love life. Maybe I don’t know how, either.
— Princess Leigh-Cheri in "Still Life With Woodpecker" by Tom Robbins "Moonlight" Directed by Barry Jenkins
F I N D U S O N I N S TA G R A M —
@frootmagazine ALL THE THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS —
@donnybarf @jeremiahtcorley @joel_tin @kiddocunningham @zoesessums @ill_lest_ration
L O O K O U T F O R I S S U E 0 3 - H E AT WAV E EMAIL FOR SUBMISSIONS: FROOTMAGAZINE@GMAIL.COM
Issue 02 of froot Magazine.