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Issue 1 October 2019

ISSUE 1 — Home Editor-in-Chief Matt Comeau


Submissions/Editing Lily Roth Layout Design Clara Xi Art Diana Tran, Nevedha Ravi Marketing Diya Dadlani, Sherry Wu Treasurer Irsah Choudhury Secretary Jasmeet Chahal

FEATURED CONTRIBUTORS Anonymous Absalom Abalone Cassie Lim Corbin Hawkins JVCPhoto

Cover art Grace Benjaminsen

@watiszine |


LETTER from the EDITOR: In your hands, on your phone, or sitting on your screen right now is the first issue of WAT is Zine?. I wanted to bring a medium to Waterloo that served as an outlet for the artistic and creative things that our community has to offer. Zines are such a unique way to do that. They’re low budget, creative, DIY in nature, and completely unprofessional—as they should be. Unlike so many things at UW, this isn’t meant to wear a nice suit and look good. This is a space to bring attention to what you’re passionate about, what makes you happy or sad, jaded or enamoured, frustrated or grateful for. Most importantly, it’s about what’s important to YOU. Our mission is “to provide a local, easily accessible publication that showcases and provides a platform for the creativity and talent of University of Waterloo community. By students for students.” I like to think all of us here take that to heart. Though this is just the beginning, I already begin to see the potential flash across the faces of our team here; a vision of what’s to come. Thanks will be shared across the table, to the vested interest so far, the fiercely committed, and the folks who consistently find ways to flip this whole thing on its head. But also, to the readers like you. This thing won’t take off without your support. Share it with your friends! Pass it around! Livestream a reading or something. We need all the help we can get. So, on behalf of myself and the rest of WAT is Zine?, I invite you to take a look at our debut. Our theme this month is “Home”, which I think summarizes where we are perfectly. Amidst the fall leaves, surrounded by friends old and new, we are finding our place. We are home.

Matt Comeau 4


9 Finding Home Through Noise 12 Pretty Bird

14 Locked Out at 2:13 AM


Outsiders see my hometown as a place of manufacturing pollution and an image of disgust. But amidst the poverty and small layer of grime, there are so many layers of beauty.




I love this place. Hamilton is home.



Finding Home Through Noise

Corbin Hawkins

”This album makes me want to get out and have experiences and ... just live life for what it is and what it can be,'' reads a YouTube comment on the album, These Four Walls by We Were Promised Jetpacks. Personally, this album makes me want to do the exact opposite: curl up at home with a warm blanket on a brisk October evening, enjoy a cup of tea, and take in the scenery of the autumn trees. It takes a special type of album to create such intense experiences. And that is what music is all about—for me anyway, taking you somewhere you wish you were or directing your emotions into places you didn’t know were possible. In particular, the feeling of being safe—being home. These Four Walls is one of the only albums I have come across in my 18 years of breathing that has given me such an intense feeling of home. 11 songs compiled for a total of 49 minutes and 36 seconds of euphoria. And I really do mean it, I am so genuinely happy while experiencing the album, and it never gets old. If I am feeling particularly homesick or just need a pick-me-up, I’ll have a listen through and absorb the warm embrace that it offers.

But what is it about this album that makes it so special? For many it may sound like any other collection of songs (which I sincerely hope is not the case, and hopefully I can persuade you if so), and every listener forms their own relationship with an album, but there are a combination of so many factors that allow this album to consistently occupy a spot on the “go-to” list. For one, the artwork is brilliant. In fact, it is one of my favourite covers ever, and this is not my first time writing about my love for it. The depiction of what seems to be an abandoned home in Scotland is so simple, yet it is able to instil a plethora of mixed emotions including warmth, loneliness, apprehensiveness, sentiment, and an entire palette of others. Perhaps it is something about the thick Scottish accent of singer, Adam Thompson, that just makes you want to give him a big bear hug. Pitchfork gives a perfectly accurate description, saying, “If an American band gave us a track like "It's Thunder and It's Lightning", with its earnestly soaring melody that explodes out from an insistent strum, it would come off as gratingly emo”. But WWPJ completely transforms the essence of the album in the vocals alone. On top of this, the skilled musicianship and use of unorthodox instruments, such as a glockenspiel, underneath the post-punk forefront separates the sound from the typical 4-piece band dynamic. So I encourage you to have a listen. Form your own relationship with these songs. Dance to them, cry to them, sing to them, tell someone you love them with them, or take my advice and cuddle up with a blanket and just listen. Whatever it may be, I hope that you find joy in the album as much as I do.


Cassie Lim

Pretty Bird

by anonymous

Cold, shining metal gleams in the light. When illuminated by the lamplight, the brass appears to glow and the beautiful creature it holds is regarded in awe. The spectators comment on how it’s perfect, and how, “Oh I wish I had one like that!” The soul-filled blurs smile at the perfect lie, failing to see that whether it is exposed to the light or hidden in the dark, the beautiful brass is still hard and cold. And it is still a cage. The bars before me stretch high to the canopy above, each as unchanging and hopeless as an untie-able knot. Oh, the misery in a shift of perspective. Not long ago, these unforgiving bars of metal had given me the feeling of being safe and cared for. They had once represented peace and rest, but now... now they are the guards of an innocent man’s prison, standing sentries for an unjust cause. 12

I am a wild creature, born to be free, to explore, to fly, growing impatient and restless, and glimpsing the outside world the unforgiving bars. I press against the bars, forcing my full bodyweight into the unshakeable pillars, but to no avail. Again and again, I push myself, only to pull away at the end of the day, bruised, damaged, and sore. Early the next morning, funny people stroll past, unseeing the bruising on my shoulders and hands. They coo with delight at the illusion before them, the pretty bird in a pretty cage. Day after day, I break my body for the freedom of my mind and heart, and, gradually, the blind observers begin to notice. But it isn’t the pretty cage that’s changed. Regarding the display, they see that the pretty bird is no longer pretty, and they mock it - they mock me, trapped in my cell. “What’s wrong with the strange thing?” “It’s just making a fuss.” “It lives a perfect life. What does it have to complain about?” It is true, in a way. I have always been given food and water. I have always been kept warm and given all the physical possessions I could dream up. But the beautiful brass is hard and cold. And it is still a cage.


Locked Out at 2:13 AM by Absalom Abalone

“I hate you!” I wrestled the bottle from his hands and threw it to the floor. The glass shattered and its shards were scattered across the small room. I began to cry. I’d cried in front of him before, but I never cried like this. The way I felt, the act I had just committed: this was something I could only—and before now did only—fantasize about. Like a dream come true in the realest sense. When he had opened the door, his eyes were half-closed and bleary. Now they were blinking, slowly widening into what was likely surprise and also what I hoped was fear. His mouth grew open bit by bit and I could smell the stench of alcohol on his breath. I felt wrath flood into my blood like white-hot fire. My jaw was trembling. My shoulders heaved with every breath as he stood there frozen, stick-still. The fluorescent kitchen lights shone down on us like spotlights. Tiny slivers of sharp glass gleamed on top of the cold, white floor tile. “I hate you! You don’t care about me at all! I knew it!”


I felt as if I was no longer an inhabitant of my own body. The words I yelled came from the mouth of a lookalike actor in my place. But I hadn’t felt that I lost control of myself. In fact, I had never felt a moment before in my life where I felt such self-possession and mental clarity. I stared daggers into his eyes. They remained slightly glassy, but his face was hardened. I went on: “You never think about me! Do I even mean anything to you?” My face was red and wet from my tears. Seconds hung in the air. He was motionless when he spoke. “Abby—” “I’m nothing to you!” I blurted. This wasn’t part of the dream. This wasn’t part of the fantasy. Why wasn’t he following the script? His expression was stoic and inscrutable. My breathing was rapid and heavy, and I could feel my pulse pounding from within me, ready to burst. I started to sob. “I thought you loved me. But you don’t. You...” I couldn’t finish. All my clarity and wrath had vanished and was replaced with shame. My throat was twisted in knots and ached in pain. You don’t love me, I wanted to scream. You don’t love me. You never loved me. I hate you. I cried harder. The floor was getting wet with my tears. He remained as statue-like as ever. I burned with humiliation. I couldn’t stand to be there anymore, underneath his judgement and scrutiny. I grabbed my apartment keys from the kitchen counter, where I had left them last afternoon, before I stormed through the front door, making sure to slam it on the way out. It slammed loudly and stung my ears. I opened the door to the stairwell at the end of the hallway and sat down on the first step. I didn’t know if I hoped that he would come look for me here or not. The old stairwell was never used by anyone in the apartment building; it was cramped, dusty, and dirty. The unfinished, jagged concrete of the steps were as cold as ice. I brought my flimsy windbreaker tighter over me and 15

continued to shiver and weep, gasping pathetically in the stale, musty air. After some time—perhaps it was minutes or hours—I fell asleep. I woke up with a start, completely disoriented before I recalled the events of the night before. My face flushed with embarrassment at the memory, although it seemed so distant now. I checked my watch for the time. It was 9:30. I couldn’t believe it I had slept in the stairwell for that long. My joints were stiff and painful, and my whole body ached as I stood up. I wondered where I would go. I couldn’t crash a friend’s place since I didn’t want anyone to know what had happened last night. But I also wanted a hot shower. I decided that I would go back to my apartment for a short while—he was usually still asleep at this time on weekends anyway. I stopped in front of the apartment door, ready to slide the key into the lock. My thoughts spiraled wildly in my hesitation. Why did you do that last night? Are you just trying to cause drama? Why are you so over-emotional and needy? He already treats you well. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wants to break up with you. Maybe you were right when you said that he doesn’t love you. Maybe it’s true that he never did. I don’t know how anyone could stay in love with a person like you. I opened the door. The kitchen light was still on, even though it was already bright outside. A broom and a dustpan rested against the kitchen counter; most of the glass shards were gone. He sat at the far end of our tiny dinner table, his right arm propped up against an armrest. He held his head up with his hand. His eyes were closed and I watched his chest slowly rise and fall. “Hey,” I whispered, “I’m home.” I watched him sleep for another minute. Then I picked up the broom and began to sweep away the rest of the glass.


Cassie Lim



Absalom is a second-year student in the Faculty of Mathematics. Once used the showers in the M3 bathrooms. Would not recommend them.



Cassie Lim is a first year biology student at the University of Waterloo. With her equal passion for artistic pursuit, she aspires to present various disciplines of science using a visual platform in an attempt to accentuate the beauty and mystery that underlie natural phenomena in her academic and future endeavours.



Corbin Hawkins is an up and coming solo artist from Woodstock, Ontario, with an attached musical genre of “Dreamo”. Corbin’s evolving sound is shaped around genres such as dream pop and emo, taking influence from bands like Alvvays, and Slaughter, Beach Dog. In his spare time, he writes articles on music that must be shared with the world.


@jvcphoto on Instagram


Credits Title page: Background image by Myburgh Roux on Pexels, Grid image by Openclipart on Publicdomainvectors Page 5: Background image by Juliรกn Gentilezza on Unsplash Pages 8-9: Album artwork from /These-four-walls Page 13: Artwork by Grace Benjaminsen Page 14: Artwork by Diana Tran Pages 14-16: Background image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash Page 18: Background image by NordWood Themes on Unsplash


Issue 1 October 2019

Profile for watiszine

WAT is Zine? Issue 1: Home  

Our first issue centres around the theme of "Home". The debut of WAT is Zine? focuses on some of the subtle aspects of what home means to us...

WAT is Zine? Issue 1: Home  

Our first issue centres around the theme of "Home". The debut of WAT is Zine? focuses on some of the subtle aspects of what home means to us...

Profile for watiszine