Yesterday was the launch of the journal Caramel by Saffa and Deena Khan through the Tender Hands Press distro.
Caramel is, at times, a devastating read. It was a much-needed reminder for me of how honest perzines (zines documenting personal experiences, thoughts and feelings) can be. I’ll have teas with people, dance and drink and joke with them for many hours. Then I’ll read their perzine. The rawness will smack me right in the chest, more than anything I’ve read in fiction or non-fiction. I’ll wonder how they can bear to carry themselves with such dignity in this world. Sometimes you have to read the zine to really find out whose company you’re in.
I wish that the journal and accompanying artwork were on permanent display and that everyone could see it. Some will find comfort. Others will hopefully see the impossible tightrope walk of growing up ‘foreign’ in this country. The tightrope I walked some twenty years ago, and my father walked some fifty years before that. The facets of our complex identities ground away until reduced to something smooth and simple. What other people want to see in us.