Dangerous Compassions

Joshua Tree Zine Fest 2019

It was a really great zine fest–nice people, lots of variety, great music, amazing venue!  Who ever thought of doing a zine fest off-grid out in the desert, and who ever knew it would work.  Wow.

A problem was the lack of shade.  I lucked out, being positioned by the Border Kindness canopy, but almost everyone there was overexposed.  Tons of sunburnt people and dehydrated people.  I don’t mean a one hour sunburn–I mean a seven hour sunburn.  That was a bad idea.

Strangely, to the side on the ground was a pile of white tarp rolled up, like they had the tent material, but something went wrong with setting it up.

No apologies, no explanations.  Also, after we got there it took a while to find an organizer to check in with.

My table-neighbor was very nice, and I didn’t mind hearing him talk about his new zine comparing the artwork and bios of several serial killers, but he was drinking beer the whole time and spilled Budweiser on my table half three times.  Ming says the table-neighbor got beer on a copy of Lost Child, which is highly ironic.

One of the musicians wore a disturbing straw mask while playing his strange electric lute?  He also had a wide water bottle with coins in it that he shook around to make a sound.  It was desert music.  I think his name was Sorcerer Family.

I lasted till 5 then shook hands / hugged with some people I met and retired to the minivan where I took a selfie.  I think I look pretty, slightly sunburnt in my favorite space dress.  It gets more compliments than all the other clothes I’ve ever owned combined.

I relaxed and txted with Mom and some friends, feeling so happy to have survived the fest, glad we did it, and grateful for my life, zines, and Ming.

Ming tabled for another 45 minutes then packed us up and drove us to Indio where our hotel was.  Indio wasn’t what I expected at all.  The Thai restaurant our hotel desk person suggested was $15 a plate minimum.  We were so hungry–we’d gone without lunch, as there were no vegan taco trucks at the fest as hoped for / imagined.

We ended up at a slightly less expensive pho place for dinner, getting veggie pho that was not very good really.  The tofu portion was tiny and broth was not that flavorful–needed some ginger and lemongrass maybe.

My good mood vanished halfway through dinner.  I was suddenly overtired.  We finished, paid, and went back to our hotel, where I slept fitfully with bad dreams, but Ming was comforting and nice.

Turns out that hotel room fridge had four unopened beers in it, and Ming found a plastic bag in the nightstand with someone’s personal belongings they had left behind.  Yuck.  Ming didn’t like it, saying he wants a hotel room not to have the previous occupant’s stuff in it still.

Then this morning we decided to go home by way of Lake Havasu because my friend in England asked if we would take a picture of the London Bridge for him.  It sounded fun.

So we went back by Joshua Tree National Park, stopped in the park for another look at wildflowers and some more postcards.  Ming hiked a little also.

There’s a flower in bloom that I was calling ghost flower because it has that weird translucent look, and we read in a wildflower guide that its actual common name is ghost flower.  Hmm.  That was a special moment.

I took a picture of Ming with a flowery hill behind him.  Wow, how beautiful.

Now we’re in Needles again.  Ming is out buying us dinner.  Tomorrow we return to Vegas and dive back into regular life and Sacred Peace Walk preparations.  Can we stay here?

I learned the desert is bigger than I thought it was.  We drove a long time and were still in the desert.

Ming and I talked a lot as he drove.  I was telling him how if I ever have to go back in the hospital again, I’ll do things differently.  For example, I’ll go for little walks in the halls.  I was overwhelmed last time and didn’t understand that walking around a little might really improve my recovery time.

At the fest itself, I learned that nobody seems to care about apple tasting, the zine or the activity.  That zine is so little, pretty, and green, and the ideas and words are so sweet.  But nobody wanted it.  The poetry also–nobody cared a bit about it.  Lost Child was neglected.

Not sure what my plan is.  Etsy is annoying, now more than ever.  Fests are a lot of work and we don’t break even, considering travel.  I can give my zines to family and friends in person and through the mail.  But it’s expensive to copy them, and postage.

Zine life is good, but I can see why people give up and blog.  Oh wait, I do both.  I was telling my friend how I don’t get writer’s block–she asked how I deal with writer’s block.  When you never stop writing, the pump doesn’t get rusty.

We’ll see if Ming and I make it again next year, if we even get accepted again, if we apply again, but maybe we should bring our own popup.  The end.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

4 replies on “Joshua Tree Zine Fest 2019”

I love the apple tasting zine and your poetry zines. I gave up on Etsy a couple years ago after they were terrible with customer service when my account got hacked. I am trying to find ways to get zines to people, too. I've been thinking about trying to table at arts events, like the artwalks that happen in the Seattle area–or maybe more political/activist type events since I'm trying to raise funds to help people with my zines now. I guess we'll see how it all goes. 🙂

Great blog post.

I love you !

Mentzelia involucrata or Sand Blazing Star is the identity of the flower I have discovered. Sorry.

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