Part I of Wolverette’s 3rd Print Issue: “The Grrrl and the word”

Posted: April 13, 2010 in Past issues

The Grrrl and the Word
In the process of doing the last issues I stumbled over so many interesting writers that I just thought it is time to present them with their own, individual work, not limited by a theme of this zine.
The written word has always been powerful, there are thousands of examples of this. Certain letters were said to have magic abilities, books written a long time ago still have major impact in our society and journalists have always been arrested or even worse when they were considered dangerous.
I think it was Michel Houellebeq who once said something like „literature has the duty to be uncomfortable“. But this also applies to other forms of the written word, from graffity to song lyrics and so on. It doesn’t matter if it was aimed to change the world in the first place – think of Anais Nin’s diaries; even such a personal document can inspire, enrage, encourage,… even if you are the only one who reads your diary, it still has an impact on YOU.
And – as I have already stated in diverse interviews on my zine – most grrrls are hesitating to use this powerful weapon, the written word. People tell me stuff like „Oh, I sooo would like to contribute to your zine but my stuff ain’t good enough“. If I got 10 cents for everytime I read this… oh well.
So far I have never turned down a contribution. I would – if it wasn’t good. But personally I think each piece has been interesting and worthwile to read. Maybe I’m way too much into DIY ethics to give a professional opinion here but as far as I am concerned: If there is something that is important to you, something you feel you need to get out there, thoughts and ideas that have never let you alone, then: take them seriously! Take these thoughts seriously and WRITE THEM down. AND show your thoughts some respect by making it a good text. Good by your own standards. If you’ve written it down and you got th feeling that this is REALLY off your chest now by rereading it – how could this NOT be a good text? The written word is a material manifestation of your thoughts. Find the time and the courage to make your ideas and opinions matter, to yourself first, cause thats the first step. By writing it down you take the stuff running through your head seriously.
When we think of Riot Grrrl and writing, the 1st thought most likely will be the song lyrics of the early Grrrl bands and yes, the lyrics were crucial, they were an important aspect: they stated the obvious that nobody wanted to hear about, suddenly clothed in words and screamed out by angry women.
They made a change by taking their ideas, fears, anger seriously, formulating them in words, writing them down and making them into a song, so that they could verbally and musically fuck the world’s ass.
The grrrlzines – another example how Riot Grrrl – literally – spread the word.
Even womens’ magazines – nowadays mostly shallow, intimidating useless and sexist crap – used to be a source of decent info and a chance for women to get their words out.
The connection between women and the written word is deeply fascinating. Uttering a word is probably the most souvereign form of creation – and the written word is a fixation of exactly this.
Who of us could NOT name a book, song lyrics, a speech, a quote, an article that somewhat changed our life, that kicked our ass, that made us feel understood, challenged or embraced? Everybody has their own personal words that mean a lot to them, even if this very special meaning isn’t visible to others or maybe not even intended by the author.
The good thing about the written word is: it can be conservated. It can be read at a time we choose, at a time we need it, at a time we long for it. It can be reread, reinterpretated and reconsidered. It is just simply there, waiting for us. It can be read the day it was published or even generations later – the word doesn’t get old.
When we read, we sink into a different world. And when we write, we do the same. And we all write. But the most interesting, touching and, yes, revolutionary pieces are those who come straight from the heart, when the author felt the need to write this down. When you can feel they share a bit of their soul.
And now imagine a world where these bits of someone’s soul were not hidden like it is now most of the time. We do get this, but only a small part, chosen by the book/magazine/…-industry. They only let a certain little bit published, the bits that they deem mainstream enough to be written down.
But what is mainstream? Is it us?
You know, this is something about the zine culture that has always attracted me: getting your word out there despite the fact that its not mainstream stuff you write down. To be able to read words that are NOT censored by the public world view, words that come straight out of the author’s heart. And people who appreciate it.
And those are the texts that make the writer feel good, too: it doesn’t matter if it’s a journal entry not read by anyone but the one who wrote it, a spontaneous, furious blog entry or a well thought through article in a newspaper – if it’s something you just HAD to get off your chest, if you put your heart and soul into this piece, you get a certain feeling of satisfaction. It might hurt to write it, it might make you wanna run amok – but as soon as you are really finished and let your work just be there, it makes you feel calm and glad.

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