SIMPLE STEPS TO A LIFE LESS SHITTY: 5½” x 8½”, offset, 32 pgs.

Feb 01, 2016

Adam Gnade has written a lot of stuff—novels, zines, songs. He’s prolific, but one thing he keeps coming back to is writing about mental health and I don’t think he’s going to let up any time soon. Earlier this year, I read his The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad. I remember thinking, “Ya know, part of me thinks you’re full of shit, and part of me thinks you just might be on to something.”Motherfuckin’ Sad fell into a lot of the familiar trappings of depression zines—too much offering of good advice, repeating stuff depressed people get from the more genetically fortunate, things like go outside, “sing for your supper,” fight for the life you want. That stuff is inso many zines on depression written bydepressed people. I’m starting to think it might be mentally ill people’s way of internalizing the “buck up, kid” condescension they get everyday, a sort of internalized self-hate. Nobody who suffers from depression wants to be depressed, so simplistic motto-based affirmations can be really cutting to someone who’s deep in the abyss. But then again, some of that is needed with a healthy balance of empathy and understanding. Adam Gnade is relentless in writing and trying to figure things out and I think that’s why he really nails it with Simple Steps. Combining personal narrative and empathy, he offers up evidence of what has worked for him, but, more importantly, that it might not tomorrow. There’s a good balance of affirmation and hope with verisimilitude and clear thinking. You have to be careful who you trust in this world, but I think Gnade might be one of the good ones. –Craven Rock (Punk Drunk Press, 816 N. Main #200, Lansing, KS 66043,