PROOF I EXIST #28, $2, 4½” x 5½”, copied, 35 pgs.

Sep 26, 2018

I’ve read Proof I Exist on and off for well over ten years. I’ve always enjoyed Billy’s writing, but this issue is by far the best he’s ever done. On a superficial level, the paper stock and typewriter he used are beautiful. The paper is off-white and the type is kind of black but also kind of blue. Whatever it is, it makes the words easy to read. The content, on the other hand, is more difficult to swallow. But that’s not because of how Billy writes (to the contrary!) but because of what he’s covering. This issue delves into Billy’s relationship with Aaron, his brother. Aaron and Billy grew up in what seems to be a good household. But as the brothers grew older, Billy steered clear of substances while Aaron got involved heavily. It got to the point where the two brothers were fairly well estranged from one another. This was primarily because Aaron went missing for periods due to drug and alcohol use. I don’t want to give away the entire content, but the writing is compelling and deep. It goes back and forth between Aaron’s story with drugs and Billy’s life without them. Aaron’s life is tragic and Billy doesn’t shy away from that, but neither does he hit you over the head with it. This is, ultimately, not a hopeful tale, but as Billy reminds us in the zine, “this isn’t a movie, and the final scenes of resolution aren’t coming through all clean and smooth….” If you’ve ever had a family member struggle with addiction, or want to understand the pain of what that is like, this is essential. For more info, email [email protected] –Kurt Morris (Billy, PO Box 22551, Baltimore, MD 21203)