(WE’VE ALL GOT) BAGGAGE: ENVISIONING AN IDEAL COMMUNITY AND ENGAGING IT WITH OUR OWN PROBLEMS AND HANGUPS: $7.95, 4¼” x 7”, copied, 88pgs.

The intro states this zine is a celebration of Microcosm Publishing’s anniversary, “dedicated to showing that working through baggage and creating the ideal community is what we are all in this for.” There’s some real honest work being done herein: one essayist discusses a painful coming to terms with past behaviors he’s been called out on; another works through gender dysphoria and abuse. A chorus of voices in other essays affirm that yes, Microcosm is a great place to work and a fantastic group of individuals working towards a common goal. It’s odd, then, that the longest essay in here, by Microcosm head Joe Biel, is about how he has “outgrown his former scene.” Biel has been accused of abusive behavior by his former business partner/wife, a quick internet search reveals. He counters here by responding that his abuse was due to undiagnosed autism. Biel says all the right things about his subsequent self-work and being sorry—but the dictionary, he says, defines abuse as “callously indifferent.” Abuse doesn’t apply to his situation because his disability made it hard for him to empathize. Putting these conditions on his apology adds an undermining defensiveness to the proceedings. And it’s odd his essay reminds readers that he checked out of the scene when the zine’s stated intent is creating community by working through baggage. This garbled message draws attention away from the honest processing and emotional labor of some writers herein. –Michael T. Fournier (Microcosm, 2752N. Williams Ave., Portland, OR 97227)