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Photography by BreAnna Martinez


Volume 1 Issue ii

Comfort & Discomfort>


Lets face it...youre STRAPPED. Strapped for time, strapped for money...either youre strapped, youre loaded, or youre lying. This mini zine was created to encourage those who put off their creativity (I dont have time!) to come together and create anyways. To encourage each other and become part of a community of other artists, writers, and everyday people who dont even consider themselves creative. Everyone has something interesting to share...even you...ESPECIALLY you...were all strapped, so lets start creating and sharing and be strapped together!
(duct tape is optional)

This Issue: Comfort & Discomfort

There are some feelings that are innate since birth. Comfort and Discomfort know no race...are universal to our everyday experience. The tension of discomfort weaves its way into the comfortable, and we are left to untangle these conflicting emotions. The following pages express these feelings that are so deeply embedded into us. Theres no handbook to dealing with the balance between the two...besides, how would we recognize and appreciate wellness without pain?

These Boots Were Made For Walkin by The Scorpian

W e all have our own personal comfort
spot. That little crack in the rock where we feel safe and cozy. Totally at ease from all the terrible, evil things that hide in the shadows all around us. F or me, its my favorite watering hole, the local hangout where everyone knows your name. The place where you walk in and it takes twenty minutes just to hug everyone and say Hello." I love walking through the doors and feeling, I think I heard a little applause for my semi-grand entrance.

Then one night, she walked in. This girl

EDITOR- Dori Cameron IN-CHIEF @floggingdori


was drop dead gorgeous. She was church girl wholesome, yet enticingly erotic. To say it short, a ratchet she was not...but something to covet? Perhaps. Her eyes said she was a boss and she exuded the kind of confidence reserved solely for royalty. She truly didn't care if you were the shit or if you cleaned up the shit; she just came to do her thing and have a good time and no one dared tell her No.

Goodness Forsaken pencil sketch by Barbara Kyriss

We soon made eye contact and of course, I smiled when she smiled. Then, I
turned around and did my best to ignore her. When she eventually stood next to me and ordered her drink, I felt those metaphorical butterflies in my stomach. Actually, I felt them literally.

I became nervous and insecure in the one place I thought I could be impervious. After all, this was my bar. Whos this girl, coming in here and stealing my thunder? Even my favorite overly-confident bartender seemed a little shy. He had nothing better to say to her demands than As you wish. No sly comment, no fancy trickshe even had to ask for the cherry.

Submissions of art, photography, poetry, short stories, prose, paintings, photography, and sketches are entirely welcome and encouraged, wherever you are in the world! Keep writing new material and stay posted online for upcoming themes, writers block suggestions, and more!

After her drink was made, I couldn't help it. If he wasn't gonna grow some
balls and say What's up? I had to...right? So I said, Hi, I like your boots. Stupid! Who says shit like that? Well apparently, it was perfect because she sat down and began talking to me like we were old friends. Was this my soul mate or did she just have a kind soul? Either way, I was captivated by her.

flip flops. I made a joke about her not wearing her ugly brown boots this time, and instantly the butterflies in my stomach were killed by the talons of the confident eagle now in my soul.

The traits about her I thought were so

adorable in the beginning soon began to wear on my nerves. The woman that walked into my life and commanded so much desire from my soul now annoyed me to no end. Her voice, her laugh, her fucking brown boots! It all made me feel sick when she was near.


By Dori Cameron

After dinner, we went back to

that same bar but this time, we walked in hand-in-hand. Our entrance not only turned heads, but also demanded their applause. We drank, we danced, and by closing time we were making out in the corner like Billy Reynolds newlyweds.

We eventually broke up one night

over drinks and the conversation needed only a look to get the point across. We had both felt it coming like a barometric pressure change before a storm for weeks.

Together Forever oil on canvas by Billy Reynolds

We continued the honeymoon

back at my place and slept until noon the next day. We had a fancy brunch and both agreed this was the start of something very special. After all, it was too comfortable to deny the stars of our fateful companionship.

It was over...the stars had betrayed us,

and my bed was definitely warmer without her in it. At first I was mad, then sad, then I was glad she was gone. I didn't need her to be happy. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

I simply sat there and smiled, trying to commit to

memory every little detail of her story, about how she got them from her sister, but that she doesn't normally wear brown, and wasn't sure if they were even appropriate for the bar we occupied. We talked for hours and the conversation became more in-depth as the night progressed. I gained confidence by the minute and felt more relaxed by each libation I consumed. The tables had changed and now she began to seem like she might be the intimidated one. They eventually played the clich song Closing Time and we took it as our cue to vacate the premises. We exchanged numbers and a very endearing hug. Then she jumped in the cab with her friends and left me on the curb to breathe in the taxi's exhaust. Wow..I was in love. Over the course of the next week my thumbs grew sore and calloused. She and I were sending no less than a hundred texts a day to each other. When the night of our dinner date finally came around, I began to get butterflies again. I began to doubt myself, again. You got this, I said to myself in the mirror.

That is, until she showed up at my

bar, a week later with her new dude, wearing those damn boots and laughing at all his stupid-secret jokes he was whispering in her ear.

Months went by and the hour

glass of our relationship was turned over and over and over again. We grew so comfortable around each other that it seemed like we had always been there for one another. So comfortable that I no longer felt butterflies around her and no longer felt the need to impress her with my undivided attention. In retrospect, maybe we were a little too comfortable.

God, I hate her laugh. What was so

funny anyways? Were they laughing at my demise? Or did she just forget that I had a soul and could still hear her? When she finally introduced us, I did my best to pretend it didn't bother me. I honestly acted like I was happy for them. They were a cute couple, after all.

We soon began to go hours,

then days without seeing each other. The texts dwindled down to only a few words here and there, and our conversations grew shorter as our passion turned to routine hanging out with a little cuddling on the side.

I just finished my drink, paid my tab,

and quietly sulked my way out to the curb. Not even sitting in my little crack within the rock could bring me comfort now. The cab pulled up with its cloud of smog. I climbed in, then brushed the imaginary dirt off my shoulders and said, Yo holmes, to Bel Air!

We met at the restaurant and she was wearing

Subtlety is insanity. I am the object of attention But not affection. So...Ive tasted the sweet fruit That turned me into god. It wasnt what I thought it would be. Why werent I born a tiger or a bird? Then I would have little Responsibilities or inadequacies. My stare, once vivacious, has escaped And I cannot find it, Not even in a mirror. I wish I could roar, Then someone would listen, Even if only in fear. If I had a Song to sing, males would Show off their colors and Fight for my company. How is it, that I am Hateful of my own species? My impatience consumes me, Even more than Pride or Wrath, my Favorite deadly sins. If I were a siren I would never die, And my existence would be Of epic proportions. I want to Escape myself, and perhaps fly South forever.

Let it simmer two more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Some stock is saltier than

Kate Doggs Kitchen: Its All Gravy

by Kathryn Cord
Ahhhh, Fall...the best season has arrived. The deep blue skies, the crisp air, cozy sweaters, hot chocolate (maybe with a
Mushroom Gravy 1 small yellow onion, diced fine 2 cups of cremini mushrooms, diced 3 cloves of garlic, crushed 2 cups of vegetable stock

others so definitely taste as you go. If you want smooth gravy (of course you do) use an immersion blender and blend til smooth. If you don't have an immersion blender you can use a food processor or a regular ol blender. Blend in small

batches and be careful not to burn your hands off. Viola! Gravy that would make your mama proud. ***If youve never cooked with nutritional yeast before, please dont be intimidated

splash of Peppermint Schnapps). When

the nights are longer and the weather is 1/3 cup of flour starting to get chilly, nothing says 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast** "comfort" like a scoop of mashed potatoes with lots of gravy.
1 teaspoon of sage 2 tablespoons of olive oil salt and pepper to taste

by its weird name. It lends a depth of flavor to the gravy that shouldnt be missed. Its easy to find at your local grocery store and its a great source of vitamin B12. Boom. Vitamins in yo gravy! Now its healthy, right?

Life Lessons with Jay and McCool

by Jay Smolchuck and Kevin McCool
Hey guys, were Jay Dot CA & Kevin McCool. Were not the oldest guys around, nor the youngest but we have been around the block a time or two and we've learned some things along the way. Now we don't know everything, but when it comes to the basics in life, we've had plenty of experience getting in and out of situations or just flat out avoiding them all together. Whether its about STRAPPED zines monthly topic, past or present, or life in general, we'll give you our opinions, rants, and overall outAsk these guys ANYTHING! look on life, yours and ours alike. Feel free to ask us questions, tell stories/jokes, make ments, talk trash, or just be downright rude. We'll have a ton of answers for you, probably not all of them, but like a woman, we'll just fake it! Well respond with nothing but extra classy info and news you can use. Our street knowledge of 30+ years combined will guide you through life with ease...maybe not, but at least you will have good stories to tell around the campfire. Lets have at it & have fun! As with life, don't take us too seriously, 'cause we don't! This months topic takes us into the world of comfort and discomfort. For us, that line gets blurred, combined, smashed & erased all in a single night. Were not the kind of guys that avoid situations just because its uncomfortable. Well jump right

When I stopped eating meat in 2000,

I had to learn to cook for myself. I

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over

medium heat. Then add the onions

experimented with lots of recipes until I and garlic and saute until soft, stircame up with this: the perfect vegan ring constantly. This will take about gravy. Now, I can enjoy my favorite and Omnis alike will devour it. better. comfort food again. Trust me, Veggies Your Thanksgiving just got that much

three minutes. Then add the mushrooms and cook until soft. (about five minutes) Add the flour, nutritional yeast, and sage. Keep on stirring.

Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock.

Untitled Comfort Photography by Nick Bahula

Like this photograph? Follow this artist for more than just great shots! He also creates his own prints on wood and leaves free art around Riverside, CA. Follow @bahula on Instagram to get in on the free finds!

in and see if we can smooth it out and have some fun with it. This also holds true for the opposite; we can take a perfectly normal, comfortable evening and flip it on its head and create more discomfort than a scorching case of herpes! Your levels of comfort and discomfort are dictated by how you handle the situation in front of you, making sure it doesnt overtake your emotions. We dont let that happen and neither should you. Keep calm and do as we do: make the best any given situation. Heres a scenario: lets say youre at the bar/club with your friends on the other side of town, you all rode in together to make sure there was a designated driver & save on gas. Everybodys smiling, laughing, drinking, and trading stories. Perfect right? This is pure comfort, but not where this tale was headed. Toward the end of the evening, you meet up with some nice ladies that invite you and your buddy back to their hotel room. Youre a bit tipsy but, this seems like a fantastic idea & you go for it. Youre still in your

comfort zone, so you all pile into the nearest cab and call your other friends to tell them to not wait up. When you arrive at your destination, you realize the hotel is nothing more than a dingy motor lodge. Uh oh, what have you gotten yourself into?! Discomfort sets what? Make the best of whats left the night, of course! The next morning you wake up hungover, in a room youve never seen before in your life, next to women you dont know, and no way to get back home to meet your obligations of the day. Discomfort, once again, has set in like a case of the bubble guts on a hot day while stuck in traffic. Dont sweat it! Be calm and calculate your next move, which at this time of morning should be to take a quick video or picture of the mess youre in and hightail it to the nearest diner for some coffee, get the hamster back on the wheel, and a sweet ass plate of pancakes & bacon (extra crispy, of course. ) This is where you plan the remainder of your getaway. Catch a cab, bus, train, or in our case, call one of your four best friends that anyone could have to come pick your dumb ass up. Great, the plan is set, your belly is full, and youre ready to take on a new day. Comfort at its finest!! The disclaimer of this tale is there are many other factors to make this scenario work without a hitch, confidence, loyalty, trust, and most importantly, friendships that encompass all of these qualities, but thats for another months discussion.

by Dori Cameron or six days straight, there were nightmares. I woke up with alarms blaring, an evacuation of the city ensued. Confused, I dressed myself and wandered out of my open front door. Fires and sirens pierced through me, quivering. Then, I saw them. With white masks and a troubled gait, I had to become one of them. I spotted one, fallen, cheaply made yet priceless, slipping it onto my face. My skin remembered the hot feel of plastic, a Halloween costume from nearly a score ago. Darting, my eyes followed and mimicked the walk of another, disjointed and awkward. Others without masks were swept up quickly, ignited by a quick scream, their feet grabbed so quickly they fell twice as fast. This was the sixth night.

Expiration photography by Dori Cameron>

n the seventh night, I surrendered. A heap of exhaustion and sadness, I had my talk with God. I let go. I pleaded, No dreams tonight. Please. I need to rest. I cant handle another. Defeated, my head hit the pillow once more, expecting the same outcome of the previous nights. The running from zombies, the car accidents, the chaos. The insanity. uddenly, I am heading into a familiar place. It was abandoned, but it was ours. I knew what to expect inside. The crunching of tiny shards of broken glass, the sharp sense of rusted metal, the hollowed out windows.the shadows, the light fixtures hanging from tall ceilings. The waffled stairways, the offices with walls broken out, drywall caking and dusted into piles. The toilets, shattered. The porcelain faucets, dry and decimated. The spray paint, poorly executed. The stub-end railroad tracks. There was history here, history I always pondered, fascinating, unknowable. Comforted, I walked inside. emarkably, the factory was alive. The walls were intact in vivid colorthe machines blackened but not rustedthe conveyors moving parts at a steady pace. The workers in white hard hats blowing sparks upward, a vibrant heat to them. The steam engine parked in the tracks, unloading. The time card clock, ticking. The metal slots with operation cards, a bright green. The grinding of metal, the loud shouts over humming machinery. The unexplainable relief of not having a nightmare, but a newfound understanding of a place I hold so dear. On the seventh night I talked to God. And He listened.

From the Depression series photography by Paul Miser Werkmeister

Be sure to email your questions, comments, and rants to: and well be sure to educate and entertain because thats how we roll!!!

We Now Interrupt This Program...

by Victor Estrada

SKEREEREEEEEEEEEEEREEEEEEEEEE! My eyes groggily arouse themselves from long have I been sleeping? What time is it? Whats that noise? The light emitted from the televisions tube hit my corneas in blinding burst of white noise, beating down on my retinas like John Bonham 15 minutes into a Moby Dick drum solo. My irises begin to come alive and focus the white halo in front of me into something that begins to resemble an image. That does itHes a frickin nerd.hehehehe... The words crawl their way out of the televisions tiny speaker metallic and distorted, threatening to rip apart the tiny cardboard cones and ooze themselves onto the floor like freshly hatched spiders from an egg sac. There is a man on the television. Hes hiding behind a mask. The background sways and tilts with a hypnotic pulse, making my stomach uneasy. The voice worms its way into my ears again, threatening to rip my sanity away from its mooring. Catch the wave... It is screaming now. Its voice swarms at me like a hive of angry bees, loud and overbearing. The figure is crowding the screen now, swaying and bobbing like an angry jack-in-thebox. I wont realize until afterwards but my skin has developed a thin layer of cold sweat, my cerebellum unconsciously reacting to the blitz on the screen. Your love is fading... The background continues to lurch back and forth in uneven time. My equilibrium is slipping from me. The room starts to oscillate, the walls shifting into a nauseous blur. The figure continues to bounce around the screen, its voice weaving in and out, like screams coming from an eaten tape. Theyre coming to get meee I dont see the rest. Im already down the hall, my stomach ready to vacate its contents. When did I get up?

Falling Towards Trustby Caitsarella

Did you know that bald eagles mate for life? Their mating ritual is one of the most amazing rituals in nature. The eagles soar separately up to the highest point of their territory and then they circle

Watch Me Burn oil on canvas by Elizabeth Pallack<

each other, flying closer and closer together until they reach out to each other and lock talons. They hold each others claws and tumble out of control toward earth. Then an unknown communication happens between them and they let go of each other at the same time, just before they would hit the ground. After this ritual, they are mated and both eagles build the nest, hunt, take care of their young, in equal parts, taking turns at the work. There is comfort in their equality and unmatched trust. Eagles are birds of prey. They are predators who can reach heights of flight almost beyond our sightline. Their sight is impeccable. But they test their mates, trust them, are loyal to them, and bond with them until death. Instead of finding the prettiest or brightest or loudest mate, they look for equality in skill and one whom they trust to skydive with out of their realm. I feel as if their ritual sums up the relationship that I know to be real. Unconditionally knowing and loving someone takes trust. We are all simple predators and we sneak and soar and use our minds and tongues as opposed to our wings and talons, but we are animals just the same. But I find comfort in knowing that even the basest instincts of violence or self-preservation can be outweighed by love. If there is anything that can be trusted in the world, it is this. Unconditional bonds are created by flying together and by falling together and most certainly by saving each other from that fall by letting go. These I know to be true and they define how I have come to know love, be it with myself and a fellow predator. Sociopaths on a common flight.

Your Blood Is My Comfort oil on canvas by Elizabeth Pallack<

Wondering who the man on the television is? Scan here to view the mystery for yourself!

arms wrapping around his torso from be-

A Quiet (Dis)Comfort
by Roy Barnes

hind. It wasn't until they squeezed and held the embrace so tight for such a length of time, that he finally noticed and came back to the now. Her grip felt like an angel's wings wrapping around him; the touch of her flesh against his own like his own little slice of heaven. Her voice that was where the real magic existed. He felt the warmth of her breath against his ear lobe, sending a shiver down his spine hard enough to make his legs quake. Her words, a whisper of comfort that he had never known. He never wanted to leave this moment. This brief, fleeting moment that he knew would end far

too soon. A voice from the other side of the door would end the moment, his eyes opening abruptly as he glanced towards it. The reply that left his lips was monotone and bland, something that he wouldn't be able to recall twenty minutes later if he had been asked. His roommate gave a sidelong glance at him as he exited the small bathroom alone.

His head bowed, angling

downwards to let the water splash across the back of his head, neck and down his spinal cord. One hand was opened, pressed against the tiled wall to support his weight while the other ran the tattooed knuckles through the long green strands of hair that made up his mohawk. . It was some time before he'd move from that position; the

It would be another twenty minutes before he was seen

again, then another forty before they finally left the car. Attired in black, save for the white button-up he wore underneath an over sized hooded sweatshirt, he placed a cigarette between his lips as his long stride took him from the car to his destination. The others - the friends he had brought with him - stayed further back and tried to entertain themselves with conversation as he sat on the cold marble to finish. His foot tapped incessantly as he waited; the heavy boot bouncing up and down rapidly even as the nicotine calmed his nerves down. It took him a while after the cigarette was finished and discarded to finally move around to the correct isle. The tree was always a reminder in case he forgot. Not that he ever could forget it, but just in-case, the withered tree always drew his attention to the correct spot. His hand pressed against it, using it to brace his lean frame for the moment.

photography by B. Lynn Photography

An Unspoken Secret

water relaxing muscles far too tight and knotted while reddening the skin underneath its heat at the same time. The tiny box of a room, little more than a commode, sink and shower, had long since filled with steam so thick that even when he finally did manage to drag himself from the soothing warmth of the water, his vision was limited to things that were within a hand's breadth from his eyes. A tradition for as long as he could remember, he managed to navigate the room masterfully, finding the edge of the sink bowl and using it to brace his weight. Again, the water was turned on; the steam from the sink's hot water adding to what already hang in the air.

His tattooed hand reached up, smearing some of the moisture drops that had collected on the mirror
so he could see his own twisted visage. A nose crooked from being broken too many times, piercings in various spots around his features and eyes the color of darkened leaves as they lay upon the ground at the end of fall all stared back at him. Again, his head dipped downwards, spitting into the bowl of the sink before cupping the warm water to splash against his face. Staring into the sink bowl, he let his eyes close for a moment as his thoughts drifted backwards in time.

A set of tombstones were planted in front of him as he

sank to his knees. It seemed as everything he had been

So far and so deeply back into his memories his mind drifted, that he barely even notices the warm

From the Depression series photography by Paul Miser Werkmeister

holding back all day came flooding out just at that moment. There were no tears streaming down his face, no heavy sobbing of his shoulders as he cried No. His pain his discomfort was entirely internal.

"I'm so sorry."

Inner Chaos
By Lord of Shadows

Blood & Dragons

by Caitlin Kazepis
Cannibalistic Jesus man Turning water into wine Wine we drink to remind Ourselves of blood And how to find

Blood can stain But all this pain Is simply Temporary

Broken bones Unanswered phones Make us Isolationary Thats how to find A cannibalistic state of mind Yea, water into wine A cannibalistic state of mind

We are looking for artists and writers to feature in our next issue of STRAPPED zine! Submit any and all photographs, tattoos, prose, poetry, short stories, artwork, streams of consciousness, haiku, or other creative pieces relating to this months theme,
All material is copyrighted and may not be reused or duplicated for any reason.

SCAN HERE to Like us on Facebook, stay connected, and get encouragement to keep writing, even though youre STRAPPED.
Cover photography by Paul Meir Werkmeister Model: Emily Nickel |
ABOUT THE EDITOR: Dori Cameron is a member of The Jezebelles (, the worlds only GIRL.ROCK.CHOIR. based out of Riverside, California. She is a lemon-eating, Guinness drinking, bike enthusiast...and oh yea! She also writes!


A subtle torture lies beneath the all-too-solid skull, The torture of unrealized becoming pains me nightly when the evening mist and moon call out and beckon me to leave behind the sullied flesh and mundane world to join them in an unreal union of mystic mind and primal power. Deep inside, immortal shadows pound against the cruel confines of human birth, inhuman life and dormant force unrealized. The spectral shadow trapped within forever presses, creeps and strains for liberation from common days and numbing nights trapped under lights. It sometimes rests but never weakens, growing with each sacred night spent in that divine dimension I create with moonlight, mead and music and one sublime, delicious evening, it will slip free and the transformation will be complete, beginning a new, Surreal eternity.

Next Issue: Belief and Disbelief

In what do you believe? When stripped down to your core, what remains? Do you have faith in the goodness of strangers? Are you a believer of miracles? What do you believe is the meaning of life? Or does your disbelief define you? What dont you believe in? Have you experienced something unbelievable? Do you have a story so profound that no one believes that its true? An out-of-body experience?

A cannibalistic state of mind

Maybe dragons had it right Attack attack attack and hide I am my own cross to bear

Alone photography by Kevin McCool

Belief and Disbelief to !
First time writer? Have writers block? Shoot over an email for individualized feedback and suggestions! (Deadline 12/18/13)

In my mind I scream and tear

The fish apart - lick its scales Blood runs down the dragons tails

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