By Sherell for Boston Compass Blog
November 16, 2020
When Alex Miklowski and Olivia Deng began planning their zine Fuck Your Dreams in the spring of 2019, it just made sense for the first issue’s theme to be on death, decay, and destruction. They of course had no idea that one year later a global pandemic would bring those topics into our everyday lives. In its simplest form, Fuck Your Dreams is a punk DIY zine: an idea sparked by two friends who were talking about the end of the world while one was giving the other a tattoo. About a year later, that conversation led to something tangible: a self-published anthology of writers and artists sharing their own takes on the theme.
Soon after the first stay-at-home order was issued, roller skating spiked in popularity. I think partially due to quarantine boredom, and partially due to the excitement that viral videos gave us. Inspired by this, their second issue “How We Ride” will focus on art and writing that discusses any “sport, recreation, or form of transportation involving wheels.” I sat down with them (over Zoom, of course) to discuss their zine, skating, and creating during the apocalypse:
The pandemic has forced many of us to let go of our dreams and plans. Many of us didn’t plan to start skating, even. But here we are, putting on skates, in spite of the hopelessness and death that surrounds us.
How has skating served you during the pandemic?
Olivia: I was feeling very dejected and was stuck at home. I saw friends and people I knew skating and they seemed like they were having fun. I used to do it as a kid. Roller skating seemed like a good release of the pent up negative feelings that were bubbling inside of me.
Alex: Connecting with my childhood and others. It was an excuse to get outside. It’s hard to have hope for the future in the apocalypse in a way, so anything that shows incremental change over time for the better is a positive nice thing, when it seems like everything is falling down, apart. It’s nice to see.
For me, being creative is the closest way I can tap into my inner child. Everytime I put on my skates, I feel like such a kid, because my life is in the hands of eight wheels and gravity is right there, waiting to give me another scrape. It feels like the pandemic is really pushing us in the other direction--impatiently rushing us to get back to our pre-March lives, and in doing so, taking a quarter of a million lives (and counting) with it. Can either/both of you talk about the fusing of childishness and creativity in a time that’s eager to force us to live in the opposite direction--towards more death, more endings, more tragedy?
Olivia: It’s always good to find a way to have a creative outlet, to make something tangible. Roller skating can be very creative, there’s different styles. How people skate, the ways they customize their skates. Doing something creative for yourself is important in a time when we’re told to work ourselves to death. Roller skating brings joy in a time that’s too bleak and dark.
Alex: Yeah, I love seeing how people customize their shit.
How has your creative process shifted this year?
Alex: Making stuff has become more of a mental necessity, even if I don’t want to do something on a particular day. That incremental change is a comfort to me. Making something over time. It’s a hopeful thing.
Olivia: It’s pushed me to do things I wouldn't have done earlier, like making shirts. In my mind it feels now or never, because the apocalypse might get us.
Alex: Do or die.
Do you have any hopes for this round of submissions?
Alex: I hope people have fun, making hope out of a bad thing.
Olivia: We’re very open minded. We hope to see a wide range of art and mediums.
The deadline to submit your transportive art is January 18, 2021. For full submission guidelines or to order merch, please visit www.fuckyourdreamszine.com. If you’d like to talk about the end of the world while getting your own tattoo from Alex, you can connect with her on Insta at @sugartatty. Connect with Olivia on Insta @oliviadeng1 and check out her Etsy shop ArcaneJunk.