Zine Review: Gut Flora: A Chapess Zine Collection edited by Cherry Styles*

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Gut Flora, Chapess Zine Collection, Cherry Styles review

* I would love to thank Cherry Styles for sending me a copy of Gut Flora for review; all opinions of this wonderful collection are my own. *

As a child, I would always carry books around with my that were my favourites as a sort of comfort blanket. I would take them in the car, on holiday, to family parties. They would sit in my bag despite whether I planned on reading them or not. I felt comfortable with them around, as if they were there for me to escape to if I felt uncomfortable being away from home. Gut Flora almost became that for me as an adult for this past week. In time when I needed comfort, it was there for me to read. There were stories inside that I could relate to, and reading the voices of other young women and their experiences kept me grounded. I wasn't alone in my uncertainty and anxiety.

This is the first proper zine I've read from cover to cover, and it's more a collection of zines than anything else. Gut Flora is a round-up of editor Cherry Styles' favourite pieces from the first nine issues of The Chapess, a quarterly zine that accepts submissions from women of all backgrounds. All pieces are black and white, including photography, which gives the world a wonderful, homemade and comfortable feel. The collection includes photography (as previously mentioned), poetry, prose, and one hilarious IM conversation about poop. Never before have I wanted to read so much about poop. Other topics covered in this collection include sex, belonging, youth, body image, self-care, making art, and literature.

I gobbled up this collection from cover to cover and it made me excited for the work of women I have never heard from before. There is a river of talent running underneath our world that we rarely hear about unless we're looking in the right places. The voices of these women have inspired me to create, but not create in a way that I see around me. Their stories are so regular and so full of life that the don't need to conform to any pattern, or tell the stories people 'want to' hear. These are real people and I can't wait to hear more from them. 

You can find more about The Chapess on their Tumblr here, their Twitter here, or from their editor Cherry here. Gut Flora is published by the Synchronise Witches Press which is based in Manchester, UK, and has just gone into a second print run. I have also purchased some publications from the Synchronise Witches Press which I will be reviewing very soon.

M x

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