The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad: The Book

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad: The Book

by Adam Gnade

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This book is Gnade's self-described "anti-depression guide/guide to a freer, more lawless life." Gnade's writing looks at the root causes of sadness, anxiety, and general malaise/boredom and offers helpful point-by-point suggestions (in list form) and short essay pep-talks on how to move beyond your demons for a better, smarter, happier life. Like a letter from a trusted friend in the trenches, The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad will work with you through all phases of your life, thick and thin.

  • 2013 Best Seller in Small Press Titles at Powell's Books, the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world! 

  • Also see the companion guide (digital only), Ringside!




Benno Martens, sat 4/19 7:02pm

If you’ve been reading my blog a little while, or checked out my Twitter or Tumblr pages, odds are you’ve read a reference or two to a guy named Adam Gnade. A writer with sickeningly enviable talent, I stumbled across Adam and his zine The Do It Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad about a year ago, and have since devoured all of his other work.

At the time I came across The DIY Guide, I was starting to feel restless and frustrated with my life. I had been passed over for a couple of job opportunities, had some family difficulties, and was struggling with my writing, and Adam’s words found me just when I needed them most.

Now here we are a year later, and Adam has started writing a column for The Discerning Brute. The dispatch published yesterday hit on a lot of the residual feelings I’m having that are leftover from twelve months ago, and I found myself bumping the blog post I already had scheduled for today to write this one. I don’t think I’m alone in how I’m feeling, and I think his words are important for those of us that do.

In the article, Adam talks about the feelings we all have of being stuck and not knowing what the hell to do to unstick ourselves. Every last word resonated with me, as I’ve been feeling increasingly stuck again and like the will to fight within me is vanishing. One little part of Adam’s column in particular hit me right on the nerve endings:

What they don’t tell us is that working a job you don’t believe in will tax your soul somethin’ fierce. What’s the measure of someone who knows they’re a slave but doesn’t look for a way out of the cage? I’m not telling you to quit your shitty job tomorrow or anything like that. Times are hard. What I’m saying is: if you feel like you’re in the wrong place, start looking for a way out.

I’ve been in Cleveland and at my current job for three and a half years now, and that’s mostly how I’ve felt throughout the whole course of that time. I never intended to be back in my hometown, and I figured I would have found a way to write for a living by now. If you would’ve told 2010 Benno where he’d be today, he would’ve either laughed at you or accused you of being on drugs. He’d have been embarrassed by his elder self’s lack of fortitude, his settling, and his inability to start carving out a path of escape.

I spend all weekend, every weekend, focused on self-care. I do the things that give me energy and a positive mindset, like writing, reading, and getting out into the world, I spend lots of time with people I care about, and I try to eat and drink pretty clean (with the exception of a little whiskey). But all it takes is Monday at work and the evening commute and all of that good work is wasted. I’m drained, frustrated, not myself, and the prospect of four more days of the same feels like a continuous punch to the gut.

Of course, we’re not supposed to complain about our jobs. We’re told we’re lucky to have them in the first place, that the economy is fucked and we should be grateful to be employed. And I do love the people I work with. They’re the reason I’ve lasted this long without having a complete meltdown. I have a great boss and coworkers that make me laugh. It’s everything else, the actual job. How can any of us feel grateful for something that so degrades our energy, pokes holes in our contentment, leaves us feeling a shell of our real selves, and kills our will to fight?

All of this is not to say that I hate my life or anything as melodramatic as that. Only that the road to building your version of a good life is a long one, and it’s tough as hell to do. As Adam writes, “Once you start looking for a better life, things will immediately get tough.”

I still don’t know where I’m going, exactly. But I’m looking for a way out, a way to get closer to my idea of a good life. It’s comforting to be reminded sometimes that I’m not alone in the search.

Redhearts, amazon review sun 4/6 9:12pm

A friend actually instragrammed a page of this zine, which drove me to asking about it, subsequently ordering it, and devouring it on my way home from work one day. This is such a great affirmational read-- in a nice way, not a preachy way-- like having a beer with your best friend after a bad day. Thank you, Adam Gnade. Everyone: buy this.

Katy Haas, New Pages tue 3/18 10:37pm

Normally, I’m not one to gravitate to self-help or how-to books, but something about Adam Gnade’s 2013 chapbook drew me in. Maybe it was the cold winter months looming over my shoulder or, probably more likely, it was the blunt, unignorable title spread across the cover that led me to Gnade’s Do-it-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad.

Part book of lists, part miniature memoir, Gnade shares self-pep-talks to readers in a light, casual tone that makes his chapbook feel more like a conversation with a friend than your average self-help book does. As the title suggests, Gnade isn’t afraid to carry his profanity into the body of his work; “Don’t let the assholes win,” as he suggests in one list, makes the advice feel more real and less polished or forced.

With lists including “Guide to Not Freaking Out All the Time” and “A Rough Guide to Surviving the Unsurvivable,” there’s bound to be at least one piece of advice any reader can take away from Gnade’s guide. However, he doesn’t wear out the novelty of his lists by cramming the entire 59 pages with only those. Instead, between the lists are small bits of memoir that further serve to guide readers out of the “Big Motherfuckin’ Sad,” creating an easy flow to follow. These memoirs, including a vision of George Bush throwing a football, also give a good personal look into Gnade’s own Sad until it feels like a friend helping to pull readers from the sludge of sadness. Or if a reader is seeking to cheer up a friend, there’s even a small section in the book titled “Helping Your Friends Get Through It.”

A short read, The Guide can be finished in one sitting or plucked from the shelf to read one list at a time. Opening to the center of the books reveals the message “EVERYONE GOOD IS NECESSARY” before continuing to the regularly formatted pages. Even reading that one sentence when in a low mood makes owning The Guide worth it.

Whether you’re in need of some help shaking the winter blues in preparation for spring or you’re just seeking reminders to be happy, Gnade’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad is definitely worth dipping into for a quick pick-me-up.

Gea, amazon review wed 3/12 5:41am

I came across this fierce sliver of wisdom in Asheville's Downtown Books & News. It was perched beside hand-stapled zines of anarchy and rebellion, furious shouts for freedom alongside transgendered musings and short stories scribbled in pen. I am so over self-help books, but this tongue-in-cheek Do-It Yourself Guide is more a philosophical framework, a world-view than anything else.

Here's a taste:


Fight the critics. Fight the bank. Fight your creditors. Fight dismissiveness. Fight the publishers. Fight the agents. Fight fake friends. Fight the scene, the schmoozers, the phonies. Fight the lawyers. Fight the insurance companies. Fight sleep. Fight the neighbors. Fight the weather. Fight short attention spans. Fight the heat. Fight the drought. Fight time. Fight the recession. Fight the unkind. Fight the internet. Fight the past. Fight the dream-killers. Fight s***-talkers. Fight the morality police. Fight disinterest. Fight sickness. Fight boredom. Fight the public perception of you. Fight the airlines. Fight self-doubt. Fight the media. Fight your car. Fight the bosses. Fight the cowards. Fight irony. Fight laziness. Fight sarcasm. Fight exhaustion. Fight living in the shadow of your heroes. Fight your poverty. Fight your hunger (or don't). Fight the liberals, the conservatives, the Democrats, the Republicans, the anarchists, the Socialists, the Randites, the Tea Partyists, the Communists, the neocons, the plutocrats, the Dixiecrats, the fascists, ET CETERA. Fight the Huns, the Philistines, the Hoard, the Pack. Fight the Great Dumbing Down. Fight hopelessness. Fight rot. Fight traffic. Fight bias. Fight agenda. Fight death. Fight yourself. (And so on.)

Not very Zen I know, but something about this really resonates. He's saying, Never Surrrender. Don't Succumb to apathy. Screw a life of quiet desperation. DON'T SETTLE.

You've got to fight to LIVE! I don't agree with all of it. My neighbors rock and I'm tired of fighting with Republicans (a lot of them are my friends!), but I f'n love Adam Gnade.

L. Hewitt, amazon review wed 3/12 5:40am

Quick concise and some of the BEST advise I've had in my 65 years.
I've wrestled with depression for most of my life. I've read hundreds of books that are complicated and lead to nowhere...Adam's book is like sitting down with a good friend who's gone through IT and is showing you the ropes. Not easy to survive tough times in this beautiful life... with JOY! This young man is a great teacher. LOVED IT! wed 3/12 5:33am

I had been struggling with depression and anxiety and she sent this wee book in the mail, so small I thought the package was empty. It’s called The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade. The timing was impeccable. And this little book, surely there are parts where I feel as if I wrote it (again how similar we are! So many of us walking around trying to fight the big motherfuckin’ sad in our lives.) I mean, have you read my friend Maggie May Ethridge’s piece on my site called Sad Fish? It’s one of my favorites and I have taken to reading it aloud to people like some preacher on a street corner. Hey you! You! Over there! In the red jacket! Listen up.

Roctober wed 3/5 8:05pm

I suppose every book of affirmations and advice can be read as poetry, and every self-help guide is a chapbbok of sorts, but this one makes it clear that mantras like “let the assholes be assholes,” “you wont find what you need on the Internet,” “everyone good is necessary,” and “read more than you drink” belong on the poetry page as much as on the poster with a hanging-in-there kitty or the bumper sticker. Then again, maybe bumper stickers are just really thin, sticky chapbooks. mon 2/24 10:44pm

I knew I needed this book when I ordered it, but I don’t think I knew exactly how much I needed it until after reading it in one sitting during last week’s “The Walking Dead.” And I plan on reading it again this afternoon–plus any other time I need to remember how to fight because I have a terrible memory, and it’s especially difficult to remember these lessons when the BMS is cloaking itself over you like a dementor.

This book is a gift. It’s a simple piece of advice that you might know already but never really thought about. It’s a kick in the pants when you need one. (And I often need one.) Plus, it’s tiny and easily portable, making it perfect for referencing at pretty much any moment if you choose to carry it around with you.

The DIY Guide reads like a conversation with a friend who wants you to get up and fight, who gives you that pep talk you need, who reminds you to get out and to truly live life. Sometimes it’s gentle, sometimes it’s firm, but either way it’s always honest with you.

Notable quotes + advice:

“The best way to live is beholden to no man.” (page 40)
“No matter how beat up you feel, you are at your best when you’re fighting.” (page 11)
“A healthy and free life is the goal of the outlaw.” (page 29)
“Do it (all) yourself. Don’t wait around for record labels or publishers or bosses or moneypeople. If you wait to be discovered, you’ll be disappointed.” (page 6)
“Once you stop looking for identity, you start to die.” (page 27)

This book is just fantastic, and I think the pocket change it costs to order it would be incredibly well-spent. You can find it at mon 2/17 2:33am

I read this zine for the second time today, whilst sitting on a packed bus, coming home from work. I feel like it’s something I could pick up whenever I’m feeling sad, or flat, or uninspired, or lifeless, or worse, when I feel hopeless, and it would help me to gather myself up and smush all my pieces back together. Reading it makes my heart swell, it makes me think of positive things that have happened and will happen. It’s makes me feel excited to be alive, to meet new people, to just keep going. blog sat 1/25 11:39pm

i got this lovely zine/book by adam gnade called the do-it-yourself guide to fighting the big motherfuckin’ sad in the mail last night (link is to amazon, but if you buy there it’s actually from an independent seller. you might also find at a local independent bookstore/comic shop/weird stuff store if you have one where you live). a friend in another state posted a photo of the cover on facebook earlier in the week, and as soon as i saw it i knew i needed to get my hands on it. last night i opened the little padded envelope it came in, took it into the bathroom, sat in the floor against the tub, and read the whole thing. it’s tiny, so it’s not like i read war and peace in fifteen minutes, but it clearly is full of words i need to hear right now. things like this: “you need to push heavy.” it’s simple, but it’s true. i need to push heavy. i just need the sads to stop pushing back so hard.

Leon, Amazon review wed 1/22 10:36pm

This is like my inspiration in a pocket. I like to keep with me at all times and refer back to it whenever I'm feeling pretty low. It doesn't come off as a pretentious judgmental view of your life. Gnade has been down in the trenches with you and this is his personal testament.

Alyse Liebovich's GoodReads review tue 1/21 2:33pm

I bought this at a bookstore while passing through Asheville, NC as a souvenir for my boyfriend (not because he's "motherfuckin' sad" but because I love supporting people who publish zines and thought it might be a motivating source for winter reading, for both of us).
It's a quick read- 60 mini pages- but filled with so many vigorous head-nodding statements, that I turned to Jer when I finished it (he hasn't read it yet), and said, "You know, we have so much potential to create together. Let's finally start doing that."

Here are some of my favorite thoughts of his:

"It's not about the money. Stuff will work out if you work hard. Trust your gut and make the choices you're afraid of. Don't believe them when they tell you to "follow the money." They say that shit because they're scared of losing security. Fuck security. Give us the mess. Give us the big splash of life and color and failure. It's beautiful."

"Don't waste your life in front of a screen. If given the choice, avoid any kind of prison. Especially the ones we put ourselves in. Friends don't let friends wilt away on the internet. Friends open doors and say, 'Hey, you wanna get out of here?'"

"This line always gets me: 'If your life was a movie, would you want to watch it?' I'd like to say yes, but a lot of the time I can't. And when I can't, I feel like a goddamn bomb about to explode. Can you say yes? Ask yourself that right now and if you don't like the answer, do something about it."

So there.

Pat Ashe tue 1/14 3:41pm

I’ve always loved the work of Adam Gnade, a writer/musician/zinester/human, but 2013 was the year he really cemented his place in my head as a major influence and art crush. His work is an ongoing spider web of stories and people that intersect and interrupt each others stories. Across songs, novels and zines you catch glimpses of people, follow stories down rabbit holes and get lost in the great web he is weaving around you. You never see the whole story and all the characters but you know it is there. This is the kind of work I want to make. A huge unknowable mess that makes perfect sense. When I saw Adam play a set with the sadly defunct Youthmovies this year it was like being punched in the face in the best possible way.

Joshua Katcher, Discerning Brute interview fri 1/10 12:59pm

Adam Gnade’s bestselling new book, The Do-It-Yorself Guide to Fighting the Big MotherFucking’ Sad (Pioneers Press, $7) is a self-described “anti-depression guide/guide to a freer, more lawless life.” Gnade’s (pronounced guh nah dee) real-world advice is like getting a heartfelt letter from a trusted and knowledgeable friend. Practical, not clinical, Gnade’s raw and honest take on everything from pursuing your goals to ditching toxic people offers valuable perspective to help you keep your sanity, your joy and your productivity. - See more at:

Profane Existence 12/31/2013

Refreshing, honest, real, and truly relatable in all aspects were my immediate reactions post-read. Like many other people around the world, I get sad, and have been sad for a very large portion of the 22 years that I have existed. I have no problem admitting that. Recently, I have started to be proactive in my search to finding happiness, and holding on to it with every bone, muscle, finger, breath, et cetra, that I have in my body. Coming to the realization that it wouldn’t be easy, but also accepting that my quality of life would greatly improve, made the first step in this journey seemingly effortless.

The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade was everything I needed to hear – or rather read – and everything I’ve ever been told (by parents, teachers, therapists, etc) in a more applicable format for myself. This zine is an anti-depression and “How-To” guide to lead you past your demons, the assholes, the dream-crushers, the “anonymous” hate mail, the obstacles, the day-to-day sadness, and most importantly, yourself.

Living a lawless life is about accepting the reality that existing is not a cakewalk for every individual. But it is also about realizing that people change, ideas change, dreams change, and learning how to adapt to these changes as well as use them as a tool in your eventual success is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

This zine may not be helpful or relatable to everyone out there who is living with depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders. And it didn’t, by any means, make my problems go away. But it made me have a lot of “A-Ha” moments, or moments where I thought to myself, “This is me. This is totally me.” I will definitely be returning to this zine when I have my own “Big Motherfuckin Sad” episodes, and probably even just for general interest purposes. (XurkelX)

Alison Hallett, Portland Mercury 12/26/2013

[Adam Gnade's] The DIY Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad is one of the more raw and useful things I've read recently, and I'm glad people have been picking it up. It's a practical and heartfelt pamphlet about living a life that doesn't suck, and I wish someone had handed it to me when I was 15.

Powell's Books, bestseller list, 2013 small press 12/18/2013

1. DIY Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad by Adam Gnade
2. Dream Journals by Melody Owen
3. Poetic Scientifica by Leah Noble Davidson
4. Monogamy Songs by Gregory Sherl
5. Legs Get Led Astray by Chloe Caldwell
6. Fast Machine by Elizabeth Ellen
7. Disorder by Dan DeWeese
8. Glitter in the Blood by Mindy Nettifee
9. Bluets by Maggie Nelson
10. I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make Us Beautiful Together by Mira Gonzalez
11. Sexual Boat (Sex Boats) by James Gendron
12. Crapalachia by Scott McClanahan
13. Madness Vase by Andrea Gibson
14. We Live Inside You by Jeremy Robert Johnson
15. Life Cycle by Dena Rash Guzman

Chris Auman, Reglar Wiglar 12/18/2013

Writer Adam Gnade offers us a guide for how he deals with what he calls “The Big Motherfucking Sad” aka depression.

As soon as I opened up Adam’s fight guide, I instantly recognized something in myself. In the book’s introduction, Adam tell us that he dreams of dissecting his life—listing how tired or sick he felt on a certain day, what foods he ate and how he felt when he got up in the morning—all in an effort to detect the patterns of his life. Three years ago, I started to keep a journal for these very same reasons. I was inspired at the time by Jesse Reklaw’s daily comics journal, Ten Thousand Things to Do. I kept a daily record of what I ate, drank and the basics of what went down that particular day and what my mood was (good, bad, pissed, bummed). I wanted to see if I could recognize patterns. Was I depressed because I drank too much that particular week or did I drink because I was depressed? Did slipping into a lazy junk food diet cause my depression or did I turn to these comfort foods as a result of it? I am not someone who suffers from clinical depression, but I get bummed out like everyone else and if being in mental pain is comparable to being in physical pain, then it’s important to know the cause of the affliction so that it can be corrected.

Gnade doesn’t deal with the root causes of the Big Motherfucking Sad, recognizing that they vary by individual, but he does offer tips to school depression’s ass. With suggestions (commands, really) on how to not let the buggers get you down. There’s a “Guide to Not Freaking Out All the Time,” advice on how to deal with the critics and the haters and other assorted maxims you can use to pump yourself up when you’re feeling deflated. That’s the purpose of this book, which undoubtedly provided the same comfort to its author.

This zine is not a cure-all for anything, it’s just a tool you can use to help you continue to kick ass on a daily basis. A few months ago I stopped keeping my daily journal. Not out of laziness, but after three years I became pretty adept at recognizing the patterns I had been recording. When you know what’s coming you can prepare yourself for it. So if you suffer from chronic depression, seasonal depression or stress-related sadness, you would do well to have this pocket-sized pep talk close by. Don’t let it creep up on you and don’t let the bastards get you down—Chris Auman []

Kevin Sampsell, This is Between Us author (on Good Reads) 12/18/2013

Lots of good nuggets of wisdom in here. Gnade is a scrappy city boy who lives in Kansas now, while becoming one with open spaces and open hearts and punk-like idealism.
"One Thing I've Learned From the Farmers Around Here: Some things make you stronger. Some just make you old."

Lisa Mecham, The Rumpus 12/17/2013

The holidays are their own special, toxic mix of consumerism, hedonism and, let’s face it, absurdism. They also have a tendency to make me nostalgic and sad. So Adam’s self-described “anti-depression guide/guide to a freer, more lawless life” was the perfect find for me this month given how busy I’ve been.

The palm-sized pamphlet is organized into very short sections of “pep-talks” and point-by-point suggestions ...

One thing I love about small press books is they remind you that the writer is a real human being. Adam sent me a wonderful, personal note along with the book. His gratitude for my purchase was heartfelt and palpable ...

Rookie Mag's 2013 Gift Guide 12/3/2013

Winter can be really tough on some people—and I’m not just talking about the cold weather. It’s proven by SCIENCE that reduced exposure to sunlight can be a total downer on our psyches. And for TONS of people, these downers never seem to go away. In this zine, Adam Gnade offers a kick in the pants for those of us struggling with anxiety and depression. He writes with such honesty and compassion that the zine reads like a long, fervent pep talk from a friend over records and comfort food. Even if you don’t struggle with the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad all the time, this is a good item to keep around for those moments when you’re feeling blue and need to be affirmed.

Shannon Horte 11/4/2013

the trick that makes Adam Gnade’s DIY Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad such a poignant, superb collection is the honesty and genuineness with which it is packed.

throughout the entire book, you view Adam as a friend, as a companion along a real shitty road trip where you run out of gas and the next gas station isn’t for 5 miles but you have a friend to talk to so it’s really not all that bad.

though the writing hits home and the lists are so fucking spot on that I’d swear Adam read my mind, it’s the truth that rings so clearly behind it that makes my heart swell whenever I read it.

so thanks, Adam, Let’s fight together.

avatar boringgirls 10/22/2013

Liked this book so much I ordered the book version for a friend. A lot of really helpful strategies to dealing with the overwhelming. Things I'll carry with me for a long time.

That being said, one specific phrase I found myself rolling my eyes at: "bored to death by your girlfriend." Come on. There are better examples than that.

(Note: response to this comment from Pioneers Press staff: The above example (which was "bored to death by my girlfriend") was listed as a very lame, hurtful, and negative thing one's friends might say. It was part of a piece talking about what not to do; an example of things people say that aren't productive or positive. The full section was: "I got some friends who ... use words like 'purpose' and 'exciting' and 'adventure' when speaking of their lives. Not 'work commute' or ''bored to death by my girlfriend' or 'because I have to.'” Sorry if you took offense. That wasn't the intention. We're really glad you liked the rest!)

Chris Landry, Broken Pencil 9/11/2013

The most touching part of Adam Gnade's DIY anti-depression guide is his approach to the subject of suicide. He writes: "The feelings you have are the feelings we all have," then to put his money where his mouth is, offers up his email address along with the pledge: "Let's fight together ... Anytime, I'm here." Only in a zine can you really be that direct and have it truly mean something. In 2012, when The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad first emerged as a hand-assembled zine, it repeatedly went out of print. Now, to meet that demand it's been published as a handy, widely available pamphlet thanks to the folks at Pioneers Press

This is part memoir, but it's primarily made up of a series of impassioned lists and affirmations for less harrowing living. This may speak to everybody. Gnade advocates living off of your own creativity and living a more non-hegemonic lifestyle, such as that prescribed by CrimethInc's Days of War, Nights of Love, a lifestyle, I would argue, that is not attainable for all. But for the doubting artist, wayward traveler or fretful writer there are words here designed to calm you down in your most anxious moments.

I appreciate how personalized this guide is. The author doesn't intend to solve all your problems, nor does he come off as overbearing or trite. He is merely sharing what has and hasn't worked for him based on personal experience. The overall conclusion is that different things work for different people but ultimately a guide like this serves as a helping hand, a friendly suggestion, and a personal narrative that serves to lessen the stigma connected to depression and anxiety.

Powell's Books 8/25/2013

Probably our most popular small press thing is this gem by Adam Gnade. 8/15/2013

Last year Adam Gnade wrote a really great zine about dealing with depression, being bummed out, and squaring off with the “big motherfuckin’ sad.” Said zine was my favorite out of all of the ones I read last year (and that’s a lot).

Well, it’s a new year and a new season and Adam is back with a second extended edition of his DIY Guide. I didn’t think the original could be improved on very much, but boy was I wrong. This new second edition features nearly double the content and cleaner printing.

This is a really important zine. Buy a copy for yourself, your friends, your family, that stranger you always see who has eyes that are even more tired than yours — anybody.

Right now you can get The DIY Guide… exclusively from Pioneers Press. This is their first published title, and oh man is it a good one to start on. Not only will you be getting an excellent zine, but you’ll be supporting some really great people.

Please get a copy of this.

Ingrid, Magpie Librarian 8/15/2013

[Adam Gnade’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad] made me cry on the Q train, but in a “Holy crap, somebody gets me and my specific brand of sad” kind of way. I don’t want to call it depression anymore. It’s a big motherfuckin’ sad and I’m going to kick its ass.

There’s amazing advice for bloggers on here: “Do not, under any circumstances, read the comments. “Anonymous” is not a real person. “Anonymous” is disappointment, weakness fighting back, and envy at its worst. The people who talk shit and complain and stick their nose in your business on the internet don’t hate you, they hate themselves” (p. 5). One of my favorite snippets reminded me of battling the library budget: “No matter how beat-up you feel, you are at your best when you’re fighting” (p. 4).

Buy a copy for yourself. Keep it in your bag or in your desk at work. Buy a mess of copies and gift it to friends who are having a hard time. It’s four bucks you won’t be sorry you’ve spent. Adam doesn’t say that everything’s going to be OK always. He tells you what you already know: life is painful and life is hard, but life is also “good and right and sweet.” I am so happy I have a copy of this. It’s my new security blanket.

tooshortpants.tumblr 8/15/2013

This is The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade, and the day I got it I read it through twice. I highly recommend it to anyone who:

* is surprised they’re still alive
*creates art, only to repeatedly throw it out because it’s “not good enough”
*thinks they’re destined to be alone forever
*doesn’t know where they’ll be in 5 years
*feels like their life just doesn’t fit them
*hasn’t left the house in 6 weeks
*has ever posted anything sad on the internet, secretly hoping someone out there would hear them
*is so fucking tired

“Don’t sabotage yourself. There are enough people out there who’ll do it for you. Don’t let the assholes win.”

Will Potter, Green is the New Red 8/15/2013

Get a few for your friends, but keep one for yourself when you need an uplifting kick in the ass.

Quimby's 8/15/2013

Survival check-ins to thwart the inner monsters.

Utne Reader 8/15/2013

The $5.50 you spend on this zine could save you a whole lot on doctor bills and pills. Plus, it’s really fun to read. 8/15/2013

I’m a week late posting this due to a little vacation back home to Alabama, but here goes: I recently ordered a couple of zines from my favorite zine people Pioneers Press. First off, my stuff arrived within 4 days of placing the order, which is crazy fast! I bought 2 zines, the first being The Do-It-Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade. I finally got to read it last night, and damn. I wish I could have read this 6 months ago. Or 6 years ago. Anyone could appreciate this book, but it especially speaks to those of us who suck at normal jobs and just want to write, draw, or take pictures and make a modest living from it. If this book is nothing else, it’s comforting. Reading this was a similar situation to those late night talks you have with friends after several beers where you say things you’ve been dying to tell someone but couldn’t under the light of a sober sun. Two of the constant themes are two things that I wake up and fall asleep with, which are anxiety and self-doubt. Self-doubt in the sense that what you love to do will never be good enough and that an un-fulfilling job is your ultimate destiny. It has several verses on things like dealing with criticism, haters, the internet, and solving the age-old grips of boredom (which luckily I haven’t felt in a really long time.)

For me, probably the most important and relevant part of this book is a section that provides some answers and clarity on what is perhaps the most frustrating thing ever. We’re all aware of the various people and sources out there that just say “fuck it, quit your job!” but then just leave you hanging and give no insight as to what happens after you tell yourboss to suck it. This is the part that I’ve really started embracing and busting my ass on the last several months, which is building your own little empire by making zines, opening an online store, etc. Ever since I started putting plans in motion and taking those small but crucial steps, I’ve never felt better about the future. I still worry constantly about student loans and hospital bills, but I’ve never felt more in control of my own destiny and well-being. If you’re in that middle phase where you have ideas but aren’t sure where to get started, I strongly encourage you to get this book! You won’t be disappointed. You can do it.

Kathleen MacPhee 8/15/2013

Adam Gnade has made a gift of himself with this little volume.

If you've ever been prone to debilitating bouts of sef-doubt, lying in bed for days on end, or just taking yourself too seriously to get out of your own way, you want to read this. Unlike most of the literature in the "self-help" genre, this zine is real, it's relatable, and it doesn't condescend. I've bought a couple now (plus a freebie :D ) and will likely buy more. Good good medicine.

dr dan hartman 8/15/2013

Once loyal readers may have noticed I have not been posting too much recently. Not to say I haven’t thought about it . . . it just seems like between work and home and everything in between my creative juices were tapped just keeping things going. Life is like that, no? I have been reading, however. Lots. From business inspiration stuff from Hill and Tracy to life inspirational stuff from Izzo to spiritual inspirational stuff from Toltec, Buddhist and Christian traditions . . . Hell, I’ve even been clearing my clutter with Feng Shui! It is all good, and I am a better and wiser person for it. None of it, however, sparked my creative writing juices like the 27-page zine I was turned on to by a family member.

My biggest complaint about the titles available in the Self-Help genre is that they are too long. What sense does it make to write a 500 page self help book on ADHD or Depression when your intended audience struggles to get through a paragraph and remember what it said? People will continue to buy such things, however, with the hope that the next one will be THE BIG ONE . . . the one that lifts you out of the mess and sets you back on track. That attitude (and the hype of the publishing world that promotes it) inevitably leads to disappointment and a renewed sense of inadequacy in many of the people who buy such books. And who writes those books, anyway? Mostly people like me . . . well intentioned professionals who have lots of book and ‘in the trenches’ experience working with people who suffer. The books are written with the hope of helping people make the next step . . . get a little better . . . move on in life . . . but they are often too complicated and, as a reader of such things myself, it almost seems as if the writer were speaking from on high. From a “better place” that one can only hope to achieve someday.

The Do It Yourself Guide To Fighting The Big Motherfuckin’ Sad (hereafter referred to as TBMSad) is written from the practical perspective of someone who has struggled for years with Depression, and the ancillary feelings that come along with it. He summarizes his life experience with Depression, making it clear that he is someone who has been there. Someone who has struggled through and achieved some measure of peace with it. Depression continues to be a presence . . . but not the definition of who he is. He is, as a Japanese proverb says, a man who has fallen down seven times . . . and gotten up eight. What he has learned through the falling and the rising comes through in his text as a call to Fight the Fight. To do what you need to do to get to the next day. To keep yourself open to the knowledge that This Too Shall Pass. That beyond the dark is a sliver of light that is worth sticking around for . . . worth living for. TBMSad is not a definitive text on surviving Depression. It doesn’t have all the answers. It doesn’t preach and it doesn’t tell you how to live your life. TMBSad does remind you to remind yourself that, in the midst of the dark, you WILL see the light . . . you WILL make it to the other side of Sad with a little more wisdom and knowledge than when you went into it. It will remind you that it is worth it to Fight the Fight. It does this better than any book or article I have ever read, and I encourage you to visit the link below and get a copy . . . and one for someone you love.

Tobias Carroll, Volume 1 Brooklyn 8/15/2013

First up: Adam Gnade’s The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad. Gnade is a musician and writer, and much of what he talks about here echoes his experiences in both. There are general thoughts on fighting depression, and more specific references to his own life — whether travels he’s made or responses to being trolled. And there’s a long paragraph about Chicago that presses all the right buttons for me — references to Hit it or Quit It and Saul Bellow, which is not a bad thing at all. There are appearances by the music of Conor Oberst and Ray Raposa, which is equally notable — and helps root Gnade’s work here in a larger aesthetic.

--Suzanne Lindgren, Utne Reader 8/15/2013

"If only Gnade had written this 15 years ago, and someone older and wiser had passed it along to me. From advice contained in lists like, 'Guide to Not Freaking Out All the Time," The Do It Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin' Sad is full of hard-earned wisdom. The best, most necessary thing about the zine is the implicit premise that if you're sad--depressed even--you, your brain, and your chemical imbalances are not the problem. Instead there's the subversive assumption that sadness, anxiety, anger, and depression are natural responses to our culture and the ways we're expected to relate to and interact with it." --Suzanne Lindgren, Utne Reader

Fast Company 8/15/2013

There is hope in the jealous working world, coming from Pioneers Press, the certifiably badass bookbinders from the prairies of Kansas. They recently blogged a few selections from their zine The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad, which is, according to author Adam Gnade, an antidepression handbook and a "guide to a freer, more lawless life."

Maximumrocknroll 8/15/2013

I love how-to guides. And lists, aphorisms, documenting human behavior and taking note of life's lessons. And this zine, which is all book-style text, is basically just that. I find the process of self-discovery/battling depression/writing to have a similar backbone, and the writer does too: You have to find your inner voice and trust it; you can't let the critics get to you or soon enough there will be no (real) "you" to speak of. He also stresses the importance of carpe diem ("Life is water through wet cloth"), notes that suicide is no relief (Sidenote: a study by Kay Jamison, psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins University, showed that writers are 10 to 20 times as likely to suffer [manic-]depressive illnesses, making it more likely to lead to suicide) and suggests we "destroy all uncandid thought." His prose shows that he's a lover, but his dictums reveal he's also a fighter. Make no mistake, there is no Buddhist pulp, or anarchist thought here, and while this little zine might not teach you something new, it'll remind you of what not to forget. "The smart outlaw is the free outlaw. The free outlaw is the only outlaw." (Lydia Phelps) Pioneers Press c/o Adam Gnade / 816 Main #200, Lansing, KS, 66043

Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox, ThreeOneG) 8/15/2013

A punctual reminder that boredom is counter-revolutionary as well as inspiration to live fast, die old by comrade Adam Gnade.

glasseswithcoffee.tumblr 8/15/2013

I’m pretty behind in updating what I’ve been reading, but I’ve also been busy as well (finally)!

This zine came in a few weeks ago, and right when I needed it. The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big, Bad, Motherfuckin’ Sad by Adam Gnade is brilliant and came in the best wrapping. If you doubted the joys of the postal service, you never received an order from Pioneers Press. You need to get off Tumblr right now and get to ordering some of the coolest zines or books or patches from them RIGHT NOW and wait a few days to get something really beautiful and restore your faith in real life mail.

And if you’re one of those people that eschews small or local publishing houses for cheap deals on websites like Amazon, GET OFF THE INTERNET. Amazon will never send you a personalized message of thanks (thanks, Adam!), a free (HAND-COLORED!) button, and a “FIX SHIT UP" patch. It’s Christmas in July, folks.

[Disclaimer: Pioneers Press does not send better packages than your significant other. They come pretty close though. Iris, you send the best packages without a doubt. But even you know how good their packages are.]

So back to the zine. The best part about the guide is that it’s honest: Gnade tells you that you have to be prepared to fight, long and hard, to get through shit (any shit, all the shit that you can imagine, visible or invisible). And that’s difficult especially for someone who is struggling with depression or ennui or a really shitty living situation or a fall-out with a friend.

The suggestions that he makes aren’t groundbreaking either: Gnade tells you to stop staring at screens, stop “wasting time with friends you don’t love," and “read more than you drink." It’s probably something your friend has told you, or a mentor. The difference is Gnade’s honesty coming from his own experiences and understanding what it’s like to be there, in the void. It’s refreshing. It’s refreshing to hear someone say things can be undeniably shitty without the false optimism that things will get better. And it’s great to pair that truthfulness with things that are worth living for, or reminders of what to fight against or for.

Push heavy. Everyone Good is Necessary.

This is a zine I wish I had when I was in high school, and it’s the zine I wish could be in every high school library, counselor’s office, locker, or secret nook behind a bathroom stall or playground fence. Or the entire section “Fight Every Day" printed on a flyer pasted around town, or on a poster to tack to a ceiling as a reminder for what to do today. Because sometimes you don’t need an intervention, or a long dialogue with a friend. It’s enough to have a reminder sometimes.

And a reminder was just what I needed as a lost, fresh-out-of-college graduate who is tired of getting the “What are you doing next?" questions when they really mean “Are you worth anything now?" It’s been too easy waking up to watch TV to go to bed to waking up to watch TV. But now, my days have more meaning when I’m waking up to finally get out of this place, working on my zine projects, working on non-imaginary to-do lists, and fighting against the haters.

So, do yourself a favor and order from Pioneers Press. The packaging will make your day (plus the items, but really, the packaging is pretty much the best thing to get in the mail, other than love letters or hilariously bad postcards). 8/15/2013

i’ve been meaning to post about this zine for a while, and there’s nothing like a little incentive as motivation.

i had seen excerpts from it on my tumblr dashboard a few times in the past, and, finding myself fending off the big motherfuckin’ sad again, i bought it at the beginning of june.

friends, if you often find yourself feeling hopeless about everything (especially if you are creative) and have $5.50 to spare, buy this zine (if you have the extra seven dollars, upgrade your shipping to priority, and they throw in all sorts of wonderful extras [mine included a saw patch! it’s like they knew!]). even if you don’t have $5.50 to spare, buy a few less things at the grocery store this week and buy this instead.

it’s short. this is great because when you find yourself wanting to drive into oncoming traffic on a semi-regular basis, your desire to read anything longer than 100 pages is basically non-existent. and since it’s comprised of mostly lists and short essays and brief anecdotes, it’s a fast read. it’s well-written and relatable. it’s not written by a doctor or a psychologist or someone of similar ilk. he’s just a guy who has been depressed, writing about depression and giving you pep-talks to get you through it. by the end, you’ll want to be friends with adam gnade.

i read it before i went to sleep on the day it arrived. i was crying by the third paragraph. now, truth be told, it doesn’t take much to get me crying when faced with the big motherfuckin’ sad. but this was a different sort of crying. a “holy shit, somebody gets it" crying, and a “holy shit, things can be better" crying, which is good crying, because sometimes those things are things you can forget when fighting the big motherfuckin’ sad (especially if you’re a hermit with basically no friends in the immediate area). i put it in my bag the next morning. i take it with me everywhere. i read from it often. it’s inspired me to come up with the “thirty before thirty" list of thirty things i want to do before i turn thirty at the end of january (final list coming soon).

buy it. support small presses and farms and good people and fight the big motherfuckin’ sad.