As if by chance, a title — “Brooklyn to Mars” — comes into view. I imagine the author, Markus Almond, calling out, urging me closer with a wave of his hand. I sit and read as though Almond is speaking to me, telling me what this book means to him and what it should mean to me — to all of us.
“This book is for you, laborer of love, seeker of art, lover of songs, farmer of thoughts or ideas that need to take over the world. I believe that right now, more than ever, anything is possible in your life.” In only a matter of sentences, the mood has shifted. In our lives, the despair or uncertainty we beheld, lifted.
These are the very same words that led Almond to where he is today — from humble beginnings to the publication of his first major work, which is steadily garnering all the attention. Based in New York City, Almond has spent much of his professional life as a musician, writer, and do-it-yourself publisher. The work, which is a compilation of previous issues of his same-titled magazine, is evidence of Almond’s varied artistry. A particularly keen wordsmith, Almond also seeks to uphold the rare literary form that is zine publication.
It is important to note that Almond’s past zines appeared electronically and as limited print editions, all of which were typed and assembled by hand with sweat, scissors, blood, glue, and tears. The current compilation, however, only exists electronically, but does encompass all five zine issues: “Getting Started” (I), “Minimalism” (II), “Will Power” (III), “Karoshi” (IV), and “Self-Talk” (V). In prose style, most of the pieces are brief, upfront and, above all, powerful. Much of the collection offers optimism in what seems to be a sometimes lackluster world.
More often than not, Almond seeks to reinforce our happiness by placing the responsibility of both the good and the bad in our own hands. Almond speaks through the pages as though he is our oldest and wisest friend, giving us advice along the way: “Without passion, you’re not going to make it. Don’t be afraid to set your heart on fire for something you believe in. And don’t be afraid to disregard that which does not get your blood boiling in the morning.”
“Brooklyn to Mars” is a pivotal and life-changing book that leaves readers with the most important message of all — that small beginnings can lead to extraordinary endings, should we be willing to take the first step.
‘Brooklyn to Mars’ by Markus Almond Rating: W W W W W