Issue 2: I Know You Are, But What Am I?

I Know You Are, But What Am I? takes on ideas of alienation and not-belonging through highly personal story-telling. With pieces by Patrick Freyne, Megan Nolan, Maggie Armstrong, Ciaran Walsh, Roisin Agnew, Brian Herron, Rob DoyleSimon Ashe-Browne, and Donal Flynn. You can find it over at our online store.

Roisin Agnew | Editor's Foreword

On the American syllabus there is a book called The Giver. It’s set in a utopian society that lives in Sameness (the book’s capitalisation) in order to rid the world of pain. Jonas, the hero, has been made the Guardian of Memory, a task assigned to a member of society to prevent the world from going astray. Things start to get sinister in the land of Sameness, so Jonas must leave and go Elsewhere (no joke) to save humanity.

It’s a crumby book in retrospect. A celebration of individualism that the American syllabus loves to kumba-ya around. But like the hero of any slightly moral fable, Jonas has no personality. Rather, his most defining feature is that he is against Sameness, that he won’t be the same, but that’s all we get.

I Know You Are, But What Am I? is a PeeWee Herman line that we’re using to look at feelings alienation and not belonging. The line can work on the basic and on the ontological level. It describes the idea that we define our identity by comparing it to others, but it also describes that feeling of others existing in a sharper, clearer focus than we ourselves do. We live in a state of difference by defiance or dispossession, and yet we remain our own principle mystery.

We are the sum of the things we are not. And we haven’t a clue. Enough waffling. 


Aran Quinn | Issue 2 Illustrator

One balmy Sunday when Tim was 14 he was asked to paint the garden fence blue. He went about the painting on his own, ala Tom Sawyer, a vision of blonde locks and boredom. As the task became more tedious, his work became sloppier, until he accidentally painted his arm blue. The effect was nice, alien-like and fleshy. Taken by his blue skin, he ran back into the house and into the upstairs bathroom, still holding the paint and brush. He took off his clothes and began to cover his body in blue paint. By the sink was a pair of his mother’s fishnet tights, drying. He put these on and looking at himself in the mirror began to masturbate, taking in the beguiling strangeness of the creature jerking off in the mirror’s reflection

Aran’s friend’s moment of solitary naughtiness makes the front cover for this issue.  It’s a peek-hole into someone establishing their identity by contrast and comparison to an other. Or maybe that’s just what Tim’s into. 

Aran is a jaw-droppingly talented Dublin illustrator and animation director at The Mill+, NYC. His animation has been mentioned in It’s Nice That and The Creative Review. There’s a gentle cuteseyness to his work that’s undercut by a sharp style. For I Know You Are But What Am I he dropped the cute in favour of large dicks and boobs.

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