Ripened Scab, Rest in Peace

by helenzuman, July 31, 2019 in General, Memoir, Zendik

[In late summer 2004, a couple weeks before I left Zendik Farm, a dog named Apache ripped a chunk out of my left calf, while I was diving into the pond. This scene, in which I reckon with the bodily aftermath of that attack, didn’t make it into Mating in Captivity. But I do so […]

Zendiks vs. Christians in New Orleans

by helenzuman in Cults, General, Memoir, Zendik

[Mardi Gras was one Zendik’s biggest money-makers. Each year, a passel of us descended on New Orleans and sold ourselves silly. Fanatics of other stripes also saw opportunity. In early 2000, after I’d been at the Farm for a few months and sold a handful of far tamer scenes, I begged a chance at the […]

Cycling Through Stories

by helenzuman in Cults, Memoir, Zendik

Once upon a time, in a coffee shop in Park Slope, I met up with a fellow ex-Zendik who’d lived at the Farm for a couple years (to my five). His outlook on his Zendik experience was essentially positive; he’d stayed as long as it served him, no longer. Soon after, I formed a hypothesis: […]

The Opposite of Selling Is Connecting: How I Escaped Kickstarter Hell

by helenzuman in Memoir, Zendik

In five years at Zendik Farm, I spent countless hours selling Zendik merchandise (magazines and CDs, plus stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan “STOP BITCHING START A REVOLUTION”) all over the South, Northeast, and Midwest, at concerts and festivals and on city streets. Selling did not come easily to me – often I dreaded it […]

Cult Stories: Novels vs. Memoirs

by helenzuman in Cults, Memoir, Zendik

Since beginning work on my Zendik book, more than ten years ago, I’ve read dozens of cult memoirs. (In 2008, on a train from New York to Seattle, I binge-read maybe seven or eight.) Many are terrible; some are decent; a few kick butt. The terribles fall into two categories: self-published exposés with a side […]