Today I want to write about zines. I mean, I write a lot about zines and my last post was also zine-related, but I still want to write about zines. It’s either writing a zine or writing about zines. And since I am just finishing up my part of a split-zine, writing ABOUT zines it is.
I first got into zines back in 2007. Come to think of it, I don’t exactly remember how or why. All I remember is that I was heavily into the riot grrrl scene (and still am). I was browsing some riot grrrl literature on eBay and ordered the book A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over the World. At that time, I’ve been in Israel for a year, working random translating jobs that had nothing to do with the field I really wanted to work in – Journalism. I’ve submitted a few articles here and there to the Jerusalem Post, and saw my work butchered by the editors, and I still didn’t make a rusty Agora for it. It was only after I read A Girl’s Guide that it occurred to me.
“Hey! I can make my own zine, publish my own work the way I wrote it, and fuck mainstream media!” It also occurred to me that I might not get paid for it either, but who cares? Using my journalistic skills and self-publishing was the end in itself.
People have sometimes asked me what does it take to make a zine. What tools do you need? What skills must you have? What stories, topics or themes should you explore?
I always gave the same answer: DIY. Do it yourself. Get your own tools, learn your own skills, tell your own stories. There are no rules, there are no limits. Best of all, there is no censorship. This is free speech and freedom of the press the way it was intended.
The only mandatory thing in zine culture is inspiration. I think that with inspiration, everything comes right along – patience, persistence, and an unyielding love for the craft. The zines you create with inspiration are the best zines you will ever make.
Of course, there are certain guidelines for zinesters if they want their readers to enjoy the full experience of zine-reading. The layout should be easy on the eyes, the script should be legible, the binding should be stable… I’ve also read suggestions from other zinesters who said that the pages must be numbered, you should have a table of contents, and somewhere in your zine there should be your name and contact information. But I don’t think these things are entirely necessary. Maybe there are some zinesters out there who do not wish to be contacted. I can sometimes relate to that. Zinesters are artists, and many of the ones I know (including myself) are introverts and loners. We find comfort in solitude. We find our inspiration and do our best work when we are left alone in silence, preferably in a sound-proof shelter room with a blasted heater.
Despite that, I still put my contact information on the back of my zines because I like to hear from others in the zine-scene. But that’s my own choice and may not apply to everyone.
After the split-zine I am currently finishing up is all printed, stapled and ready for distribution, I will write another issue which I’ve already started (probably after my wedding on March 11). It will be a zine about the wonderful and magical world of metaphors. Y’all should be on the lookout for it.
Also, I am jonesing for International Zine Month. I’m pretty sure my honeymoon will be in June, so I hope to be back home a bit before July so that I can prepare for that month and also do the 24-Hour Zine Thing again. So psyched for it!!
Peace, love and I do like it PMS, and I got it PMS.