Decompose It!

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Diary 1The other day I suddenly got inspired to resume journal writing. I’ve been keeping diaries all my life (see this post) but as it is with zine-production, it’s kind of hard to find time to write when you’re a full-time mom. I tried keeping a pregnancy journal, and I have, but all the entries were actually saved as unpublished posts on this blog. At that time, I didn’t really feel like writing by hand. I don’t know why.

But anyway, the diary I’m writing in now is one that my friend from Salem bought for me when I was there for the Boston Zine Fest. It’s a rather large one, with the front and back covers decorated with black-and-white drawings of guitars, microphones, amps, keyboards, and drums. On the front cover, it says “Decomposition Book – 100% post-consumer-waste recycled pages – Printed with Soy Ink”. Whether any of that is true or not is irrelevant. But I LOVE the “decomposition” part. Really jives with the death metalhead within.

I added the title “Fertile Myrtle” with the H logo when I tried to keep it as a pregnancyDiary 2 journal. Some of the first entries were in fact written when I was going through the IVF treatments and when I found out I was pregnant. Then a few entries when I tried to get back to journal writing again and failed. Again.

So the other day, when I got inspired, I wrote yet another entry about trying to get back to keeping a diary, and I really hope it’ll work this time. Keeping with the inspiration, I added a few stickers that I received from zinesters and penpals I traded with. Cool stickers and decorations really do encourage me to keep writing. So far, I only wrote two entries and they’re short. But I had a great time writing them.

I should really practice my handwriting. I’ve been typing shit for too long, and all of it was on the computer. I mean, if I were typing on my manual typewriter (which requires quite a bit of finger strength and may cause broken nails, bruises, and blisters) I wouldn’t be so hard on myself for not doing much writing by hand. But as it stands, the only time I write by hand is when I write letters to penpals (awesome) and notes for clients (meh).

It might be because of my condition that I get kinda lazy and opt for blogging. But fuck it. I’m done making excuses. Myotonic Dystrophy be damned. I love writing by hand. Diaries and letter-writing shall prevail!

Peace, love and wouldn’t it be so cool if my typewriter could accommodate diaries?

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In My Heart of Arts

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61574_430831122470_2287989_nMy mind tends to wander quite a bit when I have my morning tea. If it wanders far enough, it also makes me lose track of time and I end up being late for work. This morning was one of those long and wide mind-wanderings.

Back when I lived with roommates and had no living beings depending on me for survival, we used to have art nights. I just realized I didn’t write much about these affairs in my past blogs, but damn, these were some fucking awesome nights.

We came up with the idea when my roommates and I took a road trip up north and visited the Dada museum in Ein Hod. There was a section of it dedicated solely to what they called “Garbage Art”. Basically, art made with recycled things and discarded objects left in the trash. Random shit that anybody can make. Like a discarded toilet bowl with a boot stuck on the rim.

So we were like, “Hey, we can make that too!”

And so, every once in a while, we invited over some friends, laid out all our art supplies and made whatever we felt like. If it was drawing, painting, writing, poetry, playing guitar, jewelry making, zine making, fimo molding, knitting, crocheting, absolutely anything goes.

Sometimes, we also tried to set art nights with a theme. We had an art night on Purim once, where we painted masks and noisemakers, some people showed up with costumes, we served Hamantashen and a bunch of sweets. It was so rad! We also had an art night on Lag Baomer and made Smores on our stove top. An art night on Tu Bishvat (the tree-hugging holiday) with a special lecture by one of my friends about all-natural body products. Of course, an art night involving a small zine workshop led by me for anybody who was interested in zine production.

I loved how most of the art nights that we had were attended only by women. Sure, we had some men coming every now and then. I even invited my husband (who was still my boyfriend back then) once, who refused at first because he felt he had no artistic talent.

“You play guitar,” I replied. “That’s an art. Come and play guitar for us!” So he did.

But most of the time, we were all women. There is something special in being in the company of a bunch of women, making art, talking about art, living breathing art, even if just for a few hours. There is no tension, no competition, no animosity, no need to justify or prove oneself for one reason or another. As we saw it, we were all equal, and we were all friends.

These were the thoughts that were going through my mind as herbal tea was rushing through my system in the morning. I started longing for these art nights which do not happen anymore because the roommate clan has disbanded. We each went our separate ways, mostly to the married life and subsequent motherhood. Of course, I regret nothing. I love being a wife and mother. But I certainly wish that “artist” was still included in the list of things that define me.

Peace, love and maybe I could have an art night with my kid and her friends when she grows up.

Overthrow the Laundry Basket

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OTTSQ

I really miss being crafty. I miss writing and making zines. I miss drawing and making collages. I miss trying out new crafts I’ve never tried before. But mostly, zine-production is my most missed activity. Especially after reading my friend’s zine about zines, Overthrow the Status Quo (which everyone should get, and I would link this to her Etsy page if the issue was being sold there, but it’s not. Here’s the link to ZinesByNyxia anyway because all her zines are awesome).

Good zines inspire me to create zines. Great zines inspire me to go crazy with more inspiration and create more zines. And zines that tell me that I should put off mopping the floor and make a zine instead make me feel silly for doing house chores when the time could be better spent with zine production.

I have free mornings on days when I work the afternoon shift, and I have a couple of free hours in the afternoon on days when I work morning. But then, I have my laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. And then I have dishes. And then I have my daughter’s laundry to wash, dry, fold and store. And then I have more dishes. And if I have any leftover time, I try to sleep (and fail), and then it’s time to go to work or go pick up my daughter, depending on my shift, and any hope for zine production dies.

This is why I write blogs. Because seriously, if I didn’t have that, I would go mad. Writing is important to me. Whether my writing is being read or not is completely irrelevant. Writing is the end in and of itself. But at the same time, deep down, I feel that these blog posts are a temporary treatment until I find time for the ultimate cure (i.e. zines).

So that’s why I miss it. And that’s why it’s not just mopping the floor that needs to be put off but everything else. And my house would need to be a mess, I would need to run out of dishes and my daughter would need to run out of clothes, and then maybe I would actually be able to get cracking on paper cuts and sticky fingers.

Peace, love and thank the goddess that at least my husband does his own laundry and sometimes does the dishes too.

 

 

 

Motherzinester

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It wasn’t easy, but I did it!! After almost two years of having made no more than a single mini zine, I finally managed to produce a full-length one. This is not an issue of Purple Myrtle Squeegy, and I wonder if I’ll ever make another one from that series. This issue is called Ima Badass (a play on words to those of you who speak both English and Hebrew) and it focuses on my experience with pregnancy and the onset of motherhood. It might be a one-off, or the first of a few. I haven’t decided yet. All I know is that it needed to be done. You can’t be a zinester and a mother without writing at least a single zine about motherhood.

IB cover

The format of this zine is slightly different from the previous DIY issues of PMS perzine. Since I rarely had any time to work on it, I did most of the layout by computer. The cover is a photo I took while my month-old daughter was napping on my lap. Although it’s mostly cut-and-paste, the script is all computer typed. There are no backgrounds because that would have involved a hell of a lot more time and effort, which anyone with a baby would understand that I simply don’t have.

But still, I did it! And it’s as raw and intimate as any perzine should be.

A huge thank you to all my awesome zinester friends and artist friends for your constant inspiration. A special thanks goes out to my husband for finding the time in his crazy schedule for printing this issue. And another special thanks to Shoshana for contributing a beautiful drawing included in the zine!

Peace, love and babies

IZM 2017 Recap

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This year’s International Zine Month almost didn’t happen. For the better part of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep while lamenting my lack of time to do any decent zine production. For the rest of the month, I was changing diapers and missing out on sleep, while trying my best to engage in zine-related activities and missing out on even more sleep.

Obviously, as I mentioned in a previous post, I couldn’t do all the activities listed for IZM, and unfortunately, I was also unable to do the 24-Hour Zine Thing. So instead I made a short list of activities I could probably do. Here’s what I managed to do with this year’s IZM:

Cover - pic

Create a profile on the new We Make Zines website:
To be perfectly honest, I don’t like the new website. It doesn’t have as many options to edit the profile as the Ning one did. But I still created what minimal profile was allowed on the website, joined a few groups and added a few friends.

Read some of my unread zines that I got in trades:
I had a pile of them on my desk for further reading. Some of them were pretty good. But there were some that put me to sleep and gave me a headache. I struggled to keep reading them hoping that I might actually find something of interest in them, but I couldn’t do it. At some point, I just told myself, fuck it. If the zine doesn’t draw me in, I’ll just drop it and find something better to do with my time. I’m trying to find some place/zine library/people to send these zines to. I don’t generally like to throw zines away.

Send a few more zines to Quimby’s Bookstore:
They actually manage to sell some of my zines! And I recently asked my friend from Boston to send back to me all the leftover zines I sent there for the zine fest of 2015. So now that I had a bunch of extra copies, I decided to send some of them to Quimby’s. They were happy to restock them.

Revamp my Etsy shop:
There were a few edits I had to make for the items I posted, and add a new item (the full postcard collection of Alternative Jerusalem). I also edited some of the prices, amount of items in stock, and categories.

Set up an inventory system for all my zines:
I spent a whole day counting the copies of all my zines and postcards. I wrote it all by hand in a notebook but that proved to be a mistake whenever I reprinted an issue or sold some and the numbers had to be changed. So I took my notebook to work and set up a chart on Excel.

Send trading requests and trade:
I once traded with Katherine Montalto. She sent me some pretty cool zines plus a few small drawings she made. I loved her drawings so much that I decided to frame them and hang them in my daughter’s bedroom. I contacted her again this year and we agreed to trade again. I can’t wait to see what she sends me this time! I also contacted Xyendra Fragola and just recently sent them a couple of my zines. Xyendra and I have been in touch since 2004 through the defunct MSN Spaces (before it was taken over by Windows Live before it was taken over again by WordPress. This blog started off as an MSN Space). I followed Xyendra’s progress with IZM activities on Facebook and I’m excited to see what they’ll send me!

Make an attempt to write a full-length zine:
I actually got all the written part down for this zine. Unfortunately, I wrote it all on computer instead of by hand or typewriter as this would have taken me way too fucking long. Also, the subject matter of the zine is of a sensitive nature so it will not be published here or posted for sale on Etsy. I will share it with a few select people (you know who you are) once it’s laid out.

Design a catalog for my Etsy shop:
It took me much longer than I expected but I got it done! I’m very pleased with it. I will send it out along with zines sold or traded.

Twigz 3What I planned to do but didn’t manage was: Make a mini-zine, respond to penpal letters, and make a new logo/flyer for my Etsy shop. On the very last days of the month, I even came up with an idea for a stencil for a new patch. I drew the image with a sharpie, hoping to make it as thick as possible. My husband printed it on a transparency, and today I attempted to transfer it onto the exposure sheet. But it didn’t work. It could be that the artwork wasn’t dark enough or maybe the exposure sheet was too old. I ordered it sometime around summer of 2015. Just like camera film tends to expire, maybe the exposure sheet does too. So when I noticed it didn’t work, I made the drawing a little darker and thicker and ordered a refill of exposure sheets. I hope to be able to do the rest of the activities as well as try the stencils again during August or something.

Lack of sleep notwithstanding, I had a good time on IZM anyway. I loved having the chance to deal with zines, talk about zines, read zines, being somewhat artsy after a longass time of being completely out of the scene.

Peace, love and hoping for more extensive and intensive IZMs in future years.

Messy Catalog

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One of the activities I had lined up for International Zine Month was to design a catalog for my Etsy shop, PMS Mess.

PMS banner

I compiled all the photos of my zines and descriptions and tried to figure out how to organize it all by hand. I wanted the catalog to be all cut and paste and look pretty much like my perzine does. But every time I tried to see how to make the modules fit, my mind kept coming up with ideas that would only work with Adobe InDesign.

The descriptions are all computerized. If I want it manual, I would have to copy it all by hand or typewriter. Imagine how wonderfully bruised up my hands would be if I had to copy the descriptions for 16 issues of Fallopian Falafel, 13 issues of PMS, 8 postcards, plus several care packages. Imagine how long it would take me. I much rather use that time to make an actual zine.

That’s besides the fact that I would have to organize it in a way that would incorporate photos and backgrounds. Huge headache.

So InDesign it is. I used that program to lay out my first zine, Fallopian Falafel, and I was very happy with the result every time a new issue came out. I remember compiling all the submissions and laying them out one by one, playing around with the formatting and fonts, having an awesome time. The sense of accomplishment and elation was immediate and I would lose track of time every time I laid out a new issue.

This time was no different. After my husband took the baby to daycare, I spent the rest of my morning working on the catalog. I didn’t get very far because I spent quite a bit of time figuring out what I wanted to have on the cover and went back and forth between Photoshop and InDesign, setting the background, choosing the right font, changing it around until I was happy with it.

Again, just like it was with Fallopian Falafel, I had a blast and lost track of time.

“It’s already 11:00!” I exclaimed. “Fuck you clock!”

I only got to the 9th issue of FF, but since I have the margins down, it’s all Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V from now on.

Peace, love and InDizzy

ZZZZZines

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It doesn’t matter how tired I am, if I’m busy enough at work, I don’t feel it until I leave the office. So I don’t know what happened yesterday because I was rather busy at the office but kept falling asleep. I fell asleep while writing an email, dreamt that I am still writing the email and then woke up to find the email empty. I fell asleep while updating a document. I would open the documents folder, fall asleep, then wake up, try to figure out what it was that I wanted to do, then fall asleep again.

I’m sorry if you’re falling asleep reading this post but here is where it gets exciting.

This morning I said “FUCK THIS TIRED SHIT! I slept just fine last night. So, dear bed, you’re not winning this round. No naps for this badass today.” And I proceeded to do an IZM activity!

I spent a hearty two hours organizing my entire zine inventory, including all my Fallopian Falafel issues, all my PMS issues, all random mini zines and post-its zines, all my fliers, postcards, patches, pins and assorted DIY junk. My fingers got all dusty and I felt so accomplished after that and I didn’t even feel a hint of fatigue. I hope that as the month progresses, this new order that I now have on my zine shelf will inspire me to design a catalog and maybe even write a new zine.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love sleeping. LOVE IT! But not as much as I love IZM!

Peace, love and zine is for zombies.