True to its title, Taryn reflects on what her life is like now at six years sober (the short answer is, pretty great). On each page she lists one small example of how sobriety has changed her life, and the zine is intended to be “straight up honest, no bullshit, just me talking about what it’s like…”. The zine packs a punch, too, with her witty and poignant one-liners sprinkled throughout. I’d give you an example but I don’t want to give anything away. You’ve got to read the zine!
Issue 8 of Taryn’s zine starts with her decision to write zines rather than writing more books, and it’s an interesting mediation on form and style and audience. She also discovers a love of BMX biking, and narrates her journey from never riding to buying her own bike and challenging herself to finish a particular course. It’s an interesting journey, both in terms of learning about a biking subculture and her internal process of growing through a sport. The motif continues as she narrates her sobriety experience–she shares witty and thoughtful life advice that extends beyond sobriety. If you’re into these topics you’ll love this zine. But even if these topics are new to you, Taryn’s take on them will draw you in.
This is a semi-professional zine printed by Pioneers Press, and it is beautiful. It’s a 1/4 size zine with a soft wrap-around cover, but the inside is old school zine: handwritten with cut and paste images. Julia Eff also includes doodles, illustrations, and a few comic strip sections into the mix. The look is so cool I almost want to hand-write my next zine, except if I did it you wouldn’t be able to read it!
I love a beautifully made zine, but even more than that I love a well-written zine, and Eff’s voice is so real and funny and true. I actually laughed aloud multiple times on the NYC subway where I was reading it, so absorbed in the zine it didn’t matter if I looked like a crazy person. Eff also writes about my favorite topic these days: gender expression (and identity). Eff ID’s as having no gender, or neutrois, and describes their experience of interacting with friends, strangers, a therapist, penpals, etc, and trying to be understood as they are. They also include a visceral description of what dysphoria feels like in the moment. My hands down favorite aspect of this zine though is Eff’s sense of humor. For me, and I think for a lot of people, navigating an either/or gendered world while not relating to a binary gendered self can be frustrating, lonely, and really depressing, and it’s easy for a narrative about that experience to become a living, breathing embodiment of depression. Eff’s sense of humor allows them to take their power back by being in control of the joke. Even though their sense of humor is often self-deprecating, the joke is never on Eff; the joke (it seems to me) is always on the world we live in, on anyone not elevated enough to understand Eff. Major thumbs up.
Get your own copy HERE.
1/4 size, crafty cover. perzine.
This woman can WRITE. People Make Plans #3 pulls you straight into Nicole’s world without a lot of introductions or context, but a huge story emerges from the details she includes. The writing is poetic and sparse with a high degree of irony. Her stories are alarming, humorous. Stories that seem simple, like ones she tells about about various pets the family had growing up, bristle with danger and confusion. I don’t want to reveal too many plot points because this is the internet, but I really recommend this zine. This writer has a big memoir voice that she’s sharing on the DIY in this gem of a zine.
Find a copy: HERE
1/2 size, travel zine
Really, “zine review” is a strong a title for this. I’m not interested in critiquing other people’s work, at least not when they’re zines. But I’m happy to tell you about it! A punk rock star named Billy mailed me his zine a few weeks ago, and I finally read it today while riding the subway around manhattan. I don’t ordinarily read punk travel zines, mainly because if I don’t know the band I don’t tend to find it interesting. But I didn’t need to know the band to appreciate this little slice of life description of touring on the road. Billy is inspired by Faulkner’s Travels With Charley, and indeed, Billy provides little snapshots of what life is like in various cities the band passes through. My favorite aspect is that he reviews quirky comic/zine stores, like Atomic Books in Baltimore and Desert Island in Brooklyn. Any punk rocker who gets hung up on literary DIY shops is on my wavelength. He also tells stories about each of his bandmates as they land in different cities, so you get to know the whole tribe a bit. While reading this zine I felt reminded of why I love zines. It’s just so fascinating to me that we have this tradition–that people type up their stories and photocopy them for cheap so others can learn about random parts of people’s lives. It’s just so random and cool. Thanks for sending it along, Billy!
Get your own copy: HERE
Holy crap, this is a split zine between Heather of Dig Deep and Jen of Tongueswell, and it’s awesome. In DD Heather talks about her newfound love of running, mainly from the perspective of her fear of violence when running alone, and how running anyway has helped her feel fierce in her body. It reminds me of how zero women enjoy being catcalled by men, and how mentally-ill it is that men keep doing it anyway! In Tongueswell, Jen details her customer service experiences working at a cafe, and manages to describe odd customer behavior while not belittling the customers at all. She ends the zine with a story of adopting a sick cat. A solid read.
This issue is all about privacy and persona, told through the larger lens of gender identity, and how gender ID affects the author’s online representation (and vice versa). It’s a meditation on zine pen names, facebook, generation 2.0, online distro sales, and more. The final segment explores gender directly through a conversation with a friend, and how nuances in everyday conversation intersect with how the author sees h/erself.
Returning to zines after a 7-year hiatus, Hannah shares her experiences with mental health issues through a positive lens of self-care and embracing imperfection. This issue explores depression and anxiety, alcoholism, disordered eating, PMS, and SAD. She also writes about queerness, nutrition, feminism, and her love of microbes. Over 32 pages, this text-heavy zine takes you from a floral loveseat in Texas to the NYC Dyke March, by way of the Wood Where Things Have No Name.
After a 5-year hiatus, Mat Resist writes issue #47, a zine packed with detailed DIY stories and instructions. Mat details topics like: starting a garden using raised beds, how to butcher your own thanksgiving turkey, how to create a washtub bass, installing an exterior spigot, fixing your bike, and more. And even if you don’t intend to DIY any of these projects in your own home, Mat tells stories about each project, almost like an instruction-memoir hybrid. Super fascinating.
sleeping creatures is a zine distro
you love zines, so this is perfect for you!
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