Lost Projects 3 is a black and white ½ fold zine about lost projects and plans that ‘scream at you across time and space’. (I just love that image, by the way. Mine would be less screaming and more passive aggressive commentary on current projects, though.)
The thing to understand about Lost Project that I didn’t until I read it is that this is not only a collection of pieces from people writing about lost projects; this zine is also a place for lost projects to live.
It’s like a haven for art, poetry, writing and more to live. Even a dead app got a mention. The whole idea of this is really beautiful to me – a space that values what may have been rejected or abandoned elsewhere.
As such, Lost Projects is a treasure trove of bits and pieces; you’re not sure what you’re going to get – and you won’t get the same thing twice. More often than not, you won’t even get an introduction, but that only lends itself to feeling like you’ve found a box of forgotten treasures in someone’s attic.
I’ll resist the urge to write more similes, but I think the urge itself just goes to show how much I enjoyed the whole concept of Lost Projects.
While I hesitate to name a favourite as such, I have to say that the very last piece that pondered what could be done with the time lost to hair removal really got me thinking.
Lost Projects 3 is an interesting collection of bits and pieces and a zine that I think many would enjoy reading as well as participating in future issues.
Today we have an itty bitty – or rather, teenie weenie – zine of photographs featuring writing and writing spaces.
It could be a bit of narcisissm on my part (I write fiction), but I absolutely love seeing others’ writing processes and spaces. (To the point I actually started a blog where authors showed off and talked about their writing spaces.) I could stare at this collection of tiny black and white photos for ages thinking about the way people write, what they use to write, and the spaces they occupy.
This zine gave me the ‘why I love zines’ feelings with the intro:
“I don’t know why I feel the need to photograph the writing experience but I do.”
Isn’t that lovely? Jessica felt compelled and did – because you can with zines whenever you feel the urge. Beautiful!
This is a very specific topic sort of zine, so I think you’ll know whether you’re interested from the get go. I for one, will be opening its pages again to ponder writing spaces and places…
A couple of weeks ago, Wanderer and I were chatting to guy who was passing through town and only there for one night. As sometimes happens, said guy (I shall call him Square) wanted to know what I do for a living. This is always a difficult topic, as I seem to baffle anyone above a certain age and anyone who has had or currently has a nine to five.
Heaven forbid a woman of my age trying to get by on what meagre talents she has.
Wanderer proudly announced that I write books and such, but Square seemed a bit mystified by ‘urban fantasy’ so Wanderer then said that I write zines and explained a little bit about what they are.
“What do you write about?” Square asked.
I replied that there are a number of different topics, but I have one series that is primarily autobiographical.
Square shook his head and announced that no one wanted to read about other people’s lives, to which I replied that I’ve loved biographies since I was a child.
“So what makes you so special?”
Wanderer must have sensed my growing frustration at that point, because he jumped in with the very cliff notes version of leaving everything I knew at barely twenty years old to travel halfway across the planet with some clothes and a laptop to start a new life.
Square was insistent this was not anything anyone would be interested in reading about, at which point we pushed the conversation in a different direction.
Who do you think you are?
What makes you so special?
These questions and questions like them are used so often to bring artists down. To somehow make artists ‘on the same level’ as everyone else.
Somehow, to create something is considered by some people – sometimes by the artists themselves – to be self-indulgent privilege that should only be granted to those who have been deemed valid by others. Some people seem to think a thing should only exist if they think it has value.
Fast forward a few weeks.
I sat in the little medical office while the nurse helped me to map out my health care plan. I was lost and confused with new chronic illness conditions to add to the list. I was intimidated by the idea of needing a ‘health care team’, and the term ‘quality of life’ rang in my ears.
She asked me a few questions, and I eventually had to confess that this was all new to me and that I was pretty confused about, well, everything to do with my new diagnosis. She nodded, understanding, and said:
“I have that condition, too.”
What? She did? This woman who was so different from me in age, employment, economic background, and countless other things that conversation didn’t bring up was also like me?
I wanted to know so much more. When was she first diagnosed? How? How long has she been dealing with it? Were her side effects like mine? Did we struggle with the same things? What lessons had she learned that she could share with me?
There were so many things I wanted to know about this stranger and her life. I wanted her to have written zines upon zines about her experiences so I could get them all and read them. I felt comforted by the fact that someone who had this big, scary diagnosis in common with me was so great at being a successful nurse.
And she had no idea.
One of the most beautiful feelings in life is finding out that you aren’t alone. That you aren’t the only one. But if we, as artists, were to stop creating, stop writing, stop putting our Selves out there for want of some sort of permission slip from the universe, there’s so much more pain that will happen because of the lack of our art.
Yes, this is a power that so many people who create things don’t realise they have. Whether you are sharing your story through paintings, zines, books, handwritten letters to penpals, and so much more, you are having an impact. You are changing lives, and you don’t even know it.
As a creator, you will touch another person’s life. Perhaps thousands for millions of lives. The only thing you need to accept is that you will never know the full impact you have. Only you have lived your life with your setbacks, your reactions, your failures, and your successes. Only you are fully equipped to share your story in whatever medium you feel most called to.
You should share your story because you’re the best person to share it, and you have no idea how many people could could help, comfort, and inspire by doing so.
Who do you think you are? You are a creator. You put things into the world, you give, and you damn well don’t need permission to do so.
How To Be Alone 6.1
Bastian Fox Phelan
I was not at all prepared for this zine.
How To Be Alone 6.1 is a zine by Bastian Fox Phelan about Bastian’s life. This edition follows Bastian’s thoughts about the world, writing in different environments, the importance of a writing routine, and finding one’s voice – in more ways than one.
Before I’d even read the zine, I’d jotted down the note that I enjoyed the visual pun on the cover – whether it was intended or not. How to “bee” alone, eh? Clever. Now that I’ve read it, I realise there is so much more depth and thoughtfulness in the choice and how much meaning it has to the content inside. Do I know if Bastian thought that much about it? No, but the depth of meaning in things is often left to be found by the reader rather than intentionally created by the author.
Reading this zine was, for me, like listening to a song I’d never heard before. It lured me in with soft, beautiful melodies and made me feel comfortable. With that comfort, I let my guard down. When the crescendo of conflict of hurt and pain came later in the song, I was completely unprepared and swimming with different feelings that, even days later, I’m still sorting out. But, like a truly good song, and like a truly good tale reads, it all came back to the melodies it started with but now with a different view.
Even when I am berating myself for not doing it, I do like to read about writers and their writing. I liked reading about how Bastian discovered the personal importance of creating and sticking to a writing routine (even as something deep within me rebelled at the thought of applying one to my own life).
I love how easily writing about writing transitioned to finding one’s voice – an important aspect for writers that took on a new meaning when Bastian found the courage and the voice to confront those who are rude and mean just because Bastian doesn’t follow their ideas of what “should” be. It hurt to read about what other people thought was okay but was absolutely not. But those feelings were soothed by my admiration of Bastian for standing up in the face of others’ ignorance and cruelty.
Though small in the grand scheme of things, it was also lovely to read that I am not alone in my occasional rescue of tiny creatures. It was also a lovely image to start with and come back to at the end.
How To Be Alone 6.1 is, for me, a zine that requires more reading and further contemplation. Bastian’s writing voice is beautiful, and I will definitely be tracking down other zines in this series.
I feel like it would be a disservice to this zine to say it’s about ‘words’, and yet it is. However, it’s also about interesting words, language, strange words, strange ways to learn words (who knew old ‘learn to read’ books were so… somewhat disturbing?), finding poetry, zines, and more. There is even an interview with Manija Brown, a writer who has done manga adaptations.
So there it is: about words and yet so much more than words.
The La-La Theory 6 starts off with Katie pondering whether the thought that language is what makes us human. That reminded me of Let’s Communicate and how language can be so much more than what we humans usually think of it. When I dove straight onto that thought train into the world of world and language, I knew I had a winner.
This zine is fun and engaging in a calm way right from the start. The little things drew me in like how Katie mentioned this zine was a way of coming back to the spirit of the first La-La Theory. Even the somewhat/sort of incomplete table of contents had me smiling.
What a fun way to point to a few specific pieces.
Katie goes on to include brief etymologies (the history of a word’s meaning) of various words, a few reviews of very strange old language use books, and a piece about words that don’t have direct English translations.
The piece in this that spoke the most to me “On Finding Poetry”. I’ve said plenty of times that I don’t ‘get’ poetry and have always felt a little uncomfortable about that. So when I read this piece, I felt like Katie may as well have been talking directly to me…
A lot of the people I know feel shy about poetry. They’re not sure they understand it, they’re embarrassed of the poems they wrote when they were really young, and they’re certain they couldn’t write anything good now if they tried. But I know different: Anyone can write poems, and everyone should.
I would have bet money on me never writing a poem again and no one ever being able to convince me to do so. And yet, Katie’s surety about and love for poetry (along with tips on ‘finding’ poems) has me thinking about trying my hand again for the first time in many years.
I quite enjoyed this zine and taking in Katie’s love of words. I’m looking forward to tracking down more issues of The La-La Theory.
The rollercoaster that has been life since… gosh, probably back into August… made me realise that I haven’t really given a ZineWriMo update since I first posted about it. Oops!
I’m one of those people who always has so many ideas rather than not any. I want to do all the things on top of all of the things I’m already doing. There’s always something to do. I started my ZineWriMo prep by gathering all the notecards, sticky notes, envelopes, napkins and the like, and putting them into a proper ideas notebook.
I have been working on pieces for Don’t Call Me Cupcake 6, but there has been a particularly insistant idea bouncing around in my mind for a few weeks. When I sat down to dig into zine making this weekend, I found myself naturally gravitating towards creating this zine…
It’s different in size, shape, subject, and pretty much everything else that I’m used to creating in my zines. So, of course I would mess up the pages, end up needing to cut everything and then washi tape it back together so it would copy/print properly.
I ended up scanning it into the computer because that was just the simplest way to clean up the pages and make copies. I have yet to make the covers, so this zine is still ‘in progress’. It’s also the first zine that I have yet to be sure if I’m even going to release, as it’s a bit… It makes me feel a bit vulnerable, to be honest. I’m still very glad I made it, either way.
Now, while all this has been going on, I’ve also been working on Don’t Call Me Cupcake 6. I was feeling quite stuck and unsure (no idea why). Whenever that happens in my writing, I go back to longhand. That usually does the trick of getting me out of whatever muck I’m in.
Seeing as I’m running late with it anyway, I thought I would share the very first page of Don’t Call Me Cupcake 6…