Nine Lives has been “open” for about two weeks now, and while I haven’t gotten any orders yet (as I expected), I’m pleased with how things are going. The site looks good–basic, but good–and I’m in love with everything I have stocked so far, along with other zines I’m still expecting in the mail. There may not be much to look at right now, but it’s all a start, and it feels good to have a project going well when others don’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment.
I spent Sunday working on descriptions (and watching “Mysteries at the Museum” on Netflix), which meant rereading a lot of the zines that I had gotten and writing up little summaries for them. The descriptions all tended to end up being a bit longer than I expected, but don’t think I’m complaining about that. Honestly, I fell in love with every zine a second time as I was going through them; some I hadn’t read in at least a year and while I knew they were good enough that I wanted to carry them, I forgot just how damn good they were. Others, like Maps + Text, I read for the first time and was happy to discover it was worth the faith of carrying without reading ahead. (But as a sort of off-shoot of Paper + Ink, which I love and have had two prose poems appear in, I was feeling pretty optimistic to begin with.)
I think there’s still a lot of tweaking to be done, either on the website or in general, but I think this step forward has been a smooth and pleasing one so far. It’s one of those actions that I can already see growing and improving far into the future, and there’s this giddiness running through me each time I think about it. Maybe someday I’ll have hundreds of zines, a better shopping interface, a brick & mortar shop! That last one really is my end goal, if I’m honest. A long time ago, or so it feels, I wrote about my dream of owning a zine and book shop, and that dream hasn’t dulled in the slightest. Since I took this step, it’s only gotten stronger.
I think part of why it took me so long to start a distro, even though I first considered the idea at least a year and a half ago, was the fact that it was just scary. Asking people if I could carry their zines was scary. Taking on all the responsibility of keeping inventory and mailing packages and communicating with others was scary. But in the past year, zines have become such a huge part of my life, something I live for now, that it was worth the fear to at least try. Along with that, as much as I like my life at the moment, I don’t want this to be how I live forever, and I can’t change that without facing those fears and getting off my ass and taking chances.
(Excuse me while I get all emotional over myself and this can-do attitude.)
I know I have a future in zines, in so many ways, and if opening a distro is the first step to my dream life, then it’s a step damn worth taking, even if I stumble.