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Zines

Zine Update: Small Parts #003 Now Available

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11.17.2014 / small parts 003: front cover
I’ve been on a roll lately, and now Small Parts #003 is out and ready to order! Small Parts always seems to be the less popular of my two regular zines, but I still love putting out, waiting and hoping for someone to stumble by and order a copy or ask for a trade. There’s something a little different about such a small zine with fiction and poetry, rather than the personal non-fiction of One-Girl Bicycle Club.

As always, you can order via the Etsy shop or send me an email at sonyaeatszombies [at] gmail[dot]com.
11.17.2014 / small parts 003: atlas
11.17.2014 / small parts 003: back cover

November 18, 2014
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Zine Update: One-Girl Bicycle Club #006 Now Available

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11.11.14 / ogbc6 front cover
It’s here! Finally! Yesterday afternoon I put the finishing touches on my newest zine, and I think it’s grown on me over the past couple of days. It’s still not perfect, but nothing I put out ever will be.

This zine has literally been at least six months in the making, and I’m glad to finally get it out of my hair and onto the internet. It’s been a kind of weight hanging on me as I struggled to finish, and it’s nice to be able to move onto my next project without the constant self-editing and critiquing of this issue holding me back.

One-Girl Bicycle Club #006 is about struggling with self-care, pop-punk, broken friendships, body image, and identity.

Available in my Etsy shop or you can drop me an email at sonyaeatszombies[at]gmail[dot]com
11.11.14 / ogbc6 inside

November 11, 2014
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Considering Zine Identity and Where to Go From Here

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10.31.14 / zines
I started this issue of One-Girl Bicycle Club months ago. I started it, and I scrapped it, and I started again. And now I’m here with an issue ready to copy and assemble, and while I’m glad to be finished, I’m still not content. It doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel up to potential.

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been toying with the idea of starting over with my zine. I’ve been considering a whole new identity. I started One-Girl Bicycle Club when I was a junior in college. It was my first attempt at a zine at all, and I’ve learned so much since then. I’ve read so many different other zines since then. I know I’ve changed and my tastes have changed over the least two and a half years, so I’m just not sure how I feel about it anymore.

Do I want a new name? Or just a new format? Do I want a new approach to perzines entirely? A break?

I don’t even know.

(Okay, no. Definitely not a break. I can say that with confidence.)

What I do know is that it doesn’t feel quite like it fits anymore, and I know that I feel overwhelmed with the possibilities of what it could be compared to what it is.

For a few months now I’ve been enamored with text-heavy, half-size zines (think Cometbus), and I can’t stop thinking about them. They feel so much more pensive and poignant than, well, than mine. I first modeled mine after a handful of zines that I’ve adored for years–years!–and I still do, but I don’t know if that style, that approach, is still effective for me and my goals.

Naturally, determining my goals would be a helpful approach to understanding all of this, but I’m finding it difficult to articulate what I have in mind–other than that I want my zine to be more, whatever that means. I want it to be more thoughtful, more resonating. While a facelift isn’t required for any of that, I can’t help wondering if it would give me more momentum, a clean slate, because right now I’m not feeling it. I keep wanting to put out an issue, but I can’t seem to connect with this issue enough to care about it. Sure, I’ll finish it, but I’m in no hurry. I’m not excited to release it into the world; it doesn’t feel like something worth getting excited about.

And I can’t help but wonder if a change is exactly what I need. I swapped my blog over to a self-hosted set up, redid the layout to something I love, and have been filled with nothing but ideas since then, so logic tells me that’s what I need for my zine, too: a big change, something to shake things up. So maybe I will. Maybe I’ll start from scratch–new name, new look, new everything.

Maybe not.

November 3, 2014
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Wonderlust Literary Zine

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I did it! I finally came up with a title for the literary zine, and I’m kind of in love with it. (And I kind of hope you are too.)

One morning last week, as I was getting ready for work, the word “wonderlust” popped into my head. I didn’t know if it was a real word or anything, but it had that kind of similarity to “wanderlust” without being exactly that, which I correctly assumed has been used for some zines already, so I had already decided against it. The first thing I did was google “wonderlust” when I got home from work in the afternoon, and I spent days looking up different phrases and search possibilities to see if it would work for the literary zine without too much complication, and after a lot of back and forth with Dan, we’ve come to the agreement that it’s good to go.

Next, I set to work setting up a call for submissions graphic and deciding on a timeline for the issue (and each issue to follow), and now my mind is reeling with ideas and plans. I was so excited Saturday night that I didn’t even fall asleep until about five in the morning; my brain just kept working and plotting, which I take to be a sign of a good idea.

I’m excited to work on a zine that gets to feature other people’s work, because sometimes it’s fun just to put one together without all the effort it takes to write the content myself. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for years, since sometime in college, but now I finally have the motivation and the resources to really charge forward with it.

September 15, 2014
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10 Reasons Why I Love Zines

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7.8.14 / zines

variety: half-page zines, quarter-page zines, single-sheet zines, zine compilation books, fancy cardstock covers, and the IZM activities list

Because I’ve been a lazy blogger, I never posted about July being International Zine Month. Shame, shame. But I’m here now, and I wanted to share my response to the day one prompt of IZM: Make a Top 10 list of reasons why you love zines.

Zines are like an approved form of voyeurism. First and foremost, zines can be intensely personal, especially, well, perzines. The honesty and trust that go into making zines is so impressive. I’m always interested in other people’s lives, which is also why I love blogs and social media and all that–I like seeing what other people have going on in their world at any given moment–and zines are another way for me to see that.

No two are exactly the same, in content or creation. Zines can be just about anything you want. They can be simple, one sheet creations or long, half-page books with nice cardstock covers. Of course, part of that has to do with what you can afford, as well as what interests you, but the fact that there are so many diverse zines created by diverse people is absolutely mind-boggling and inspiring.

They help me connect with people I might never have encountered otherwise. I’ve met some really cool people through zines, and I’ve also inspired my own friends to make zines. They’re just another awesome way to connect with others about something you mutually enjoy, whether it’s what you’re writing in your zines or the simple act of creating the zines themselves.

Zines let other people read my writing. As a writer I have somewhat selfish affections for zines and the fact that, for me, they’re an easy way to make my writing visible. They’re marginally more expensive than a blog, and it’s worth paying for that physical publicity, that piece of something (me) that people can hold in their hands and easily look back on when they want to. (Hopefully they want to.)

Zines let me talk to people without physically being with them. This is good for introductions especially because I have a hard time when I first meet people. But I’ve made some very cool friends with people who first read my zines, then decided to keep talking with me.

I’m in control. This goes along with a lot of self-publishing possibilities. Making zines myself–from writing to printing to assembling–I am, like, 99.7% in control. All creative decisions are mine. I decide what goes in and what doesn’t, what it looks like. It’s a sense of power in this mixed up world called life, which brings me to my next reason…

The possibilities are endless. I have literally seen a zine about bread ties. (It was a free mini-zine at the Pioneer Valley Zine Fest called, “Bread Ties of North America.) If I wanted to, I could do a zine about potatoes, Sailor Moon, yard sales, gardening, belly button lint*…anything. And it’s not an overwhelming situation, but an exciting one.

There’s no requirement to commit. If I decide–maybe tomorrow, maybe years from now–that I don’t feel like doing one of my zines anymore, I don’t have to. Sure, if I’m lucky it might make people a little sad for me to stop, but there’s not really any negative impact past that. Similarly, I can do a single issue of a certain kind of zine and be done or do a series for years.

Zines can be (surprisingly) educational. I’ve learned a lot about a lot of different topics since I started reading zines, from series subjects like gender identity and ableism to more, shall we say, palatable subjects, like bicycle maintenance and friendship. It’s always an educational adventure when I crack open a new issue.

I simply love to read. Reading is kind of like breathing to me: it’s something I do daily that comes naturally to me. And zines are the perfect way to get a little reading fix when I need it, sometimes to the detriment of other things I’m reading (re: A Feast for Crows). I’ve read many items in my day, and I have to say that zines are one of my favorites that I’ve indulged in.

I read so many zines by people who have been doing this for years, decades even, and I can only hope that I’ll manage to stay inspired and motivated and confident enough for that long to continue creating my own zines.

*Some of these are actual ideas I’ve had for actual zines, and someday I might do them.

July 9, 2014
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Pioneer Valley Zine Fest 2014: Recapped

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Pioneer Valley Zine Fest at Flywheel, Easthampton
I woke up early Saturday morning, rolling over and groaning as the alarm on my phone went off, and I allowed myself an extra ten minutes before finally pulling myself out of bed. A shoe box full of freshly printed and assembled zines sat on the couch, and my stomach twisted a little when I walked by it to go brush my teeth and wash and dry my bangs. I don’t think I even had breakfast, instead packing snacks for while I was gone.

And an hour later, after I was dressed and presentable (I guess?), Dan and I headed out: a stop at the bank to get some cash, a stop at Staples to make some last-minute copies as soon as they opened, and on to the Pioneer Valley Zine Fest, where I tabled for the first time.
Deep breath. Done. #zinesTrying not to throw up. #zines #zinesterlife #pvzf

Finishing most of my prep the night before. // The view from behind my table.

It was as fun as I expected (which is to say, quite fun), but I was still riddled with nerves not only when I got there but through every hour until I packed up to leave. Every time someone came by the table, I was a ball of worry and awkwardness, whether anyone noticed or not. I made jokes the whole night before that I wouldn’t sell any, or I’d only make $5, and I was kind of right. I ended up either selling or trading fifteen of the fifty copies I brought, but I only left with $6 after buying a couple for myself and paying for my table. That was to be expected, though; it’s not like selling zines is exactly lucrative.

I also had a bit of fun setting up my quarter table, even though it only took me about two minutes. I ended up sharing with a guy from Connecticut who does does a comic called Crust Dog (it was super cute), and he was nice to talk to.

Pioneer Valley Zine Fest at Flywheel, Easthampton
I think my favorite part really was the people. Even though talking to everyone made me feel awkward, everyone was so nice, and I got a lot of positive comments on the zines people bought and read throughout the day. Plus, I got to finally put faces to the zines and organizations that I’ve known or read about for a while, so that was a bit of a bonus.

I’m especially proud of myself for signing the mailing list to hear about the zine fest they’re planning in Boston. On the one hand, I really enjoyed how small the Pioneer Valley Zine Fest was because I got to talk to people and could leave my table once in a while to browse what others had brought. But on the other, it might be interesting to try tabling at a bigger zine fest, at least once, if the one in Boston ends up drawing a lot of people.

Ultimately, I’m glad I went. I feel like I really accomplished something. I learned what worked and what didn’t. (Putting things off until the day before definitely did not.) And I spent my afternoon surrounded by amazing people doing amazing things. Now I’m just waiting for the next zine fest!

May 7, 2014
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These Are a Few of My Favorite Zines

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Zines: Telegram, The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes, Motor City Kitty
(I came up with that title yesterday while I was in the shower. It’s really not an exaggeration when people say great ideas can come to you in the shower.)

Sometimes it feels like I have a near-constant stream of zines arriving in the mail, and that is not a bad thing. This week alone I received a new order of a few issues on Monday, plus I have another I expect by Friday. I have two overflowing DIY-decorated cereal boxes in my living room, so it only makes sense that I’d have some staples in my collection, right? Right. I’ve probably talked about these zines at least once before, but that’s because they are wholeheartedly and unabashedly my favorites, for a variety of reasons.

The Triumph of Our Tired Eyes by Amber Dearest. Amber’s zine Culture Slut was the first I ever ordered. When she stopped writing that one, it was a little sad, but I quickly recovered when she started writing under The Triumph of Our Tired eyes, and I’d have to say that Amber’s newest issue is my favorite so far. She chronicles her weeks traveling on tour with bands Xtramedium and Bad Hex, encountering sexist/classist people, and trying 140 different sodas. I love Amber’s zine because not only did this issue feel like a tour diary, but each issue (and those of her older zine, Culture Slut) reads like a diary entry or a letter to a friend. It fits the bill of personal zine effectively. You can get Amber’s zines at Fight-Boredom.com.

Motor City Kitty by Brianna Dearest. As I was going through my collection, this definitely stood out as a zine which needed to be on this list. Not only does Brianna’s zine have an especially poignant place in my heart because it reminds me of my first trip to Chicago, but it also has some of my favorite presentation of content. Brianna’s drawings also bring to life the stories she shares, offering a little something more (and different) from others I read. (Though to be honest, a lot of my favorites include at least a few doodles within their pages.)  You can get Motor City Kitty from Brianna at briannadearest.wordpress.com.

Telegram by Maranda Elizabeth. I feel like maybe I talk about Maranda a lot, but I’m always inspired and enraptured by the things they do, so I just want to keep talking about it all. Telegram is another perzine, this one discussing mental health, genderqueer life, and self-care with a voice that makes me invested, interested, and absolutely astounded at the honesty. Maranda holds nothing back, it seems. I find myself learning so much from every issue, and it’s one zine I find myself absolutely needing to order as soon as possible after a new one is out. You can get Telegram (and some other wonderful zines) from Maranda at schoolformaps.etsy.com

Honorable mentionsSonorus: Feminist Perspectives on Harry Potter, The Radical Uprise, Lady Teeth. All different, all awesome. Go forth and read!

December 4, 2013
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Zine Update: Small Parts #002 Now Available

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08.01.13 / small parts 002

Just a quick update to let you know that the second issue of my prose poetry + mini story zine, Small Parts, has been added to my shop for purchase. This issue is four stories long and is made up of “fractured fairy tales.” They’re twists + retellings on the old stories you know, including “Snow White,” “Hansel & Gretel,” “Goldilocks & the Three Bears,” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

I always like making issues of this zine because they include my fiction writing, which doesn’t get shared in One-Girl Bicycle Club. Plus, they’re short and inexpensive, so they’re like a mini challenge in comparison, practicing my technique for bigger issues.

If you’d like a copy of this or any of my other zines, visit my Etsy shop or send me an email at sonyaeatszombies[at]gmail[dot]com.

08.01.13 / small parts 002

August 1, 2013
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Five Benefits of Writing Zines (+ Some Zine Resources)

Posted in Writer Life, Zines by

07.17.13 / zine shelf
I spent yesterday (I think it was yesterday) reorganizing my zines a little bit, making a second box to store them in because the first was overflowing, then deciding how to rearrange them on the bookcase. I’m still not sure if I’m completely happy with the arrangement, but it works for now.

Over the past three or four years, since I bought my first zines and started reading and writing them, I’ve really fallen in love with them. Zine making is one form of creating that makes me the happiest and helps me feel the most productive. It keeps my hands occupied, can be done while listening to music or watching TV, and is such an open-ended project to begin with.

Lately, zines have become really important to me in a lot of ways, including those below. They’ve inspired me, helped me make some cool connections, and even brought me to Chicago (along with the chance to visit my friend Emma for the first time). Zines are such a powerful thing for as simple as they can be, so here are five benefits I’ve found since first getting involved.

  • Making new friends. I’ve discovered some really cool people through zines. Some of them I’m actually friends with, some of them I’d like to be friends with someday, but haven’t made the first step to yet. Either way, it’s a fantastic way to find others who are interested in the same topics as you are. And as I said, zines helped bring me to the Chicago Zine Fest and my friend Emma for the first time in March, where I met some of my favorite and most inspiring zinesters.
  • Creative freedom. I can write and draw whatever I want in my zines. If I want to talk about five different topics in one issue, that’s totally fine because there’s no one to say that I can’t. If I want to do an issue entirely of pieces from one of my creative writing classes, I can do that. If I want to talk about myself the whole time, that’s an option. If I want to make a zine with nothing but cartoon cats, I can go right ahead! The possibilities are endless because you don’t need permission.
  • A schedule is optional. Sometimes (usually) it takes me months to write an issue. It took me years to even get my first one done. And while it’s nice to finally get it done, I don’t have to feel rushed, instead taking my time, picking and choosing the best pieces of writing to include. There are some things I’m not good at doing on a deadline, and writing zines is one of them. Zines become something I work on while putting together other projects. They’re the right kind of occupying.
  • Trades! Even though they don’t necessarily make money, that’s not what this is about. Trades can be even more fun because you’re sharing a part of yourself and getting a part of someone else in return. (Does that sound creepy?) It’s like someone saying that you’re equals. Your zine is worth their zine.
  • The feeling when you get an order/trade request. This is probably one of my favorite parts. While trades are their own benefit, the feeling get when someone asks for one or submits and order is astounding; I never cease to be amazed and excited. I always think, “Someone wants to read my writing. They’re interested in what I have to say!” There’s this little feeling of pride and elation when someone shows interest in my zines.

Additionally, some great resources for zines include:

Let me know if you order any, are interested in mine, or just have your own thoughts to share. And if you write your own, what benefits would you list?

July 17, 2013
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