Tag Archive: zines


This post may be somewhat disjointed. I am somewhat disjointed. Out of joint. Bent…

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I’ve been walking a lot lately. Walking is conducive to thinking. Walking is frequently conducive to composing blog posts in my head. Some of which never get written. Some written, never posted. Let’s hope this one passes muster.

I feel like I’ve mentioned, in bits and pieces, that I’m currently in the process of reclaiming certain aspects of my life. Some of which I didn’t even realize needed reclaiming. Some of which I figured I’d leave unreclaimed. Some I thought I already had a claim on. And while it’s frustrating that I find myself still not completely free from certain negative impacts of certain types of trauma in my life, I’m thankful I can recognize the origins of that frustration, roll my eyes and be temporarily exasperated with myself, and move on.

I’ve been telling the same stories over and over again, because I find myself confronted with them. As my housemates were cleaning up my yard, cheerily clearing the brush and treating the arduous labor as a happy task, I vividly remembered walking out to the backyard a long lost married-person mother’s day ago, to find my then-husband angrily hacking at the shoulder-high weeds with a push mower. “Happy fucking Mother’s Day!” Through gritted, angry teeth, was my greeting.

That wasn’t the last time the lawn got mowed, but it was the last time he mowed the lawn.lulu

Needless to say, it wasn’t a very happy Mother’s Day. It wasn’t a very happy anything in my life during that time period. Somewhere around then – I think the same year – my elderly dog got cancer. I was 5 months pregnant with a 3-year old and a surly, unhelpful husband, and my best friend for the past 10 years was dying and I was incredibly sad. The day she died, he helped me load her gasping body into the car and he was the one who sat with her when she was put down, and then it was like a switch was turned and suddenly any sadness I felt about it was not allowed. Was a play for attention. I was being overwrought. I remember being so desperate for some sort of mutually nurturing relationship I went to the pound on the 4th of July – or thereabouts, and finding Twyla curled up in the corner of a kennel with a sign on the cage that said “I’m deaf, but I’m really sweet.” And she was. And I brought her home much to my ex-husband’s dismay.

“You always do the most difficult thing.” He snorted.

“I married you, didn’t I.” I retorted.

My mind is blurry, and I can’t remember if this happened before or after he broke up with me, but that was around the time. I came home on a lunch break from work, hugely pregnant. Hot. Emotional. And he told me he was breaking up with me. I had to go back to work in 30 minutes. Still hugely pregnant…hot…emotional…and single. Little knowing at that time that it would take multiple years to finally extricate him completely from my daily life, in spite of his refusal to contribute emotionally, physically, or financially beyond the bare minimum.

I’m not saying these things because I’m still bitter about them. I’m stating these things flatly. This is my experience. This is what I have lived. These are the things that re-emerge when we do things we haven’t done since that time period. Like getting a new dog.

5c44e4f5-c619-4bce-a177-b6d766f18fa1Even publishing the zine. I recently sent a couple of copies of the last issue of my old zine bAnal Probe to a friend of mine, and I realized those last few issues were done in collaboration with him. I hadn’t even realized publishing a zine was an act of reclaiming…and there it is. Reclaimed. Painlessly. Cleanly.

I wasn’t the best dog owner during those times. I was distracted, at best. The dog never got my full attention. We went for frequent walks and I spent much of my time feeling overwhelmed with everything I was responsible for. I wasn’t a BAD dog owner. I was mostly just exhausted and had no room in my life for another living being. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve felt sufficiently free of the every day responsibility of nurturing children to really focus on a pet, and this batch of cats in my life has gotten more love than previous batches. For sure. I’m excited about having a dog both who seems to require less effort and for whom I have significantly more bandwidth.

Along with those realizations was the realization that the way I’ve been managing my time is kind of screwy now that I don’t have to think in 15-minute increments as much. It’s time for me to expand my attention span. It’s time for me to have more flexible time for just sitting and enjoying. I’ve thrown away the old system and am working on a new system that allows for that. I hope. I imagine some things will fall through the cracks during the transition, but so far I’ve been spending a lot of lot of lot of time with friends, I’m getting a lot more outdoor time. More movement. A bit more structure. This structure will probably increase as I get used to the rhythm of the dog. When to feed her, when we walk. It’s kind of like having a large, slightly more self-sufficient baby. I’m so glad that she’s at least housebroken. And she sleeps through the night.

And well into the morning. Which is nice.

***

The other thing I was thinking about on my walk is all of the anger and frustration and heartbreak I am feeling for the mamas of Central America and Gaza whose babies are at risk. And of course for the mamas themselves. And the non-mamas, but mostly the mamas and the babies.

I’m sure this is a political theory that has already been written somewhere, and I haven’t taken the time to do any sort of research into who might have already thought of it, but it strikes me that the only way to make free trade not inherently exploitive is too also have open borders. Otherwise aren’t we just allowing the true cost of our low prices to be out of sight out of mind? And when something like a huge influx of refugee children show up at our border because they’ve been suffering that consequence for us, it’s altogether too easy for some people to blame the victims.

 

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I THOUGHT it was 7 AM when I woke up today. According to my alarm clock, it was. I was tired when I woke, but when am I not? I thought to myself “Quit being such a baby. Considering the time change, it’s actually past the time you would normally wake up…in fact, you’d have already worked half an hour by now!” Determined to start my new (later start) work schedule off right by taking a morning walk, I got out of bed, sleepily donned my walking clothes, and greeted the dark dawn. Then I looked at my phone clock. The one that automatically sets itself for DST. 6 AM. hahaha. Well, ok, then.

I’m kind of excited to see how this new schedule treats me. There’s something about a schedule change that is invigorating. For the next three months, I’ll have Saturdays off (where I used to have Sunday off) and my start time is two hours later. Of course, my end time is also two hours later, and with 10 hour days, that pretty much eats my entire day…but if I’m disciplined, and continue to get up just a little later than I used to wake up, I can pack some really good exercise, reading, and a nice meal into that extra two hours in the morning so it doesn’t feel like all I ever do is work. And having three days off in a week is really helpful. As is starting this new schedule immediately after DST, when I’m still used to time being an hour later than it actually is.

A lot of my friends are doing NANOWRIMO. I’m not. However, I’m hoping to have the content for the first issue of my zine done by the end of the month, so I can do the layout the first week of next month and get it printed by the solstice. If I can get the first issue out by January, I’ll be happy. I’m probably going to do a WePay campaign…or maybe even a kickstarter campaign…to raise money for it in advance, because I am broke. BROKE. BROKE. And both of the kids still need ALL OF THE THINGS.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure the name of the zine is going to be “Oyster Lexicon.” It will be an alphabet of the things I love, and the first issue will include letters A-F:

A-Artichoke

B-Birds

C-Chicago

D-Dancing

E-Eyeglasses

F-Feminism

It will be a full-color zine with drawings and hand-written text. And I’ll probably do postcards to go along with it, and sell them for a bit extra. Maybe if I do a kickstarter, I’ll throw the original art in as a perk. My hope is that I will at least break even, and maybe even make some extra for the next issue or just to have for various art projects I’d like to do, and the zine library.

The zine library, which I’m planning to open up at least 1-2 times a month with a reading room and discussion topics. I’m super excited to finally know people I can actually talk to for advice and planning for this, and hopefully we can bring the various zine libraries around Austin (two others that I know of – maybe more that I don’t) together to create some sort of database. What I’d REALLY like to do is have an IZDB – like the IMDB – a database that includes zines, zine producers, zine contributors, and zine topics, with everything cross-referenced and maybe even sample scans.

These are my big plans. So, it’s sort of like NANOWRIMO, only more like LOZILIMO (local zine library month) for me. ❤

I found this in an old journal…

And today I heard this:

and…yeah. Pretty much. Thank you for that validation.

In other news…I’ve been thinking about getting a tattoo. Actually, I’ve been thinking about it for awhile, but I feel like all of this year’s transitions warrants a commemorative permanent engraving on my arm. So, I’m thinking artichoke. I have an idea for pomegranates on my back, but I’m not ready for that yet. So, artichoke.

I also think I want to do a zine. Full Color. I’m not sure if I want to do art cards or one big zine or a series, but the above is an example. It would be an alphabet of my favorite quotes, with drawings. A huge challenge for me, because I am not a great artist…but I think it would be fun to challenge myself to draw. And, since I love to alphabetize things…the idea of doing an alphabet is appealing. We’ll see. My last zine idea – an account of my last trip to Chicago – is still sitting ther, being sad. With only a page or two done. This one seems easier somehow. Less personal. Less dramatic. Defined parameters with some creative wiggle room. I could maybe do a letter a month of subscription postcards, do a biannual zine with 6 or so letters, and put a book out with the whole alphabet after 2 years. Hehehe.

If I did that , would you subscribe?

I always wanted to be a librarian, and now that I think of it, I kind of am. I have my library of zines and a plethora of letters and mail art from the era that I would most want to curate. Now I just need to find a way to share them.

I can share some here. I’ve spent my spare time today sorting through letters that I have in a box – mostly from around 1990-1994.

I’m pretty sure I have a box of letters that span the mid-late-80’s. At least I HOPE I do. I HOPE it didn’t get thrown away.

I will forever remember the box of mail and zines I left behind because it wouldn’t fit into my car when I moved out of the house on 49th street in a big hurry. I will always wonder what little pieces of my past remained behind in that box.

I’ve culled through letters several times, though. Tossing those that were inconsequential. Keeping those from people I really cared about. Looking back at them, I see so much I didn’t see then.

What remains is loveliness from all corners of the earth. From dear friends in IL, GA, MI, CA, CO…not to mention Finland, Denmark, England.

The perpetually-incarcerated artist/bankrobber.

The octogenarian poet from New York.

The crazy beatnik from Albuquerque who sent risque photo postcards. The shy young woman who sent artwork and poetry to me, tentatively.

The boy with a crush on me that I completely ignored due to my tendency to remain oblivious to such things. The junkie cartoonist from New York.

All, all, all committing paper to pen several times a month. So many letters that began with “I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you.” and “It was great to finally hear from you!”

I had their addresses memorized. Or, at least, their zip codes. I still think about them when I hear people say they are from some obscure town that someone I once knew hailed from. Midland, Michigan. Appleton, Wisconsin. Yellow River, Ohio. Fair Oaks, California. I would grow to love the way they shaped their letters and the pattern of punctuation the way most would love a face or a particular accent.

When I was in high school, I would frequently make my mother call me in sick so I could spend the day in my pajamas, answering mail. Writing letters. Waiting waiting waiting for the thick bundle of mail to drop between the screen door and the wooden door because there was too much to fit in the mailbox.

And there was mail art. Interesting envelopes. Who knows what mail I never received because of the container that held it.

Yesterday, I was thinking that my friend P is the kind of adult I always thought was cool when I was younger. Unassuming, and cool as shit. Today, glancing through this bit of my history, I realize – I am exactly the kind of adult that I wanted to be. And THAT is pretty damn cool.

Note To Self:

...for heaven's sake BE STRONG

…for heaven’s sake BE STRONG

or…if I may borrow a quote from a picture taped to a friend’s wall…HARDEN THE FUCK UP.

Sincerely,

Me.

In other news, first day of training for the new job. First day of a 5-week training, which is a damn good way to ease myself back into work. The last two months passed like nothing, as I thought they would, but I have gained a TON of perspective. I had some great rest; managed to completely redecorate my room (though I’m still slowly putting everything back in order & not COMPLETELY done with the painting (need to prime + paint doors and window frames and trim. Srsly considering priming door and closet doors and finding friends to paint murals on them. *bats eyes at artist friends please oh please oh pretty pretty please?* Maybe stenciling around the window frames, too. But, anyway;) spent a lot of time visiting with friends; met some new friends; put a good deal of work into getting over that damn man who broke my damn heart (&, to be honest, I’m still fighting bouts of misery over that one;) wrote a lot; made a lot of art; dreamed and schemed and gleamed a lot. Oh, and I ended my funemployment with a 10-hour marathon zine alphabetizing session (well, broken up over a couple of days & with small breaks here & there):

Librarian For the Revolution

Librarian For the Revolution

Speaking of zines – you see that big stack in the middle column of the middle shelf? Those are all Maximum Rock & Roll. There are even some in the column directly to the left of that stack. And 3/4 of the stack on the far right of the shelf right above are all Flipsides, including the issue that led me to befriend a couple of my favorite people on this eart &, really, who am I kidding, probably saved me from a life of drudgery and capitulation.  Though who really knows? Maybe I was destined to be a bit of a freak, with or without the saving grace of punk rock fanzines. I mean, I had to have already been somewhat of a freak to find punk rock fanzines in the first place, right? At any rate, it was delightful to touch each and every lovingly-created, copied, and stapled sheaf once more, regardless of the  fair amount of physical discomfort I’m suffering after sitting and sifting and sorting for hours on end and days in a row.

The stupid popcorn shit someone thought was a really good idea as a decorative or somehow functional-in-a-way-that-no-one-has-ever-been-able-to-explain-to-me feature is still up there on my ceiling. I scraped bits that were actively peeling, and now my ceiling has little islands of bareness amidst the popcorn. I actually don’t mind it all that much. I’m excited about getting the posters up on my bed so I can string colored lights all over. I realize I sound like a stereotypical hippie, but the idea of writing in my journal in my bed with the curtains drawn around it and colored lights all about makes me feel all warm and squishy. I bought myself a plant today. We’ll see how that goes. Somehow I’m certain this new journey I’m on will transform me into a green thumb, and I’ll GROW plants, rather than slowly kill them to death.
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah…the new job. Not much to say there. I’m not going to be talking about work on this blog, other than how it affects my life. I’m steadfastly refusing to allow my job to define me. However, speaking as  a critic, the trainer in me commends those who facilitated today’s training, and whoever is in charge of devising the training schedule. I’m pretty picky about that shit, and remarkably I wasn’t annoyed at all today. And you really can’t beat wearing slippers and pajamas to work. 🙂
My Uniform

My Uniformd

You know you are officially a blogger again when you have a running list of topics that you want to blog about, but you end up just blogging about random shit, instead, because that other stuff requires actual thought and research & it’s so much easier to just, well, talk about your damn self. At least in my experience.
I’ve had some interesting conversations with random people about race/class privilege and assumption. I’ve been thinking a lot about the definition of “work” and who defines what “hard work” is. During Sunday’s Immigration Reform march, there was a couple standing at the side of the road, giving the march the “thumbs down” and shouting out “LEARN THE LANGUAGE,” among other intended aspersions that I didn’t feel were appropriate to shout at a group that included many young children. So, my aim was to distract him when I walked over. To provide him the audience he seemed to desperately crave.  He was all “I have a right to express my opinion!” and I was all “That’s great. Well, I’m here. Here’s my camera. My name is Lainie Duro, would you mind giving your name before expressing your opinion?” You can probably guess what his response to that was. Hahaha. But he expressed his opinion, regardless, only on a much smaller scale. And not only did it stop him from yelling at the march, it actually provided me with a great deal of insight into what some people actually (quite wrongly) feel about immigration, and to respond to those things. Not sure if/highly doubt that I got through to this guy at all, but it was vaguely satisfying to have interrupted him, at the very least.

& you know what? Sometimes choosing a simple subgoal of the larger grand scheme is the best course of action. We all have things to work on.